Saturday, 21 April 2012

The Personal Essay (Part 3)

3. What does a common statement consist of? 

A typical personal statement will consist of the following:

◙ An introductory paragraph in which you can provide the main theme of the essay: the course of study you are applying, how you got interested, what motivates you. The first sentences are very important; whether the tone and message are provoking you might grab attention from the start. You might start by talking about how you began interested in your discipline, about some activities you got involved in and how they motivate you.

◙ 2-4 body paragraphs (according to the required length of the essay from 250 to 1,500 words) that develop your theme through examples and experiences. It is here you can give a summary of your educational background: your interests, skills, prizes, awards, your future goals.
                                                                                             Good reads
Try to persuade the admission officer that you are the kind of person they are looking for, that you are unique, that you have a distinct personality. Give reasons for wanting to attend the school. The detailed evidence will support the statement made in the introduction.

Each paragraph should have a meaningful sentence that provides the transitions. Transitions start the paragraph and suggest its theme. The paragraph ends with resolutions – statements that connect the facts in the current paragraph. The beginning and ending statements give the essay a clear, logical structure that is easy to understand.

◙ The conclusion that summarizes the most important information without repeating sentences or paragraphs. If you run out of imagination and can’t find a natural end, just mention again what your ambitions are and what you have to offer.

4. Do's and Don'ts
• Prepare an outline, create a draft or as many as necessary.
• Make sure your essay has a theme or a thesis.
• Provide evidence to support your claims.
• To draw attention, make your introduction unique, start with an unexpected sentence.
• Write clearly, logically and make sure the statement is easy to comprehend. Be concise, organized and coherent.
• Be honest, confident and mainly be yourself.
• Be interesting and positive.
• Write about yourself and use examples from your own life experiences.
• Alternate long and short sentences.
• Discuss your future goals, hopes and expectations.
• Mention hobbies, past jobs, community service, or research experience, skills.
• Use the first person (I…).
• Mention weaknesses without making excuses. Don’t exaggerate. Be positive.
• Discuss why you're interested in the school.
• Give examples to demonstrate your abilities.
• Proofread and revise your statement or ask a friend or a tutor to proofread your essay.

• Make grammar, spelling and punctuation mistakes.
• Be repetitive, wordy, don’t use big words or informal language, jargon, slang or inappropriate jokes.
• Be boring.
• Generalize or include clichés. Be creative and original.
• Be defensive or arrogant.
• Complain or focus on other people.
• Discuss politics or religion.
• Give excuses for low school grades.
• Make lists of accomplishments, awards, skills, or personal qualities. Give examples.
• Write an autobiography, summarize your CV or mention information that has already been included in the application.
• Forget to proofread. Don’t rely on your computer for spell checking.
• Don’t start your essay with “I was born…” or “My name is …”.
• Don’t use a fancy font or colored background.

This list of words and phrases will help you with the right vocabulary.
Words that make a difference

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