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Masters of Public Policy Letter of Motivation. Relating Peace Corps Dev. work to public policy.


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Feb 5, 2015   #1
"Letter of motivation explaining your specific interest in the MPP program at XXX, and how it relates to your professional aspirations. Letter should be 500 to 800 words"

I'm having trouble narrowing this down and sharpening it. Any help would be greatly appreciated. This is my 10th iteration and I am anxious to finalize this and send it off.

I am applying to your Public Policy Master program with a focus on Developing Economies and Non-Profit Management starting in Fall 2015. My career ambition is to become a policy consultant for Non-Government Organizations working for social justice. With my strong academic history, distinctive real world experience and commitment to public service I know I will make an excellent addition to your program.

I came to understand the meaning of dedication to public service in the twenty-fifth month of my United States Peace Corps service in rural African Country X. Despite the endless mosquitos and deep, inescapable mud of the rainy season, I extended my commitment to complete a large water system and a primary school that I helped my community conceive of, manage, and build.

Over the previous two years I worked to assess the needs of the small village of XX and help them devise practical solutions that would have a meaningful and sustainable impact on their lives. This required a great amount of creativity and flexibility. Despite a steep learning curve I accomplished what I had set out to do. In thanks, my community appointed me as their Chief of Development, XAfrican Chief NameX - an honor that I cherish.

My development work in Africa taught me invaluable real-world lessons about management, leadership, and cultural openness. To gain the confidence of locals I became fluent in X language and learned how to live as a XX. I ethically managed several grants worth tens of thousands of dollars. I negotiated terms for projects with local government executives, non-government organizations (NGOs), and community groups; like when I convinced the local district assembly to provide the equipment, personnel, and transportation for an open-air market malaria outreach campaign. I worked within NGOs to carry out numerous projects. For instance, while working for the XXX Project of XXX University, I reached over 300,000 people with a ten-week radio program promoting the prevention of malaria.

I am applying to XXX to strengthen my understanding of development economics, poverty and inequality in the globalized economy, and NGO management so I can work in the fields in which I have the most passion: advocating for social justice in human, economic and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights. As a proud gay man I have been involved in many LGBT organizations-advocacy for transgender and gay rights is personally important to me.

In my studies at the esteemed, alternative liberal arts at XXX in U.S.A., I was actively involved in my community and gained valuable leadership skills. I co-founded the student group XXX to promote solidarity and awareness of democratic social movements around the world. I was elected as a special student' body representative with the task of rewriting the outdated campus constitution to provide more protections for victims of sexual assault. We passed a constitution that successfully balanced the demands of women's groups, political activists, campus police and the administration.

My education at XXX encouraged me to develop a critical view of the world. My programs were mostly seminar style, discussion based and interdisciplinary. They often synthesized topics that, in a typical university, would be separate. An alternative method is also employed in the transcripts. My academic history is written in an expository style to illustrate the depth of learning beyond a simple letter grade. In this active and free intellectual environment I thrived academically with one exception: for the duration of the program entitled XXX I was grappling with the loss of a dear friend to suicide and my performance suffered. His passing has only added to my desire to advocate for LGBT rights.

In my third year of university I began Political Economy studies which provided me with a fascinating and ingenious framework to understand the development of capitalism and macroeconomics. I found theories like World Systems Analysis and Historical Marxism to be captivating, logical and devoid of political rhetoric. I came to understand that global capitalism is structurally crisis-prone, and that sound public policy is needed to protect people from the volatility of the market.

I found my education to be especially useful in my experiences abroad. While working in Thailand for an NGO focusing on the education of sex workers I thought about the ripple effects of the Asian financial crisis on the informal economy. During my time in India teaching communities how to build efficient stoves I became interested in the effect that electrification would have on small community health and economic mobility. Working in South Korea as a teacher I often wonder about how the culture and geopolitics of this insular country led to the development of its peculiar chaebol-driven version of capitalism and whether it is sustainable. My curiosity about these kinds of questions, aside from my career aspirations, is driving me to pursue a Public Policy degree at XXX.

I have chosen XXX because it has one of the best Public Policy programs in the world. Its location in the heart of XXX governance is a significant draw. Access to important people in the public and private sector would be an invaluable component to my education. I like XXX because it is a small and focused school. I enjoy small seminar style classes that encourage active intellectual discussion among students and quality relationships with peers and professors. Furthermore, the option of studying a second year at connected institutions would enrich and enhance my learning experience. Additionally, the built-in internship program is an unpassable opportunity to further my career aspirations. Through my research and correspondence I have decided that XXX is the right fit for me at this time in my professional development.

Given my interest in public service and my strong academic credentials, I believe I will be a valuable addition to the program. I am sure to exceed your expectations due to my academic and interpersonal skills and my practical experience working as a Behavior Change Agent in the Peace Corps and in other NGO's. I will compliment the program by enabling fellow students and professors to benefit from my ambitious and open nature. Furthermore, my extensive international experience, personal story and interdisciplinary education will add more diversity to your program.

Thank you for considering my application, and I look forward to your acceptance.

Sincerely yours,
vangiespen - / 4,137 1449  
Feb 5, 2015   #2
Okay, don't format this as a letter. Most people take the format of this essay too literally. It is not written in letter format, rather, it is written as an essay in a similar vein as a statement of purpose. I was able to cut it down to 555 words for you. Leaving you with enough room to make a clearer connection between your work experience and your interest in the program at the university. I found that portion to be quite unclear and thus, the weakest part of this essay. Here is my suggested version (with room for your additional paragraphs or sentences):

I am applying to your Public Policy Master program with a focus on Developing Economies and Non-Profit Management starting in Fall 2015. My career ambition is to become a policy consultant for Non-Government Organizations working for social justice. With my strong academic history, distinctive real world experience and commitment to public service I know I will make an excellent addition to your program.

Over the previous two years I worked to assess the needs of the small village of XX and help them devise practical solutions that would have a meaningful and sustainable impact on their lives. This required a great amount of creativity and flexibility. Despite a steep learning curve I accomplished what I had set out to do.

My development work in Africa taught me invaluable real-world lessons about management, leadership, and cultural openness. I ethically managed several grants worth tens of thousands of dollars. I negotiated terms for projects with local government executives, non-government organizations (NGOs), and community groups; like when I convinced the local district assembly to provide the equipment, personnel, and transportation for an open-air market malaria outreach campaign. I worked within NGOs to carry out numerous projects. For instance, while working for the XXX Project of XXX University, I reached over 300,000 people with a ten-week radio program promoting the prevention of malaria.

I am applying to XXX to strengthen my understanding of development economics, poverty and inequality in the globalized economy, and NGO management so I can work in the fields in which I have the most passion: advocating for social justice in human, economic and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights. As a proud gay man I have been involved in many LGBT organizations-advocacy for transgender and gay rights is personally important to me.

I found my education to be especially useful in my experiences abroad. While working in Thailand for an NGO focusing on the education of sex workers I thought about the ripple effects of the Asian financial crisis on the informal economy. During my time in India teaching communities how to build efficient stoves I became interested in the effect that electrification would have on small community health and economic mobility. Working in South Korea as a teacher I often wonder about how the culture and geopolitics of this insular country led to the development of its peculiar chaebol-driven version of capitalism and whether it is sustainable. My curiosity about these kinds of questions, aside from my career aspirations, is driving me to pursue a Public Policy degree at XXX.

I have chosen XXX because it has one of the best Public Policy programs in the world. Its location in the heart of XXX governance is a significant draw. Access to important people in the public and private sector would be an invaluable component to my education. I like XXX because it is a small and focused school. I enjoy small seminar style classes that encourage active intellectual discussion among students and quality relationships with peers and professors. Furthermore, the option of studying a second year at connected institutions would enrich and enhance my learning experience. Additionally, the built-in internship program is an unpassable opportunity to further my career aspirations. Through my research and correspondence I have decided that XXX is the right fit for me at this time in my professional development.
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
Feb 5, 2015   #3
Despite a steep learning curve I accomplished what I had set out to do.

This quoted text above could be revised so that it's more specific and meaningful.

This essay is very strong because of the focus on your experiences abroad. Now it's possible to pack a harder punch if you introduce a THEME at the beginning. What is the theme or meaningful, poignant message you want to share with the reader? It can be quirky. It can be about your highest aspiration, or maybe about the most urgent aspiration that can be fulfilled at their school. Maybe there will even be some humor in it. The first paragraph seems too informational, so I feel the need for a theme -- some magic word -- to liven it up.

If you had one word to represent your message to the reader of this essay, what would be that word? Or, think of the word that represents the plan for the way you'll use your time in this program. When you demonstrate that you've spent time getting familiar with the school, it inspires the reader to open a door of opportunity.

: )


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