01.Chapter10 - 第 10 章...

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Unformatted text preview: 第 10 章 如何避免出国申请文书中的常见错误 由于东西方文化、语言、思维、教育模式的不同,留学申请者在努力写出一篇地道 的能让西方国家高校招生委员们欣赏的留学文书时还需注意避免下列常见的错误。 10.1 Personal Statement≠Autobiography 虽然中文把 Personal Statement 译作自传,但 Personal Statement 并不等于 Autobiography。在 800~1500 字的篇幅中,把自己过去二十几年的每一件小事都记录下来是不可 能的。Personal Statement 只是招生委员会浏览的众多份中的一份,切勿浪费自己和读者 的时间,写一些您认为重要但招生委员会并不感兴趣的事情,泛泛而谈还不如不谈。我 们竭力主张在自传中要做到少而精,只选择一两件有代表性的事情,在有限的篇幅内, 通过具体、透彻的讨论把您的学识、智慧和个性展现在招生委员会面前远比列出 100 件 您自己引以为豪其实微不足道的事情要有力的多。 我五岁的小外甥 Tony 就懂得这个道理。 Tony 有两大箱子玩具,每次我陪他玩时,他都会从众多的玩具中挑出他最喜欢的一个火 车玩具 Thomas Train,给我大讲特讲 Thomas 的故事——Thomas 是如何爬上大斜坡的, Thomas 是如何过生日的。Tony 还有其他许多他喜欢的玩具。可是只要家里来了客人,他 总会拿出他心爱的 Thomas Train,给我们讲 Thomas 的故事。也许有一天 Tony 长大了, 忘了自己曾经对长着一张大圆脸、一对大眼睛的 Thomas 的情有独钟,我却会永远记得 Tony 看着我, 兴奋而又认真地说:My favorite toy is Thomas Train. You know why? Because “ Thomas is so smart!” 您的“Thomas Train”又是什么呢?当您摊开纸笔,面对着自己过去经历过的挫折和 取得的成绩,难以取舍时,请先问问自己:哪些事情是最难忘的?哪些经历塑造了今天 的您?哪些快乐痛苦使您成长?哪些事情是您真正想要与招生委员会分享的?在这信息 膨胀的时代,make sure you write what matters, not what is there. 现在我们对比一下以下两篇自传的节选部分。第一篇写得面面俱到,却无法给人留 下深刻的印象。第二篇文章则重点突出,充分显示了申请人的优势。 成功留学文书写作必备 范例 1 原文(缺乏重点) I was born into a doctor’s family: my maternal grandfather and my mother are all traditional Chinese doctors. I was attracted to traditional Chinese medicine such as the mysterious acupuncture since I was a little kid. Through the influences of my father, an electrical engineer, I admired the marvelous modern technologies and fell in love with electrical device design. I have a sister. But she is not interested in science. At 13, I made a radio by myself. With this device, I got the first prize in the Design Contest of our school. Since Junior High school, I had started reading magazines on popular science. In high school, I always won the highest scores in science. I like to help people. When I was 8 years old, I saved a little boy from drowning in the nearby lake. At home, I always help my mom to do housework whenever I have time. I was the role model neighborhood kids. When I graduated from elementary school, I was the No.1 student. When I graduated from Junior high school, I ranked No.2. I have won a total of 45 awards before I went to college. 点评 在短短两段中,作者就罗列了大大小小的 10 件事: 1)我出生于在一个知识 ( 分子的家庭,妈妈和姥爷是中医,爸爸是电机工程师; 2)我有一个姐姐,她对 ( 科学不感兴趣; 3)我 13 岁时,因安装过一个收音机而获得过学校里的电路设计 ( 奖; 4)我在初中就开始读科普杂志; 5)上高中时,我总是获得理工科课程的 ( ( 最高分; 6)我乐于助人,8 岁时,救过一个溺水儿童; 7)我在家时常帮妈妈 ( ( 做家务事; 8)我是们住宅区的模范儿童; 9)我学习成绩特别好,小学总是 ( ( 得第一名,初中毕业时得了第二名; 10)上大学之前,我得过 45 个奖。 ( 这些事情看似精彩,却起不到积极的作用。作者要申请生物医学工程的学 位,可招生委员会读了两段后,还看不出申请人的经历和申请生物医学工程有 什么密切的关系。我们注意到,许多申请人喜欢讲述自己的家庭背景。这没有 什么错,可是如果申请人只是列出家里每个成员的职业,却只字不提家庭环境 在申请人个人成长的道路上的影响,那么仅仅列出家庭环境就没什么意义了。 毕竟,招生委员会感兴趣的是您,而不是您的家庭。 ·126· 第 1 部分 自 传 读完这两段后,我们并不觉得这个申请人有什么特别的优点。毫无疑问,这篇文章 最大的问题在于文章写得没有重点,东一榔头,西一棒子。申请人虽然很优秀,但零乱 的自传却给申请人帮了倒忙,降低了申请人被录取的机率。 下面是经我们修改过的文章。体会一下二者的不同。 范例 2 修改稿(重点突出) My interest in Biomedical Engineering was inspired by many amazing discussions between my parents at home. Mom, a doctor practicing Chinese medicine, believed that human proficiency is the most important factor when treating a patient. Dad, an electrical engineer, held the view that advanced technology is more critical. I remember many times when their debates heated and I would say, “come on, why can’t we have something that combines the strengths of both aspects?” I said it so often that I became a believer of integrating traditional medical practice into efficient engineering techniques. In fact, I was so eager to explore this field that I chose to major in Biomedical Engineering when I entered SSS University in 1994 after earning an excellent score in the National University Entrance Examination. Seven years have passed and I have since graduated from college with honors, earned a Master degree from China’s most prestigious biomedical engineering research center, Institute of Acoustics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and am now working as a research staff in Shenzhen Mindray Bio-Medical Electronics Co., Ltd. With a solid background in biomedical ultrasound, biomedical signal processing and speech signal processing and with an eagerness to learn more, I have decided to pursue a Ph.D. degree in your acclaimed program. During my undergraduate study in SSS, one of China’s top Science and Engineering universities, I devoted most of my time to my major course of study and enjoyed a great sense of fulfillment after the successful completion of each course and project. I was ranked No.2 in the 30-student class and maintained an overall GPA of 3.50 and concentration GPA of 3.8, despite the strict grading system and keen competition. I won the “Excellence Scholarship” for four consecutive years and was honored with the title “The Outstanding Student” and “The Excellent Student”. My first exposure to Ultrasound Signaling Processing started when I joined the Biomedical ·127· 成功留学文书写作必备 Ultrasound Instrumentation Laboratory during my senior year. I was fortunate to study under Professor AAA, the Chair of the HIFU ( High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound ) program. Studying the applicability of HIFU, we found that no abnormal change was detected in the inferior veins of swine which had been insonated in HIFU. This experiment confirmed the safety of HIFU, especially to large blood vessels. I extended this research to my undergraduate thesis: HIFU System Software Programming. In this research, I not only developed a Graphic User Interface using Delphi 5 but also created image processing algorithms and conducted simulation tests. In order to enhance the clinical tumor recognition capability, I applied different image processing algorithms, including histogram equalization, gray transformation, Edge Enhancement, and image segment to the HIFU B-Ultra. My painstaking efforts paid off and I received positive comments on my work from the doctors. 点评 我们在润色这篇文章的过程中,根据申请人提供的材料,摘选精华内容, 删去了原文中许多不必要的细节,重新组织和安排了文章的结构。修改过的文 章先是开门见山地点出自己是如何受家庭的影响喜欢上生物医学工程这一领域 的,然后简炼地概括了自己的教育背景,在介绍自己的教育背景时,先是简述 了自己一贯优秀的学习成绩, 紧接着就阐述了自己在 HIFU 这一研究方向受过的 训练、学问的深度以及在这一方面做出的成绩。毫无疑问,在读过这份自传后, 招生委员会的成员自然会对这位申请人从小就对生物医学感兴趣的经历,和对 HIFU 的深入研究背景留下深刻的印象。 10.2 自传的语气要做到恰到好处 做人要谦虚是中国人从小就开始学习的美德。我们遵守传统,尊敬前辈,对自己取 得的成绩总是低调化。但是,谦虚的尺度很难掌握,很多时候,我们的谦虚被理解成内 向和不善于表达、表现自己。于是,许多人、许多书上就教育我们在与西方文化打交道 时不要谦虚。 “因为,您若是谦虚,就会显得您不自信,不如竞争对手强。所以,您一定 要说自己是最好的” 。这一错误的指导把许多中国人推到了另外一个极端。在修改的文章 ·128· 第 1 部分 自 传 中,我们发现许多申请人为了表现自己的卓越和自信,在自传的每一个角落都刻意地表 现自己的与众不同。他们的语气自高自大、唯我独尊、咄咄逼人,让读者很反感、难以 接受。西方人也许比我们中国人更直接、更善于交流,但他们的文化也同样崇尚谦虚这 一美德。一篇口气太大、目中无人的自传是一份失败的个人表白,它能把您带出国门的 可能性接近于零。 比较一下两篇自传的节选,如果您是招生委员会的成员,更希望招收、培养哪位候 选人呢? 范例 1 原文(口气狂妄自大) Brought up in the nation of the “dragon”, I deem myself to be a genius. My talent in Math was expressed at an unbelievable early age and continuing to serve as a distinctive aspect of myself when I grew up. Everybody admires my unparallel reasoning skills. I could play Chinese chess and cards so well even before I went to primary school that in many people’s eyes’, I am a star. … 点评 连 Albert Einstein 都不敢说自己是天才, 这位申请人却在文章开篇就宣布自 己是天才。然后又说自己的逻辑能力无人可比,在许多人眼中是一颗明星。我 们读到这儿就觉得这位申请人太自以为是了。 申请人想要传达给招生委员会 “自 己是天才”的信息是没有错的,但是申请人必须选择恰当的措辞,让读者心悦 诚服。 范例 2 修改稿(口气积极、有说服力) One of the greatest writers in the 20th century, Thomas Wolfe, once said, “If a man has a talent and cannot use it, he has failed. If he has talent and uses only half of it, he has partly failed. If he has talent and learns somehow to use the whole of it, he has gloriously succeeded, and won a satisfaction and a triumph few men will ever know.” I heartedly agree with him and have ·129· 成功留学文书写作必备 been working diligently to make full use of my talent in Mathematics ever since I was in elementary school. As the youngest, and the top-ranked student in my high school class, I easily entered China’s most prestigious PPP University, after earning excellent scores in the highly competitive National University Entrance Exam. … 点评 我们加以润色的文章后首先引用 Thomas Wolfe 的名言指出, 有天份算不了 什么,只有当一个人学会充分利用自己的天份时才能算是真正的成功。随后, 文章又简明扼要地指出申请人正是因为认识到这个道理,所以从上小学起就 刻苦学习,使自己在高中班上成为年龄最小、成绩最好的学生。最终考取了著 名的大学,读到这儿,招生委会不仅会认可申请人的聪颖资质,还会赞叹申请 人小小年纪就如此成熟,懂得珍惜自己的拥有。 很多时候招生委员会的评委员不希望您的写作语气太严肃、太学究气,但也不期望 您的语气太随意。像下列这样的词我们认为是不合适的:有人把“Give me a Chance”直 接当做一个副标题来写,旨在希望招生委员会能格外考虑。但这样的说法太露骨、太直 接,不妥。还有,申请人在申请信中大段地引用对话,也不妥。除非引用对话显示出特 殊的必要,申请信通常用间接引语比用直接引语要自然。 10.3 自传切忌结构混乱、主次不分 招生委员会的成员平均只花 3 分钟阅读每一个申请人的自传。结构清晰、语句流畅 的自传,会让读者很快进入角色。如果您的文章写得零零碎碎,让人读了半天都丈二和 尚摸不着头脑,招生委员会的成员是没时间和您做猜谜游戏的。他们没有义务读完全篇 文章。如果读了文章的前半部分,他们还无法判断您在说什么,他们就会放下您的文章 去读别人的了。怎么才能避免这种情况的发生呢?您必须站在对方的角度衡量自己的文 章是否能迅速吸引招生委员会的注意力,讲述的事情是否和要申请的学校、专业有关。 先来对比、体会以下两例。 ·130· 第 1 部分 自 传 范例 1 原文(结构松散) I first came to HHH Institute in 2000 at the age of 17. Although the usual age for freshmen at HHH Instittue is 19, I was able to excel because of my academic drive and ability to effectively organize my priorities. I chose HHH Institute because of its strict academic standards. HHH is the only school in JJJ province that requires its students to pass four comprehensive final examinations in order to graduate. 点评 开篇太平常。如果是十岁就上大学,还可以提一下。但如果只是因为爱学 习、会安排时间,所以比其他同学小 2 岁上大学,就有些“自我陶醉”了。并 且在文章最重要的第一段花了一半篇幅讲 HHH 学院的入学标准, 大大地错过了 表现自己的好时机。 When I was a freshman I received a scholarship and finished the year ranked second in my class. Never content with just performing well on my exams, I joined several extracurricular organizations for reading, dancing, and so forth. Additionally, I served as vice monitor of the class as well as class representative. Literature is certainly my first love, and most of my reading tends to center around the success theories of Carnegie, Napoleon, Hill, and other books such as the psychology of Freud, Jung, the philosophy of Indian master Osho, China’s Buddhism, and so on. 点评 这一段像大杂烩,虽然大一拿奖学金、当副班长、当课代表、跳舞、博览 群书的经历很丰富,但却令人觉得作者广而不精。读者知道这个申请人对伟人 自传、心理学、哲学、宗教都很感兴趣,学习成绩也很优秀,却不知道申请人 到底是学什么专业的。 Campus life at HHH was colorful, and I made use of all the opportunities around me to enrich ·131· 成功留学文书写作必备 my education. When I was a sophomore, I decided to double major in Electrical Engineering and Business Administration. This special program required a raw GPA of 80/100, as well as passing marks on every final exam. cancellation of the second major. Failure to meet these requirements would result in the Although this program required me to double my course load, I believe the experience stretched my abilities and gave me a vision broader than that of my peers. Though this process was difficult, requiring many midnight study sessions in poorly lit and even more poorly heated student dormitories, I was able to maintain my position of second in the class. 点评 开篇时说校园生活多姿多彩,但好像和自己读双学位不相关。 Seeking a bigger stage to exercise my talent, I decided to choose a minor—computer science. This program required a GPA of at least 75/100, as well as passing marks on every final exam. My decision to study Computer Science made me the only student at the university to study 3 specialties at one time. Although the additional coursework required me to give up even more of my virtually nonexistent free time, I learned much about software and hardware, and the knowledge I gained proved very useful to me in my later research. My choice of so many specialties was no accident for me. 点评 申请人是学校惟一修三个学位的学生,很让人佩服。这比提十七岁入学的 “光辉”更有说服力和有吸引力。无疑,这句话应该挪到第一段。说学计算机 学到了软硬件的知识,听起来更像是门外汉在吹牛。 My childhood experiences have had a profound impact upon my character development. Born in a so remote and isolated countryside, I did not see my first train until I went on a trip with my family to a nearby large city. To receive a better education, I went to the city after my graduation from preliminary school, and I lived with my grandparents who were retired and often fell ill. This experience made me independent and confident。 ·132· 第 1 部分 自 传 点评 虽然申请人的童年经历很感人,但放在这里却很突兀。 I believe it was a combination of my character, intellect, and most of all diligence that led me to be offered a position as a member of a research group led by Professor DDD, a well-known scientist in EE field who was a faculty member at our university, as an exception. So instead of returning home, I stayed to start to do my research assignment during summer vacation. The project was on the use of CCD digital cameras in satellites. The research currently focuses on two aspects: (1) simulating and modulating the CCD digital camera, and (2) building data structure and programming adapted software to interpret the data. Through this research, I gained a lot of firsthand experience in practical application of the theories I learned in the classroom. After painstaking efforts of validating and testing various models, our group succeeded in setting up a working model. We are now working to find good algorithms to integrate with the data. 点评 这一段列出了自己的研究方向和心得,很好。 Because of my excellent performance, professor DDD recommended me to go abroad to continue my graduate study. As a result, I have taken the GRE and TOEFL exams. These exams were especially difficult to prepare for because my already existing academic pressures from two majors, a minor, and research project were so great. After six to seven hours of straight studying, I often found that I was unable to concentrate, and when I tried to sleep, I became victim to insomnia. In order to solve this problem I drank a lot of coffee and took power naps. In this way, I passed the most intensive period in my academic period, and got a GRE score of 2400. 点评 说自己失眠,靠喝咖啡熬夜准备考 GRE,虽然很真实,但却给以人过于强 求自己的印象。这些细节应该略去。 ·133· 成功留学文书写作必备 From my experience in university I have been tempered and molded into the man that I am today. It is my hope that my past experiences, combined with my continuing drive to excel, will push me to succeed in the future. 点评 结尾太匆忙。第一句说大学经历塑造了今天的我,但没有说明“今天的我” 是个什么样的人。第二句说希望自己过去的经历和积极性能带来未来的成功。 过于笼统、渺茫。 范例 2 修改稿(结构紧凑、吸引人) As HHH Institute’s first and, currently, only student studying toward three simultaneous degrees in Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, and Business Administration, I am often asked by my peers where I gathered all the energy to even think about doing this. My answer to them is that if they had lived their childhood in a remote isolated town like mine, a place with virtually no learning opportunities, and then one day through their efforts, they had the chance to study at one of China’s top Science and Engineering universities, it would be only natural that they would want to devote all they have to absorb the world of information available to them. 点评 文章开篇很有力,说自己是学校惟一的一个三学位获得者(电子工程系, 计算机系,工商管理) ,很让人佩服。又引出自己童年的艰苦和珍惜学习机会的 态度,就更加令人钦佩。这种组合不平常,自然会吸引读者的注意力。 Realizing no student from our small town’s high school had ever gone to college, my parents, with great expectations for me, sent me away to live with my grandparents in the city the year I finished elementary school. At age 11, I assumed the responsibility of becoming a top student in my class and taking good care of my often sick and aged grandparents. Those days were tough. I was so eager to please my parents and to fill the mixed determination and guilt they ·134· 第 1 部分 自 传 felt for letting me leave home to break a path for my future at such a young age that I not only worked diligently at school but also did all the labor at my grandparents’ house. 点评 衔接第一段,简述自己少年时远离父母一面刻苦学习,一面照顾年老多病 的祖父母的不平凡经历。 My hard work paid off. In 2000, at age 17, I was admitted as the youngest student in my class to the school of my dreams, HHH. Majoring in Electrical Engineering, I was ranked second in my class in my freshman year and won a Freshman Scholarship. Due to my excellent academic performance, when an opportunity to major in Business Administration, in addition to Electrical Engineering, came during my sophomore year, I did not hesitate to throw myself into this program. This special program requires an average GPA of 80/100 and a “pass” grade on every final exam. Failure to meet these requirements would result in automatic disqualification in the second major. Engaging in this program certainly doubled my workload. However, I deem it worthwhile since the experience stretched my potentials, improved my abilities on a broader scale, and provided me with a wider vision than that of my peers. Though this process was difficult, requiring many midnight study sessions in poorly lit and even more poorly heated student dormitories, I managed to maintain the No.2 standing in my class. 点评 这一段着重讲述自己在大学期间不仅能保持优异的成绩,而且抓住机会修 双学位,以事实进一步证明自己的品质和智慧。 My desire to take full advantage of HHH’s dynamic academic atmosphere and my positive experiences of succeeding in two majors boosted my confidence and drove me to take on further challenges. In my junior year, I enrolled myself in the Computer Science program as my minor. This program requires an average minimum GPA of 75/100 and “pass” on every final exam. Although the additional coursework required me to give up even more of my virtually nonexistent free time, I greatly enjoyed learning various aspects of Computer Science, including software programming and hardware design. My computer knowledge has benefited me greatly in my current research. ·135· 成功留学文书写作必备 点评 这一段讲述自己修了第三学位,使读者了解到申请人知识的广度。 My optimistic character, high intelligence, determined attitude, and, most of all, my persistent hard work won me a Research Assistant position in a research group led by Professor DDD, a well-known scientist in the Electrical Engineering field and a distinguished faculty member at our university. I was so intrigued by our research that instead of returning home that summer, I spent my entire break conducting research on the “Use of CCD Digital Cameras in Satellites.” Our research currently focuses on two aspects: (1)simulating and modulating the CCD digital camera, and (2)building data structures and programming adapted software to interpret the data. Through this research, I gained substantial firsthand experiences in applying the theories I have learned in classes to real life research. After painstaking efforts of testing and validating various models, our group succeeded in setting up a working model. We are now working to find good algorithms to integrate with the data. 点评 在这一段举例自己的三个学位如何帮助申请人进行科研工作的。这个实例 暗示招生委员会:申请人是一个多面手,善于多元化的研究任务。 Professor DDD was so deeply impressed by my excellent performance and maturity that he suggested I go abroad to pursue graduate study. To prepare for this, adding to my already full workload, I used my early mornings and late nights to study for the TOEFL and GRE and took them in my junior year. As a result, I successfully passed the most intensive period of my academic career to date and scored a high 2400 on the GRE. 点评 这一段中将教授建议出国留学作为出国的原因,暗示申请人在教授眼中的 份量以及这个决定的必然。 ·136· 第 1 部分 自 传 Every time my friends ask me how I can handle all my responsibilities, I tell them if a person enjoys what they are doing, the workload seems much lighter. As much as I am interested in my studies, I have not limited myself to only classes and researches. I served as the Vice Student Chairman of my class, as well as the Student Representative for several courses. I am an active member of HHH’s reading and dancing clubs. Reading is my hobby. I enjoy reading biographies of great people such as Einstein, Fayman, Bill Gates, Carnegie, Napoleon, and Hill. I am also very interested in Psychology and have read many books by Freud and Jung. Reading in my spare time not only helps me relax but also constantly lifts my spirits and gives me with more energy to go further. 点评 这一段把文章推到高潮。在此之前,招生委员会已经深深信服于申请人优 异的学习成绩。读完这段后,他们会了解到申请人并不是一个只会学习的书虫, 他积极参加课外活动,并对人文社科有浓厚的兴趣。到此,一个聪明、刻苦、 又负责、有抱负、知识渊博的有朝气的青年被生动地刻画出来了。 As I am graduating from college with three degrees, I am looking forward to going even further than what I have accomplished so far. Looking back on my difficult experiences at a young age and my determination to succeed at whatever tasks I set my eyes on in college, I am proud that I have become a goal-oriented man with integrity, diligence, and determination. I have become the person that my parents had hoped I would become. I have full confidence that I will succeed in your prominent program. I plan to devote all my energy to conduct research with your distinguished professors and to continue to excel. 点评 结尾回顾过去,展望未来。虽然只有一段,却点出了申请人通过自己的刻 苦学习,超越父母的期望,成为了一个有目标、诚实、勤奋的优秀人才。这一 段为文章塑造申请人形象画上了一个圆满的句号。 ·137· 成功留学文书写作必备 10.4 切忌生搬硬套 并不是每一个中文说法都能在英文里面找到直接对应的表达。很多时候您不得不绕 个弯来说得让人明白一点。 对于不太有把握的语句, 宁可不在文中提及, 也强于生硬的、 词不达意的、甚至意义相反的中文翻译,造成啼笑皆非的结果。如果非提不可的话,务 必要十分确定您的表达是可靠的。下面举几个常见的例子来说明: 1. had been awarded the title of Three Good Student (三好学生) I many times from high school through college. 我发誓这是我在修改文书时看到的。有哪个国外的招生委员会知道您说的三好学生 究竟有什么好?英文中比较接近的说法是: I have been awarded the title of Honor Student many times from high school through college. (注: 美国的优秀生父母会在汽车的后保险杠上贴一块大小不同的标记: “Parents of Hornor Student”,以示对优秀生子女的骄傲。所以这三好学生称号还是大大地值得提, 只是不能说 Three Good Student.) 2. have been in the roles of monitor 班长) minister of study (学习部长) minister I ( , and of propoganda (宣传部长)with the college student union. 字典中 monitor 确实有班长的意思, 但英文中人们通常说的 monitor 仅指显示器而已。 Minister 听起来是个牧师级或美国劳工部部长级的人物, 用来形容一个学生在学校里担任 的职务显然是荒谬的。Propoganda 毫无疑问是个大词,常指政府的、政党的、媒体的宣 传,如 CNN 上播放的美国政府对伊拉克战争的理由就是 propoganda。学校学生会的宣传 部可以理解为学校对外的窗口,至多是个 Outreach Branch,其负责人不用直接称呼为部 长,in charge of the outreach branch 就已经表达出宣传部长的意思了。请看改后的说法: In college I had been acting as the class president helping fellow students with their course work and aiding teachers in their interaction with students. I had also been in charge of the routin work in the Outreach Branch and Student Academic Branch of the college Student Union. ·138· 第 1 部分 自 传 10.5 另类的标题或格式 过分创造性的标题或格式让人看了不舒服。比如:有人在文章中提到修过哪些课程 时,干脆另起一段,一行行地列出课程名称和成绩来了。此举严重失策,招生委员会会 从您的成绩单中去评判您在学校中的表现的(academic performance) 。这样做成了画蛇添 足,非常别扭。而且将表现自己的宝贵篇幅也给浪费了。请看下面两个例子。 例 1:这位申请人用她父亲的非常笼统的话作为文章的开头,下一段娓娓聊起家乡, 读到后来,才发现她可能是说为什么她选择学习环境保护科学的缘由。这样引用句子, 但没有直接相关的论点予以支持,总让人读了觉得不太舒服。 My girl, my only wish on you is to be the one who can make a contribution to all human beings. ——My father I was born in a small town of Chongqing city. The city is the biggest municipality directly under the central government and also famous for the heavy industrial pollution. It lays to the Changjiang River-the mother River of China. My father navigates the river as a shipman. I had a great chance to approach the river, enjoy swimming, fishing and sailing on the river with my father. As I grew, I saw the increasingly serious pollution of the river. Some people, including my aunt, suffered a rare blood disease which is cause by the polluted water. As a child, I was first caught by the worry and inspired an unshakable commitment to protect the environment. 例 2:无独有偶,下面这位申请人也在文章开头先来几句莫名其妙的话语,不像座右 铭,也不像格言警句,紧接着,他写起怎样受到父母的影响,选择物理专业。这样的前 后文一点也不连贯,这样的开头格式很容易让招生委员会的人倒胃。 To do what want you want to do, although it may not ever be achievable. My goal is explore the arcane mysteries of the universe, though I won’t find them all. ·139· 成功留学文书写作必备 Why I choose physics It is said that there are only two factors, the environment and the inheritance, that can influence a person. I agree. Both my father and mother are quiet people, so I’m a quiet person also and fit for research at laboratory. In my childhood, parents bought many books about science for me, intent to bring me up as a scientist. Thereby I now love science. 引语不当 10.6 过分地引用他人的话也让招生委员会反感。他们读您的文章,是要看您的经历和观 点,以此来评判您的成熟度。他们不在乎某个名人怎么讲,或俗话怎么讲。如果经常用 一些类似于“Where there is a will, there is a way”这种老掉牙的引语,给人的印象将是您 缺乏自己的思想。 10.7 乱套中国国情 许多申请人不熟悉欧美院校招生委员会的录取标准,只是按照自己的价值观,写自 己认为对申请有帮助而实际无助的东西。如想说自己表现好的时候,说自己上课专心听 讲、认真记笔记等。这句话是很流行的,可以写入个人档案中,说明此人是个听话的、 懂纪律的好学生。但是至少对于上课时可以把脚搁到课桌上的美国人来讲,这一条并不 能用来说明您有多好。这样的写法会让招生委员们纳闷您写这话的目的。 又有人这样写: Studying industriously, I had an overall GPA of 3.29, the top 10 student “ of 87 students of my grade.”在招生委员们的眼里,3.29 的大学 GPA 成绩是一般的分数。 您居然还在 87 名中位居前 10 名,有撒谎的嫌疑。一般在美国大学中,百分之十的学生 GPA 都在 3.6、3.7 以上。因此,您大可不必在文书中强调这一点,就让招生委员会到成 绩单上去看就好了。我们都知道有些中国高校的教授,喜欢给学生们出很难的考卷,给 很低的分数,因此有可能 3.29 的 GPA 就能让您位居前茅。所以若真想突出您的成绩,也 该适当解释一下国情校情。最好还是写在那些您认为自信的课程领域里,您如何学得深、 ·140· 第 1 部分 自 传 学得扎实、学得有特色,也比报出有疑问的 GPA 要好些。不过下面这位申请人的寥寥几 语还是说的很有可信度: Despite the strict grading system and the tough competition in such “ a prestigious university as SJTU, I still achieved an overall GPA 3.50 and specialty-related GPA 3.8, which ranked me the second among a total of 30 students”. 10.8 选词造句不恰当 这样的例子比比皆是。很多申请者在运用没有把握的词藻及句子结构时很鲁莽,根 本不去推敲是否合理,结果就出现很多的语义、语法错误。这在前一章的语言文法修改 中已有详细描述。下面举几个小例子来说明: 有人把 Previous life and Education、Personal Qualities 等词语作为段落的标题。乍看 Previous life 很碍眼,相对 After life(来生) ,它的意思是“前世” 。而作者只想说明以前 的人生经历,所以用 Life & Educational Experience 来表达比较妥当。同样,Personal Qualities 也是一个中文式的表达,Personality 或 Character Strength 是比较恰当的表达。 还有,某申请人想说自己热心于义务劳动,收集白色垃圾时用了“white trash”这个 词。乍看没有什么错,但在美国, white trash”是个攻击性很强的词,专门用来形容穷 “ 或懒惰的白人。很难想象当招生委员会看到这位申请人去清理“white trash”时,心里会 有何想法。所以,只要说收 trash 就够了。 再看这个例子: Prologue Although it has been nearly 5 years since I graduated from the architecture school and became an architect, I still regard architecture not only as my career but as my biggest hobby. After these years studying and working, I feel strongly that my present knowledge and practice in China have not yet satisfied my hobby. I am eager to study architecture in America, the best architecture education and research center in the world, to realize my architecture dream. Epilogue I know meeting the requirements for a graduate education demands personal sacrifice of time, of unstructured leisure, of immediate rewards. But the achievement is well worth the cost in ·141· 成功留学文书写作必备 terms of intellectual satisfaction and gratification. And I believe the advanced courses, balanced program and distinguished faculty of your department will help me reach that achievement. With the conviction that I can sustain myself through the intense graduate study, I have made the decision to apply for Department of Architecture at ABC University and request your serious consideration. 个人陈述又不是写戏剧,用 Prologue(开场白)和 Epilogue(尾声)可能会让招生委 员会认为您在卖弄词藻,所以还是不用为好。 10.9 缺乏对国情的介绍 某些文书中个人观点的例证、事件叙述的全面性和相关性太弱,缺乏对国情特色内 容的相关介绍,导致评委们对申请人产生思想不成熟、个性不突出等不好印象。下面是 围绕这个问题所举的几个例子以及分析。 范例 1 这是申请人原文: One day as I returned home after my daily study in high school, my mother was excited to tell me that she had invested in the Chinese stock market. At that time, it was just an elementary stage for the market in China, but mother insisted on investing in it and the reality taught me a lesson that risk and return are proportionate. From then on, I have shown much interest in risk investment. After the highly competitive National Entrance Examination, I chose to enter XXX Institute major in Financial management with a goal to become a financial manager. 点评 这段文字是作为自传的开头来写的。以家庭炒股这件事对自己的影响,说 明自己日后为什么选择金融管理这个专业,这听起来是合理的。但是,一个发 达国家里的人们,包括招生委员都把炒股看成一件非常普通的事情,他们并不 ·142· 第 1 部分 自 传 了解在中国股市初期,炒股是老百姓家庭里一件了不起的大事,足以对孩子 产生深刻到可以将此作为将来职业的影响的话,那么这位招办人很可能认为申 请人是小题大作,故作噱头。虽然申请人已经提到: At that time, it was just an “ elementary stage for the china market” ,由于介绍不够全面,说服力不够,那么自 己受家庭影响而选择金融专业的这个说法在评委眼里也显得很牵强。经修改后 的文字纠正了这一点。 范例 1 经修改后: While I was attending high school in the mid-80s in China, an era with many occurrences of new things in our economy and market, I witnessed, through my mother’s early involvement, the emergence and growing of Chinese stock market after its decades of disappearance. The stock market was a brand new concept to people at that time who had been used to a planned economy for many years. My mother, a common woman with a keen sense of market, was regarded as one of those early brave birds in it. With its ups and downs, I went through those days with my mother, having consistent concerns towards it and learning about it both from experience and books. I came to realize that risk, in proportion to market return, is a very unpredictable element, especially in a premature market like in China. My gradually increasing interest in analyzing and controlling risks in the stock market led me to the major of financial management at XXX Institute after my graduation from high school. 范例 2 下面这位申请人要申请商学院的硕士。其中一家商校要求申请人针对每一个 Essay Question 写出独立的文章来。其中有一篇的文章要求写出在过去的商场经验中最有挑战 性的,最难忘怀的一件事情。举这个例子的目的是文章中详细的关于摇滚乐的国情介绍, 让大多数不太了解中国文化的招生委成员们通过这样的介绍,加深了对申请人的印象和 兴趣。 In my past 5 years of business experience, there have been many occasions that were so critical and impressive that I shall never forget. One of them happened in 1995 when I founded XXX Cultural Communications Inc. At that time, we cooperated with Chinese Record Company, the biggest domestic record company with the longest history, to produce a record consisting of creations of many newly emerging rock and roll musicians. At that time, the government ·143· 成功留学文书写作必备 treated rock and roll as a form of weird music imported from the west and related to such terrible elements as drugs, crime, etc. Undoubtedly the policy towards it was very rigorous. Also acting as a producer, I figured that people in China did have great interest in such a new culture form, and there are many excellent rock and roll musicians who needed a place to present themselves. However, advertising brought a lot of difficulties: performers had to cut their hair short before they were allowed to go on TV; there were restrictions in the movement of their bodies when singing; The most troublesome was that the government did not allow any public rock and roll show, for fear that it would tend to cause a disturbance and cast a bad influence on social stability. Under such circumstances, Michael Jackson, king of American rock and roll, was rejected from the market of more than one billion listeners. Faced with these difficulties, the performers and I carefully formed a systematic plan after many discussions. In almost a kind of diplomatic manner, we visited different ranks of government offices in charge, sincerely explained to them how our people looked at the art, and promised our responsibility for any uncontrolled situation in a non-profit show. Our great enthusiasm and hard work finally earned us a permit to hold such a show, though the officials were very hesitant and suspicious. They had me sign in the name of my company to take full responsibility for any possible forms of disturbance that may arise. To make full use of this valuable opportunity, we cautiously chose the campus of PPP University as the site, a sensitive place being the focus of new social, cultural and political ideas. I promised to donate the total record profit from that day to the university library, and signed another responsibility paper before I got the final permission from the university. Due to its non-profit nature, I also acted as the stage monitor and hostess to the show, leading the performers and staff of more than 50 persons through the whole process. Our work won us much support from the society: A currently very popular music band promised to end the show without charging me; We borrowed three truck loads of musical equipment from a company free of charge. On the day of the show, an audience of more than 10 thousand people crowded the auditorium of such a prestigious university. Seats for reporters increased from 30 to 50. Invited government officials and school leaders arrived on time. Everything seemed going on smoothly and the show proceeded in an active but controlled atmosphere until when the ·144· 第 1 部分 自 传 striking music for the ending part of the show was played. The crowd began to scream, jump and wave their clothes. Actions ver close to the predifined disturbances worried about by the government offices and school leaders. As officials cast nervous glances at me, the crowd rushed to the stage. My heart began to sink but my mind began to work very quickly. Just as the band finished the first song, I gracefully got onto the stage, fetched the microphone and improvised an on-site interview with the singer. This sudden act calmed the crowd down and the humorous dialogue between us began to cause laughter among them. Then I promptly turned to them, changed my topic, and with passion said the following words: “My dear friends, do you realize that these artists once wandered in poverty and worked painstakingly? They experienced all kinds of hardships, just for the hope of such a day when they can stand on the stage and sing for you. It is you that make their dreams come true.” There was a moment’s silence, followed by understanding applause. The remainder of the show smoothly came to an end, and I led all the performers and staff to bow to the audience and thank them for their support. The show was a great success, and I wiped the sweat off my brow with relief and pride in the leadership I showed in the whole process, when I was just 25 years of age. 点评 这是一篇仔细斟酌过的思路正确的文章。优点在于: 1.文章一开头就详细介绍了中国政府当时对摇滚音乐的控制性态度及政 策。言下之意非常有力地说明了作者所进行的摇滚乐唱片制作销售是在夹缝中 开拓以扩大市场,极具挑战性。毋庸讳言,这称得上是件意义不一般的能给人 留下深刻印象的事情。 2.作者用了许多具体事例说明他的观点。如:用精心地选择场地来说明他 是怎样善加利用这个来之不易的机会;用得到的四面支持(音像设备,赞助演 出等)来说明宣传摇滚音乐是众人支持的有市场的事;用签保证书,捐献当天 唱片收入,关键时刻扭转舞台气氛等具体例子来说明作为一个商学院候选申请 人所具备多方面的个人素质。 3.本篇的语言尽可能避免了对自己的直接恭维,用了较积极的动词及生动 的句子结构,是上面论点的正面例子。 ·145· 成功留学文书写作必备 10.10 牵强附会 本文作者想申请金属专业。但是电影“铁达尼号”和人类自救同金属专业的选择之 间有什么联系呢?这段文字的观点非常牵强。 “I will be a great engineer,”I cried when I first saw the movie THE TITANIC. The fear and helplessness on the sea without mercy impressed me. Only human beings can save themselves. Following my wish, I selected Corrosion and Protection of Metals as my major in the mechanical department. When at school, I did well in the courses of my favorite major and they are helpful to my graduation thesis. My thesis on diploma involved all the knowledge I have learned. Through a half year’s research and study, I finished it with good marks. Though I learned much from the completion of the thesis, it occurred to me that my knowledge about the major was scare. 10.11 文书过短或过长 文书过短显得单薄,过长又显得累赘。过短的写不长,过长的又舍不得改短。一般 来讲,研究生院的申请信长度在 800~1200 字左右。如果申请要求中已写明字数限制,那 么最好不要写得太多。 10.12 用词夸张 大词的过多使用也使您的文章看起来很累赘。不少申请人在考完 GRE 或 GMAT 后 写申请信,脑子中还留了不少词汇,很高兴能在考完试后还有个使用的地方,或许想让 评委们留个词汇丰富的好印象。但由于不是在大量的阅读中掌握的词汇,而是在单词册 ·146· 第 1 部分 自 传 上背下来的,多数人对于这些词的运用没有把握。所以我们建议尽量少用这类词。如: I have confidence in ingratiating this challenge. 不如说: I have confidence in meeting this challenge. My behavior often annoyed him because I dismantled every part of the toys to see how things worked. 不如说: My behavior often annoyed him because I took the toys apart to see how things worked. 10.13 校对不够完善 对个人陈述的最后校对(proofreading)工作不够完善。拼写错误、标点错误和词的 误用等,会让本来好好的文章看起来很糟糕。还有,写好的文章,不能完全相信 Word 的 拼写纠错功能。经电脑纠错以后,还要经过自己或请别人复查,确保校对正确。 10.14 申请目的不明确 对于为什么申请该校的目的写得不够具体,又无说服力。原因是许多申请人只有一 个版本的自传,无法就每个申请的学校的不同特点进行描述。我们建议:为了提高被录 取率和获得奖学金的成功率,那么辛苦的考试都过了,钱也没少花,因此,要多花点时 间探究所选择的学校的特点,要针对不同的申请学校,分别写出为什么申请该校的不同 的版本。 ·147· 成功留学文书写作必备 10.15 抄袭 抄袭了范文中的句子,因为不是根据自己自而然的构思写下来的,招生委员会在 一口气念下来的时候,很可能会感觉出不相关或衔接不上的内容,造成对文章的损害。 要是他断定您有抄袭嫌疑,那么整个申请也就不太妙了。所以务必自己斟酌,写出自己 的风格。 上述就是我们遇到的意识到的一些问题,整理、总结出来,谨供大家参考。 ·148· ...
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This note was uploaded on 08/15/2010 for the course ENGLISH W340 taught by Professor Prof.simonfeng during the Spring '10 term at Arizona Western College.

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