Personal statement writing workshop, UW Bothell 2013

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    17-Dec-2014
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Slides from a workshop at UW Bothell, designed for students who are preparing applications for scholarships, graduate school or other academic programs, such as study abroad, as well as for advisors who support them.

Transcript of Personal statement writing workshop, UW Bothell 2013

  • 1. MERIT SCHOLARSHIPS, FELLOWSHIPS AND AWARDS WORKSHOP OBJECTIVES Understand what personal statements are Identify the purpose, audience, and values for your essay in order to create a match between what the opportunity is seeking and what you offer Practice communicating the main idea of your personal statement Understand the stages in drafting a personal statement and the type of feedback most appropriate for each one Get tips for becoming a more effective writer
  • 2. MERIT SCHOLARSHIPS, FELLOWSHIPS AND AWARDS WHAT ARE PERSONAL STATEMENTS? Writing samples used in selection for academic programs and scholarships that describe you: your philosophy connections between past influences and future goals, what makes you unique, how you will add value, your writing ability.
  • 3. MERIT SCHOLARSHIPS, FELLOWSHIPS AND AWARDS SAMPLE MARY GATES LEADERSHIP SCHOLARSHIP Describe the activity or project you propose to undertake and how this experience will challenge you and allow you to grow as a leader. Include a discussion of why this initiative matters to you, what you expect to distinctively contribute, and your goals for developing your leadership potential. What do you need to learn about leadership and about being a leader yourself? Consider how your mentor and the context of your project will provide the support you will need to meet your learning goals.
  • 4. MERIT SCHOLARSHIPS, FELLOWSHIPS AND AWARDS SAMPLE UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE MPHIL DEVELOPMENT STUDIES Explain why you wish to do this course and how it fits into your long-term career plans.
  • 5. MERIT SCHOLARSHIPS, FELLOWSHIPS AND AWARDS SAMPLE UW LAW SCHOOL The University of Washington School of Law aspires to be the best public law school in the nation and one of the world's most respected centers for interdisciplinary legal studies. We strive to be leaders for the global common good by shaping and defending just and sustainable laws and policies through scholarly discovery, our ethical advocacy, our inspired teaching, and our generous public service. The primary goal of the admissions process is to enroll students who strive to be leaders for the global common good; demonstrate outstanding academic, professional, and leadership promise; are committed to generous public service and ethical advocacy; and who have background and experiences that will enhance the diversity of the student body, thereby enriching the law school educational environment. As such, applicants are invited to write a personal statement that describes their potential contributions to our vibrant community. Applicants may include the following factors in their personal statement or the optional supplemental statement: perseverance against substantial obstacles; socio or economic disadvantage; family or personal adversity; social hardships; disability; prejudice or discrimination; leadership potential; studying or living abroad; foreign language skills; special talents; unique life experiences; or geographic diversity.
  • 6. MARRIAGE PROPOSAL Image from http://www.flickr.com/photos/bwr/
  • 7. MERIT SCHOLARSHIPS, FELLOWSHIPS AND AWARDS What is the purpose or goal of your essay? What do you know about your audience? What do you know about values or qualities they prioritize?
  • 8. MERIT SCHOLARSHIPS, FELLOWSHIPS AND AWARDS How will you match their needs?
  • 9. MERIT SCHOLARSHIPS, FELLOWSHIPS AND AWARDS Imagefrom:http://americandreamingmagazine.com/blog/?p=2070
  • 10. MERIT SCHOLARSHIPS, FELLOWSHIPS AND AWARDS WHAT IS THE MAIN IDEA YOU WANT TO CONVEY TO YOUR AUDIENCE? Im a great candidate for [XYZ opportunity] because [my interests / values] [my skills / accomplishments] [connections between my past experiences and future goals] [ways I will bring value]
  • 11. MERIT SCHOLARSHIPS, FELLOWSHIPS AND AWARDS TELL A STORY Engage your audience from the first moment Use vivid examples By showing, a writer appeals to all of the senses, not just the visual. To show means to provide a feast for the eyes, ears and, depending on the essay, the mouth, nose or skin. Parke Muth, Senior Assistant Dean and Director or International Admission, The University of Virginia
  • 12. MERIT SCHOLARSHIPS, FELLOWSHIPS AND AWARDS SHOWING VS. TELLING Last year I noticed that the local senior center was in bad need of some upkeep. I contacted the director and explained that I have a summers worth of experience painting houses, not to mention a lot of left-over supplies, and would love to help spruce up the place. Im ambitious and driven. After I took Psych 101, I continued to wonder about how engaging in the artistic process can contribute to better mental health, specifically in regards to depression. The next quarter, I participated in a research study that investigated the varying levels of depression in teenagers who engage in the creative arts versus those who participate in competitive sports. Im intellectually curious.
  • 13. MERIT SCHOLARSHIPS, FELLOWSHIPS AND AWARDS ORGANIZE BY FOCUSING ON SO WHAT? what? what? so what? so what? better
  • 14. Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts. You need to start somewhere. Start by getting something -- anything -- down on paper. A friend of mine says that the first draft is the down draft -- you just get it down. The second draft is the up draft -- you fix it up. You try to say what you have to say more accurately. And the third draft is the dental draft, where you check every tooth, to see if it's loose or cramped or decayed, or even, God help us, healthy. From Anne Lamotts Shitty First Drafts in Bird by Bird (1994)
  • 15. MERIT SCHOLARSHIPS, FELLOWSHIPS AND AWARDS FEEDBACK BASED ON DRAFT TYPE
  • 16. MERIT SCHOLARSHIPS, FELLOWSHIPS AND AWARDS RESOURCES FOR FINDING THE RIGHT WORDS Occupational Profile Databases: O*NET: wwww.onetonline.org WOIS: www.wois.org Career Assessments: Strong Interest Inventory Strengths Quest MBTI
  • 17. MERIT SCHOLARSHIPS, FELLOWSHIPS AND AWARDS ELIMINATE EMPTY CONTENT Vagueness Generalizations There are moments in our lives that come to define our beliefs and perspectives.
  • 18. MERIT SCHOLARSHIPS, FELLOWSHIPS AND AWARDS ENGAGE EXTERNAL REVIEWERS
  • 19. MERIT SCHOLARSHIPS, FELLOWSHIPS AND AWARDS INDIVIDUAL ADVISING AVAILABLE AT: Writing and Communication Center Merit Scholarships Office Career Center