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Writing Scholarship Essays for Graduate School. by Indiah Marsaban, Ir., MBA. Objectives. By the end of the workshop, you will be able to: Understand the difference between Personal Statement and Study Objective Statement;

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objectives
Objectives

By the end of the workshop, you will be able to:

Understand the difference between Personal Statement and Study Objective Statement;

Identify the elements of writing a “winning” Personal Statement/Study Objective;

Understand the general rules in writing an effective essay proposal for graduate school;

Review some highlights on grammar;

Practice writing paragraphs related to the topics in your essay

Have an embryonic outline for your application essays.

applying to graduate school
Applying to Graduate School

Graduate or Professional School application process includes:

Formal application

Academic Record (grades, GPA)

Admissions Test Scores

Strong recommendation letters

Statement of Purpose/Study Objective

Research Proposal

Writing Sample

statement of purpose vs study objectives
Statement of Purpose vs. Study Objectives

SP

Professional, academic and future plans;

Education and practical experience;

Impact on your community;

Special interests;

Career plans

Purpose for applying to grad school.

Significant factors influencing your educational or professional development.

SO

Major field of study

Special interests within this field.

Program expected to take

How your study plan fits in with your previous training, professional experience

Future objectives and career path

can the sp be overlapping with the so
Can the SP be “overlapping” with the SO?

Since each statement serves a different purpose, they should be distinct but consistent with each other.

Avoid “overlapping” essays; even if you have to state the same idea try to paraphrase (using different words);

Read the instructions on the application form carefully to fully understand what is needed in your essay.

However, some universities might combine the SP and SO.

personal statement
Personal Statement

Your opportunity to “sell” yourself in the application process;

Who you are, what you have done that has influenced your decision to further your academic career, defines your interests and passion and gives an idea of your future plans and goals.

A self inventory of your unique experience, influence and abilities, skills and characteristics (for example integrity, compassion, persistence)

Describe your short term and long term goal

what might the admissions committee want to see in your personal statement 1
What might the Admissions Committee want to see in your Personal Statement (1)

Seriousness in pursuing graduate school;

Intellectual ability to “handle” graduate school;

Intellectual curiosity about the field you wish to study;

Creativity;

Open-mindedness (to ideas, people, and circumstances different from your own)

what might the admissions committee want to see in your statement of purpose 2
What might the Admissions Committee want to see in your Statement of Purpose (2)

Maturity

Concern for others

Initiative

Enthusiasm

Confidence

Multi-tasking

Diligence

Communication Ability

Leadership

Analytical Ability

Risk Taking

Insight

Optimism

Compromise

Overcoming adversity

what are universities looking for
What are universities looking for?

A Picture of Your Overall Personality

Academic Background and Work Experience

Continuity

Commitment and Motivation

Communication Skills

study objective getting started

Write a clear description of your study objectives (be specific about major field and specialized interests within this field) AND explain why you want to pursue these objectives.

STUDY OBJECTIVE: Getting Started

Describe the kind of program you expect to undertake and explain how this study plan (or program) fits in with previous training and with your future objectives.

there are many ways to organize your study objective
There are many ways to organize your Study Objective

Follow an outline that addresses the information in an order which is the clearest and most coherent to the reader.

Remember: those who are screening applications read many, many, applications.

If you include irrelevant information and too much detail or rationalization, readers/screeners will probably set your study objective aside.

study objective outline
Study Objective Outline
  • PARAGRAPH 1: Description of an MA or PhD program you expect to undertake.
  • PARAGRAPH 2: Write a brief paragraph stating your research (thesis) proposal. Discuss how your thesis will benefit your field and how you intend to undertake it.
  • PARAGRAPH 3: Explain how the description of the plan above fits in with your previous training and your future objectives.
  • PARAGRAPH 4: Explain why you need to undertake these studies in the abroad as opposed to Indonesia.
  • PARAGRAPH 5: Discuss how getting this scholarship will help you when you return. Consider your impact on community development and/or on benefiting Indonesian society.
paragraph 1 description of the ma or phd program you expect to undertake
PARAGRAPH 1: Description of the MA or PhD program you expect to undertake.

Know what scholarly work or program you would like to accomplish in the United States (or wherever). Decide what kind of master’s or PhD program you need to take.

Include SPECIFIC courses that you want to undertake or identify your research focus.

It is important in this section that you not request that you be placed at a particular University (IGNORE FOR NON-FULLBRIGHT PROGRAMS).

If you mention professors at a graduate school, mention something of substance that reveals you know and appreciate that person's work.

Describe what you like most and what you would like to do as your research work if you are admitted.

slide15

PARAGRAPH 2: Write a brief paragraph stating your research (thesis) proposal. Discuss how your thesis will benefit your field and how you intend to undertake it.

The first sentence should read something like "I wish to study in the United States so that I might (complete whatever your project is)."

It is not enough to say that a master's degree or Ph.D will require that you write a thesis. This paragraph should clearly state your thesis.

Spell out your project briefly; discuss how your thesis will benefit your field and the way in which you intend to undertake it.

Express why you think you are the person to complete this task and tell briefly why your project will benefit both the larger field of your study and the country when it is completed.

slide16

PARAGRAPH 3: Explain how the description of the plan above in PARAGRAPH 1 fits in with your previous training and your future objectives.

What experience in your background will assure that you are ready to take coursework of this type?

If you have a problematic academic background, address that as well.

What future objectives will be facilitated by learning in these areas?

Articulate what is particularly valuable about the perspective that you will bring to your chosen field of study and to the specific department within the university.

slide17
PARAGRAPH 4: Why do you need to undertake these studies in the United States (or wherever) as opposed to Indonesia?

Describe in detail why it is necessary that you undertake your studies at this university and why this cannot be just as easily completed at home.

Contrast the resources and opportunities you feel might be available to you in the States (or wherever) as compared with Indonesia.

Talk not only about infrastructure issues (research libraries) but also about what impact being in a foreign culture might have and how it will positively impact your future.

Do not make a general statement and tell how wonderful the university is.

slide18

PARAGRAPH 5: How will getting this scholarship help you impact community development and/or benefit Indonesian society when you return after completing your studies?

What are your future plans after receiving this degree? Be specific with your career goals.

Explain how your degree and knowledge in the field will benefit the community or society at large.

Mention any social/community activities that you might be involved in upon your return.

Do not show self-interest and self-achievement as the main goals of your career.

the do s
The Do’s

Use a clear theme or thesis. The thesis is the main point you want to communicate.

Choose what you want to discuss and the order you want to discuss it.

Use concrete examples from your life experiences to support your thesis and distinguish yourself from others.

Start your essay with an attention-grabber lead.

Revise your essay at least three times.

Ask someone else to critique your work.

Proofread

slide20
Do...

Give yourself plenty of time to write and edit your study objective.

Read the question carefully.

Write the length of essay asked for.

Perform as much research on the university as you can.

Accentuate your positive qualities.

Mention your positive achievements as they apply to your graduate admission.

slide21
Do...

Mention your work experience, volunteer work , or extra-curricular activities if they relate to your field.

Be definite/concrete in your application.

Make sure your essay is well-organized and everything is linked with continuity and focus.

Check your grammar, spelling, punctuation, and capitalization carefully. Ask as many others as possible to proofread your work for writing style—grammar, spelling, etc.

Write multiple drafts and edits until you have perfected the study objective.

the don ts
The Don’ts

Don’t include information that doesn’t support your thesis.

Don’t start your essay with “I was born in..” or “My parents came from…”

Don’t write an autobiography, itinerary or resume in prose.

Don’t try to impress your reader with your vocabulary.

Don’t rely exclusively on your computer to check your spelling

Don’t use clichés such as “I want to help people….”

don t
Don’t...

Flatter the university.

Be phony or dishonest about yourself.

Use empty, vague, overly-used words like meaningful, beautiful, challenging, rewarding, etc.

Use overly common phrases and nonspecific information.

Repeat information from the application unless you use it to illustrate a point.

Try to be funny—humor can backfire.

develop a theme
Develop a theme?

What is the message that you want to convey?

What are you commitments?

Your passion?

your goals
Your goals?

What are your goals in life?

For example, your goal in responding to an essay might be:

Demonstrate personal traits that are similar to the traits of the person for whom the scholarship is named.

Use present tense and optimistic phrases to show that you are active, vibrant and can-do person.

Show how strong family support contributes to my success

Emphasize your sense of balance in academics & family life

slide27

I wish to continue my study in economics, particularly in Industrial Organization and Public Policy. I have spent many years studying economics and understand how economic policy impacts a country’s prosperity. As a civil servant in the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, I have been involved in making recommendations for Indonesia’s tourism development policies. Because of extenuating circumstances, tourism in Indonesia continues to fluctuate. However, because they are key components of future economic growth, better tourism policies must be developed. By earning a master’s degree in economics with a specialization in Industrial Organization and Public Policy, I hope to gain the expertise needed to contribute toward better tourism development policies.

I would like to study economics so that I might gain an understanding of Industrial Organizational and Public Policy. The main objective of my thesis will be to explore the possibilities for tourism development in Indonesia. I believe my project will benefit my field, particularly in regards to tourism development as it relates to developing countries. I will undertake my thesis by studying cases from other countries, considering how they manage their tourism policies. My previous study and job experiences make me the ideal person to undertake this thesis and will equip me to impact my country as I play a part in formulating and implementing tourism policies for Indonesia.

slide28

After graduating from the Economics Faculty, Sebelas Maret University in 2003, I worked as a financial staffer in a domestic airlines company until the middle of 2005. Although my job did not require application of all my academic knowledge, I learned many new skills from my experience at the airline. My position gave me an opportunity to develop and sharpen my personal skills, such as how to cooperate with co-workers or clients and how to finish financial/tax reports on time. These skills, together with my academic knowledge, have helped me accomplish my work in my job in the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. However, I am not satisfied with my tourism and economics knowledge. By taking a dual degree program in economics, I hope to gain the knowledge I lack and to develop new skills that will enable me to be more effective. I took forward to the opportunity to share my own knowledge and experiences and to discuss various aspects of economic development with people from different backgrounds and cultures.

slide29

Besides the advantages stated above, taking the dual degree program will be beneficial for me and the office where I work now because this program prepares its students to integrate economic analysis with the management of resources. I will have a chance to consider Indonesia’s economic development, including tourism, from an international perspective. Moreover, the Netherlands has better facilities such as libraries, internet access and international lecturers which will help me gain a thorough understanding of economics. Additionally, I expect the international environment of the university and the culture of the Netherlands will broaden my thinking and enrich my knowledge and experience.

Holding a master’s degree in economics will give me an opportunity to be a leader in my division where I can participate in planning good strategies for economic development in the tourism sector. My knowledge and ideas will benefit Indonesia as I help formulate and implement policies. I look forward to sharing my knowledge with my colleagues as we work together to move Indonesia forward.

do not wait until the last minute to write your study objective
DO NOT WAIT UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE TO WRITE YOUR STUDY OBJECTIVE!

Even though the study objective is only one page, it will take a long time and SEVERAL EDITS to produce a polished essay.

Have someone who is a native speaker and/or familiar with academic writing give you feedback.

Do not have them write it for you!

useful links
Useful Links

U.S. UNIVERSITIES DIRECTORY

College Navigator ( http://www.nces.ed.gov/ipeds/cool/ )

EducationUSA ( http://www.educationusa.state.gov/ ) If You Want to Study in the United States: (http://www.educationusa.state.gov/home/publications )

Hobsons U.S. Education Guides ( http://www.useduguides.com/ )

International Education Service ( http://www.ies-ed.com )

Peterson's Guide for International Students ( http://www.petersons.com/college_home.asp?path=ug.home&CMSMemberType=ints )

 Study Abroad.com ( http://www.studyabroad.com/ )

useful links1
Useful Links

STATEMENT OF PURPOSE

All About the Graduate Admissions Essay. ( http://gradschool.about.com/od/essaywriting/All_About_the_Graduate_Admissions_Essay.htm )

The Princeton Review – Writing the Statement of Purpose ( http://www.princetonreview.com/opinionAdvice.aspx?type=grad )

How to Write a Great Statement of Purpose ( http://www.uni.edu/~gotera/gradapp/stmtpurpose.htm )

Writing A Winning Statement of Purpose ( http://www.sjsu.edu/faculty/gcallaghan/graduate/winningstatement.htm )

UC Berkeley Statement of Purpose ( http://career.berkeley.edu/Grad/GradStatement.stm )

it s time to write
It’s time to write!

It’s time to re-write!

Show don’t tell!

consider these examples
Consider these examples:

Version 1

My family does not have a lot of money. I worked my way through college by working at a bookstore.

Version 2

I come from a middle class family that does not have a lot money. So, I had to work my way through college by working part-time at a bookstore. I often did my homework and study while waiting for customers at the store.

slide38
Version 3

I come from a middle class family that does not have a lot money. I had to work my way through college by working part-time at a bookstore. I remember that I often studied and did my homework while waiting for customers at the store. Sometimes after school, I give private lessons to high school students for a small fee. Despite the busy schedule, I still have time to do some house chores to help my mother.

make the introduction inviting
Make the Introduction Inviting

I am a literacy volunteer. I did not decide to do this work just because studies report that 32 % of adults in this country are functionally illiterate or because 43 % of people that have reading deficiencies live in poverty or even because 70 % of people with reading deficiencies have no job or only part-time job. My reason for becoming a literacy volunteer was much simpler. My father could not read.

while you re writing
WHILE YOU’RE WRITING

Be consistent in your use of verb tense.

Check nouns for article adjectives (a, an, the).

Check subject/verb agreement.

Check that all sentences are complete.

Make good transitions between sentences and paragraphs (however, additionally, therefore, etc.) where needed. Use hooks strategically.

Use clear, concise vocabulary. Simple, concrete vocabulary is much better than misusing more difficult words.

create workable transitions
Create workable transitions

Try not to use standard transitional phrases such as “secondly” or as “a consequence”

Try repeating the prior thought and connecting to the next task. For example: Once I learned how to make my own basic product, I quickly developed more innovative products….

transitions
Transitions

Furthermore

Moreover

Additionally

Also

In addition

Therefore

Thus

Consequently

As a result

In contrast

On the other hand

However

guideline questions for writing an effective study objective
Guideline Questions for writing an effective Study Objective

How did you become interested in this field?

What kind of activities or experiences have contributed toward your preparation for and understanding of this field.

What will be your contribution to the field of study, or to your organization you work for?

What attracts you most about the institution you are applying to and why are you match for their program?

research proposal
RESEARCH PROPOSAL

Three big questions????

What research project will you undertake?

Why is it important for you to know that thing?

Why is it important for other people to know?

How will you proceed to make that research?

research proposal1
RESEARCH PROPOSAL

Introduction

Research Paradigm: conceptual foundation, assumptions

Research Method

Bibliography

highlights on grammar tips
Highlights on Grammar Tips

Most common issues in the essays:

Subject-Verb Agreement

Tenses

Singular/ Plural

Articles

Prepositions

Choice of words

subject verb agreement
Subject-Verb Agreement

Singular / Plural Subject Verb?

Example: (simple present)

My professor handle the laboratory work…X (incorrect)

My professor handles the laboratory ….

Pertamina and PLN is undergoing major changes………X (incorrect)

Pertamina and PLN are undergoing major changes………

tenses
Tenses

Simple present: routine activities, facts

Past tense: past events

Present perfect: past events with current effect or at an unspecified time;

Future tense: future plans, intentions

plural or singular
Plural or singular

Toyota manufactures cars.

Many banks were liquidated during the crisis.

One of the reasons for this decline is…..

The professor needs an assistant to help in the laboratory.

articles
Articles

The appropriate use of “the” and “a” or “an”

“I graduated from School of Architecture and Regional Planning…..” X

“I graduated from the School of Architecture and Regional Planning…..”

I believe that there is possibility…X

I believe that there is a possibility….

prepositions
Prepositions

In October

In 2006

In the afternoon

In summer

On 10th October

At 10.00 PM

On Wednesday

In Depok

exercise
Exercise

How did you become interested in this field?

What kind of activities or experiences have contributed toward your preparation for and understanding of this field.

What will be your contribution to the field of study, or to your organization you work for?

What attracts you most about the institution you are applying to and why are you match for their program?

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