So, you’re asked to write a 350 word personal statement essay on “overcoming obstacles, community work, experience (s) that have shaped you, academic gap- low GPA/GRE scores- & how the degree will help your future goals”.
“STAR” is an appropriate model one can employ in this scenario to set a good precedence for your write up and ensure you adequately answer all questions asked.
1. STAR can be applied in a team or generic context, but for the purpose of your application, you should be specific (of your own direct actions while working with the team).
2. Examples in this post are MINE & not a general model, the model here is STAR.
Here, you concisely set the context for your story. What’s it you want them to know? For example: if the question is about “your leadership and community involvement”, you could start by introducing us to it.
E.g: “…. Due to my involvement in environmental conservation, I was appointed as the President of the ABC group in Abuja, Nigeria in 2000”- Here, you're introducing them to something important to you, but why does it matter? Why do you want them to know?
Here, you succinctly explain the issue/task in relation to the context. E.g. “Through the help of my team, I was able to organize a tree planting exercise to address the increasing ABC disease”:– you've stated what you guys did (but in a personal form) & why it matters.
Here you need to show your ability to execute projects, discuss mainly what you did & how you did it. E.g.- “I coordinated the team to meet with different stakeholders (govt, principals & religious leaders) & were able to secure over 3000 seedlings from the Ministry.
Now you’ve explained your actions, you should explain your result. What is it that you achieved? E.g.: "We planted the trees in 30 schools across the state, set up tree club, engaged students to monitor the tree growth in their school & produce progress reports".
1. Be concise- I can’t stress this enough
2. I’d use a related story to the admission/scholarship
3. Use a story that comes with positive results- don’t use one with challenges (especially since the word count is limited and trying to gain their attention).
4. Demonstrate your teamwork, but talk more on your own specific contributions
5. Quantify as much as possible. Use number/stat/ to measure your work.