How can I write about research/passion projects in my personal statement? I have been a research intern in a medical lab and I have done a personal project (passion project) that relates health, sociology, and COVID-19. What mistakes should I avoid? If the college I apply to has a supplemental section for research how do I avoid sounding redundant by also mentioning it in my personal statement?
This is a good question.
Students who created a passion project are usually clueless where and how to include it. According to most college admission coach that I have talked to (and books I have read), it is usually better to talk about it in your personal statement.
However, let's get straight to the point and answer your question, you can write about your passion project using the usual essay format. I recommend creating and outline, and dividing subtopics per paragraph. Example:
II. Body, First Paragraph - Beginning of your story
III. Body, Second Paragraph - Dilemmas you encountered
IV. Body, Third Paragraph - Changing the status quo
V. Body, Fourth Paragraph - Realizations and reflection upon taking a course of action
It is best to use a narrative style when writing your personal statement about your passion project. However, the most important thing is you know your WHY because this is what the admission officers want to see. What problem did you encounter? What passion project did you do? Why did you pursue it? Why did it matter to you?
I recommend starting from the beginning of your journey, the point before you come up with a passion project of your choice. Let that passion project be the climax part of your essay. In this essay, show the warmth of your personality and don't just make it smart. Colleges want students who have an objective, and are passionate in making a difference.
For general tips:
1. Do not reiterate all your ECs on your essay, only your passion project and another one if you want. The essay part of your application should be the most exciting part - so don't make it dull by saying stuff that are already in the Common App form.
2. Use anecdotes, and avoid claims. People can say they are passionate about this and that, but those aren't interesting if it don't come with meaningful stories. Anecdote is your friend.
3. Make it personal, and be vulnerable. Your essay must contain the warm factor, something that touches the heart of the admission officers. Sounds cheezy? Well, let me tell you that this is one way to stand-out. Everyone can be smart, but only a few has a heart for service and making a difference. Moreover, expose a bit of your life in the essay. Share what makes you cry, if necessary, or what makes you excited. What makes you ecstatic to begin your day?
4. If you are interested to multiple stuff and you want to talk about it, make sure to find their relevance to each other. Try to build the relationship between sociology, health, and COVID-19. How are those related to your medical internship? An interest in interdisciplinary stuff could leave a good impression.
5. Lastly, I advise talking about passion project in the personal statement only. For supplemental essays, research about colleges and what makes you excited to attend their campus (that's usually a prompt to answer). Supplemental essays are the ones that will determine how well do you know the colleges, and how eager you are to attend them - so this is not the perfect place for passion project anymore. If ever that you can add or insert your passion project, feel free to mention it, but to a minimum extent only. Don't talk about it all over again.
That's all, and good luck!
Just state your research, don’t write an essay about it. State where you did your research and what you researched.
I believe you can also add this in the interests/EC section.
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