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WRITING A STATEMENT OF PURPOSE and COLLEGE APPLICATION ESSAY: GENERAL ADVICE
  1. Remember that the essay is your opportunity to demonstrate how you think, feel, and write; how mature you are; and how focused you are.
  2. Do a lot of self-assessment before trying to answer the questions. Think hard about your goals and interests.
  3. Reveal your distinct personality. Your essay should distinguish you from others.
  4. Be honest and true to yourself. Don't try to determine what the school wants, but rather be yourself -- that's very, very important.
  5. Keep your essay concise and to the point (but complete). Don't throw into the essay everything you think the admissions committee might want to hear.
  6. Answer the question being asked, not the one you would like to answer.
  7. Pay attention to details, but don't agonize. Over-edited essays tend to sound dull.
  8. Don't inflate your experiences. Don't think that big, marquee-name experiences are going to have more value than those that may not be quite as fancy.
  9. The essay should place all other parts of the application into context.
  10. Remember that self-glorifying essays are never effective.
  11. Avoid making excuses. The essay is not the place to explain why your test scores are low.
  12. Make your answers specific. For example, don't just say, "I like the University of Chicago because it has great faculty, great students and is located in a big city." MIT, Columbia, and UCLA also fit this description.
  13. Have somebody else proofread your essay.
  14. Remember that formal, inflated essays are truly boring and forgettable. Make your essay personal; inject some humor in it.
  15. Your essay should be easy to read. Hand-written essays are often not acceptable. Leave enough space between lines and for margins.
  16. Don't complain. Your tone should be positive and upbeat.
  17. Don't lie because they will see it immediately. They will pick up on that and then start to question everything else you say. It's much easier for people to be positive and convincing about things they have actually done, awards they've actually won.
  18. The worst thing you can do with your essay is bore your reader. Take a different approach (as long as it's genuine) or take the time to bring something new and different to the subject.
  19. Don't send first drafts!
  20. Don't just narrate your life history, without any reflection or evaluation or self-criticism.
  21. Avoid using quotes. Admission officers are more interested in what you have to say than in what some famous person or writer has said.
  22. Remember that a little bit of self-deprecation in a way that does not seem forced or contrived can be very effective.
  23. If there is a limit to the length of an essay, stick to it.
  24. Avoid using the so-called SAT words.

From: "How to write a Personal Statement" & "Your College Application Essay"

Questions to Ask Yourself When Writing Your Personal Statement

 

  • What's special, unique, distinctive, or impressive about you or your life story? What details of your life might help the committee better understand you or help set you apart from other applicants?
  • When did you originally become interested in this field and what have you since learned about it and about yourself?
  • How have you learned about this field?
  • What are your career goals?
  • Have you overcome any unusual obstacles or hardships in your life?
  • What are the most compelling reasons you can give for the admissions committee to be interested in you?
Thoughts For You to Consider

 

  • Grab the reader's attention in your opening paragraph.
  • Review your life carefully, with outside help if necessary, to make certain you're including all relevant information.
  • When appropriate, find an angle and tell a story about yourself. If your life story has drama, use it.
  • If a school wants to know why you're applying to it rather than another school, do a bit of research if necessary to find out what sets your choice apart from the other universities and programs.
  • Try to maintain a positive and upbeat tone.
  • Think about what you are saying. Express yourself clearly and concisely.
  • If you had 5 minutes to answer the question "What's most important for us to know about you?" how would you respond?
  • Be honest. Are you being yourself and revealing yourself?
  • Be neat and meticulous (type and proof-read your essay carefully).
From: How to Write a Winning Personal Statement


WRITING AN ESSAY / PERSONAL STATEMENT

  • ESSAY is a composition
  • Essay must be well organized:
       1. It must be written by paragraphs
       2. Use specific thoughts presented in a        specific language
  • Writing means thinking
  • Neatness is important
COMMENTSSample essay
INTRODUCTION
The Introduction must have a THESIS STATEMENT. The Thesis Statement is the main idea of the essay. It's usually one sentence long and should:
  1. make an assertion;
  2. give an idea how your essay will be developed;
  3. be limited: narrow down the general topic;
  4. be specific: use facts from your own experience or well-known from histor
Many people feel that products are not made to last, and correspondingly, many natural and human resources are wasted. On the other hand, it can be noted that such manufacturing practices keep costs down and hence stimulate demand. In this discussion, I shall present arguments favouring the former statement and refuting the latter statement.
BODY OF THE ESSAY
   The primary function of your essay is to SUPPORT (to prove) the Thesis Statement.
   The Body of the Essay includes ANALYSIS of:
  • reasons
  • examples
  • aspects

    2. Each paragraph should contain only one TOPIC SENTENCE. A Topic Sentence is the analysis of a reason or an aspect.

    Avoid listing!!!
Products that are not made to last waste a great deal of natural and human resources depends on the specific product. For example in the automobile industry, the Yugo is the classic example of an underpriced vehicle that was not made to last. Considering that the average Yugo had (not "has" since are no longer produced!) a life expectancy of two years and 25,000 miles, it was a terrible waste.Automobile industry standards today create vehicles that are warrantied for about five years and 50,000 miles. By producing cheap Yugos that last than half a long as most cars are warrantied, the Yugo producer is wasting valuable natural resources. The same resource could be used by Ford or Toyota to produce cars that will last twice as long, thereby reducing the usage of natural resources by a factor or two.Human resources in this example are also wasteful. On the production side, manufacturers of a poor quality automobile, like the Yugo, get no personal satisfaction from the fact that their product is the worst automobile in the U.S. This knowledge adversely affects the productivity of the Yugo workers.
CONCLUSION
The CONCLUSION should restate the main points of your essay

Don't write anything new in the conclusion!!!
Conversely, the workers of the Saturn plants constantly receive positive feedback on their successful products. Saturn prides itself with its reputation for quality and innovation - as is seen in its recent massive recall to fix a defect. This recall was handled so well that Saturn's image was actually bolstered. Had a recall occurred at a Yugo plant, the situation would have become even worse
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