List all the enclosures you will include in your application and give a very brief description of your portfolio

Thank the admissions committee for their time.

Provide your contact information.

Robin Bellers, an expert of Central European University, has made a list

of do’s and don’ts

Do · Remember that you want to impress your reader and show in what way you are special · Find out about the department you apply to · Think of what the university can offer you, and what you can offer the university · Describe very clearly your direction: past, present and future career plans · Emphasize everything from a positive perspective · Before you begin writing choose what you want to include and in what order · Use concrete examples from your life to support your point and distinguish yourself from other applicants · If there is something important that happened (illness, etc) which affected your grades, state it, but write about it in a way that shows your perseverance · Write clearly, organizing your thoughts into paragraphs · Ask someone else to critique your essay for you Don’t · Don’t start writing your essay one day before your deadline · Don’t start your essay with “I was born in…”, or “My parents come from…” · Don’t write your autobiography or repeat your CV/résumé · Don’t make things up. There is nothing worse than if you are caught not telling the truth · Don’t make excuses, but you can talk about the mistakes you’ve made as a learning experience · Don’t try to impress your reader with your vocabulary, i.e. words that neither you nor anyone else has heard before · Don’t use slang · Don’t make your sentences too long or complex, and don’t overuse the passive · Don’t rely exclusively on your computer to check your spelling · Don’t exceed the word limit

Language Use.

– Avoid empty phrases like “I’m talented”, “I’m very intelligent”, “I’m a great writer”. Show them through your professional SoP and application portfolio and let them decide if you are amazing enough to attend their institution.

– Avoid being too poetic in applying for creative writing programs. Your writing portfolio is more than enough writing to show your talent.

– Avoid hot air. Adjectives like thrill, passion, excitement, joy, etc., should be avoided like the plague.

– Avoid quotations. You may have “miles to go before you sleep”, “chosen the road less travelled”, or “your-favourite-cliche-quote-from-high-school-here”, but it isn’t a personal statement, is it?

And finally, avoid sending the exact same Statement of Purpose to all the universities to which you’re applying. The admissions committee will easily spot a cookie-cutter essay and more than likely reject you. Admissions committees also notice whether or not you include specific references to people, labs, groups etc., within their departments.

Exercise 26. True or False?

1. SoP is an ecological movement “Save our Planet”.

2. Most admissions committees appreciate a long and elaborate SoP.

3. It is unwise to postpone writing your SoP until the last possible moment.

4. Admissions guidebooks can be intimidating.

5. Your admission entirely depends on your SoP.

6. Most admissions committees arbitrarily select applicants that will comprise next year’s incoming class.

7. The first paragraph shouldn’t be long.

8. The more ideas you include in each body paragraph, the better.

9. You should mention that the chosen course would help to pursue your career.

10. It is recommended to include specific examples from your own experience.

11. Four-letter words would not be appropriate in your SoP.

12. You are not supposed to use a spellchecker.

13. Poets can’t apply for creative writing programmes.

14. Avoid applying for admission in hot weather.

15. Cookie-cutter is a kitchen tool used for cutting cookies.

16. In the closing paragraph you should thank the admissions committee for choosing you.

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