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Graduate   Posts: 5

Advice Needed: Letter of Intent for Public Administration (MPA) admission


Kaella 1 / 4  
Jul 2, 2009   #1
Will you please review the current draft of my letter of intent for admission into a Master of Public Administration program? Here is the prompt: "Letter of Intent: In two pages or less, explain why you are seeking an MPA degree, and why from KSU"

"MPA Letter of Intent

Nearing the end of my undergraduate career, I attended a presentation given by Invisible Children, a nonprofit agency that has grown over the course of a few years into an internationally supported group that organizes thousands of volunteers. This presentation had a profound influence on my life. I was inspired by Invisible Children's success, which I believe strongly correlates to the passion and love its employees have for their work. I discovered my own passion for the nonprofit sector that day and subsequently began to explore new educational and career possibilities. This led me to an interest in a Master of Public Administration program.

My mother is an employee of KSU, making it an admittedly obvious choice for my graduate education. However, it is K's commitment to providing access to graduate education, via the web based MPA program, that truly makes the pursuit of a Master of Public Administration degree a viable option for me. The program's National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration accreditation is also a factor of great importance in my decision to apply to KSU. I want to be proud of any degree that I earn and know I have completed a program that is true to the standards of the discipline. It is this combination of K's dedication to education, unique MPA program, and national accreditation that have brought me to believe that my zeal for a field in which I can work with purpose and foster positive change can be channeled into a Master of Public Administration degree with KSU. I realize that the Public Administration program does not focus solely on the nonprofit sector, but I am confident that all the courses have relevant applications to work in the field.

I already have a great deal of experience with nonprofit organizations, through volunteering, holding leadership positions in local chapters of national nonprofit organizations, and participating in nonprofit courses and student organizations based on nonprofit management. Serving as the Vice President of University Affairs for the Student Government Association at my previous institution, I observed how a nonprofit status works in a higher education setting. I worked in teams dedicated to recruitment and fundraising for the Theta Upsilon chapter of Alpha Xi Delta (for which I served as Vice President of Public Relations), my university's chapter of American Humanics, Invisible Children's Rescue event, the National Catholic Student Coalition. I also participated in philanthropy events for The Rich Center for Autism and Potential Development Program.

Upon completion of graduate study, I hope to pursue a career with a nonprofit agency in the xxx, xx area. There are many remarkable educational, charitable, and other such nonprofit organizations in the area, of which I would be proud to be a member. With K's ninety-five percent placement rate, I am confident I would have the education and skills necessary to attain a management level position in one of these organizations. I aspire to utilize the information and abilities that are learned through K's MPA program to grow and enhance each facet of a nonprofit agency, furthering their work by introducing new ideas and programs. I look forward to the culmination of KSU's MPA program, leading into a genuinely rewarding career."
EF_Simone 2 / 1,994  
Jul 3, 2009   #2
Is there some good reason you don't specify which non-profit gave the presentation that so moved you? Your introduction seems evasively vague due to that omission. Also, I notice that you say you want to work in the non-profit realm in a particular region but do not say in what realm. Housing? Health care? Services for LGBT teens? What's your passion? Other than being vaguely inspired by an unnamed non-profit, why do you want to go into this line of work?
OP Kaella 1 / 4  
Jul 4, 2009   #3
There was no good reason for leaving out the inspirational nonprofit. I have changed that. As for what line of work, I do not feel that I can answer that more specifically. I am basically interested in finding a job that I feel helps other people and makes a difference in the world. I'm not too picky as to whether that will be through housing, health care, education, or any other such field. Perhaps I could explain that better in my essay? I'm just stuck on how.

I also got feedback from a family member who feels that I try to write too complex of sentences ("too many commas") and it is confusing. If I could get some feedback here on that too, I would appreciate it.
EF_Simone 2 / 1,994  
Jul 4, 2009   #4
I am basically interested in finding a job that I feel helps other people and makes a difference in the world. I'm not too picky as to whether that will be through housing, health care, education, or any other such field.

Say that, although more formally. Within non-profit circles (or, at least, within progressive non-profit circles), there is an increasing tendency to see how seemingly different problems -- housing, health care, etc. -- are ecologically related to one another. From that view, whichever problem you work on, you are helping with all of them. If this reflects your own view, certainly say so, as that will probably help you.

I also got feedback from a family member who feels that I try to write too complex of sentences ("too many commas") and it is confusing. If I could get some feedback here on that too, I would appreciate it.

Look at this sentence:However, it is K's commitment to providing access to graduate education, via the web based MPA program, that truly makes the pursuit of a Master of Public Administration degree a viable option for me.See how, by making it passive, you not only weakened it, but also added words and commas? Instead, say:However, it is K's commitment to providing access to graduate education [omit comma] via the web based MPA program [omit comma] that truly makes the pursuit of a Master of Public Administration degree a viable option for me.
EF_Sean 6 / 3,507  
Jul 4, 2009   #5
I am basically interested in finding a job that I feel helps other people and makes a difference in the world.

Don't say that. It is far too vague to be of use. You could as easily want to work as a volunteer garbage collector as anything else, with that sort of sentiment. (My city is in the middle of a garbage strike, so believe me, in such a role you would be helping others and making a difference). Say what Simone said instead, which is actually quite different and much more interesting. Or, choose the area of non-profit work that seems most interesting to you at the moment and write about how you'd like to do that -- this letter isn't a binding contract, so you can always change your mind later if you find yourself growing more passionate about a different area of non-profit work.

At the moment, you clearly state how you became interested in non-profit work, and offer substantial proof of your interest in such work through your list of non-profit related activities. What you don't do is explain why non-profit work appeals. Why not find work as a police officer or firefighter, which would pay well, have good benefits, and still involve helping others and making a difference? Or go into politics? Or do any one of a hundred other things that would fit your description of what you want to do while still allowing you to pursue financial success? Why do you want to make a difference through non-profit, in other words? If you can answer this question, your essay will become much stronger.



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