先蹲下,后起跳——浅谈留学文书中欲扬先抑的写作方法 投稿:钱铌铍

每年中国都会有大批学生出国留学,其中高中升本科,本科升硕、博的居多。在申请海外高校时,申请者往往会遇到向申请学校提交留学文书这一环节。留学文书是出国留学申请准备材料中重要的组成部分,其主要作用是申请人向所申请的学校介绍或者说“推销”自己。在文书中,申…

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  每年中国都会有大批学生出国留学,其中高中升本科,本科升硕、博的居多。在申请海外高校时,申请者往往会遇到向申请学校提交留学文书这一环节。留学文书是出国留学申请准备材料中重要的组成部分,其主要作用是申请人向所申请的学校介绍或者说“推销”自己。在文书中,申请人既要展现自己的综合实力(如学习成绩、社会实践、公益活动、荣誉奖项、兴趣爱好),还要表现出自己鲜明、独特的个人形象;既要展现自己的思维逻辑(对某问题的看法),又要直观地反映出自己的英语功底。这就要求申请者对丰富庞杂的素材进行取舍、串联和加工,并用流畅、地道的英语将其组织成文。于是,如何写出一篇漂亮的留学文书就成了一门大有学问的技术活。从本期开始,笔者将陆续给读者介绍一些留学文书的写作方法。本期先为大家介绍的是文书写作中欲扬先抑的写作方法。

  文书类型简介
  留学文书主要由个人陈述(Personal Statement/PS)、推荐信(Recommendation Letter)、个人简历(Resume)和短文(Essay)组成。
  个人陈述
  申请去国外大学留学的学生要按照自己所申请学校的要求,写一篇有关个人背景、学术成就、未来研究和职业目标的文章。一篇好的个人陈述不仅要主题鲜明、内容真实、语言流畅、逻辑严谨、层次分明,还要充分显示出申请人的才华,要让招生人员一看便被吸引了。在英文中,个人陈述还被称为Statement of Purpose/SOP、Statement of Intent、Statement of Objectives、Academic Statement等,一般简称PS或SOP。PS侧重点在personal上,目的是让招生人员充分了解申请人的个人经历、品行和素质。申请人要力求在个人陈述中最大限度地展现自己,陈述内容可以包括个人成长环境、受教育情况、社会实践经历、兴趣爱好,也可以包括个人如何面对挑战、克服困难或对社会现象的思考等。个人陈述没有固定格式,但申请者千万不能将其视为个人的表扬状或决心书。SOP侧重点在purpose上,也就是申请人要表明自己留学的目的,内容主要包括申请者在自己的专业领域内的研究经验和所提出的想法。
  推荐信
  在出国留学申请过程中,海外院校通常会要求申请者提供2~4封推荐信。推荐信是申请文书中非常重要的组成部分。推荐信是从第三者的角度对申请人的学习成绩、能力、潜质和性格特点等进行评价,较为客观,所以推荐信的分量直接关系到申请者能否被录取、能否获得奖学金等。
  个人简历
  申请者提供个人简历的目的是让所申请院校全方位、清晰地了解自己的情况。申请者应力求在真实、全面、简明的基础上准确写明自己的受教育程度、实践和从事专业工作的经历、曾发表过的文章或论文等。申请者没有必要提供性别、婚姻状况、相貌等信息,这些都会被视为干扰中立判断的因素。
  短文
  很多美国高校都会要求申请者写一篇短文。短文要围绕申请人自己的特点来写,内容包括对过去的成就、经历、技能、思想等进行总结,并对未来进行规划。在写作过程中,申请者千万不要照搬照抄别人的范文,要写出具有鲜明个人特色的文章。
  接下来,我们就结合实例和文书范文具体谈谈文书写作中欲扬先抑的写作方法。
  欲扬先抑在文书写作中的应用
  如果最出色的跳远运动员两腿直直地起跳,恐怕跳出的距离也不会超过一米。想要跳得远,必须先蹲下。蹲下这一动作是为跳得更远积蓄力量,先蹲后跳正如写作中的欲扬先抑。欲扬先抑是一种常见的写作手法,指先从负面角度切入,尽量贬低文章所谈的对象或话题,之后笔锋一转,从正面、积极的角度谈起,与前文的“抑”形成鲜明对比,突出真正的主旨。这种写作手法可用于人物描写、景物描写、事件描写等。例如在杨朔的散文《荔枝蜜》中,其开篇写“蜜蜂是画家的爱物,我却总不大喜欢”,还交代了小时候自己被蜜蜂蜇过,留下心理阴影,但之后作者的态度开始慢慢转变,到最后发出了“多可爱的小生灵啊”的感叹,全文可谓是欲扬先抑的典范。
  在留学文书写作中,这一写作手法可用于人物描写。一般而言,就是先写主人公的缺点,继而笔锋一转,开始突出其优点。或者,先对某事表达厌恶之情,继而转为对其的由衷喜爱,这也是欲扬先抑的一种表现手法。需要注意的是,“抑”是配角,“扬”是主角,切不可主次颠倒。“抑”得过度,掩盖了“扬”的部分,就会适得其反。下面我们通过实例来看一篇个人陈述是如何运用欲扬先抑这一写作技巧的。
  个人陈述案例
  Z同学本科就读于中国某大学计算机系,同时修了金融专业的双学位,要跨专业申请密歇根大学经济学硕士。他的父亲是国内一本经济学学术杂志的主编,也是国内知名的经济学家。在父亲的帮助下,Z同学参加了不少含金量较高的学术研究和实习活动。家庭背景的影响和之前的实践经历对Z同学申请美国大学非常有帮助,但是如果Z同学根据这些情况平铺直叙地完成个人陈述,写出来的文章一是较呆板,可读性差,二是会让父亲的名望喧宾夺主,反而不利于表现Z同学的个人才华。我们在与Z同学沟通交流过程中,了解到在高考选择专业时,他的父亲曾让他学习经济专业,但是他选择了自己比较喜欢的计算机专业,两人各执己见,谁也不退让,甚至有段时间两人都不理对方。知道这一情况后,我们便建议Z同学的个人陈述以父子矛盾为主线。这样一来,欲扬先抑的手法就派上用场了。
  个人陈述范文
  With great trepidation, I pushed open the heavy mahogany (红木) door to the office of the general manager of Chinatrust Commercial Bank, XX Branch. My mission was to raise 10,000 yuan (an equivalent to US$ 1700) as part of the fundraising campaign to support “Challenge Cup,” the national academic science and technology “Olympics.” I had met economists, bankers and corporate executives before—thanks to my father, who was and still is the president of the Economic Research Journal, a leading scholarly publication in China but I had never asked any of these people for money before. There I was, an 18-year old freshman, trying to talk the man into writing a six figure check. I seriously doubted I could do it, and I was prepared to take my leave (告别) empty-handed. I did not know whether it was because the general manager took a genuine interest in what I had to say or because he was himself a XX University alumnus (校友); I did not know whether it was pure luck; I simply could not believe my ears when he agreed to pledge (许诺) the money on behalf of his branch. I was so excited, I almost jumped up and down. I said to myself, “I love these banks.”   I did not always love banks. Not that I hated them, but I did not think I was going to have anything to do with the banking industry or the financial world in general, more than having a father who was an expert in economics. In fact, I refused to take my father’s suggestion about majoring in economics at college and signed up for software engineering instead. I remember I stopped talking to my father for almost a year just because he thought I was going to waste my precious time in college playing all sorts of computer games, like I did as a child, and now all in the name of a computer science degree.
  To prove my father wrong, I did quite well living an independent life away from home. I was one of the top students in academic performance, especially in math, C Language and C++classes. I was also a leader of the soccer team, having led my team to win the second place in a campus-wide tournament. As time went on, I started to feel a bit guilty for having ignored my father. I actually missed him. So I started calling him more often. I shared with him what was going on at school and he talked about his speech engagements on the use of reference and double blind1) reviewing system and his project creating one of the most sophisticated economic databases in China. I found, to my surprise, that I was rather drawn to my father’s take on the global economic situation, the subprime crisis (次贷危机), the fall of Lehman Brothers and China’s position on the currency debate. My father, while careful not to put too much pressure on me, indicated to me that there were projects and internship (实习岗位) opportunities available to me within his organization and elsewhere where I could put my programming, statistical and quantitative skills to use. I told him I was not only interested, I was very interested. I also told him that I was going to go for a double undergraduate program by adding finance—much to his delight.
  The double major program meant that I had more study to do and longer hours in the library. What helped me tremendously was the fact that, in economics, many theoretical frameworks and research methods are based on mathematical models and quantitative analyses: something I was good at. To date, I have maintained an average 3.5 GPA in both software engineering and economics. I scored a high grade of 96 in econometrics, a class that enabled me to learn and apply forecasting and simulation tools such as Matlab2) and Eviews3).
  I should count myself fortunate because I have already had substantial firsthand appreciation of the world of work and have participated in and contributed to some rather high-profile projects outside my classroom education. One such project, in early 2009, involved helping Economic Research Journal to design a “working paper” database and to dramatically improve the journal’s online research experience by creating or inserting visual elements such as graphs, tables and charts. I followed the leading experts in software engineering every step of the way: we carefully studied American NBER4) and SSRN5) databases from design and retrieval (检索) system perspectives; we compared notes on various proposals and solutions. And after 6 months’ hard work and repeated tests, the database went live and the website itself received many favorable comments on the visual improvements.   I also had the opportunity to work for Dr. XXX, a young and capable scholar of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, as his research assistant. I joined him in the summer of 2009 in his multiple field trips to China’s Zhejiang Province where we interviewed three small non-governmental, or some say, regional banks. Specifically, we studied the operational models of these banks, their dynamic relationship with the local government, their customers and creditors and the tremendous risk management challenges they faced. I not only took notes and collected data in the process but also sifted (细查) through and analyzed the numbers and wrote the summary. I was the proud co-author of Dr.XXX’s published paper on the structures and governance of micro financial institutions and their contribution to the agricultural and township manufacturing sectors, which appeared in Chinese Review of Financial Studies, June 10, 20XX edition (ISSN1674—XXXX).
  When I told my father recently that I had made up my mind to pursue a master’s degree in applied economics and management at the University of Michigan, he was thrilled. But honestly, I made the decision not so much out of the desire to please my father as out of the realization that computer skills are a good stepping stone to build my future career in economics, especially in agricultural economics, a field with critical importance to my country as it transforms from an agrarian society to an industrial powerhouse.
  1. double blind:双盲,研究对象和研究者都不了解试验分组情况,而是由研究设计者来安排和控制全部试验。
  2. MatLab:一种用于数学计算的程序,在线性代数的计算中应用尤为广泛。
  3. Eviews:Econometrics Views的缩写,通常称为计量经济学软件包。
  4. NBER:国家经济研究局,全称是National Bureau of Economic Research,是美国较权威的经济研究机构。
  5. SSRN:社会科学研究网,全称是Social Science Research Network,致力于快速地在世界范围内传播社会科学的研究成果。
  例文点评
  文章开篇讲述了Z同学独自成功说服银行经理为大学筹款的小故事。第二段自然承接,写出了自己对银行(即金融领域)的看法——I did not always love banks,这便是典型的“抑”。第三段是从“抑”转“扬”的关键段,Z同学上大学后对父亲的愧疚感日益加深,所以便主动跟父亲联系。之后,金融危机爆发,Z同学开始反思,并逐渐对经济学产生了兴趣。自此,文章从“抑”转“扬”,Z同学从一个对经济学没有兴趣的门外汉慢慢转变为经济学方面的探索者,并且步步加深,直到热爱经济学并将其作为毕生的职业目标来追求。
  这篇个人陈述读起来生动有趣,转折自然,可读性强,信息量非常大。文章中除了运用欲扬先抑的写作手法外,在描写Z同学不爱好经济学的同时,还将他成绩优秀、参加课外活动等信息“偷偷”传递给读者。这种巧妙的描述方式不仅没有使Z同学的优秀程度有丝毫减少,反而更突出了他有主见、有追求等优点。父亲的影响和帮助虽然被淡化成背景信息,但是招生工作人员依然会因为Z同学独特的家庭环境而对他的申请材料刮目相看。文章引导招生人员关注的是Z同学自己的亮点,这样比大肆宣扬父亲对自己的影响造成喧宾夺主的效果要好得多。

每年中国都会有大批学生出国留学,其中高中升本科,本科升硕、博的居多。在申请海外高校时,申请者往往会遇到向申请学校提交留学文书这一环节。留学文书是出国留学申请准备材料中重要的组成部分,其主要作用是申请人向所申请的学校介绍或者说“推销”自己。在文书中,申…

每年中国都会有大批学生出国留学,其中高中升本科,本科升硕、博的居多。在申请海外高校时,申请者往往会遇到向申请学校提交留学文书这一环节。留学文书是出国留学申请准备材料中重要的组成部分,其主要作用是申请人向所申请的学校介绍或者说“推销”自己。在文书中,申…

每年中国都会有大批学生出国留学,其中高中升本科,本科升硕、博的居多。在申请海外高校时,申请者往往会遇到向申请学校提交留学文书这一环节。留学文书是出国留学申请准备材料中重要的组成部分,其主要作用是申请人向所申请的学校介绍或者说“推销”自己。在文书中,申…

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