Hi everyone! I’m Pei Qing and I’d like to share with you guys on some pre-exchange tips. I would assume that most of us have to write a personal statement when we apply for the Exchange programme soooooo let me share my part on what I wrote for mine J FYI, I went on Exchange at Ivey Business School (University of Western Ontario) in Canada! ?
The main purpose of the personal statement is to show your interest in the Exchange Programme and specifically, your aims and goals for your upcoming new journey. While it may sound very cliché and (fluff?) to many, I feel that what can truly make you stand out amongst the many applicants is the level of sincerity you put in the particular essay. In particular, whenever I read someone’s post or article, I can feel the truthfulness and sincerity through the choice of words and content. Thus, go ahead and let your thoughts and motivations flow naturally in your own writing style. Also, bear in mind to check what your admissions office requires (as it might differ for various institutions) and don’t leave any point out.
While there are many tips that I’d like to share with you guys, I will pick the top 5 most important attributes that I feel a personal statement should cover. This is so in case this overlong post starts to bore you!
Before writing, do research on your destination country as much as possible and this also applies to countries that you’ve been to. Short travel periods tend to restrict your perspective and your views on a particular country hence, reading more in-depth insights and information online would actually help you to have a deeper understanding on many historical, cultural, political aspects and more.
This can aid in creating a strong impression that you are serious about participating in the SEP as you have displayed a great deal of effort in learning more about your “new home”.
Get your ideas down in a mind-map first
With an abundance of ideas floating in your head, it’s advisable to jot down almost everything ranging from experiences, activities, skills, attributes and perhaps to current news that interest you the most. The next step would be to find links among them and highlight the most significant elements and build on them.
Having said that, make sure that your essay has a point and that it should reveal something about you. Try to write something meaningful while showcasing your creative side whenever possible.
Structure and tone matter a whole lot.
With a constraint of a word limit, trust me you’d be struggling to cut words as your overflowing thoughts will eventually translate to a long essay. At least, that’s the case for me as I tend to get quite long-winded as I write. Hence, it is important to prioritize the requirements, write to the point and be persuasive.
Write as though you are writing an argumentative essay – an attention-grabbing intro, concise body paragraphs with strong supporting statements and lastly, a short but sweet and impactful conclusion to sum up.
Sound enthusiastic! It’d be good if you have a rich vocab bank as your choice of words matter here. But FRET NOT, I myself have limited vocab and hence, I tend to be sincerer and more direct when I’m writing. However, with everything else, overdoing it (e.g. sound too cliché or dramatic) might ruin the essay.
“Anything in life worth doing is worth overdoing. Moderation is for cowards.” – Be a coward, just this once, for your own benefit!
Just be yourself and you’re on the right track!
Potential content fillers
This is only if you have leftover word limit to play with after fulfilling the necessary requirements. Choose only if its relevant to you and value adds your entire essay.
You can consider writing the most drawing factor of the destination country and elaborate it in detail. Also, you can choose to write one special thing about yourself and how that relates to the particular country. For instance, if you’re into sports (e.g. hockey), that’d be very relevant for Canada as you can experience ICE hockey which is one of its national sport. Be honest in your experiences and do not force-fit yourself!
Another possibility would be that how both you and the partner university can benefit from the exchange program. Be it the cultural exchange or the different perspective/comments that can make lessons a lot more culturally diverse and have a global perspective.
Aims and goals: even small things/achievements like gaining independence and confidence says a lot about you. This may seem very personal but personal growth is an area that panels might also be looking out for.
Final checks may seem redundant (or ‘duh’ to many) but they are very important!
We are all aware of that final check upon completion of our exam papers and this applies to personal statements too. Better be safe than sorry!
Avoid spelling mistakes and use correct grammar to make sure that you come across seriously and professionally. While the spellchecker may be reliant, you can also get someone to proofread your statement. They include your friends, tutors, parents and even enemies (ok, this Is quite unrealistic) but my point is that, you can get some feedbacks which you can work on before finalizing your personal statements.
Essentially, a good personal statement is one that explains quite clearly why you want to head for exchange, in concrete ways how you can be a good ambassador; the reasons why you pick the universities that you did and how your experience can benefit your fellow schoolmates and how you can contribute to your faculty after your return. Ultimately, it is an EXCHANGE journey hence having two-way interaction and contribution is the best case scenario for both parties.
Do not let this essay stress you out or deter you from applying for exchange!! I can assure you that going through all the tedious application process will be SO worth it in the end J
Feel free to contact/dm me @ firstname.lastname@example.org if you wanna know more tips (DON’T BE SHY). I’d love to share with you guys my experiences or even share itineraries if anyone is interested! (Pardon my overflowing ❤ for Canada)
About the author:
|Name: Pei Qing
Home University: National University of Singapore (NUS)
Major: Business Administration
Exchange University: Ivey Business School (University of Western Ontario)
Country of Exchange: Canada
Something about myself: “I love sports and travelling!”