I'm still trying to work on blogging more actively on here, but I've realised that I'm only really that motivated if I have a purpose/goal when blogging. In this case, I just thought I would offer some tips on trying to write an appeal "essay" of sorts, if you get rejected on your first try by the big three (local universities): NUS/NTU/SMU.
I've recently started school at NUS FASS, which is a dream faculty of mine to be in, since I've always been more interested in the Arts/Humanities/Social Sciences-- and many of my lecturers/advisors back in poly have always recommended NUS' regime for such type of uni education.
So, a little background: I graduated from Ngee Ann Polytechnic's Mass Communication (MCM) earlier this year, and was awarded with Diploma with Merit upon graduation. I won't be revealing my cumulative final GPA on here, but if you're really interested in it, do ask me personally if you're a poly student who is concerned over your standing/chances on getting into NUS FASS as well. :)
Obviously, my GPA wasn't outstanding *enough* to be admitted into NUS FASS on my first try (otherwise I wouldn't be making this post to offer tips on appeal essays), but I do also think that local universities tend to give priority to the JC students, thus in the first round they may have allocated more spaces to JC kids, and in the second round they may have realised they've more space than they thought they would've (due to people freeing up their spots and choosing other unis etc)! I've been frequenting forums and realised that this year's A levels results have been said to be verrry outstanding, much more so than the previous years, so I was paranoid for a bit. NUS FASS sent out rejection emails to plenty of people (including JC students) quite early on in the application process-- I think from early May onwards! So a lot of people were worried that the standards were upp-ed quite a bit this year (2016).
However, towards end May/early June, NUS FASS started retracting a lot of those rejection emails and sent acceptance emails out to those they rejected before instead. So perhaps the available spaces > demand, and people were much more interested in other faculties this year. It all varies from year to year, so this is just the pattern I noticed for this year!
Unfortunately for me, and another friend of mine (from NP MCM as well), we didn't get "retraction of rejection" letters. (I had the slightest inkling it's 'cause we were poly kids...) But since our GPAs were within the range of NUS FASS' 2015/2016 intake, we still went ahead to appeal anyway in the second round.
I understand that different universities have different appeal essay word limits, and NTU's one is much shorter than NUS's, so perhaps this may not be as applicable for NTU kids! (by the way, I also had an offer for NTU Sociology which I was prepared to take up in the end if I did not get my NUS FASS placing.)
I also understand a lot of people's strategy is to keep their appeal essays short and simple, and to just request for an interview in their appeal essay, but frankly (in my opinion) that's a waste of one extra sentence and space. If they're keen on you, they will ask you for an interview of their own accord. You don't have to "show your initiative" in a way and use a sentence to *have* to request for it. Use the space given to you wisely and maximise every inch of it to "show off" your credentials.
This is my appeal essay:
Having graduated with a Diploma with Merit from Mass Communication, I have always had a great passion for writing and designing. My fondness for mass media in secondary school translated into an award for topping my school cohort for GCE O Level subject 'Media Studies'. With internship experience from multi-national media group Dentsu Aegis Network under my belt, I assumed the role as a media planner and worked with clients such as Resorts World Sentosa and National Heritage Board for many of their advertising campaigns. If given a chance to enter FASS, I intend to read Sociology. In today's rapidly changing society, I believe a sociological perspective and strong data literacy will further equip me for a career in the media industry. Studying at FASS will provide me with a comprehensive education unattainable elsewhere. I am confident that I have the aptitude and drive necessary to strive in FASS' environment and would greatly appreciate an opportunity to study in FASS.
What I did basically was to highlight:- My passion for [particular subject]. In this case: media (supported and evidenced by an award for topping my cohort)
- The merit I graduated with in poly (my previous education institution)
- The merit I graduated with in poly (my previous education institution)
- Internship experience (very valuable!) + highlighted the clients of government associations like RWS, NHB etc that I thought would be appropriate for NUS' attention
- What I intend to read in NUS, and why. This shows you already have good head on your shoulders and a goal in mind! You're not just wandering into the faculty with no idea what you're doing. (Even if you really have no idea what you're doing, wayang a bit la. I'm also not 100% sure on Soci being my major, but I can say my interest in it is pretty high. So if you don't have a major you're set on yet, try to zoom in on a major that perks your interest, and give credible reasons for your interest in it. Chances are, it makes you look like you really know what you're doing and not some ~wishy-washy~ individual etc)
- Also, it'd be great if you already had a career goal in mind. To be honest, I'm also not 100% sure I will venture into the media industry after graduating from uni (because who can be 100% sure of everything in their life, right?) But showing that you have well-thought out a pathway for yourself in life, have goals and am seeking to achieve it, really speaks a lot about you in the little space you're allocated to write your appeal essay. :)
- Try to say that you're confident of being able to cope with NUS' environment as well, since I think they want to see you're really keen on education to have the drive to cope with it.
Disclaimer: I don't think my appeal essay is 100% bulletproof, and I don't think it's the BEST appeal essay out there. Perhaps it didn't even factor in much when it came to my admission and maybe there was just nice an empty slot for me in the second round, lol. But still, when it comes down to you and another person with the very same GPA fighting for that one last spot, they'll give it to someone they have more confidence in excelling in their uni education, right? :) So don't take your chances hor! Do put in effort in your essay! But also at the end of the day, your grades do still matter and are the uni's first priority la. But luck also plays a small part in it lol (see if your cohort in that year has a huge arts/social science demand or not!).
By the way, I was offered admission without needing an interview (as was my friend who appealed in the second round too!).
So if you feel that you are well within the range of NUS FASS (or any other faculty)'s IGP, and just need the *extra push* which is your appeal essay for the profs at NUS to grant you admission, then I do hope these tips help you at least a bit in trying to craft an appeal essay!
I wanted to do this post because I frantically googled tips on trying to craft appeal essays when applying for local universities, but there are really only quite few posts out there. I know how nerve-wrecking this whole process is, don't worry!
Also don't worry about your GPA-- it doesn't necessarily have to HIT the 10th percentile of the uni's IGP for them to consider you. As long as your GPA is 0.03+/- of the 10th percentile, give or take, I'd say you stand a chance of getting in. :) Of course this is for the verrry borderline cases la, like for e.g. if you're a 3.71 and the IGP is 3.74 for 10th percentile, I'd say you still stand a chance! Just try appealing! In the first round of uni offers being sent out, many people would have freed up their spots in your ideal uni, by choosing another uni instead. I'm pretty sure everyone will have applied to three, if not TWO, universities at the very least. So, in the next round, there will definitely be emptied spots for people like us who just need an extra push to get into our ideal universities.
Don't give up hope on your dream universities!
If anyone needs help with anything, do let me know :D