PS advice, politics/religion taboo?

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lulzalicious
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PS advice, politics/religion taboo?

Postby lulzalicious » Sun Oct 09, 2011 3:10 pm

Are there any topics that absolutely should not be discussed in PS's?

A lot of my 'story' has to do with political involvement, various religious interests/phases, writing for a newspaper that was mostly polemic etc. (There are other things discussed as well).

I guess what Im wondering is, is it dangerous to talk about those things since the person reading my PS could have very strong feelings for/against the sides Ive obviously taken? What kind of stuff is safe to include, and what should I keep out?

Thanks!

Seneca
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Re: PS advice, politics/religion taboo?

Postby Seneca » Sun Oct 09, 2011 3:33 pm

There are a number of threads on this topic if you want to search through, including this one recently: viewtopic.php?f=14&t=167799

Bottom line is that if you don't prosthelytize, emphasize a deity or tenet of your belief rather than yourself and your own experience, or mention hot-button or controversial issues - or anything else that may alienate an adcomm - you'll be fine. Make it about you. There are some good examples on this site in the sample PS thread.

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SisterRayVU
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Re: PS advice, politics/religion taboo?

Postby SisterRayVU » Sun Oct 09, 2011 5:53 pm

If you worked in politics or religion or it is a focal point of your essay, that's fine. If you're arguing why you're right and others are wrong, probably not such a good idea.

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theadvancededit
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Re: PS advice, politics/religion taboo?

Postby theadvancededit » Sun Oct 09, 2011 6:14 pm

Seneca wrote:\Bottom line is that if you don't prosthelytize, emphasize a deity or tenet of your belief rather than yourself and your own experience, or mention hot-button or controversial issues - or anything else that may alienate an adcomm - you'll be fine. Make it about you.


+1

Another thread with a similar question: viewtopic.php?f=18&t=167937

The PS is supposed to be about you, including your experiences and personality. What a PS is not is a soapbox or a forum to expound on your own personal beliefs. You are certainly free to talk about your experiences that may hint at your own beliefs or values, but don't emphasize their superiority or disparage others. For instance, talking about working for a particular party's presidential campaign as working experience is much different than talking about the merits of one party's stance versus another. So long as you are aware of this difference and avoid the latter, then you'll be okay.

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lulzalicious
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Re: PS advice, politics/religion taboo?

Postby lulzalicious » Sun Oct 09, 2011 8:23 pm

Thanks for the replies. I definitely would not be proselytizing (sp?) anything. But my involvement and experiences would show obvious commitment, interest in certain things that in themselves members of an adcomm may not be fans of.

Regarding the discussion of religion, I was just wondering if that topic in general was too controversial. I wouldnt be focusing on any one faith or anything and def not advocating either. Thx

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mrtoren
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Re: PS advice, politics/religion taboo?

Postby mrtoren » Mon Oct 10, 2011 12:46 am

Politics and religion are usually off-limits because you get a lot of overzealous radicals who refuse to acknowledge the opposing viewpoint. As long as you keep it fairly low key, don't freak anyone out, and come across as a normal/respectable person, you can pull off political and religious rhetoric. If your views stray too far from the mainstream, I recommend even grater caution. Like it or not, you have to appeal to a reader you know nothing about. Play it safe.

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lulzalicious
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Re: PS advice, politics/religion taboo?

Postby lulzalicious » Mon Oct 10, 2011 11:10 am

mrtoren wrote:Politics and religion are usually off-limits because you get a lot of overzealous radicals who refuse to acknowledge the opposing viewpoint. As long as you keep it fairly low key, don't freak anyone out, and come across as a normal/respectable person, you can pull off political and religious rhetoric. If your views stray too far from the mainstream, I recommend even grater caution. Like it or not, you have to appeal to a reader you know nothing about. Play it safe.


Well I guess therein lies the problem. Ive had a pretty eventful life, mostly because I havent played it safe. Most of my story is about issues related to politics/religion etc., and in the US at least...Id def not be considered 'mainstream'. Maybe I should just leave all of it out and write my PS on something like my work ethic/determination n achievement...

What do ppl think about mentioning research/volunteer work in Palestine? *winces*

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SisterRayVU
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Re: PS advice, politics/religion taboo?

Postby SisterRayVU » Mon Oct 10, 2011 12:19 pm

lulzalicious wrote:
mrtoren wrote:Politics and religion are usually off-limits because you get a lot of overzealous radicals who refuse to acknowledge the opposing viewpoint. As long as you keep it fairly low key, don't freak anyone out, and come across as a normal/respectable person, you can pull off political and religious rhetoric. If your views stray too far from the mainstream, I recommend even grater caution. Like it or not, you have to appeal to a reader you know nothing about. Play it safe.


Well I guess therein lies the problem. Ive had a pretty eventful life, mostly because I havent played it safe. Most of my story is about issues related to politics/religion etc., and in the US at least...Id def not be considered 'mainstream'. Maybe I should just leave all of it out and write my PS on something like my work ethic/determination n achievement...

What do ppl think about mentioning research/volunteer work in Palestine? *winces*


Dude, it's fine. Just don't say that Palestinians are in the right or you are working against the MIC funded Israeli holocaust lobby. You were helping poor civilians in a part of their world where they otherwise receive little recourse from their neighbors let alone their government. Boom. Not political and you're suddenly an admirable activist.

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lulzalicious
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Re: PS advice, politics/religion taboo?

Postby lulzalicious » Mon Oct 10, 2011 2:09 pm

Well that was alot more optimistic than what I thought Id hear, thanks! Guess Im just worried bout the likely chance a Zionist will happen on my PS and be blinded with rage... Id write 'lol', but the amount of times situations have gone down like that make it less and less funny.

Any other opinions on mentioning this type of thing in my PS? :)

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Helicio
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Re: PS advice, politics/religion taboo?

Postby Helicio » Mon Oct 10, 2011 3:15 pm

lulzalicious wrote:Well that was alot more optimistic than what I thought Id hear, thanks! Guess Im just worried bout the likely chance a Zionist will happen on my PS and be blinded with rage... Id write 'lol', but the amount of times situations have gone down like that make it less and less funny.

Any other opinions on mentioning this type of thing in my PS? :)


As someone who is hugely concerned with the Israel-Palestine conflict, I'd actually be careful mentioning the conflict.

There is little chance that if you did something in Israel and mentioned it you would piss someone off (in America), but there are many Americans who are so pro-Israel that any mention of Palestinians sets them off in a rage.

While American Jews are obviously divided on the whole issue, there are some (like some of my friends) who are more "pro-Israel" (read: pro-Lakud party) than a lot of Israelis.

So in sum, if you were talking about humanitarian work in Tanzania--fine. But this is more sensitive stuff. If you do write about it, make sure that you don't mention the right of return, your thoughts on settlements, or even the crappy conditions many Palestinians live in. If you do you might set someone off on a rage.

It sounds stupid, but it's true.

Good luck.

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lulzalicious
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Re: PS advice, politics/religion taboo?

Postby lulzalicious » Mon Oct 10, 2011 3:45 pm

Helicio wrote:
As someone who is hugely concerned with the Israel-Palestine conflict, I'd actually be careful mentioning the conflict.

There is little chance that if you did something in Israel and mentioned it you would piss someone off (in America), but there are many Americans who are so pro-Israel that any mention of Palestinians sets them off in a rage.

While American Jews are obviously divided on the whole issue, there are some (like some of my friends) who are more "pro-Israel" (read: pro-Lakud party) than a lot of Israelis.

So in sum, if you were talking about humanitarian work in Tanzania--fine. But this is more sensitive stuff. If you do write about it, make sure that you don't mention the right of return, your thoughts on settlements, or even the crappy conditions many Palestinians live in. If you do you might set someone off on a rage.

It sounds stupid, but it's true.

Good luck.


Yea thats exactly what Im afraid of. But my whole experience, even just talking about it on facts w/o my own sentiments expressed would set a 'pro-Israel' person/Zionist off for sure. I guess I just dont want to have to sacrifice what is a strong PS material just in case one of them reads it...
But I think youre right. Theres a lot of similar stuff I think is less controversial that I can write about instead..

Thanks

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theadvancededit
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Re: PS advice, politics/religion taboo?

Postby theadvancededit » Mon Oct 10, 2011 4:19 pm

SisterRayVU wrote:Dude, it's fine. Just don't say that Palestinians are in the right or you are working against the MIC funded Israeli holocaust lobby. You were helping poor civilians in a part of their world where they otherwise receive little recourse from their neighbors let alone their government. Boom. Not political and you're suddenly an admirable activist.


This is pretty sound advice. Volunteering in an area of the world facing great social, political, and economical unrest is admirable, yes, regardless of where. If you focus on your own merits-- such as your achievements, growth, maturity, work ethic, and determination-- rather than the actual politics of it (as odd as that sounds) then you should be fine.

I understand how dicey this all is and agree that you must proceed with caution. However, I feel that your involvement in international aid is too great a topic to pass up on. Just do so carefully and focus on your own qualities.

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lulzalicious
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Re: PS advice, politics/religion taboo?

Postby lulzalicious » Mon Oct 10, 2011 6:12 pm

*Sigh...people seem pretty split on this. Tho I imagine I might as well talk about it, it will be all over my resume, transcripts, even an LOR. This advice on approach is helpful, even though it may be difficult to achieve the right balance. Thankyou :)

theadvancededit wrote:focus on your own merits-- such as your achievements, growth, maturity, work ethic, and determination-- rather than the actual politics of it (as odd as that sounds) then you should be fine.

I understand how dicey this all is and agree that you must proceed with caution. However, I feel that your involvement in international aid is too great a topic to pass up on. Just do so carefully and focus on your own qualities.

Seneca
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Re: PS advice, politics/religion taboo?

Postby Seneca » Mon Oct 10, 2011 6:58 pm

lulzalicious wrote:*Sigh...people seem pretty split on this. Tho I imagine I might as well talk about it, it will be all over my resume, transcripts, even an LOR.


That's part of what made my decision to integrate some of those aspects into my PS. Consider it an opportunity to demonstrate that you are an open-minded individual with diverse experiences gained from your commitment to issues that are important to you. If you're worried that your experiences might indicate a strong or divisive personal platform, a solid, non-divisive PS will help you stick out as someone who is passionate as well as open-minded and pragmatic, all qualities that would speak highly of any applicant. Get help here if you're worried - people will be extremely honest about the tone and message of your PS and help you strike the right balance.

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lulzalicious
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Re: PS advice, politics/religion taboo?

Postby lulzalicious » Mon Oct 10, 2011 7:07 pm

Seneca wrote:a solid, non-divisive PS will help you stick out as someone who is passionate as well as open-minded and pragmatic, all qualities that would speak highly of any applicant


Ok this will be my mantra when writing that part of the PS lol. I think I probably will be asking for a lot of help in here once Ive written it.

Thanks!

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SisterRayVU
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Re: PS advice, politics/religion taboo?

Postby SisterRayVU » Mon Oct 10, 2011 8:02 pm

Really it's not that complicated, don't get all worked up. My PS has a lot about working for one of the more controversial/notorious Representatives last election cycle. I wrote about being in SDS also. And I doubt either of these things are going to be looked upon as a red flag. Maybe if I was applying for the CIA, but I'm not, and you're not, so don't worry about it :)

Just don't use the word Zionist. People get really worked up over it.

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lulzalicious
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Re: PS advice, politics/religion taboo?

Postby lulzalicious » Mon Oct 10, 2011 8:12 pm

SisterRayVU wrote:Really it's not that complicated, don't get all worked up. My PS has a lot about working for one of the more controversial/notorious Representatives last election cycle. I wrote about being in SDS also. And I doubt either of these things are going to be looked upon as a red flag. Maybe if I was applying for the CIA, but I'm not, and you're not, so don't worry about it :)

Just don't use the word Zionist. People get really worked up over it.


I know I seem over-cautious, but Ive seen even the mention of this issue just blow up in my face. Granted it seems I have bad luck and the most 'passionate?' 'pro-Israel' ppl are the ones I end up having to talk about it with. Noted about not using the word Zionist. Thanks for the input again, if its not gonna be a red-flag for ANYONE on adcomm thatd be great..Im just worried itd be a red-flag/rage enducer for the wrong person. But the advice so far has given me some guidance on how to approach it so I think it should be alright. Now all I have to do is write it.. :cry:

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SisterRayVU
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Re: PS advice, politics/religion taboo?

Postby SisterRayVU » Mon Oct 10, 2011 8:21 pm

GL, send it to me if you want. Even if Dershowitz himself read your essay, it shouldn't make a difference.

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LSAT Blog
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Re: PS advice, politics/religion taboo?

Postby LSAT Blog » Tue Oct 11, 2011 12:23 am

Although achieving the right balance may be difficult, this doesn't mean the topic should be considered off-limits altogether.

If admission officers really felt strongly enough to ding someone simply for holding a differing opinion, they'd be working for an advocacy organization - not a law school.




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