Three Basic Questions in Most Applications

Developed by Monica Clark '01

All applications, from my experience, requires  either explicitly or implicitly answers to three main questions. Be sure you cover all three in your personal statement or project proposal.

  1. What are you proposing to do and how are you prepared to do it?

    This question is usually covered in requests for a project statement or proposal. Be sure you address the following:

    1. Why you are interested.
    2. What you already know.
    3. What you need to know and will be seeking to find out - be specific!
    4. How you will answer your questions by way of the project.
  2. Why should you get this opportunity?

    This question usually focuses on what your past experience has been and what your goals include. Make sure you do the following:

    1. Explain why you are the perfect fit for the opportunity.
    2. Exhibit your background and past experience.
    3. Have a clear statement for why this opportunity plays an essential role in your future.
  3. What are you going to give back?

    This question is almost always implicit, but make sure you address it! People who are giving money or opportunities want to know that it will benefit more than just you. Sometimes this can be worked into questions about future career or academic goals. Even if you are not sure what the benefits will be or what you will do when you are finished, show that you have at least thought about it.

    1. What can you do with this opportunity for other people?
    2. Who, beyond yourself, will be impacted by this opportunity?
    3. Are you going to teach others, share the stories with others, offer new perspectives in your careers, spread information or education from your experience, help your community?