University Personal Application Letter - need help

sheishollywood

LiveLaughLove
O.G.
Nov 29, 2006
4,377
22
Where the water is
Hi all,

So I've decided to go back to school full time next year... I'm leaving a comfortable corporate job, selling my car, and moving from the mainland to the island. There are going to be some big changes, but it is only one year until I finish my degree... and it's something I am set to do (and know I won't do on a part-time basis).

Now, I'm starting to write my personal letter for my application. I have a flexible admission that will consider my years of professional experience and some university credits from the past. But I just need help on starting it... I have no idea how to open the letter.

If you can help me - I will be forever grateful! :smile: TIA
 

katran26

Bargain Hunter!
O.G.
Aug 25, 2008
6,264
158
Boston
Hi all,

So I've decided to go back to school full time next year... I'm leaving a comfortable corporate job, selling my car, and moving from the mainland to the island. There are going to be some big changes, but it is only one year until I finish my degree... and it's something I am set to do (and know I won't do on a part-time basis).

Now, I'm starting to write my personal letter for my application. I have a flexible admission that will consider my years of professional experience and some university credits from the past. But I just need help on starting it... I have no idea how to open the letter.

If you can help me - I will be forever grateful! :smile: TIA


this may not be *too* helpful, but I read that most admissions counselors REALLY focus on the first pargraph - if it's "attention grabbing"

I say open up with a strange/interesting/unusual event in your recent experience and elaborate further, then going onto why you want to enroll, etc.
 

prof ash

O.G.
Jun 10, 2007
2,420
422
USA
Just write from the heart and write something that would grab YOUR attention! It has to grab them in the first line - write something interesting that relates to your personal experience.
 
Jan 22, 2009
201,619
9,559
SoFla
I would start by telling the story of why you've decided to quit your job & go back to school. make it interesting, compelling, & to the point. share your personal anguish over the decision, or your sacrifices, or something funny about why it won't work for you part-time.

make it a personal story, & draw them in.
 

bipolarbear

Member
Jun 10, 2009
735
0
Definitely agree with the above comments. I've put in more time than I'd like to admit on admissions committees and can tell you after reading hundreds or thousands, they do start to blur together.

Grab their attention with that first paragraph. Even more importantly, the first sentence.

You're in a great position. You probably have a great deal more life experience than many applicants. Use that. Like f&f, I'm interested - you're making a major life change and I suspect you have deep reasons for doing so. Share these. Reveal personal experiences, the things that make you uniquely you. Think about things that will intrigue your audience - things that they will want to talk about even more at an interview. Make them laugh or scratch their head.

Good writing is good writing. Make this your best. Keep things tight. If you can say it in less words, it is probably stronger. Show, don't tell. Avoid the passive. Strong verbs make strong sentences. Avoid lots of adverbs and adjectives - use stronger verbs and nouns instead. Rewriting is often more important than the writing. Be brutal in your self-editing, and then take it to your harshest critics and ask them to be cruel.

Most importantly, be open and honest. Share yourself and your passion, your past experiences that have brought you to your current choice and your future dreams. The reader will appreciate it. Good luck!
 

sheishollywood

LiveLaughLove
O.G.
Nov 29, 2006
4,377
22
Where the water is
Thanks so much for all your help. I started with a quote that I live by... which is the one in my signature. I expanded that by bringing in a bit of my role model, which is my mother... to shape who I really am and how I had come to be.

Here are a few pointers that I talked about:
- My life as a child musician and not really having the opportunity to do a lot of the things that I wanted to do (like watch movies with other kids or hang out at the mall)
- When I was about 17 I started my own business that lasted for 2 years and was successful even though it didn't stay open.
- How I climbed through working at a non-profit to one of the most largest private companies in N.America

I'm having trouble being very captivating. It feels as though all I'm doing is just rambling about what I've done and not really GRABBING anyone. I'm afraid that admissions would read my letter and say "great, she's done a lot... but..."

I have a lot riding on this letter because I am entering a special university program that will allow my past work experience as part credit. Normally they ask for about 60 credits in post secondary but through flexible assessment they will look at work experience + past credit, which I only have about 33. So I am really trying to show them how capable I am.
 

bipolarbear

Member
Jun 10, 2009
735
0
Don't feel bad - what you are describing is the #1 problem in these letters and at least you are aware of it. If you have the time, put it aside. You've got good points that you're making. You want to grab people's attention. You've got a performance background. Think of this as a performance. Find some way to intro this which will be surprising, maybe even shocking. Something unexpected. If you can do that, and then find a way to keep that thread through your letter, it will form a skeleton for the experiences you want to include that will engage the reader.
 
Jan 22, 2009
201,619
9,559
SoFla
^ITA

I am a story-teller myself, so I am going to suggest that you tell a story in the opening of your letter. that will draw the reader in. the story should incorporate the talking point (or points) that you think are the most compelling reasons for them to accept you. getting your point across through a story also helps the reader to remember what you said & personally connect with you. I'm sure there is one great story in one of the three points you listed. they all sound extremely interesting to me.

PM me if you need more/specific help.