温度独家 | 谷老师文书写作技巧之以小见大、逻辑关联、承上启下和首尾呼应(一)

一篇留学文书应该具备哪些要素才能吸引招生官的眼球呢?我们可以从不同的角度和方面去思考这个问题。



首先我们可以问文书作者:你是否遵循了 “CIC”原则 ,即:Clear 清晰、Interesting 有趣、Correct准确?

  1. 所谓清晰就是捋顺你的思路,使你的读者能够轻松地跟着你的思路走。

  2. 所谓有趣就是言简意赅、生动活泼,而不是死气沉沉、烦琐冗长。

  3. 所谓准确,就是精准的用词、文法和写作规范。


其次我们也可以透过比较权威的网站,如commonapp.org 、 collegeboard.org或USNEWS.com去了解一下招生官,听听他们的偏好是什么。美国新闻周刊U.S. News在采访了缅因州的文理学院Bowdoin College 副校长兼招生办主任Whitney Soule后写道:

Soule says, “Students don't have to write about a major turning point in their essay… They can instead reflect on something from their day-to-day life that they find meaningful…”


For example, Soule says she remembers a strong essay in which a student wrote about being a sibling. The student talked about what his relationship with his younger brother was like at different points throughout his life.

There wasn't any big, dramatic moment that the story hinged on, Soule says. The essay just reflected on how the student and his brother had grown up and evolved in relation to one another.


"That was really personal," Soule says, "and it also demonstrated a person who could see himself in relationship to other people, which is a hugely important quality, particularly when we're building a community of people who are going to be living together and learning together."



总结上面的报道:

Soule 认为学生不一定非要把人生中最伟大、最戏剧化的事件或转折点作为题材来完成他们的写作。在他们周围每时每刻所发生的某些琐事也可以拿出来写,而且可以变得很有意义。


她举了一个令她印象深刻的例子,这是一个有关兄弟俩在成长过程中如何相处的故事。这个话题虽然不怎么起眼,但是,学生采用了一个所谓“小题大作法” 亦称“以小见大法”,让招生官能够走进他的私人生活空间去了解这个人的品德,并以此判断他进入大学后在与人相处方面一定是游刃有余的。

既然以小见大是招生官较为欣赏和推崇的一种方法,那么就让我们来讨论一下这个话题。所谓以小见大法,即在文章作品中,通过小题材、小事件和小细节来揭示大主题,来反映深刻内容的写作方法。以小见大法的特点就在于抓住一事一物、一情一景,从大处着眼,小处落笔,深入发掘,展开联想,为读者创造一个比现实生活更为广阔、更为深远的境界。


以小见大法常用的方法有以下两种:

一是从日常生活中选择一个具有典型意义的小事物以揭示重大主题,二是借用具有典型意义的生活细节来刻画典型形象。


运用以小见大法时,要注意两个问题:

一是所选的小事物、小片段、小镜头和生活细节,必须是最典型、最能突出主题的;二是要挖掘出小中的大,认真思索其中所蕴含的深刻意义。


美国高中生Carolina Williams就为我们带来了一个很好的例子。她在一篇小文书中介绍她如何喜欢Papa John’s比萨饼,从小就学会了用电话向这家快餐店预定外卖来解决自己的就餐问题。据说她投递的所有大学(包括耶鲁大学)的招生官都被她的这篇文章打动了。甚至有个招生官回信给她,说看了这篇文书后有了希望跟她成为好朋友的冲动。 


她的文书是如何体现以小见大的呢?我们在此截取其中的一部分:

文书题目是:Write about what you love to do

… as one thing I love to do is order pizza and have it delivered to my house. When the delivery person rings my doorbell, I instantly morph into one of Pavlov’s dogs, salivating to the sound that signals the arrival of the cheesy, circular glory. It smells like celebration, as I love to rejoice a happy occasion by calling Papa John’s for my favorite food. It tastes like comfort, since having pizza delivered to my quiet home is a way for me to unwind. It looks like self-sufficiency, because when I was young, ordering pizza made me feel grown-up, and it still provides that satisfaction for my child at heart. Accepting those warm cardboard boxes is second nature to me, but I will always love ordering pizza because of the way eight slices of something so ordinary are able to evoke feelings of independence, consolation, and joy.

评注:Williams写作能力相当出众,加上英语又是她的母语,所以相比我们许多中国学生或移民到英美各国的华裔学生,她是有优势的。她能把自己在听到外卖服务生按响门铃声后的条件反射巧妙地比作流着口水的“巴甫洛夫的狗”,把比萨饼的到来描写成是 arrival of the cheesy, circular glory,这样的手法可能是非母语学生无法