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Old 06-07-2009, 03:11 AM   #11
aceitall
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Default Writing scholarship application essays

Hi guys, let's discuss here what makes a particular scholarship application essay stand out!

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of students writing in to PSC, Harvard, Yale - what do you think will make your application essay stand out?

Also, for specifically foreign students, what difficulties do you face in writing? I would argue that foreign students actually have more interesting life experience.

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Old 01-15-2010, 03:31 PM   #12
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Hello, is it possible to find sample scholarship application essays online? I believe there are for overseas universities personal essays but I'm not so sure about scholarship ones...
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Old 02-01-2010, 02:47 PM   #13
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I don't think so, because the topics differ so greatly across each scholarship.
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Old 02-17-2010, 06:21 PM   #14
Freshjunior
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Lightbulb

Any ideas what I can add to my "tell us about yourself" essay? Really don't know what else to add to make my essay more interesting

Here are the things I have written:
1. Brief mention about my financial difficulties
2. Reasons for choice of courses
3. Goals and what motivates me
4.???
(All these are about 300 words only)

I am thinking of adding things like what makes me different from other candidates, but cant think of any... Is it a good idea to write a bit on how the scholarship would help to further my dreams?
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Old 02-17-2010, 09:25 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Freshjunior View Post
Any ideas what I can add to my "tell us about yourself" essay? Really don't know what else to add to make my essay more interesting

Here are the things I have written:
1. Brief mention about my financial difficulties
2. Reasons for choice of courses
3. Goals and what motivates me
4.???
(All these are about 300 words only)

I am thinking of adding things like what makes me different from other candidates, but cant think of any... Is it a good idea to write a bit on how the scholarship would help to further my dreams?
Its really an ultimate BackFirE if you write about your financial difficulties you face, even though it is really true! This is a scholarship, not a financial assistance scheme. Never do that, eevn for job interviews. Employers are not interested. By putting yourself in self-pity, it shows u have a negative mindset and u are hoping they can show some compassion for you by putting you as a scholar/hiring you.

Remember, they are not doing you a favour by hiring you/putting you as a scholar. What they want out of a scholar is not neccesariliy that perfect someone but someone who meets the criteria and can help to bring up the name of the organisation.

Think from their point of view. If you were tasked to choose a scholar, what properties do they want?
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Old 02-17-2010, 10:09 PM   #16
Run
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Azizl View Post
Its really an ultimate BackFirE if you write about your financial difficulties you face, even though it is really true! This is a scholarship, not a financial assistance scheme. Never do that, eevn for job interviews. Employers are not interested. By putting yourself in self-pity, it shows u have a negative mindset and u are hoping they can show some compassion for you by putting you as a scholar/hiring you.

Remember, they are not doing you a favour by hiring you/putting you as a scholar. What they want out of a scholar is not neccesariliy that perfect someone but someone who meets the criteria and can help to bring up the name of the organisation.

Think from their point of view. If you were tasked to choose a scholar, what properties do they want?
I agree with you, except for the last point. I wouldn't recommend trying to second guess what they are looking for. Instead, try and be yourself, and if they choose you, it means that you're a good "fit" for them. This way, it'll benefit both parties.

Also, by "being yourself" you might find yourself writing more naturally, and thus you might actually write a better personal statement as compared to if you tried to make yourself out to be what you think they want you to be.

Just my two cents' worth.
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Old 02-17-2010, 10:18 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Azizl View Post
Its really an ultimate BackFirE if you write about your financial difficulties you face, even though it is really true! This is a scholarship, not a financial assistance scheme. Never do that, eevn for job interviews. Employers are not interested. By putting yourself in self-pity, it shows u have a negative mindset and u are hoping they can show some compassion for you by putting you as a scholar/hiring you.

Remember, they are not doing you a favour by hiring you/putting you as a scholar. What they want out of a scholar is not neccesariliy that perfect someone but someone who meets the criteria and can help to bring up the name of the organisation.

Think from their point of view. If you were tasked to choose a scholar, what properties do they want?
Actually I used the same format for my scholarship application last year and still managed to get called up for interviews.(But sadly didnt pass that first round due to my lack of interview preparation)
And yea, after some consideration, writing about my financial difficulties isn't that good.
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Old 02-26-2010, 12:17 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Run View Post
I agree with you, except for the last point. I wouldn't recommend trying to second guess what they are looking for. Instead, try and be yourself, and if they choose you, it means that you're a good "fit" for them. This way, it'll benefit both parties.

Also, by "being yourself" you might find yourself writing more naturally, and thus you might actually write a better personal statement as compared to if you tried to make yourself out to be what you think they want you to be.

Just my two cents' worth.
Yea, actually you got a point there. U cannot fake to be someone else. Eventually they will find out who you are. Being your true self is important here. But its good if you think from another point of view other than yours. Even though u might have an opinion about something, if its something 'they' don't want to hear or something that can backfire, just don't mention about it.
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Old 02-26-2010, 09:51 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Azizl View Post
Yea, actually you got a point there. U cannot fake to be someone else. Eventually they will find out who you are. Being your true self is important here. But its good if you think from another point of view other than yours. Even though u might have an opinion about something, if its something 'they' don't want to hear or something that can backfire, just don't mention about it.
You should talk about your dreams - and try to link it to how the scholarship will help you to achieve them.
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Old 02-28-2010, 08:42 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Haecceity View Post
You should talk about your dreams - and try to link it to how the scholarship will help you to achieve them.
Quoted for truth. The key word here is "link". Tell us one coherent story about yourself, not separate bits & pieces. See your life as one trajectory, as one thing fitting into another.

Quote:
Here are the things I have written:
1. Brief mention about my financial difficulties
2. Reasons for choice of courses
3. Goals and what motivates me
4.???
(All these are about 300 words only)
These 3 things is more than enough material to write a great, coherent 500-word essay on. I can see how the 3 things might actually be related to each other, and if you can present it as such, instead of 3 random things about you, this could be a very good essay. You could start off by recounting a specifc anecdote that well captures the financial difficulty you're in, then how that has, perhaps, motivated you to work harder at school etc, then finally how your interest in <course of study> was sparked. Such "Strength in adversity"-type essays may be common, but you might still be able to stand out if you write well, come across as a mature and very aware individual, and have a compelling story.

Because I'm painfully aware that "model answers" are part of the Singaporean mentality, I want to add a disclaimer here: Please note that the above is an illustration only. There are a million good stories waiting to be made out of the cloth of your life. If, in reality, your interest in your course of study has no relation with your financial difficulty, then write a different story. I was just throwing out a random possible storyline.

Final note: The essay isn't meant to tell us everything about you -- only a very specific slice about you.
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