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Saturday, 28 January 2012

Higher Education Abroad - Personal Essay


Some Graduate programmes, especially the Business Studies ones, often ask the candidate to write a personal essay apart from a statement of purpose. Many candidates mistake between the two and don't know how to distinguish one from the other. They often repeat information given in both the essays.

It is important to understand what kind of information the Graduate programmes want in these two different kinds of essays. A successful candidate is able to write two distinct essays with different information in both the essays, which reflect that the candidate is well-suited for this Graduate programme and that the University will be able to give useful instructions to such a candidate.  

A statement of purpose shows how the candidate's past education is related to his/her Graduate studies plans at this university, what relevant expertise and other resources this Graduate department has to offer to this candidate, what kind of future goals he candidate has and how this education will fulfil those future goals and any achievements the candidate has made to show that s/he is seriously engaged in this kind of academic pursuit.

On the other hand, a personal essay discusses the intellectual abilities, the disciplinary interests, the habits and tendencies of the candidate, his/her work style, the work/study/teaching philosophy s/he believes in and what excites him/her in life. Mention of extra-academic activities and achievements, past experiences related to education that propelled the candidate in this direction, how s/he has endeavoured to make life fulfilling, his/her worldview etc. would be of great help. 

In short, a personal essay should bring out a clear portrayal of the candidate as a person with whom the department is going to deal with during the graduate years and the person s/he hopes to evolve into after Graduate education. All this should be interwoven with the Graduate programme s/he is applying for.

A representation of the personal characteristics of the candidate helps the department to understand how s/he is going to benefit from the particular Graduate programme. Hence, a personal essay is the next most important part of the application package, after SOP, Writing Sample and the Letter of Recommendations.

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