如何避免模式化写作?—美国留学个人陈述PS
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 1.开头引用名言
        不少学生指望着通过引用名人名言来达到某种惊人的效果,实际上只会适得其反。在对方教授那里,他早已经是见过无数遍了,所以再看到你在PS里引用这句话,他在心生厌倦之余巴不得逃之夭夭呢。所以,在PS里不要再引用名人名言了,它不仅起不到你所想像的令对方大跌眼镜、深为叹服的效果,相反会让人觉得你只是一个缺乏创造力的学生,在他的内心便对你产生一种厌恶和反感,于是乎录取通知书和奖学金也许便从此与你擦肩而过,失之交臂了。
  我们设想一下:假如你自己是中国某大学的一位教授,面对的是一批挤破了头也想申请到你手中奖学金的外国学生,如果你第一次看到申请者将“欲穷千里目,更上一层楼”作为一篇PS的开头,你一定会吃惊,甚至欣喜:啊,一个外国学生竟然对于中国的传统名句有如此的了解而且运用得也如此恰当!但是,接下去,在你面前厚厚的一叠申请材料里,第二篇、第三篇……在以后的来自不同申请者的个人陈述里,你发现原来他们每篇都是这样!你内心肯定会油然而生一种厌 倦,甚至感觉到一种被骗!
        2.在第一段中揭示自己专业的重要性
        对于那些计算机专业的学生,他会非常自豪地写到“电脑科学是所有学科的基础,是二十一世纪的明星”云云;而化学专业的学生,则通常会写出“化学是这样一门学问,你必须贡献你的全身心来研究它”等诸如此类的语言。殊不知审读PS的教授们对于该学科的重要性知道得比你还清楚,不需要你再来告知。至于是激励、教育或者是共勉就更没必要了:他已经在大学或者研究所里呆了足够长的时间,不是“必须要”贡献全身心,而是既成事实了。像这种较为老套的话,在本来就篇幅有限的PS里实在没有必要去说,它只能展现你的平庸无趣。
        3.介绍自己具体的出生日期及出生地点
        比如说“我出生在X年X月X日”,或者“我出生在四川重庆”等等。对于我国学生来说,从小在作自我介绍时,都习惯于首先将自己的基础信息告诉对方,这种思维定式导致我国学生在写作PS时,依然喜欢不厌其烦、不厌其详地介绍自己的出生地点和时间。其实在你的申请表里,这些信息已经填过,于是这种介绍显得特别没有必要——除非你能够从你的生日和你的出生地点的名字中引申或者挖掘出对你有利的素材来。如果真要及生日,除非它是闰年的2月29号,四年才能过一次生日,这样你的生日才会在你的PS里显出一些特殊的意义来。
        4.在开头交代自己写这篇PS的目的
        比方说,“This document is to facilitate my application for admission and scholarship.” 写这篇东西是为了什么云云,这是“说了也白说”的写法。因为大家都知道PS写作是为了什么,实在没有必要再费口舌。举个例子,如果你给自己心仪的姑娘写了一封情书,还要在文中开宗明义“我写这封情书的目的是为了表达对你的感情”就完全多余了。
        5.极力渲染自己的勤奋与智慧
        这两样东西都绝无写的必要。首先,对于要申请北美奖学金的你而言,肯定已经是大学毕业、已经考过了TOEFL、正在准备GRE或者是已经通过了GRE的考试,这一切已经充分证明你既勤奋且智慧,所以你实在不必再作自我表扬;再者,对于国外的Professors 来说,在他们的土地上,已经有几十万刻苦求学的中国学生,绝大多数都成功地完成了学业,这已经充分说明了中国学子的聪明和勤奋。中国在西方最被认可和承认的就是我们的本科学历。因此,如果你在中国大学本科毕业又考过了GRE,你还要在你的PS中强调自己的智慧与勤奋,其结果只会造成内容的雷同。
  在举证自己的智慧与勤奋时,也有许多千人一面的例子。似乎所有的人都说到了自己从幼儿园直到研究生毕业都一直名列前百分之三等。再者就是在高考中获得了全省第一的好成绩,他们中间最谦虚的说法也是自己是全市第一名。更多的人干脆是太优秀了,根本不需要考试,被推荐免试入学,在全国几十万考生中只有六个名额,而他就是其中之一。
有一个同学为了说明自己的勤奋和聪明,就举例说自己在上大学期间,不得不躲在厕所里学习,因为他对每一门功课都是如此的精通,结果全班同学都追着他问问题,没有办法,他于是就只能躲在厕所里。这位同学的勤奋和聪明可谓是登峰造极,但是我相信聪明的读者绝对不会对其产生敬意:因为举这样的例子,使这位同学显得极为造作和自私。拿着这种东西去打动老外,或者是试图去愚弄人家是根本行不通的。面对一大叠PS,其中内容的真假虚实,哪些是申请者自己写的,哪些是抄袭或者照搬别人的,国外教授都心中有数。对于那些生编乱造的个人陈述,他们肯定是洞若观火,所以在PS写作时,切忌写得脱离实际。
        6.过度包装
  许多人有这样一种误解:既然包装多少总会有虚假的成份,于是便把自己并不具备的优点写进自己的申请材料里。其实,所谓“包装”,是指申请者如何在申请材料中合理地挖掘并且有力地展现自己真正的优点和潜能,以此帮助自己在众多的申请者中脱颖而出,并非捏造事实。
        在谈到自己的学习状况时,如果对方对你的学习内容比较了解,我们还是少谈为佳。因为我国大学的课程设置多数跟国外相差不大。比如说电子工程,或者是经济学,你学什么东西对方都知道。记得有一位计算机专业的同学,在介绍自己的学习内容时就把所学的主要课程列了一下,后面还跟上一句话,“我甚至还学过微积分”,这句话显然是多余。
        7.课外活动千篇一律
        这里本来应该是展现个性或志趣的题材库,但是这几年的内容几乎无一例外的全是当学生会主席、参加英语角和希望工程这三项。所有的人都说自己是学生会主席,其中最谦虚的也是系学生会主席。所有的人也都参加了希望工程或者是在某某英语角得了个什么金奖或者是银奖、铜奖。至于当主席期间干了什么具体的工作来服务同学,为希望工程做了什么具体的贡献则不得而知。不但没有具体的实例,而且喜欢吹牛。在这方面有一个比较极端的例子,在谈到自己的“政绩”时,这位同学说他曾经当选为全国学联五常委之一,实际上成了全国学生的领袖,在任时推动了全国人大批准开工建设三峡大坝的工程等等,此公之政绩真可谓功勋盖世,可惜离谱了点。
        8.范文赏析(计算机专业)
        A fourth-year student grounded solidly in the basics of computer science, I am writing in pursuit of graduate studies that I hope can help me acquire cutting-edge expertise in software programming in general and parallel processing in particular.
  Intrigued by the power of the computer since high school, I have been trying to stay on top of the computer science by concentrating my undergraduate studies on those subjects that underpin the discipline, particularly mathematics and electronics. To build up my solid knowledge in these subjects, I have taken virtually all the related courses that the university has had to offer. These courses include Algorithm & Data Structure, Mathematical Modeling, Network Theory, Digital Circuit, Discrete Mathematics, and Electric Circuit. With a sophisticated understanding in these areas, I have been well positioned to appreciate the basic theories of computer science and their applications to software development.
  Aided by the firm command of the basics, I have found it not only easy but also exciting to study the various subjects covered by my major. As most of my classmates, I took a variety of courses ranging from AI to Computer Network, from AI Programming to Knowledge Engineering, from Pattern Recognition to Software Engineering, and from Database Design to Programming Language Design. But I distinguished myself by my academic record, which places me as one of the very top students in my class. My grades in these course never went below A or B. I have also stood out as one of the few who have taught themselves Real Time System and Computer Graphics.
Armed with sound training in the basic theories and applied technologies, I have been able to move on into deeper and wider areas of computer science. Early in my university life, I began to understand that the modern computer's base, the Turing machine, was reaching its limits in AI. Gradually, I have narrowed down my research interest to parallel & distributive computing, which I understand can significantly boost the performance of personal computers by giving them some of the functions of mainframe computers.
  Of all the areas of computer science, parallel processing fascinates me the most. The term first came to me when I read the book Computer Organization & Design: the Hardware/Software Interface as part of my Computer Architecture course. By teaching me how the performance of computers can be improved through pipelining and parallel processing, the book reshaped my thinking in computer science.
  My lab experience deepened my understanding of parallel processing. In my third year, I worked on a GIFT project with Dr. Komatsu, chief researcher of IBM Tokyo Research Laboratory and Dr. Koseki, one of Dr. Komatsu's colleagues. The project was to introduce the architecture supports that can allow compilers to derive more parallelism from programs. These architecture supports include three designs, a conditional execution mechanism to execute instructions without normal conditional jump instructions, speculative execution mechanism, and a dynamic memory disambiguation mechanism to execute memory access instructions simultaneously.
  As undergraduate students seldom get to be involved in actual research, I took full advantage of the opportunity of working in the lab. I particularly enjoyed the seminars held twice a week as part of the lab work. At these seminars, I engaged in in-depth discussions with Master's students under Dr. Komatsu's seasoned guidance. The lab experience is adding weight and insights to my graduation paper An Improvement of Software pipelining using Loop Transformations. In this paper, I will introduce a translation algorithm using loop interchange and loop skewing. This algorithm can minimize the initiation interval of loop nest to improve the performance of software pipelining.
  Through my lab experience and other research, I have developed a long-term professional objective: the advancement of the parallel processing technology. While I have strong faith in this technology, I also know its limitations as it is today. Some sequential algorithms can't be easily translated into fast parallel algorithms and most compilers can only distribute works on one platform. Another unsettled problem is that programming parallel computers is now still a manual work. But even the modern language (like Java, C++) can do some automatic translation work. If a compiler can be developed to translate and distribute work into different platforms, personal computers will be able to work like mainframe computers at a fraction of the mainframes' costs. This will make it possible to connect all the computers in the world and speed up all the processes.
  To help take the parallel processing technology beyond what is capable of today, I have to undertake more advanced studies. This, I believe, can only be accomplished in a quality graduate program like yours. I plan to pursue a master's degree with a concentration on paralleling and distributing compilers, operating systems or computer networks, a combination thereof. With the training that goes into such an advanced degree, I think I will be able to take great strides towards fulfilling my professional objective. When I do, I think I will be standing on the cutting-edge of the computer science.
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