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Thursday 22-Sep-2016
如何寫好Personal Statement?

收到讀者PM問我「Samuel哥哥我想問下點寫好一份Personal Statement?」我好開心,因為你叫我做哥哥。嘩,三十歲都嚟緊仲有人叫我哥哥喎!某位網上著名英文教師同我差唔多大,都係落得「叔叔」的下場……所以好開心,決定打篇文同大家開心分享下我寫Personal Statement的心得。

Personal Statement是一篇寫給大學的文章,用以persuade大學取錄自己。某程度上和搵工用的Cover Letter有點相似。不同的是英國UCAS一份Personal Statement 報五間大學,所以文章要寫得夠general之餘亦要夠中點,務求一擊即中。以下有數點注意事項,大家可以留意返。


1.Ask yourself why?

Personal Statement 是一個告訴大學「點解你要收我」的機會,所以學生也應該以「點解大學要收我?」的mindset去組織文章。問問題永遠是最好的方向開始。以工程學為例:「點解我想讀工程?」「點解工程適合我?」「點解工程要收我?」這些問題會引申出其他重點,如學生個人性格、未來理想和抱負、個人專長和能力、事業路向等。而這些論述,也正正是大學想知道,想了解你的。


2.選材

學生可將Personal Statement幻想成一篇推銷自己長處的文章。或者你多才多藝,識彈琴古箏打rugby釣魚,但真正落筆寫的,就最好寫些相關的。例如想考入數學科,就寫自己參加過奧數比賽,或者組裝機械人比賽等。大學知道你作文好叻或者書法寫得好靚,幫助未必大,尤其在有字數限制的Personal Statement就更要有所取捨。舉個例,一家餐廳有賣A5和牛和西班牙黑毛豬,但都不會將其放在主打的魚生刺身飯上面,因為唔夾。


3.言簡意精

說起字數限制,學生應當注意Personal Statement的行文組職,要夠言簡意精,字字珠機。盡量避免使用過於冗長的句式,宜將重點放大來寫,相關卻而卻不太重要的事項則稍有提及便可。適當時候可以稍為玩弄一下文筆,但切忌過份賣弄而弄巧成拙。記得一年前我見過一份Cover Letter,求職者將自己比喻為一把「會學習的瑞士刀」,指自己未必是每方面都最好,但往往gets the job done,甚至會自己學新野。是否好比喻見人見志,但肯定是nice touch,因為我依家仲記得。


4.英文文法

雖說可以適當地用以文筆和書寫技巧點睛,但大原則仍然是文法要正確,千萬不要未學行先學走。畢竟Personal Statement是正式、formal的文體,讀者也是大學的人,所以英文正確,可謂成為大學生的基本條件。記得要多次proofread,搣甩「Although...but」、「I’m」等常見文法問題,再做spell check確保萬無一失,否則,若連英文都寫錯,就真的貽笑大方。

以上種種,都是寫Personal Statement的必要注意事項,還有更深入的,例如如何鋪排文章,先寫哪後寫哪較能引人入勝,則有機會再詳談。最後給各位一個小貼士,寫好Personal Statement後不要怕醜,最好瘋狂send給朋友老師,請他們幫手批改。旁觀者清,他們總能看出文章有何好壞,對你入大學也好、寫文章也好,都是百利而無一害。


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Samuel Chan, the winner of Alumni Awards 2017, is the founder of Britannia. He had studied in the UK since the age of 9 for 15 years and achieved his master degree in International Political Economy at University of Warwick. Now he shares his experiences and professional advice in education columns in Hong Kong’s major newspapers.

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