Applying to Be a Mandela Washington Fellow: How to Write a Personal Statement
As the deadline for the Mandela Washington Fellowship approaches, we encourage you to look closely at your personal statement to ensure you are putting your best foot forward. Find below some information provided on the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) website on how to write your personal development as you apply to the program.
Writing a Personal Statement
When you apply for the Mandela Washington Fellowship, you will submit a personal statement and other essays to introduce yourself to the selection panel. In this part of your application, you can highlight what you want reviewers to know about you.
In any personal essay, it is important to catch the reader’s attention with an original, honest statement. When space is limited, it is important to compose a concise answer that highlights the work you are most proud of. Make sure you are responding directly to the question being asked and including examples or anecdotes if relevant.
Here are a few tips to help you write strong personal statements for your application:
- Do not procrastinate! Start preparing your essays. It is easy to underestimate the time and difficulty involved in developing your answers.
- Remember, the written application is the only information the selection panel will have when deciding the candidates who will progress to the interview stage. Do not assume the reviewers know anything about you or the topics you are writing about.
- Reviewers will be reading a lot of applications. Stand out in the crowd by making your responses interesting! One way to do this is to begin your statement with an attention-grabber such as a quote or a story.
- Provide concrete examples that pertain to your life, work, goals and experiences.
- Be concise — do not use a lot of unnecessary words.
- Check for spelling, grammar and punctuation mistakes.
- Make sure your ideas are coherent throughout the essay. The person reading your essay needs to understand how your thoughts fit together.
You may also be interested in How to Build Your Resume. With these, you are good to go!