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WRITE A WINNING STATEMENT OF PURPOSE  

by Girija Naiksatam


Most colleges require students these days to write a statement of purpose and also a personal essay. Writing these with a sharp focus is a must.

Goal: The crux of the statement of purpose is the goal. The University needs to know what it is that you are looking to get out of the course and why you think that this particular university alone will help you achieve it. Remember, there are thousands of other applicants to this course and the University will only have those who're desperate enough to make the most of it.

Making the most of the course: Essentially your SOP should convey to the University why and how you intend to make the most of the course, its offerings and learning. So make sure you have a thorough look at all the papers the course offers and enunciate how each of them are going to further your learning or help you make a difference once you're out on the field.

The ARSE factor: The University needs to know about your Accomplishments, Responsibilities, Skills and Experience so that they have a clearer idea about who you are, where you come from and most importantly what you are contributing and bringing to the table. Universities would rather opt for students who can share ideas and information rather than just those who are intent on taking back.

Size matters: Yours isn't the only SOP that the selection body has to scan so even if you have a hundred valid reasons why you should get into the University, select only the strongest top five and harp on those. Your SOP needs to be a quick and convincing read so remember that brevity is a key aspect here.

Once you're done writing your SOP, you can pass it around to your friends or family and ask them if it's convincing enough. Keep in mind that this is the first impression the University has about you so be honest, logical and persuasive. If you honestly believe that you should get into the University, no matter how big, your SOP will really not be that difficult to write.
 

BECOME A CLASS ROOM STAR 


There will always be that one student in class whoís getting the best grades, winning the sports trophy and the elocution competition every year, and whose name is always on every teachers tongue.

Here is how you could become that student:

1. Get over your fear
What is it that you fear? Is it looking silly in front of your classmates or your teachers? Or about blurting out the wrong answer? Remember that anyone could be in your position and that everyone in your classroom is there to learn- through their own mistakes, or someone elseís.

2. Find your star subject
Each one of us has personal favorites when it comes to studies; for some it may be literature while for others it could be geometry. While you will automatically tend to concentrate more on the subjects you like, make sure you work hard at the oneís you find difficult. At the same time, donít let the strenuous hours of hard work dampen your enthusiasm. Play on your strengths and work on overcoming your weaknesses.

3. Understand that teachers donít judge
Your teachers are there to teach you. They donít laugh, judge, pass comments or hold grudges when you go wrong. Therefore, feel free to ask questions and clarifications if youíre confused about something. They will be more than glad to help. For all you know, you may be echoing the doubts of half your classmates.

4. Be proactive!
An important part of being a star student is that of being proactive in the class room. Take responsibility for simple things like collecting homework assignments or being the class representative. When you have a lot of responsibilities, theyíll keep you on your toes and put you on top of the teachers and students A list!

5. Give your 100%
Juggling homework, football practice, piano classes and exams can be quite demanding. Stay a step ahead of everyone else and excel at all you do by giving it your 100%. Play like itís the last time youíll ever kick a ball, concentrate on your studies as though there were an exam the next day. No matter what you do, do it to your full capacity and become a true all rounder.

Remember, stardom comes at a cost!

 

BEAT PROCRASTINATION!


Never do today what you can put off for tomorrow. Better yet, never put off till tomorrow what you can avoid altogether!

This is exactly how procrastinators think. They put off work until the deadline creeps up on them and panic strikes. And with panic comes depression. Then they start avoiding reality. So the best bet is to tackle procrastination at the earliest. Here is how:
 
1. Break large projects into smaller tasks: If you've ever been shopping in a large mall with stores far apart from each other, you'll find you've walked quite a long distance in totality although you didn't realise it at the time. When you keep stopping at stores, your long walk is broken up into chunks and doesn't seem that much. This psychological trick can help us beat procrastination. Break large projects up into smaller tasks. For example, doing your science project can be broken up into: decide on a topic, pick up the necessary equipment, organize your thoughts, start execution, provide finishing touches. It won't seem nearly so burdensome if you take it one step at a time.
2. Get organized: Make lists, put reminders and get yourself an organizer. Do whatever works for you. But just keep it simple or you will even avoid following the planned plot.
3. Get your priorities clear: You can prioritise by deadline or by importance. For example, doing your English homework due for submission the next day is more important than practicing your guitar!
4.

Slot reward time: As you go through your chores, other interesting activities may entice you. You will be able to concentrate again only if you know that you will be indulging in them soon. Promise yourself that you will accomplish your goals today because tomorrow you can reward yourself by reading that novel and watching Jodha Akbar too!

5. Use a calendar: Get a calendar and write tasks that need to be accomplished on specific dates along with their deadlines for completion. Stick to these deadlines.

The idea is to get all you want done well in time. In a bid to achieve this, if you have to change your expectations a little, so be it. But don't procrastinate.
 

MUST-KNOWS FOR CAMPUS PLACEMENT INTERVIEWS


Campus placement interviews are the key to getting your career started on the right foot. The secret lies in giving out the right vibes and saying the right things at the right time.

Display a learner's attitude: The 'I know it all' attitude is not going to impress any employer. Considering campus interviewees are freshers, employers will be more impressed by hearing something like, "I know the basics and I am willing to learn the rest". Show that you will mould yourself to their company and not vice versa.

Don't be full of yourself: Arrogance and narcissism have no place in a campus placement interview. Do not brag about your qualities but rather subtly display them before the placement jury in the way you respond to their queries.

Do your homework: Knowing about the company's history and key achievements shows your interviewer just how much effort you are willing to put in. Read up about your prospective employer/s on their website and keep yourself updated on any new developments there.

Be articulate and confident: Speaking too much won't make a good impression, but neither will not speaking enough. The trick lies in answering the questions articulately, clearly, providing only as much information as needed, with oodles of confidence.

Dress appropriately: Whimsical fashion statements have no place at a corporate interview while you may be more creative in your attire (though still on the conservative side) if applying for a job in a creative field. Girls must absolutely stay away from skimpy clothes. Keep the overall look elegant and dripping of professionalism.
 

BACK TO SCHOOL TIPS!

Getting back to school after the long, lazy summer vacations can be a real pain. Especially since the monsoons are on and traveling to school is a wet and irritating process! Many students find it tough to get back into the school groove after the break.

First of all, donít expect too much of yourself. You will certainly find it hard to focus on studies from the very first day, and forcing yourself to do so will only make it harder to overcome the shift in lifestyle. Give yourself time to ease into the process and it should be easier for you.

After a while, your teachers and parents will surely expect you to start getting serious about exams and studies. You will need to do this, so do start the process early. Instead of waiting until the week before exams to study, and letting the transition drag on, start getting serious about school work after the first two weeks or so. Begin with becoming regular with your homework. Once you get used to doing a little work everyday, start studying for your exams. Remember, exams always come sooner than you think!

Finally, at some point, leave yourself no choices. Simply do not indulge yourself and let yourself laze around or daydream about your vacations when in class. Force yourself to cut down on recreation time and focus on work, so that you arenít under excessive pressure when exams come around.

Planning and a little self discipline will help you be a Grade A student!

 
MAINTAIN YOUR NOTEBOOKS IN IMPECCABLE CONDITION

The maintenance of your notebooks and presentation of your notes plays as important a role as their contents in impressing instructors. Teachers often have to check notebooks hundreds of notebooks every day, and so standing out through presentation becomes extremely important. Here are five tips that are sure to help you master the much-desired art of impeccable maintenance and presentation:

1. Cover your notebooks with brown paper and plastic sheets

Notebooks are an invaluable record of successful strategies and reflective summaries. Hence, it becomes important to preserve them. Cover them to maintain them in a premium state. If you can laminate your notebooks then nothing like it. Laminating over the brown paper helps in making the notebooks waterproof.

2. Always keep your notes complete
If you miss a class, ensure that you take notes from a batch mate at the earliest. Maintaining continuity of your notes is essential. Incomplete notes will bother you when you study for the exams and will also irritate your instructor.

3. Use a good pen
A ballpoint pen or a thin, smooth nib fountain or a pilot pen is preferable. A good pen ensures that your writing is uniform, continuous and flawless. Be careful not to let the ink blot in case of fountain pens.

4. Avoid scribbling and over writing
Scribbling, cutting and then writing and over writing Ė all these make notebooks look untidy and unimpressive. The first rule for impressive and well-maintained notebooks is to be extremely careful while writing so that you donít have to scribble, cut and overwrite. If you have by chance written something wrong and you have to scratch it out, just strike the unwanted words with a single stroke and move on.

5. Underline and highlight essential matter
No teacher/instructor these days has the time to read through your entire mass of notes. If you underline the important points and highlight the summary, they are bound to take notice and get impressed. Also, this format is helpful during exams as it accelerates revision. Ensure that these underlined points are apt and correct and that the highlighted matter is well written.

A well-maintained notebook is a key to success so you should treat its maintenance as your priority. This will be your first step to academic success. All the best!

 


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