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  • Writer's pictureManan

How to make your College Essay unforgettable?

In this post I want to highlight a very important aspect of your motivation letter/ College essay, that is, storytelling.

Storytelling by itself is one of the oldest forms of information sharing in the world. But while storytelling itself is an art that needs creativity and practice. There is one element of storytelling that can really help you when you are writing your motivation letter/ College essay:

And that element is: overcoming adversity

Your motivation letter should contain at least one such example where you faced difficult circumstances and you were able to overcome them. Let's look at such examples:

I was born in a village in southern Sindh, our village only received access to electricity 10 years ago. When I finished university I was admitted into one of the most prestigious institutions of Pakistan situated in Lahore called LUMS. It was a completely new world for me. For the first 3 months, I couldn't even speak properly. But I realized that I have to change myself if I want to succeed in the world. I sought the help of my teachers who recommended the debating club to me. I joined the debating club and overcame my fear of public speaking. Now I can express myself on any forum.

This example is entirely fictional, yet I am 100% sure that is the story of hundreds of students.

Why do we need to add such a story? Because we need to show the committee that not only we are qualified for the position but we are also able to handle the difficulties that can come with such a position. A Ph.D. scholarship is not just about your academic qualification but it is also a test of how much can you handle pressure and unfamiliar environments. If you don't know then speak to any Ph.D. professor who will tell you tales of brilliants students who couldn't handle the pressures of living abroad and gave up.

Let us look at another such example:

During my final years of Engineering, my father suffered a car accident due to which he lost his job. This lost the only source of income for my family. Being the eldest I had to start working part-time to make the ends meet. It was the final year of my engineering and I would work 5 hours in the evening teaching tuition so I could support my family. Due to this, my grades suffered, but I was able to complete my engineering degree and finally found a job in a design firm.

Please note: We are not trying to get sympathy and pity from the admission committee. What we are telling them that we have faced challenges in our lives and we have overcome them. We are not afraid of any new challenges that can come our way, whether they are academic or personal.

Some of you may wonder, I have not suffered such tragedies in my life, what should write? While most of us are privileged, we all have suffered hardships in some form of another. Small or big, it is these hardships that have shaped us. It is our job to tell our story, as honestly as we can.

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