Operation: Enduring Yale 250s

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OperaAttorney
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Operation: Enduring Yale 250s

Postby OperaAttorney » Wed Apr 15, 2009 6:12 pm

TLS was a blessing to me during my app cycle. The following essay, my Yale 250, isn't much, but I hope it helps future applicants. I also hope TLS members who've received decisions post their 250s as well. Let's make this a 250 bank!

One more thing: Yale rejected me. "Appreciate" the essay at your own risk. :lol:

OPERAATTORNEY'S 250


I leaned forward. The old woman beside me seemed entranced. We were at the Los Angeles Opera for George Gershwin's Porgy and Bess and had just heard "Summertime."

Porgy and Bess is a distinctly American opera—the story of an African-American working-class couple, set to American music idioms synthesized with European orchestral techniques. Its memorable arias and duets have escaped the confines of the opera house and entered the realm of popular music as irresistible tunes—often in hybrid form—that endear themselves to a public indifferent to classical music.

I expected the virtually all-black cast because of Gershwin's daring stipulation to hire only black principals. But given the paucity of non-white operagoers, I did not envision an audience that would mirror America's diversity. I surveyed the sea of black, brown, yellow, and white faces—many likely attending their first opera—and felt hopeful and proud.

The de facto segregation plaguing America softened that evening. Unlike many movies and plays depicting the African-American experience, Porgy and Bess drew a multiethnic crowd. America's finest black opera singers attained critical visibility in a domain that rarely receives them. Perhaps the soprano singing "I Loves You, Porgy" inspired the young black woman mouthing its words to someday perform them. Perhaps the haunting beauty of "Summertime" reminded the white woman beside me of the first time she heard the music—and first saw her place in our kaleidoscope of colors. I know that I, for the first time, felt I belonged at the opera.

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SparkyLives
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Re: Operation: Enduring Yale 250s

Postby SparkyLives » Wed Apr 15, 2009 6:23 pm

I really like that. No way I'm following that up.

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OperaSoprano
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Re: Operation: Enduring Yale 250s

Postby OperaSoprano » Wed Apr 15, 2009 7:13 pm

I have absolutely no business in this thread, but this was beautiful. I wish I'd seen that production.

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zabagabe
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Re: Operation: Enduring Yale 250s

Postby zabagabe » Wed Apr 15, 2009 7:35 pm

iminlstrick wrote:Hrmmm, I absolutely loved almost all of the 250, but my only concern is that when I first read your breakdown of "skin color" into white, black, brown, yellow -- the "yellow" glaringly stood out because it (I think?) has a pretty strong history of being used in a very very derogatory fashion against Asians. Obviously "black" has history too, and perhaps brown to some extent, but when I read "yellow" in reference to face, I had pause and think twice about your word choice. To someone who really takes that categorization offensively (and you have no idea who your readers are), the whole essay kind of becomes ironic, even if well-intended.

I wouldn't have posted that publicly, and I absolutely DO NOT want a debate on race in what is a great thread idea, but I chose to respond because I just wanted to demonstrate how a seemingly innocuous "categorization" can actually be offensive. Kudos to you for writing on race; I doubt most applicants would be so ballsy for their 250.


Without agreeing or disagreeing with your thoughts, I think it's hard enough for people to open up and share their 250s as it is - if they're expecting critiques/criticism (which at this point can't even be construed as helpful, since it's all over now), I think people might shy away from sharing...if necessary, maybe send thoughts via PM?

KP429
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Re: Operation: Enduring Yale 250s

Postby KP429 » Wed Apr 15, 2009 7:38 pm

iminlstrick wrote:Hrmmm, I absolutely loved almost all of the 250, but my only concern is that when I first read your breakdown of "skin color" into white, black, brown, yellow -- the "yellow" glaringly stood out because it (I think?) has a pretty strong history of being used in a very very derogatory fashion against Asians. Obviously "black" has history too, and perhaps brown to some extent, but when I read "yellow" in reference to face, I had pause and think twice about your word choice. To someone who really takes that categorization offensively (and you have no idea who your readers are), the whole essay kind of becomes ironic, even if well-intended.

I wouldn't have posted that publicly, and I absolutely DO NOT want a debate on race in what is a great thread idea, but I chose to respond because I just wanted to demonstrate how a seemingly innocuous "categorization" can actually be offensive. Kudos to you for writing on race; I doubt most applicants would be so ballsy for their 250.


Go away.

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bgc
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Re: Operation: Enduring Yale 250s

Postby bgc » Wed Apr 15, 2009 7:40 pm

This thread is for sharing the short essays that we wrote with care.

Another cycle will begin and people will be asking for help soon enough. Let's leave criticism to those threads.


For now, let's read these and enjoy them. If anyone in future cycles finds these useful, whether as positive or negative examples, then so much the better.
Last edited by bgc on Sat Apr 18, 2009 1:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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pushkin
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Re: Operation: Enduring Yale 250s

Postby pushkin » Wed Apr 15, 2009 7:41 pm

Agreed on that note... Maybe people should post saying whether or not they'd welcome comments when they put their 250s up?

Thanks for being the first to post, btw. I feel like if enough people put theirs up, this could be a really nice resource for applicants in future cycles. I'll happily put mine up once I hear from New Haven, if I ever do...

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jacktripper
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Re: Operation: Enduring Yale 250s

Postby jacktripper » Wed Apr 15, 2009 7:46 pm

KP429 wrote:
iminlstrick wrote:Hrmmm, I absolutely loved almost all of the 250, but my only concern is that when I first read your breakdown of "skin color" into white, black, brown, yellow -- the "yellow" glaringly stood out because it (I think?) has a pretty strong history of being used in a very very derogatory fashion against Asians. Obviously "black" has history too, and perhaps brown to some extent, but when I read "yellow" in reference to face, I had pause and think twice about your word choice. To someone who really takes that categorization offensively (and you have no idea who your readers are), the whole essay kind of becomes ironic, even if well-intended.

I wouldn't have posted that publicly, and I absolutely DO NOT want a debate on race in what is a great thread idea, but I chose to respond because I just wanted to demonstrate how a seemingly innocuous "categorization" can actually be offensive. Kudos to you for writing on race; I doubt most applicants would be so ballsy for their 250.


Go away.


+1. That kind of criticism is not necessary in this thread. Wait a couple of months to critique the next cycle's 250.

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iminlstrick
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Re: Operation: Enduring Yale 250s

Postby iminlstrick » Wed Apr 15, 2009 7:48 pm

Hrm, okay, I guess I'll keep my opinions to myself; I did appreciate Opera's posting his/her essay and starting off this thread, which I did mention was a great one! I just thought it might be helpful to future 250-writers to see how a section COULD come off offensive unintentionally. Since this thread is meant (I think?) to help future 250-writers, I didn't see how my response was contradicting its purpose. But, alas, mouth shut now. Good luck.

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Objection
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Re: Operation: Enduring Yale 250s

Postby Objection » Wed Apr 15, 2009 7:50 pm

I ended up getting rejected, but I was alive from 10/3 until 3/31, so I don't think they hated it. Given the fact my GPA is below the lowest they admitted last year, I think that maybe, just maybe, they liked it enough to keep me in consideration longer than I otherwise deserved.

Mine:

I have an abnormally large head. It has been that way since birth – just ask my mother. In home videos, I can be seen futilely trying to balance my head on my neck, only to have it tip forward or backward. When I was nine, it got stuck under the bed while I was trying to retrieve a Lego. My parents told me I would eventually grow into it, but I am still waiting.

Though balance is no longer an issue, other problems have arisen. Whenever I do something that requires entry into a small space, I have to mentally check its size against the dimensions of my head. Putting on shirts stretches their collars, while removing them requires body contortions that would put a “sixteen”-year-old Olympic gymnast to shame. I steer clear of sunglasses - put a pair on a watermelon and you will see why. The same goes for hats. “One size fits all” excludes “gigantic.” In high school, I was forced to either remove padding from my football helmet or get one custom made. And, as if to drive the point home, I was given nicknames such as “Mr. Potato Head,” “Bobblehead,” and the beautifully blunt “Bighead.”

But alas, my head is a part of who I am. It helps to make me unique and stand head and shoulders - mostly head - above the crowd. While I have learned to embrace it, I know that it may be impossible for others to do the same.

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OperaAttorney
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Re: Operation: Enduring Yale 250s

Postby OperaAttorney » Wed Apr 15, 2009 7:55 pm

OMG, Objection! I'm in public and can't stop laughing. Good display of humor. You definitely made the Yale admissions office smile--perhaps laugh. I'd bet money on it.

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bgc
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Re: Operation: Enduring Yale 250s

Postby bgc » Wed Apr 15, 2009 8:11 pm

Thanks for starting this off, OA. I was accepted to Yale and think my 250 helped. It is VERY different from the PS I also sent. The PS was very academic; it was essentially a research proposal with a description of how my background made me suited to conduct that research. I tried to balance that with my 250.


7. 250 Word Essay

He sat close on my right but seemed unaware of my presence. Etudes, sonatas, and suites ran together,
each piece unimportant when compared to the sound of him playing. And this wooden box—for months
my solitary obsession—was finished.

It was my first cello—the first instrument I made but could not play.

Building cellos is hard. Violins can be difficult, but are never so brutish and physical as the excavation of
a cello. Carving a violin is fastidious and constricting. The stature of a cello, however, makes even the
most delicate task feel expansive. Simple size yields a human presence: the work, which feels like
collaboration, must be done on the cello’s terms.

But the change I felt confronting this cello as a violinist overwhelmed differences in construction.

The violins I had built and played for years were a collective project of inquiry—an introspective journey
toward an elusive sonic ideal. Continual adaptation made them an expression of my playing, which had
become so rooted in these fiddles that the once distinct acts of making and playing were inseparable.

This cellist discovered sounds in my work I could not predict or explore. By ending my conceit of
complete understanding and vertical integration, he helped me appreciate my cello as a singular work
rather than dismiss it, as I would a violin, as an inadequate manifestation of an ideal. He reminded me that
all my instruments are tools for musicians; it is what they make with them that matters.

franfair
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Re: Operation: Enduring Yale 250s

Postby franfair » Wed Apr 15, 2009 8:56 pm

.
Last edited by franfair on Wed Jul 21, 2010 12:09 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Objection
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Re: Operation: Enduring Yale 250s

Postby Objection » Wed Apr 15, 2009 8:58 pm

OperaAttorney wrote:OMG, Objection! I'm in public and can't stop laughing. Good display of humor. You definitely made the Yale admissions office smile--perhaps laugh. I'd bet money on it.


That was my goal. I wanted to go the lightheared route. Show some personality. Lighten up their days a bit. I think I succeeded, but they just couldn't swing admitting me due to my GPA.

Glad you liked it :)

huckabees
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Re: Operation: Enduring Yale 250s

Postby huckabees » Wed Apr 15, 2009 9:00 pm

OperaAttorney wrote:OMG, Objection! I'm in public and can't stop laughing. Good display of humor. You definitely made the Yale admissions office smile--perhaps laugh. I'd bet money on it.


Haha, +1!!

franfair
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Re: Operation: Enduring Yale 250s

Postby franfair » Wed Apr 15, 2009 9:09 pm

.
Last edited by franfair on Wed Jul 21, 2010 12:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

legends159
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Re: Operation: Enduring Yale 250s

Postby legends159 » Wed Apr 15, 2009 9:17 pm

bgc wrote:Thanks for starting this off, OA. I was accepted to Yale and think my 250 helped. It is VERY different from the PS I also sent. The PS was very academic; it was essentially a research proposal with a description of how my background made me suited to conduct that research. I tried to balance that with my 250.




Oh hey, you're the violin maker. I'm pretty sure I met you at the Boalt ASD. Congratulations on getting into Yale that's HUGE!

HumbertH
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Re: Operation: Enduring Yale 250s

Postby HumbertH » Wed Apr 15, 2009 11:14 pm

Hi. I actually didn't originally intend to apply to Yale, and ended up applying at the end of January. Consequently, the 250-word essay requirement was a surprise to me, and I didn't have much time to put it together or to research how people generally use the 250. This accounts for the very stuffy/academic tone. I didn't know that this was often used as an opportunity to add some color to the app. (Although, frankly, the tone of the essay does accurately capture one important aspect of my personality.) I was fortunate enough to be accepted recently, so I'm posting my 250 here for informational purposes. I don't mind if people want to comment on or take issue with it, although I suspect it will be a bit too boring to tempt anyone to do so.

In his book The Terror Presidency, Jack Goldsmith argues that the George W. Bush administration failed to enact many of its counter-terrorism policies because key administration officials blocked efforts to seek Congressional approval for administration programs. Goldsmith believes that had the administration sought legislative cooperation at the outset on initiatives such as the Terrorist Surveillance Program and so-called “enhanced interrogation” procedures, it would not have had to compromise its priorities, and would have earned political capital for openly consulting with elected leaders. Instead, the administration chose to forge ahead with these programs on the basis of inherent executive authority, only to be forced to seek legislative authorization later, in the face of political criticism.

Despite some administration setbacks, precedents set under Bush may have consequences for future disputes between Congress and the President. As John Hart Ely noted in the context of war powers, a form of “adverse possession” can render acceptable Presidential actions that once seemed clearly unconstitutional. Future executive officials may use Bush-era precedents, stripped of the larger political context of forced retrenchment, to justify similar actions, presumably with more success in avoiding Congressional control. This possibility is made more likely by the prevalence of Presidential signing statements, purporting to raise constitutional doubts about legislative interference in decisions that are “properly” executive in nature, combined with a policy of compliance for the sake of inter-branch comity. If that comity fades, the asserted inherent executive powers lurking underneath may prove pernicious to American constitutional democracy.

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mallard
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Re: Operation: Enduring Yale 250s

Postby mallard » Wed Apr 15, 2009 11:30 pm

Objection, I award you this thread.

journogirl
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Re: Operation: Enduring Yale 250s

Postby journogirl » Wed Apr 15, 2009 11:41 pm

The cello one is also really, really beautiful.

phoenix_302
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Re: Operation: Enduring Yale 250s

Postby phoenix_302 » Thu Apr 16, 2009 1:43 am

These truly are amazing 250s. I especially appreciated the "artistic" ones. I love music and used the play the violin so opera's and the cello 250 i found to be uniquely inspirational and original. Although I feel a little embarrassed after reading these awesome 250s, here's mine...

I want to change the world. This is perhaps the most burnt out, simplistic cliché uttered by naïve idealists who have not yet experienced the harsh and sobering veracity of the “real” world. I’m sure law school applications are not short on this glittering generality and its many variations. In fact, most “experts” will advice you to steer completely away from these types of statements when applying to graduate school. “Admissions Deans are just tired of reading about this,” my college advisor told me. Well they shouldn’t be. After all, is this not what all devoted, inspired students of the law should aspire for? Why else would one devote oneself to a deep exploration of the foundations of society’s norms, if not to create some dent, however small, on the workings of our world? A dedicated commitment to any field of study implicitly includes a desire to generate an impact on one’s immediate or extended environment.

Yes, I want to change the world, and I believe I can. It is a belief that stems not from some misplaced sense of intellectual or moral superiority, but from a firm, personal conviction that anyone, under any circumstance, has the ability to generate meaningful change. It is the willingness to act upon this natural ability that has driven the social evolution of our society. Naïve idealism should not be mistaken for inspired perseverance.

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Adele
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Re: Operation: Enduring Yale 250s

Postby Adele » Thu Apr 16, 2009 1:52 am

Objection wrote:I ended up getting rejected, but I was alive from 10/3 until 3/31, so I don't think they hated it. Given the fact my GPA is below the lowest they admitted last year, I think that maybe, just maybe, they liked it enough to keep me in consideration longer than I otherwise deserved.

Mine:

I have an abnormally large head. It has been that way since birth – just ask my mother. In home videos, I can be seen futilely trying to balance my head on my neck, only to have it tip forward or backward. When I was nine, it got stuck under the bed while I was trying to retrieve a Lego. My parents told me I would eventually grow into it, but I am still waiting.

Though balance is no longer an issue, other problems have arisen. Whenever I do something that requires entry into a small space, I have to mentally check its size against the dimensions of my head. Putting on shirts stretches their collars, while removing them requires body contortions that would put a “sixteen”-year-old Olympic gymnast to shame. I steer clear of sunglasses - put a pair on a watermelon and you will see why. The same goes for hats. “One size fits all” excludes “gigantic.” In high school, I was forced to either remove padding from my football helmet or get one custom made. And, as if to drive the point home, I was given nicknames such as “Mr. Potato Head,” “Bobblehead,” and the beautifully blunt “Bighead.”

But alas, my head is a part of who I am. It helps to make me unique and stand head and shoulders - mostly head - above the crowd. While I have learned to embrace it, I know that it may be impossible for others to do the same.


LOL! This is great!! I would have admitted you!

blagostinks
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Re: Operation: Enduring Yale 250s

Postby blagostinks » Thu Apr 16, 2009 11:29 am

Waitlisted at Yale.

“This is Flan. It’s a pastry from Peru. My family eats it all the time,” I told my fourth grade elementary school class.

At age nine, I treated my ethnic heritages—I’m the son of a Hispanic mother and an Arab father—as objects on a shelf, to be taken down or put back when needed.

“I’m proud to be a descendant of the Incas, and to also call the cradle of civilization—the Middle East—home,” I told my friend’s Indian father, who, in view of my dark skin color and thick, black hair, was convinced I was also Indian.

At age sixteen, my background, it seemed to me, would only sit well with others if treated as thought-provoking intellectual fodder – so I spent my time talking about history, religion, and politics.

“I grew up watching Spanish soap operas with my grandmother, but also attending Muslim Sunday School. I feel blessed to come from such a rare background,” I explained to a houseguest over dinner.

At age twenty-three, my non-conformist passions run wild, and I seek to differentiate myself in whatever way possible. The embrace of my background is a means to that end, rather than an end in itself.

“My parents were more similar than they were different. They also shared values—hard work, honesty, humility, and compassion,” I told my grandchildren while looking at photos of my parents.

At age sixty-five, I view my parents as, above all, human beings. Fundamentally, we’re all just people. No?

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OperaAttorney
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Re: Operation: Enduring Yale 250s

Postby OperaAttorney » Thu Apr 16, 2009 9:53 pm

Come on , guys! Please post more 250s.

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sealrsqr
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Re: Operation: Enduring Yale 250s

Postby sealrsqr » Fri Apr 17, 2009 8:01 pm

Waitlisted recently. What have I got to lose? My PS focused on my volunteer work with marine mammals, so I used the 250 to talk about another piece of my resume:

The sticky sweet splatter of saliva hit my face and I smiled – in part because my mouth and eyes were spared, but mostly because spitting was huge for Eddie. We were making progress.

Feeling the buckle of my shoe digging into his writhing calf, I shifted my weight. I freed a hand, pinning his head to the floor, discouraging his unsavory method of communication. The carpet absorbed his remaining projectiles, adding to the distinctive smell of group home - stifled and stale, boredom blended with frustration, sweat, and despair, all marinated in Pine Sol.

Eventually his anger softened. My grip loosened as his rage drained. Finally headed off to bed, he smiled slightly. In that moment I saw the original Eddie – not yet a victim turned predator.

Previously I knew only Eddie’s fun and feisty image. Unable to identify the mint extract beneath the chocolate in his cupcake, he accused me of poisoning him. Outraged by my suggestion to “do over” a disputed basketball play, Eddie convinced me that indecision was the only wrong call.

Later I saw Eddie, future felon. Squirming across from a mother who feared him and the little sister he violated, Eddie was terrified by what he had done. Shamed and ashamed, he was so alone.

In an environment where hugs were no longer appropriate and bedtime stories were not feasible, physical restraints, however uncomfortable, were the only way to be touched at all. Only after leaving {Random Group Home} did I realize I had been touched too.




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