Crafting a Winning MCIT Personal Statement (2)
By David Tian
(Admissions Consultant at The Edge Learning Center)
If you said the second, you would be correct.
When you apply to a graduate program, whether MCIT (Master of Computer and Information Technology) or elsewhere, the person reading your essay is literally on the admissions committee of that program and is likely more familiar with it than anyone else on the planet. Not only do they not need to be taught what it entails (because they already know rather well), but doing so takes the essay away from talking about you, which is what we want. The MCIT program is one I am particularly familiar with and have edited countless personal statements for, which is why I am able to point this out in so many applicants’ essays.
In the first example, this sentence, “The MCIT online program at the University of Pennsylvania is specifically designed for those who do not have a background in computer science,” might as well have been copied and pasted directly from the website. The sentence after that, “…it can also be done at a distance,” is something that the admissions committee is already fully aware of. At best, these pieces of information are redundant and merely rehash what the program website already says. At worst, they can feel dismissive, almost as though you are doubting the reader’s expertise.
Notice that the second example implies that the program is for beginners (The course CIT 591 Introduction to Software Development, for instance, will introduce me to the various applications of both Python and Java…) without explicitly “teaching” that to the reader, unlike the first one. Notice as well that the second example doesn’t state straight up that “the program is done at a distance,” which is “teaching” the reader, but directly states that its online modality enables that person to continue in his or her current career trajectory. The key difference is that the applicant presumes (correctly) that the reader already knows this information.
How can you avoid this situation?
- If any sentence in your essay sounds like it might as well have been copied and pasted from the program’s “About Us” webpage, then you should reconsider how you phrase it.
- Always presume that the person reading your essay is already familiar with the program (because they are – they are literally on the admissions committee).
- When mentioning any unique features of the program that draw you to it, make sure to relate it back to yourself somehow, such as in the second example above where the applicant says that the online modality will allow them to continue in their current job or what the curriculum will allow them to do.
If you are interested in the MCIT program or another master program in computer science, you can check out my book, Crafting a Winning MCIT Personal Statement: A Systematic and Proven Way to Boost Your Odds of Getting Accepted Into an Ivy League Graduate Program.
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If you are still uncertain how to prepare your personal statement. Simply give us a ring or contact us today to book an initial meeting with David!
About The Edge
Established in 2008, The Edge Learning Center has grown into a premier one-stop provider of educational services for Grade 7 through Grade 12, targeting students who intend to pursue overseas education. Our three departments – Academic Tutoring, Test Preparation, and Admissions Consulting – offer a broad range of educational services spanning from SAT and IB Test Prep to colleges and boarding schools application counseling. The Edge Learning Center operates in multiple regions including Hong Kong, China, and Vietnam.