Leadership and Influence Chevening essay
While a student at the University of XXX, I was the Site Coordinator for (name of nonprofit organization) in the for four years. I administrated volunteer activities that built positive relations between (nonprofit) and the University through mutually beneficial collaborative projects; and educated the university community about the social issues affecting the need for service in (name of community) and beyond. I recruited and oversaw volunteer activity in the food and clothing bank and emergency assistance and provided training and orientation to new volunteers. I collaborated with university student organizations and departments in order to execute quarterly food and clothing donation projects on campus; which resulted in hundreds of pounds of canned and dried goods and clothing items being donated to (nonprofit) on behalf of the university throughout my tenure. I also delivered persuasive presentations to several classes and organized and spoke at the impactful panel discussion "Through These Eyes: Stories of Homelessness in City" as a means to educate and influence students to become active volunteers by recognizing that there is truly no greater satisfaction than serving others. Based on quarterly reports submitted to the university, these endeavours further resulted in a steady increase in volunteers. Consequently I was presented with the Achievement and Leadership award at graduation ceremony.
In my home country of (name of country), I served as Care Coordinator for a church Action Unit where I led a 20-member action unit in determining the needs of our community and worked together to create an action plan to address some of those needs. I was tasked with leading successful meetings, planning and organizing monthly activities and mobilizing members of the action unit to engage in community-based activities. These include visitations to households, distribution of care packages (food and toiletries), cutting the lawns and cleaning the residences of the elderly and shut-in in the community, and blood pressure and blood sugar checks by trained medical personnel and community health-based presentations by experts in their field. (government's concern about NCDs)
I have taught in both the private (primary) and public school (secondary) in home country where, as the leader of my classroom environment, it was not only my duty to teach curriculum content but to model good behaviour and to inspire students to be and do their best. Right upfront I purposefully inform my students that I expect great performance in academics and conduct. One of the ways I influenced the younger students (to manifest this expectation) was by rewarding using stickers and individualized comments on test papers and merit cards to boost their level of motivation. As I built rapport with my students at (name of institution), many of my class sessions included motivational talks encouraging these future leaders and nation builders to further their studies and diligently pursue their goals to achieve success not just for themselves, but for their communities and our country.
"While a student at the University ...". I think it should be: While a student attended University of XXX, I have participated in Site Coordinator for (name of nonprofit organization) for 4 years.
You should put some conjunction like : Besides, I additionally...(instead of using only the words "also")
[Contributor] - / 7,505 1933
Nicole, while I understand why you should be proud of every leadership and influencing experience that you have had over the course of your academic and professional lifetime, the last thing you want to do is mention so many of those that your essay becomes forgettable to the reviewer rather than memorable. Why does this essay come across as forgettable? Simply put, you are merely bragging about all of your accomplishments, but not really emphasizing one which truly stands out as the strongest representation of your leadership and influencing skills. While each one is memorable, it is not up to the reviewer to pick one to remember your application by. That is your task as the applicant. Keep in mind that he will be reading hundreds of application essays per day so he won't be able to keep track of who wrote what, unless you write something that he feels you should be remembered for and serves as a notable consideration for your application.
That said, your essay needs to be severely edited. You must pick the one leadership and influencing experience that you believe has the most highlights and recognitions in your PROFESSIONAL career and develop that into the required 250-500 word essay. You don't need to use up the word requirement, you just need to explain the event enough to make the reviewer understand why this is a very strong representation of your leadership and influencing skills. I am asking you to consider your professional career alone because that is what the leadership and influencing essay is all about. Looking for the potential future leaders and motivators in a country and those, are best spotted through their professionalism and career accomplishments.
Thank you very much for your feedback. I will revise and post the new edition. Thanks.
N.B. I do not have any subordinates at work, so I am unable to focus this essay as such. This is my most current leadership qualification. I've toyed with the word count. That last unfinished sentence was me wanting to convey a debrief meeting following the event and reflecting on the experience. Not sure if it's necessary. Please advise.
From volunteering in 3 different continents, I have experienced that there truly is nothing more fulfilling than serving others. I was elected Care Coordinator for a 20-member Action Unit in my church community, tasked with the responsibility of leading the unit to fulfil community outreach projects. During my inaugural meeting with the Action Unit, I listened keenly and analyzed the quality of interaction. It was apparent to me that the strength of the interpersonal relationships in the group needed to be improved as this would greatly affect the success of any undertakings. To build understanding and support within the team and instill a shared desire to work toward mutual goals, I organized a social activity where we engaged in specific team-building games. To conclude the activity I gave a persuasive talk appealing for us to work together to achieve the community impact objectives of our Action Unit which could be attained through sustained effort.
In the face of World Bank and local reports that chronic diseases were a threat to economic growth in (my country), one of the initiatives that I led with the Action Unit was a community fair to promote healthy lifestyle practices. During one of the meetings, a hotly contested issue emerged regarding the venue for the fair. Activities were usually held at one location, however a different venue was being suggested. Some resistant to the suggested change were skilled in areas that were important to the logistics of the fair, therefore the united support of everyone was crucial. If this issue was not quickly resolved, it could threaten the level of cooperation in the unit. Maintaining calm and control, I indicated that we visit the proposed site (having already familiarized myself with the venue). While touring the site I explained how I envisioned use of the space for the different stalls and activities. Their positive reaction coupled with a plethora of ideas on the spot from every single member conveyed that they were persuaded on the venue. What a difference the site visit made! The level of enthusiasm, discussion, and interaction was evident. I assigned different tasks to the Action Unit members according to their strengths and skill-sets and also reached out to ensure they had not encountered any complications. This facilitated more trust and respect in the Action Unit and helped maintain communication and understanding. I praised them openly during meetings for completing assigned tasks and offered constructive feedback as needed.
On the day of the fair, everyone came out and played their part. Despite the prior challenges encountered, under my leadership, the Action Unit worked cohesively to execute the successful event with a huge turnout from members of the communities. Keeping the end result etched in my mind and projecting this mind-set to the unit was my main motivator/source of fortitude along the way. By this I mean realizing that the end-result is other-focused and will help to make positive impact in my community and by extension the country.
In leading the post-activity meeting, and facilitating discussion to reflect on the experience....
[Contributor] - / 7,505 1933
Cut out the last 2 sentences you have here. You are over the word count. Try to stay below the maximum word count if you can. You are over discussing the essay at this point. You already represent strong leadership and influencing skills in the essay by example. There is no need to get technical with your explanations. Keeping the essay simple in presentation but relevant in information is always going to help you create a memorable essay as opposed to an over explained essay.
Don't second guess yourself. The essay is fine. You are asked to present a clear example of your leadership and influencing skills and you did exactly that in this essay. Be confident in your example and do not talk down to the reviewer by explaining what you mean. He isn't dumb and he can assess your work properly based on the strength of your writing. Explaining what you narrated indicates that you are not confident in your qualifications, so why present this essay to the reviewer at all?
Paragraphs 1-3 works fine. Just remove the following parts:
- By this I mean realizing that the end-result is other-focused and will help to make positive impact in my community and by extension the country.
- In leading the post-activity meeting, and facilitating discussion to reflect on the experience....
That brings you safely to a 475 word count. Well under the maximum requirement.
Yay!!! Thank you so very much. You are a godsend.