I am writing a personal statement to apply for the 2019 KGSP-U program. This is my first draft and any suggestions are welcomed! I was asked to include the following in my personal statement:
A Childhood Dream
When I was 8, I heard about the story of Bob, a poor laborer who rose above the obstacles of life to become one of the most successful entrepreneurs in Indonesia. His story really inspired me. Since that day, my passion for the business world grew and I have always known that I want to major in business. My biggest fear in life is being mediocre; that is the exact reason why I gave myself such a lofty life goal: to start a company and be a successful entrepreneur while being a role model and giving back to society. However, I believe that in order to achieve this goal I must always be seeking knowledge and work tirelessly in whatever it is I am attempting. Reaching this goal has become an obsession for me, and I feel that the KGSP program is the first step in realizing this childhood dream.
I initially grew up in a well-off middle-class family. My mother was a housewife and my father had a garment business. However, my comfortable life was shaken when my family went into financial difficulty and was constricted by debts a few years ago. This event was a huge wake-up call for me and made me realize that life isn't all rainbows and sunshine. It forced me to grow up. However, I feel like it happened for a reason, as I developed a new perspective of the world and improved my work ethic. My family's financial situation is a bit better now, but getting this scholarship will help lift a huge burden off my parents' backs. They have sacrificed everything for me and I believe it is my duty as a son to repay them. Getting this scholarship is my way of doing so. Besides, isn't it the aspiration of every child to make their parents proud?
Throughout my life, I have only gone to 3 schools. I only stayed for a year in my first school due to personal reasons and moved to another school in second grade. I stayed there for 9 years until I finished my IGCSEs in grade 10. Throughout elementary, I was always top 5 in class rankings. But when I entered middle school, I lost focus and started to focus on other things. My grades suffered badly. It took a couple years of maturing and my family's financial problems to make me come back to my senses. The realization of how difficult and competitive life is made me re-orient myself and set my priorities straight. I know that if I want any chance of my dreams coming true, then my studies should be my priority. By grade 10, I have developed into someone who was thirsty for knowledge and always looking for opportunities to improve myself in order to give me an edge in this competitive, globalized world. It was then that I decided to leap outside my comfort zone and changed schools. I believe that putting myself in an unfamiliar situation and challenging myself is the only way to improve and gain new experiences. I applied to Beacon Academy and my IGCSE grades were good enough to be offered a scholarship. Beacon was a very different school from my previous one. Everything from the school rules, teaching, and note taking methods, exams and the general environment of the school and its people were very new to me. However, I was very excited to face such a challenge and tackled it head-on. I know a lot of people who want to stay in their comfort zone and stay in Indonesia for university, but my characteristic and desire to challenge myself does not allow me to do so. For two years at Beacon, I threw myself into my work and looked for ways to improve my profile, all with the goal of applying to the KGSP program once I graduated. I feel that all my hard work paid off as I got the second highest grades in class.
South Korea is a place where culture and history perfectly blend with technology and modernization. Along with its high-quality education, it is a place where any student would love to study in and I personally have always dreamt to study there since I was very young. My childhood friend, was the first to introduce me to Korean entertainment, culture, cuisine, and history. I remember visiting her house after school and eating the jajangmyeon her mother cooked. It is still my favorite dish to this day. One of my favorite things to do is going online and reading about Korean culture and history. Everything from ancient civilizations like the Silla and Joseon Dynasty to more recent history such as World War 2 and the Korean War really fascinates a history buff such as myself. I feel that learning about its culture and traditions will be beneficial for me should I get the chance to study in Korea. My love for the country and my desire to study there have grown ever since, so much so that I feel like it is my second country!
As previously stated, I am always looking for ways to improve and create a better version of myself. New experiences and excellence in different aspects of life is what I strive for. As a result, I have quite a few extracurricular activities. One of my strongest areas is sports. Doing sports is the best way to maintain both physical and mental health, thus, and thanks to my versatility I am able to excel in different sports. I have competed and won tournaments, both school-wide and regional wide tournaments, in different sports such as basketball, football, futsal, badminton, track, and field, etc. I also occasionally do other sports such as billiard, golf, volleyball, ping pong and tennis. Another activity I really love to do is traveling. Traveling to different parts of Indonesia and parts of Asia helped me learn and understand other cultures. This is especially important in the ever connected and globalized world we live in. It also helps me see the world in a different view and better connect with people of that culture. I also joined an entrepreneurship club. There I learned the mechanics of how a business operates and the experience will be valuable for me going forward. Me and my friend who was in the same club actually opened a dessert business at school for Trader's Week. We sold things like pastries, cupcakes, and cookies which resulted in a near 300% net profit margin. I was also part of the student body both in middle school and in high school. I was a prefect in middle school and a house captain in high school. As a house captain, I was one of the seniors in charge of organizing various school events as well as school trips. Events I helped plan as part of the student body include a school carnival, a school sports gala, and a trip to Bali. I have always had the urge to be part of student committees and leadership teams because I believe that way I could hone and sharpen my leadership skills. This leadership skill was very beneficial for me when doing group projects in high school and will be a very valuable skill moving forward both in university and in the business world.
I consider myself a very socially conscious person. Over the past 2 years, I have been involved in numerous community service actions. I remember hiking Mount for 14 hours to reach a remote village and taught English and Mathematics to elementary kids. I may not have stayed for long but I hope that whatever little I taught can benefit the children's lives. I also visited an orphanage near my home with a friend of mine every week for about 6 months as part of a service project. There we taught toddlers English, Mathematics, played games with them, sing songs, etc. It was a very fulfilling seeing the smiles we brought on those children's faces. I also made a website to raise awareness for climate change. It was the first website I ever made and took a lot of time but hopefully, it can positively impact society no matter how small that impact is. I do all of this because it is my philosophy that everyone should do what they can to improve their communities and society as a whole. Should I get the chance to study in Korea, I want to use that experience and return to Indonesia to further my dreams of becoming an entrepreneur and a social philanthropist who helps bring change to society.
Axel, there are only 2 points in this essay that are bogging it down in terms of presentation excellence. The opening paragraph, the reference to when you were 8 years sounds totally unbelievable to me. Which means the reviewer will also recognize this as an exaggeration since a child of 8 will not have idea about business, what it means, and how it functions. Remove that exaggeration and open instead on a direct to the point statement starting with the family background.
You should also remove the reference to your first exposure to Korea as this is not part of the prompt requirement. Do not include information that is not located in the prompt because the essay is a written interview. So you should only respond to questions being asked. Adding information about Korea may sound right to you, but does not fit into the overall narrative that your response essay has to fit into.
About your educational experience at Beacon Academy, your work ethic as a student is truly admirable but lacks a punch. It does not stand out because you are not referring to any notable accomplishments during this time. You need to present something to make this move pop on the page. It could be academic awards or extracurricular recognitions, anything that shows how you improved as a student during this move and that you have some marked academic skills that the reviewer should take note of. With regards to your Top 5 Class Rankings, please clarify if this is only within your classroom or an overall ranking for the whole class level.
Your essay ends too abruptly, you need to present a striking paragraph in the end. I think you can present the motivation for your desire to become a businessperson based on your stated experiences or something along those lines. It just feels open ended at the moment which is a good thing since this is still a work in progress for you. You may also want to consider shortening your paragraphs a bit. They are too long at the moment and really becomes a bit boring to read by the time you read the 3rd paragraph. Try to keep your essay paragraphs short and on point. Don't be too creative. Instead, be direct to the point at all times. That way you can hold the interest of the reviewer.