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 is a forum for contemporary philosophers and other thinkers on issues both timely and timeless.

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The second principle is that the same rules for citation are relevant as applied in your college papers—i.e., you must cite sources in the following circumstances:

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This search is an obsession that is futile at best and destructive at worst. The lingering question for Melville, on the brink of poverty as he wrote “The Confidence Man,” is: what happens to charity? When the values of Judeo-Christian morality have been given a monetary and psychological incarnation — as in credit, debt, trust, faith and fidelity — can they exist as values? Is the prosperous self the only God in which we believe in a radically inauthentic world?

Students who are new to America or lack college-educated parents often don’t know their options.

The booming self-help industry, not to mention the cash cow of New Age spirituality, has one message: be authentic! Charming as American optimism may be, its 21st-century incarnation as the search for authenticity deserves pause. The power of this new version of the American dream can be felt through the stridency of its imperatives: Live fully! Realize yourself! Be connected! Achieve well-being!

It wasn’t my heart that he broke.


Santa Barbara (TV Series 1984–1993) - IMDb

If you’re not convinced that plagiarism is practiced by students applying to graduate school, just visit one of the many websites where papers and personal statements are sold to students, such as . At , one of the oldest websites devoted to this mission, a search for the keywords “personal statement” turns up hits including personal essays written for students seeking graduate study in nursing, philosophy, education, and criminal justice. For about $30-40 a pop, foolish (and apparently wealthy) students can purchase one of these personal statements and potentially plagiarize from it, fundamentally cheating both themselves and their readers. Success in such a venture is, of course, perhaps unlikely and certainly unethical, and the idea that material from someone else’s personal essay can simply be transplanted into your own reflects badly on the quality of the original and even more badly on your own self-image.

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In such circumstances, always cite your source, following the maxim that it is better to be safe than sorry. Further standards and mechanics to follow when citing sources in personal essays are detailed in the section of Chapter 2 of this handbook. For much more extensive advice on source use, you can refer to .

With A Martinez, Marcy Walker, Nancy Lee Grahn, Jed Allan

In regards to citation practices within personal essays, the first principle you must understand is that citation within a personal essay is indeed a common practice. You need not worry that it will look odd to cite sources within your essay, especially when you apply for, say, a Goldwater Scholarship or a National Science Foundation Fellowship. In these instances, parts of the application are akin to a scientific literature review, so failure to cite your sources professionally could actually be a kiss of death.

The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism - Wikipedia

To state the obvious, then, tell the truth about yourself. A good rule of thumb is to assume that anything you write in a personal essay or on an application resume could come back to haunt you in a follow-up interview. Be prepared to back up any claim you make with verbal evidence, even beyond that provided in your essay, and don’t put yourself in a position of having to retract something just because you hoped to make it look more impressive than it actually was.