When I found out about the Gilman Scholarship, I had around 10 days to complete my Statement of Purpose and my Proposal for my Follow On Service Project. It was a very stressful 10 days, so here comes my first piece of advice:
Do NOT procrastinate. These essays take time to critically think about and develop good ideas to write about. I was lucky enough to have two of my professors helping me edit every couple of days and talk to about my ideas. That being said, I would STRONGLY suggest asking a professor you know to help you edit your essays.
The program that I wanted to be accepted into was studying Children’s Literature. England is known as the place where Children’s Literature began, which is one of the reasons I wanted to study there. I didn’t know the specifics of what we would be doing in my program, but for my Statement of Purpose I focused on how Children’s Literature impacted my life as a child, as well as how it continues to impact my life as an adult. I tried to connect the program I would be studying with my Personal Statement so that those evaluating could see how important it was for me to go abroad in this specific program. I did this by talking about specific authors and children’s literature that shaped me into who I am today.
I am a Creative Writing major, so I tied that into my Personal Statement by talking about my future goals of being a writer. A lot of major publishing houses are in London, and I mentioned possibly interning for those publishing companies.
The bottom line for the Statement of Purpose is that you need to connect what you’re studying to where you are going. Research where you’re going and see how it connects to your educational, personal and professional goals.
The Follow On Service Project Proposal was immensely easier. For me, I thought about what I am passionate about and how I can I spread the word about this amazing scholarship. Well, in order to improve my writing skills and connect it to something I am passionate about, I decided to start this blog in order to help other students take that leap of faith and study abroad.
My Three Tips for Success:
1. Prepare and think critically about the essays. Give yourself at least two months time to start developing drafts and get them reviewed by a professor. Drafts are the key to success!
2. Connect the focus of your program to your Statement of Purpose. If they aren’t connected, then look up other prominent parts of the country and culture you want to study in. Connect these to your personal, professional and/or your educational goals.
3. Your Follow On Service Project should play off of your strengths or passions. Somehow connect your Service Project to your home campus and something you’re passionate about. The Service Project isn’t easy, so you should definitely be doing something you are passionate about and like to do.
My next blog post will be focused around the worst part of studying abroad… packing!
Thanks for reading!