Today, universities are increasingly making a scholarship essay mandatory in the list of documents for admission, and this should not be treated as a simple formality. Sometimes a cover paper can be a deciding factor in admission to an American college, as well as your business card and pass to happy student life.
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Why Do You Need Scholarship Essays?
A well-written scholarship essay is an easy way to present yourself and be remembered by the admissions committee. When several candidates with the same number of points apply for one place at once, they will choose the one who will best reveal their strengths in the papers. If your answer on the exam was not perfect, and small mistakes were made in the writing, a good cover letter can create a small miracle here as well. Logic, the ability to think structurally and present your ideas competently will help you overtake other applicants.
Even if the university you choose does not require you to provide a cover letter, the ability to write it will be useful to you in the future: no foreign internship, MBA program, or employment in an international company is complete without it.
Familiarize Yourself with the Requirements
If the cover letter is a mandatory item in the list of documents for admission, you can specify all the details on the university website or in the admissions office. You should not write a multi-page essay if the requirements include a small amount.
What to Write About?
You are recommended to make a mind map – a “cloud of words and concepts”, which will reflect your achievements, goals and interests. This cheat sheet will help you better understand what you want to tell the admissions committee and how to do it most clearly and colorfully. Then the lessons of the English language and literature in primary school will come to the rescue: they teach us to compose a clear structure of the essay. The plan will look something like this:
- What do you want to get from this program, what profession to master?;
- Your career goals and what will help you achieve them;
- What skills do you need to master this profession? What you already know and what you would like to learn?;
- How the chosen program will help you in implementing these plans?;
- How can you be useful to the university, teachers and classmates?
When writing a letter, keep in mind that your goal is to interest the members of the admissions committee and show them your potential. Do not try to kill everyone with your wit, do not delve into childhood memories: the information that your grandmother was also a doctor, most likely, no one will be interested in. Write short, clear and to the point.
What to Include in the Cover Letter?
Write about what you have already achieved: tell about scientific work, the experience of volunteering, participation in conferences, victories at major Olympics, and about your overall success. Tell about your hobbies and interests, if they relate to the chosen program. At the same time it is necessary to avoid any banalities: “since the childhood I love animals” or “I am fond of watching documentaries” – the information is superfluous. If you have experience in the relevant field, be sure to indicate it. Describe as specifically as possible how you imagine your professional future, what you would like to achieve, where to work, what benefits to society, and science. Remember that everything you write must directly or indirectly answer the following questions:
- Why you are interested in this field of study;
- Why the selection committee should choose you;
- What you know about the chosen program and about the profession you want to acquire.
What Not to Do?
Exaggerate Your achievements
You should not attribute someone else’s merits, overestimate, and list non-existent successes: in the digital age, it is easy to check whether you are telling the truth or exaggerating.
Be Interested in Artistic Techniques
Try to write a cover letter in simple language, without overloading the text with metaphors and stylistic turns. Get rid of clichés and boring, meaningless phrases.
Copy Other People’s Cover Letters
A mistake that killed more than one candidate. It is very important to write a cover letter from yourself and in your own words, otherwise, it will turn into a rather meaningless formality. Do not copy letters from friends and relatives, even if you think they are perfect.