The College of Arts and Sciences (AS) is the largest of Cornell’s undergraduate colleges, and also contains the widest range of majors, from Africana Studies to Statistical Science to Philosophy to Astronomy. Unlike the other colleges at Cornell, there’s no common thread running through AS. For that reason, it’s especially important that your supplement be as detailed and specific as possible to the field of study you wish to pursue. Bring in examples of how your experiences throughout high school led you to your desired major.
For example, if you want to major in computer science, try writing the essay about the apps you’ve developed or the meticulous manner in which you organize sections of code. When explaining your interest in government, don’t try to connect your experiences in model congress to something completely unrelated, like art history — maximize your message by focusing specifically on what’s relevant to the field of study. If you aren’t yet positive about a major, take advantage of the opportunity to explain what you’re considering through your “intellectual interests.”
In transitioning between the two parts of the prompt, illustrate why specifically you chose the major you did. This provides a logical pathway from your interests to why you wish to study at Cornell. Try to isolate a specific moment in your life, or a series of moments, that made you absolutely certain that you wanted to devote your education and career to this particular course of study.
An uncommon example could be: You went on a trip to the Middle East, participated in an archeological dig, and discovered a piece of ancient Roman pottery that was determined to have been used by Constantine in the fourth century. Ever since, you’ve strived to pursue a career in archaeology, so you can continue making connections with lost civilizations. Don’t feel intimidated if you haven’t done anything “crazy,” either. As long as the experience is important to you — that’s all that matters. The ultimate goal is to humanize yourself in the eyes of the admissions staff.
The second part of the prompt asks, “Why Arts and Sciences?” Make sure to provide concrete examples of courses, concentrations, clubs, and/or research opportunities that have drawn you to AS. That being said, be careful not to appear as though you’re just quoting the website: elaborate on how each of the examples you provide will be meaningful to you and help you advance your academic interests and goals! Also, try to avoid dropping names of professors, unless you’ve had personal contact with them. Instead, refer to the course they teach or the research they’re doing.
Sample Personal Statement for Communications Studies
There are two divergent views concerning the prospect of Chinese media development— whether an exciting future or a downturn as a result of unregulated disorder. To what extent is each of those contentions justified? My 2-month summer internship from July to August in 2004 at XX has allowed me to gain insight into the complex reality of the country’s media community. Although in appearance China’s media market is booming and making big money, there are inherent crises. Apart from the political control imposed on the media, Chinese media workers suffer from a conservative ideology, backward technology and shortsightedness resulting from the false boom. This is largely related to their lack of international experiences and perspectives. My present application for a Master’s programme in Communications Studies at your esteemed university stems precisely from the motivation to develop the kind of international experiences and perspectives that most Chinese media professionals lack.
My internship at XX has been significant. Apart from gaining a realistic picture of China’s media world, I did experience tremendous improvement in my practical media skills. The channel is primarily targeted at the audience in the national capital, but it has important ramifications over the entire country. The show “XX” where I worked has created a standard in the field. During my internship, I performed such duties as interviewing and editing of programmes under the guidance of the programme director, from whom I learned important experiences of collecting materials and producing programmes. It constituted my very first experience of standard media work, although I used to work at our university’s broadcasting station. Both of those experiences have helped to motivate me toward a possible career in media.
As a student of English, I have developed a strong interest in media. This development seems inevitable on two accounts. There is first the longtime influence of my mother who used to be a journalist and is now a senior editor. Another factor is my character. I have known to other as lively, energetic, sociable, and communicative. As a child, I practiced playing piano and also practiced dancing of China’s minorities for more than five years. Those artistic talents made me a leader in extracurricular activities. By actively participating in those activities, I learned how to plan, manage and launch major events. Since September 2002, one year after I began my undergraduate programme at the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Institute of XX, I have been acting as art and entertainment representative of the class, the director of Art and Entertainment Department of the School’s Students Union, and vice chair of the University Students Union. In my various positions, I masterminded and launched a series of important events and served as anchorwoman. Those events include the university’s annual large-scale performance in commemoration of the December 19 Incident from 2001 to 2003, freshmen receptions and summer evenings in 2002 and 2003.
In executing my extracurricular duties, I have seen how I can use my talents to fulfill public responsibilities and how to interact with different sorts of people. But my sense of achievement also comes from many other aspects, more or less related to media. In May 2002, I acted as planner and English hostess of the English Talents Contest of XX, which was part of the 3rd Nationwide English Talents Show sponsored and televised by XX. Both my English proficiency and oral eloquence were highly recognized by my teachers and fellow students. In Nov. 2003, I was responsible for directing a short English play “Lucky 250” which won first prize at the university’s first Short Play Competition. Our play later entered the XX Competition and claimed a third prize. Around the summer vacation in June and July this year, I interned at XX Art and Culture Development Co. Ltd and my duties included translating documents, business proposals, correspondences, and manuals and participating in corporate planning. As the company’s line of business is brokering art performances between China and other countries, I learned important knowledge about intercultural communications.
Learning English as my major has allowed me to have important experiences of the cultures of the English-speaking countries. I used to be a volunteer who showed a group of British and American teachers working in China around the city of XX. While familiarizing them with the Chinese culture, I learned about their own cultures. As sophomore and junior, I took part in many exchange programmes with international students studying in XX, among whom were students from the UK, Canada and America. I believe that this cultural knowledge will be useful to my prospective studies in Communications Studies because your programme is best understood in a cultural context.
In carrying out the studies in my own specialty, I have been most interested in the courses related to English and American literature. In addition to providing a historical framework of English and American literature, our teachers have offered in-depth analyses of major literary movements and their representative authors, and I have developed a relatively comprehensive knowledge of the novelists, playwrights and poets and their individual works in the great literary traditions of those two English-speaking countries. The study of English and American literature has produced a two-fold significance for me. Achieving over 80 points (as in a 100-point grading system) in the last two examinations, I have remarkably enhanced my aesthetic sensitivity and knowledge of the creative process of literature. On the other hand, my study of English and American literature has presented me the best channel for improving my English proficiency, especially in reading and writing. As a student of English, I have also make conscious efforts to improve my proficiency in listening and speaking by practicing with teachers and students from the English-speaking countries on our campus. Compared with other Chinese students who apply for a programme in Communications Studies, I have a much stronger background in English language, which constitutes my unique strength. Moreover, I submitted an article to a writing competition under the name of XX on Campus and claimed an Excellence Award.
I am especially proud of the fact that my active involvements in extracurricular events, while promoting my personal development in an all-round manner, have not in the least hampered me from attaining my academic excellence. I have developed useful knowledge and skills in areas other than our own specialty, which many of my fellow students do not possess. On the other hand, although our teachers have been invariably strict in their grading, I have maintained a top 10 academic ranking in my class consecutively, winning third-class scholarship in the 2002-2003 academic year.
When I first chose to major in English, the choice was made out of my admiration of English and western culture. Now, as my interest shifts to communications, I am equally excited over my new choice. XX University has achieved rapid ascendancy in academic ranking among all the UK universities over the past decade and its Institute of Communications Studies is one of the largest departments of its kind in British universities. The postgraduate programme offered covers six schemes, some of which is taught in association with BBC. Establishing the Center for Television Research as early as 1963, XX University was one of the first to undertake the study of communications as an academic discipline. I chose your programme because I am eager to learn advanced knowledge of this discipline. My study plan is that, on the basis of the books on communications I have self-studied, I will choose a comprehensive spectrum of core courses as well as many optional courses. Having mastered the basic theories and methodologies, I would concentrate on mass media and society, with emphasis on political communications, Art Communications, and communications and international affairs. My dissertation will focus on one of those aspects, which will bear importantly on China’s existing media and communications practice.
Mass media is essentially about interaction and communication. As China gradually opens its media market to foreign enterprises, radical changes are bound to take place. My prospective programme will be part of that Sino-UK interaction and communication. I envision myself in the near future as working either in a leading Chinese media enterprise which operates jointly with a western partner or in a western media organization operating in China. Therefore, my present application for your programme will play a vital role in my future career development.