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Personal Ethical Dilemma essay for graduate school

medicat 1 / -  
Feb 4, 2021   #1
Hello everyone. I am a student from India looking to apply for graduate studies in the US, and as part of the application, I have to write an essay on an ethical dilemma I have faced. I really have to nail this if I want to get into my dream school. I would greatly appreciate your thoughts and criticism.

Essay prompt:

Describe an ethical dilemma that you have personally encountered.

What alternatives did you consider, and why? DO NOT tell us what you decided to do.

Sometimes in life, we are forced into a predicament. A situation where every option seems unfavorable in some way and doing nothing, hoping it will resolve itself is not an option. This was the position I was forced into when I found out that my longtime friend Saloni had been lying to her parents about her modeling pursuits.

I have known Saloni and her parents since we both became friends in middle school. Her parents, Ranjith and Alisha, were like the many middle-class parents from India who adhere to traditional Indian values, love their children, and want the best for them. But if they got wind of their daughter's pursuits, she would have immediately been forced to end everything. She would have had no other choice than to comply as she was still in college at the time, living at their expense. According to the parenting standards of the developed world, such a reaction might seem a bit intrusive and overprotective. But in India, this is the general attitude among parents. Their attitude might be justifiable to a certain extent because the modeling world in this part of the world is not exactly a safe and healthy environment for an impressionable adolescent.

Saloni had been dreaming of becoming a model since an early age. She had pictures of her idols hanging all over her room and never missed a fashion event. Fashion and modeling were all she ever did outside of school. Her parents knew how much it meant to her but always assumed her interest would eventually wane away. One day when we were hanging out in Saloni's room, I accidentally stumbled upon a few pictures of her from a photo-shoot. She then opened up about how she had been doing modeling work for quite a while without her parents knowing. She made me promise to keep it a secret and was going to tell her parents only if she knew for sure that she had a good shot at succeeding in this field.

At the time I felt it was her call to make. But as time passed I began questioning my stance, especially considering the relationship I had with uncle Ranjith. He had been a mentor to me, guiding me with important life choices and taught me how to play soccer which became an integral part of my school and college life. So that to hide such a monumental truth from him, to betray his trust, was crushing for my conscience. Moreover, I was genuinely concerned about my friend's safety and well being. If something unfortunate were to happen to her, then I would be the person everyone blames for abetting her secret pursuits.

On the other hand, it was a lifelong friendship at stake. If I informed on her to her parents, then it would mean the end of her modeling pursuits and turmoil in her personal life. I would be breaking the trust and confidence she showed in me. I could also mean creating tension between our mutual friends and risking my own reputation for desertion of my commitment to my friend. But, I had no other choice than to side with one and leave the other in the dark.

Holt  Educational Consultant - / 10,301 3341  
Feb 4, 2021   #2
First up, never use the real names of people you know in the essay to protect their privacy. Yes, there are privacy concerns when writing essays as it relates to other people. Which is why you have to avoid mentioning their names in your paper. You can use generic terms like my friend, her parents, etc. to protect their privacy.

Second, I got to know more about your friend and her modelling career in this essay more than I learned about you. I also got to know her parents quite well and the culture and traditions, plus social norms of India, which took up more space than the actual dilemma discussion. That should not be the case. I have to know more about you first, and the dilemma second, with Saloni and her family taking third place in this presentation. This is more a friendship dilemma than an ethical dilemma based on your presentation. So I do not believe this works better for your essay response. It is a mistake to use this topic.

Rather, consider something truly ethical in reference. Something along the lines of a choice between academic honesty and dishonesty, personal honor, an oath you took that you are being forced to break, or anything similar. You can find other ethical dilemma references online if you need further assistance regarding topic choices. I would not use this essay at all. The focus is not on you but on your friend, that is the main problem with the presentation.

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