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A personal statement can help you stand out

If you have selected your study programme well that is to say, you have chosen something
that you are truly excited about that matches your academic profile then the personal statement
is simply a way to communicate to admissions tutors why you are interested in the programme
and what you can bring to it. And given the fact that many universities receive multiple
applications for each available place, and that most do not offer an interview, your written
statement is often the only way you can express your personality and say 'choose me!'.

The 'personal' in 'personal statement' suggests that you should be allowed to express yourself
however you want, right? Well, to a certain extent that is true: admissions tutors want to get a
picture of you, not your parents, your teachers or your best friend, so it has to be your work.
However, the purpose of the statement is to persuade academic staff that they should offer you
one of their highly sought-after university places; although there is no strict template for this,
there are specific things you should include and certain things you should most certainly
leave out.

The importance of the opening paragraph

The online Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) undergraduate application
form allows a total of 4,000 characters (around 700 words), meaning that you need to craft the
statement carefully. The most important part is unquestionably the opening paragraph, as it acts
as an invitation to continue reading. If you are not able to catch the attention of the admissions
tutor, who has hundreds of statements to assess, then it is highly unlikely they will read through
to the end.

The best advice here is to avoid much-used opening lines and clichs such as 'I have wanted to
be an engineer since I was a child'. This kind of thing is not the invitation readers are looking for.
Instead, try using an anecdote, experience or inspirational moment: 'Although tinkering with
engines had always been a childhood hobby, it was the vision of the fastest car on earth, the
Bloodhound, at an exhibition in London, that roused my desire to learn everything I could about
automotive engineering'. Really? Tell me more!

Of course, your opening paragraph could start in a variety of ways, but the fundamental purpose
is to grab the readers interest.

Provide evidence of your commitment and skills

Following on from that, you have to provide evidence of your passion and commitment to your
chosen programme, and highlight the specific and transferable skills you possess to study it
successfully. You can do this by following the ABC rule.

Action: Include examples of what you have done, experienced or even read that have helped
you in your choice of degree and boosted your knowledge of the subject area.

Benefit: By doing these things, explain what you learned or gained; in the case of a book or
article, put forward an opinion.

Course: The most successful applicants ensure that the information they include is relevant to
their course in order to highlight their suitability. Flower-arranging may allow you to realise your
creative potential, but will it help you study astrophysics?

It is perfectly acceptable to base this ABC rule on school-based activities, as not all students
have opportunities outside the classroom. However, if you can link extra-curricular pursuits to
your desired programme of study, you are further highlighting your commitment. As a general
rule of thumb, the information you include here should be around 80 per cent academic and
20 per cent non-academic. So, for example, as a member of the school science club a non-
curricular, academic activity you may have developed the ability to analyse data and tackle
problems logically. Taking part in a work placement falls into the same category and could have
helped you develop your communication, time-management and computer skills. You get the

Non-academic accomplishments may involve music, sport, travel or clubs and can lead to a
variety of competencies such as team-working, leadership, language or presentation skills. A
word of warning here: it is vital that you sell yourself, but arrogance or lies will result in your
personal statement landing in the 'rejected' pile. Keep it honest and down-to-earth.

Provide a memorable conclusion

Once you have emphasised your keen interest and relevant qualities, you should round off the
statement with a conclusion that will be remembered. There is little point putting all your effort to
generate interest in the opening paragraph only for your statement to gradually fade away at the
end. A good conclusion will create lasting impact and may express how studying your chosen
course will allow you to pursue a particular career or achieve any other plans. It can also
underline your motivation and determination.
Use a formal tone, stay relevant and be positive

As you have to pack all this information into a relatively short statement, it is essential to avoid
the superfluous or, as I like to call it, the 'fluff'. If a sentence sounds pretty but doesnt give the
reader information, remove it. In addition, the tone should be formal and you should not use
contractions, slang or jokes; remember, the statement will be read by academics often leaders
in their field.

Referring to books is fine but dont resort to using famous quotes as they are overused and do
not reflect your own ideas. Also, while it's good to avoid repetition, don't overdo it with the

Negativity has no place in a personal statement, so if you need to mention a difficult situation
you have overcome, ensure you present it as a learning experience rather than giving the reader
an opportunity to notice any shortcomings. Also, bear in mind that your personal statement will
probably go to several universities as part of a single application, so specifically naming one
university is not going to win you any favours with the others.

Get some help but never copy someone else's work

Checking grammar, spelling and flow is essential and it is perfectly OK to ask someone to do
this for you. A fresh pair of eyes and a different perspective always help, and, as long as the third
party does not write the content for you, their input could be of vital importance. And while you
may get away with not sticking to all of the above advice, there is one thing that you absolutely
must not do: copy someone elses work. Most applications are made through UCAS, which uses
sophisticated software to detect plagiarism. If you are found to have copied content from the
internet, or a previous statement, your application will be cancelled immediately. Remember, it
is a personal statement.

Get your ideas down in a mind-map first

Finally, I will leave you with my top tip. If you understand all the theory behind the
personal statement and have an abundance of ideas floating in your head, but are staring blankly
at your computer screen, take a pen and paper and make a simple mind map. Jot down all your
experiences, activities, skills, attributes and perhaps even include books you have read or even
current items that interest you in the news. Then look for how these link to your course and
highlight the most significant elements using arrows, colours and even doodles. Capturing
thoughts on paper and making logical deductions from an image can give structure to your ideas.


I believe that having a visual stimulus in your environment is important. For example, if I'm walking down
the street I want to see an eclectic mix of buildings that I find exciting to look at, rather than rows of
uniform houses. David Harvey, in his book Rebel Cities, describes the value of this connection between
people and their environment, writing 'animated by neighbourhood life, squares full of people, children
relishing the river bank'. This idyllic vision makes me want to create equally vibrant spaces for people to
enjoy. This ideology influenced a design project I completed while on work experience with PTE architects
(October 2013). I wanted to create a building that would both excite its users as well as onlookers. The
house I designed using Google Sketch-up I was perched on top of two living trees. I imagined how a
passer-by might look up in awe at the sight of a tree house in central London, or how the inhabitant would
feel as they ascended into their house on a staircase suspended by wires and draped with vines.
Architecture combines creativity and art with a significant social function and it is this that attracts me to
study the discipline at university.

On Open House London I enjoyed exploring several unique houses from a range of architectural styles
and eras. Comparing Erno Goldfinger's modernist house at 2 Willow Road to new developments such as
44 Willoughby Road allowed me to appreciate the advantages of each architectural movement, and how
each is influenced by the social conventions at the time of building. For example the conversions adapting
older houses into homes more suitable for today's society tended to remove the traditional separation
between the kitchen and living spaces, reflecting how open plan living is now more desirable. This layout
has been embraced by Richard Rogers in his design for Oxley Woods, a new housing development. It
presents an interesting solution to the current housing shortage, offering an exciting and colourful exterior
that contrasts to the often bland and characterless appearance of typical housing developments. Rogers'
exhibition at the Royal Academy increased my admiration of his work, particularly the Bordeaux Law
Courts. Its design illustrates how architects can implement political ideology into their designs, with the
wide entrance steps leading to the court 'pods' representing large seeds that would draw in the public,
where they share in the judicial proceedings.

I am also interested in set design as it has the ability to transform the stage and evoke atmosphere. I find
it exciting to see how designers overcome the practical challenges of set design with inventive solutions.
One example that stands out was in a West End production of Billy Elliot when a bedroom spirals out of
the floor and later retracts. This scene change was much more innovative and creative than simply placing
a bed in the corner of the stage, and it is this integration of creativity and practicality that relates
architecture to set design.

I enjoy taking the time to observe the buildings around me, considering what it is I like or dislike about a
building or bridge then recording my thoughts alongside a drawing in my sketchbook. I hope to continue
this during my gap year, when I look forward to seeing a range of foreign architecture, and exploring how
each is influenced by the country's culture. To improve my drawing and spatial skills I am attending life
drawing and art classes at galleries and The Prince's Drawing School, experimenting with a variety of
media including sculpture. As a hobby, I do parkour, which has given me an unusual perspective of, and
interaction with, the urban environment. This has made me think more about how we move through
surroundings, and the importance of features such as corridors and how they force us to traverse
environment. I look forward to applying these experiences to a degree in architecture, while developing
new skills and interests.


Architecture fascinates me. With a desire to explore how science and technology can be used to improve
the performance of buildings both socially and environmentally, architecture has brought out the
dichotomy of my personality, allowing me to engage both creatively and scientifically with the aesthetic
and functional aspects of design.

Reading books, journals, articles and blogs has provoked me to question how architects can rise to meet
the demands of an ever developing planet. Work on zero energy developments has showed how
technology and innovation can lead to successful, environmentally sustainable living. Yet further reading
into the subject has caused me to question whether people are doing enough to integrate some of the
solutions that have been pioneered. I feel that architects should take full advantage of the latest that
science can offer, whilst advocating their own advances. Visiting Richard Rogers exhibition at the Royal
Academy gave me an insight into his practices strong ethos and allowed me to engage in Rogers
thoughts on a range of subjects. I found his latest designs for low cost housing particularly exciting. They
represent a refreshing solution for large scale social housing projects and his drive to use a minimal
amount of materials is apparent in their design. It is the work of architects such as Rogers, who strive for
progress, which I aspire to.

I have experienced architecture and art from diverse cultures through travel, emphasizing the endless
creative and technological possibilities found in art, architecture and design. While walking through
favelas in Rio de Janeiro and the backstreets of Hanoi, I noticed the mixture of residential, retail and
public spaces within a short distance of each other. Despite difficulties that these areas face, the fusion
of occupants and spaces create vibrant districts, encouraging social interaction and trade between
people. This diversity is something that I feel is important in order to help communities engage and
develop; as is visible in successful neighbourhoods throughout the world. Visiting a number of Niemeyers
structures in Brazil on the other hand demonstrated the visual and sculptural qualities of his architecture
that has influenced the works of Zaha Hadid, Frank Gehry and countless others. Both Hadid and Gehry
have taken Niemeyers use of curves and developed their own ways of working, using new materials to
advance the work of their predecessors. In turn I would love to leave my own mark on the continually
evolving world of architecture.

Art and extra-curricular life drawing classes have helped me grow as an artist and designer, encouraging
me to explore and develop ideas through experimentation, whereas physics and maths have helped to
engage my scientific mind. Economics meanwhile has pushed me to develop reasoned verbal and written
arguments and then engage in independent study to synthesise classroom learning with unfolding world
Since year 10 I have spent a number of weeks working in an architects office. Working with both clients
and contractors has allowed me to improve my understanding of the processes and challenges involved
with architectural projects. The importance of dialogue between clients and architects was visible
throughout and it was interesting to see how a conversation could spawn changes in the design. This
highlighted to me that an effective design is a progression of ideas and knowledge, bringing to mind
Rogers use of democratic processes when designing buildings.
I have always enjoyed a challenge and, like sport, architecture is a lifelong challenge that requires years
of dedication. Playing multiple sports to a good club level and volunteering to organise and run sports
events has demonstrated my leadership, organisation and commitment. This is why I am ideally suited to
this discipline. Architecture is not a subject to dip in and out of; Im in it for the long run.


My application for your university stems from my desire to study at one of the best universities in the world and from
my internationalist perspective as a world traveller. It also ensues from my deep passion for art, my appreciation of
architecture, and my yearning to be amongst those who create the changing skylines that form our cities.
Christopher Wren once said, 'Architecture aims at eternity'. I can think of no better way to achieve eternity than to
help create buildings of tomorrow that preserve the ideas of today. Ultimately, we are judged by what we leave

Art has always been my true passion, and every forms of art has captivated me since I was a small child. I sought
pleasure, for example, in my surroundings during my encounters with various forms of art-whether it was a building,
a person, or a photograph capturing a memory.

I have lived in diverse countries, such as Brazil, Taiwan, China, and presently Macau, which has allowed me to
reflect upon extrinsic lifestyles and fully immerse myself in other languages and cultures. As I move from one country
to another, I capture the images of these cultures and designs through sketches and photographs which I collect.
Time and again these mementos transport me back to distant lands.

This opportunity to combine my love for art and design with a career is once in a lifetime. Over the last two years, I
have worked at two medium-scale architecture firms across Asia. Through my work experience as an intern, I've
come to realize that architecture is a special overpass between imagination, reality, creativity, and a world of dreams.
I've learned that no successful project emerges from a singular idea or person. Rather, it requires extensive
communication with a team of engineers, contractors, consultants, and the craftsmen who work on a building to
achieve the greatest possible effect. Learning from the collective expertise of my team has not only illustrated how
each project involves more than simply designing a building, but it has also demonstrated how creating and
managing a construction project is logical, organized, and defined.
Since childhood, I have been attracted to the distinctive national identity of a building style. A house, for example,
can be indicative of a people, the time it was built, and the way a particular society functions. From my perspective,
a home or building is a projection of so much more than bricks and mortar; it is the capsule in which people live,
work, and socialise. It is also a record of how we organise and live our lives. As a designer, I constantly find myself
pondering ways to make people's lives better, both aesthetically and practically.

I enjoy studying languages, and I have found that being multilingual has given me a certain advantage. On a study
holiday, I attended an English language course at Stafford House, Imperial College, London. Aside from finding the
language study interesting, I explored London and discovered it to be a fascinating city with its blend of the ancient
and modern. Outside my studies, I enjoy drawing and attend sketch classes every week to refine my perceptive
awareness of still-life subjects.

I am disciplined in my approach. I study hard and I am not afraid to take initiative. In pursuit to enhance my drafting
skills using industry-standard software, I have completed many AutoCAD drafting courses and have become an
Autodesk AutoCAD certified professional. My commitment, work ethic, and self-motivation allow me to strive for the
highest possible standards.

Considering my life experiences abroad and my determination to be the best at what I do, I believe I have much to
offer your university. My ambition is to contribute to society by introducing a particular sophistication where harmony
and beauty coalesce. Moreover, I am sociable, personable, and a great asset to any team. Please allow me to move
forward and take my education and career to this next exciting stage.


Architecture is a natural choice for me. I love the thrill of solving a problem in maths, physics and
everyday life. I do this with an imagination and enthusiasm that has propelled me to two terms
as a Student Council member acting as Public Relations Officer and Vice Chairperson where I
promoted and lead the development of a student voice in the school environment. These qualities
and an insatiable drive have brought me academic success and fulfilment

My spare time for many years has been filled with thousands of art classes, from watercolour to
mixed media. This passion for art and design has also lead me to great experiences in editing
and designing the Transition Year yearbook, developing a theme, poster, ticket and set design
for our annual fashion show and work experience with a graphic design company giving me real
and practical knowledge of the commercial creative process

In architecture I find the opportunity to express and develop these strengths and abilities

Ireland is a country littered by abandoned dwellings and these spur my interest in complementary
design and construction in renovation while my life close to the land inspires an interest in
alternative techniques such as straw bale. To build a structure worthy of Frank Geary out of turf
blocks would be a dream

As a member of the executive of a local charity, SHARE, which provides homes for the elderly I
have been involved in research for our latest complex with the aim of providing the residents with
best available safety features and an interior that is sensitive to their needs while retaining the
warmth and sense of community in what are, after all, their homes. In groups we visited other
similar facilities and reported back on the best features of each to the architects of the complex

The want the time spent studying in a British university to broaden my horizons, provide me with
the skills required not only to work within an experienced team but to build my own practice.


A pencil, ruler and rubber or perhaps a sharpener from time to time; those were the essential
tools which followed me around as a child whilst I imagined, designed and drew my perfect,
dream house (which was obviously and most tastefully pink throughout!!). So it was inevitable
that I would pursue a career in design. However, it was only until recent experiences that I
narrowed that choice down to becoming an architect.

Being a fully committed art student I've neither lacked creativity, nor the knowledge or history of
previous architectural art forms and buildings, as architecture itself, is based around innovative
ideas, aesthetics and ingenuity, it naturally became a subject of interest to me. For instance,
whilst in midst of my A2 personal study for Art and Design I decided to compare two artists from
different movements those being the Art Deco movement, heavily influenced by Bauhaus
buildings and architecture along with the Art Nouveau movement, which commenced with the
ornamental floral patterns of William Morris. Last Year, I was fortunate enough to have the
opportunity to visit Glasgow and hence appreciate Rene Mackintoshs Art Nouveau souvenirs,
gaining inspiration from the influential Glasgow School of Art, Kelvingrove Art Gallery and
Museum as well as Princes Square. It was like a dream.
Along with the aesthetical side to architecture, I have also understood the more logical side. This
was due to a small work experience placement with Simon Janes, a local self employed architect
who had acquired a lot of attention and business over the last few years. Despite the fact that
his entry route into the world of architecture was slightly askew in comparison with what I had in
mind, he was still successful. I built up an array of knowledge and experience, having heard and
witnessed the many challenges of the profession. For example demanding clients (hopefully
those polished people and communication skills I have obtained from working at the post office
will support me here), late hours, building codes and law, the logic of engineering and
mathematics and even the management of the business at times; were all skills that I picked up
whilst working along side Mr Janes. It was a great experience to witness the progression of so
many buildings, including; beautiful houses, apartments and office blocks. Having played a part
in the creation of something so beneficial, yet so striking would surely be the best feeling in the
world? The feeling that you contributed to someones dreams.

Having a father in the field of property development has played a vital role in my career decision.
Through his experiences and knowledge of properties, I realised that pragmatics comes hand in
hand with aesthetics in architecture. On a day to day basis i assist him in not only imagining and
designing, but managing and estimating all costs, time schedules, construction control, obtaining
planning permission, leasing whilst working with architects as well as urban planners, estate
agents, builders, surveyors and engineers, so that perfect properties are created for his tenants.
He led me to the conclusion that dreams are the foundations for success, but one can only build
success with creativity and logic, especially when art can be so subjective! So, what better way
to share my passion for architecture than to help create those dreams for others? After all, An
architect is the drawer of dreams" - Grace McGarvie


Since I was young I maintained a keen interest in different types of art, as photography, making the postcards,
flower arrangement, but mostly I liked dancing, drawing and painting what I've started to learn when I was 5 years
old with my parents who are the choreographers with some drawing and painting skills.

At the age of 11 I've been spotted by my teacher as creative student with the best capability to harmonize the colours
in the class. And therefore he asked for my parents to transfer me to high school of art.

These two and a half year in art school challenged my creative potential in painting and sculpture lessons, but
drawing and modeling I have enjoyed the most, because even now I still love to see how I can start from drawing
point by point, and after line by line with solving some math problems and making everything narrowly, till the end,
when I get the results which is your imagination made into reality on the paper, and it gives me the satisfaction.
Unfortunately I didnt have a possibility to finish that school, because of my parent divorce, I moved to other school
in the other city with my mother. Despite all these problems I've never stopped drawing and painting. My spare time
after school has been filled with a lot of art classes, from painting with computer to mixed media. Now I have
improved my IT skills and I can work with such the programs, as PHOTOSHOP, MS OFFICE and learning with
Also I have had an opportunity to be a member of senate. This let me to develop my patience in pursuance of the
best results in organizing some events and shows in my school, and even in the other city schools. I always try to
be enthusiastic and find I get on well with other people, enjoy meeting new personalities and experiencing new
surroundings. I have assisted in a lot of projects and public competitions as well. I'm pleased to take a dare for
myself and show what I can for the others. But the best part is to see the reaction when my work is being seen by
people. I love to hear compliments and criticism, because it makes to improve myself more and more.

When I was 15 I started to think about what I want from my life and I knew that I really want to do something special
that people would know about me and wonder at my striking creations.

These are the causes why I have the ambition to go to university and do a degree in planning the buildings, creating
some modern houses and interiors, because it will enable me to combine the strongest aspects of my personality.
Nowadays many buildings are so lofty, extremely the architecture of London. Consequently I'm here. The centre of
this city is the big museum, where I could spend all my time and watch all those small, but labour-consuming details
in creative constructions.

I'm just dreaming about the studies, because I truly want to know more about functional house, particularly
arrangements of light and space, and the physical world. I'm convinced that I'm ready to go to this world with all my

It's a bit hard to explain by letter why I truly want to study exactly an architecture course. It's just ambition inside. I
see a lot of perspectives in architecture with creation, which is just powerful skill. I'm inflamed with desire to create
something, but I'm missing some knowledge to realize that in the future. I love to do something new, I have a lot of
ideas and I really want to show it for the world. I feel prepared to face with math, art history, I'm ready to learn all
these for a long years and gain a professional architect name, I'm ready to take that responsibility, but I'm just
waiting for agreement.


It was during a family holiday in continental Europe, when we passed through Barcelona that I was enlightened to
the true meaning and power of Architecture. Antonio Gaudi is Barcelona's most famous and beloved architect, he
gave the people iconic architectural monuments which are idealized and internationally renowned to this day. Since
the day I first stepped foot in that city and saw those breathtaking buildings there has been no shadow of doubt in
my mind that I wished to pursue a career as an Architect. 7 years later all that has changed is that my determination
to achieve this goal has grown and to this end I have done all that I could to further my knowledge of this field and
fulfill the academic requirements for entry.
I have served in the Air Training Corps for 3 years and during that time I have participated in numerous activities
and feel that I am a key member of the group and have completed my Duke of Edinburgh Silver Expedition which
was a thoroughly enjoyable and rewarding experience. I have attended The Dowding Day Memorial Service in
Moffat three times -this year assisted a veteran in laying a wreath on behalf of the WAAF, and last year I was part
of the Guard of Honour. In 2007/2008 I assisted the Dumfries Branch of the Poppy Appeal selling 100's of poppies
for this worthwhile cause and made such a good impression that I was chosen to lay a wreath on behalf of the family
of a pilot lost at sea in WWII which was a great honour. To top that honour, I was chosen to lay the wreath on behalf
of the Air Training Corps on Remembrance Sunday making it the proudest day of my life to date. I have gone to 3
wing/regional camps and am in the process of completing my BTEC. I have represented my Squadron in wing and
regional shooting competitions gaining silver and bronze awards. I believe my time in the A.T.C. has harnessed my
leadership, initiative and confidence and made me proud to add to a community all of which I would deem vital skills
for a successful Architect.

Due to my experience in Graphic Design I have been fortunate enough to be granted a role as a Study Buddy
assisting two junior classes with the basics of 3D drawings and spatial awareness as well as a more advanced 3rd
year Standard Grade class. I am finding the experience extremely rewarding as I see the class progress and it has
afforded me the opportunity to improve my communication skills as well allowing me to give something back to the
school community. I am also involved in the 'peer support club' which allows me to help S1 pupils who are
experiencing difficulties with the transition from primary school. I am also proud to have been chosen as a prefect
on merit of hard work and devotion to the school and carry out my duties with great efficiency and enthusiasm. I
was a member of the school eco group for 2 years and as part of a team was instrumental in the school achieving
its bronze and silver awards. I was also a member of the Pupil council and enjoyed voicing my thoughts and those
of my peers along with assisting in the planning of the schools 100th anniversary next year.

I am currently working part time in Halfords as a sales assistant and feel that I have successfully juggled the
pressures of work and school and that I have learned many new skills as a result. In S3 I participated in a work
experience placement in Dumfries & Galloway Housing Partnership's architectural department when I had the
opportunity to assist in numerous activities including CAD work, site visits and dealing with clients. These
experiences made me appreciate how each part of a team must work together towards a common goal. It is my
wish to become a RIBA chartered architect and found a successful career through hard-work and determination and
perhaps one day I may find myself in a position where I would be able to design an iconic architectural treasure and
relish the challenges and opportunities that university will bring.


I am passionate about art and helping people. I am pursuing architecture as a profession

because I see it as a career path where the two meet. Alvar Aalto said, Building art is a synthesis
of life in materialised form. We should try to bring in under the same hat not a splintered way of
thinking, but all in harmony together. The desire to make the world a better place for people to
live in has been the greatest influence in my pursuit of architecture as a profession.
Compassion has helped in my pursuit of architecture. Last semester I was put on the Deans List
for earning a grade point average over 3.50 with 18 units, but my grades havent always been
good. When I started architecture classes at El Camino, working to make a living was the highest
priority. Neither of my parents earned a college degree. It was important for me to learn a trade
and support myself. I worked restaurant jobs and eventually became a server at an upscale
restaurant. I earned enough money to pay for rent, groceries and other living expenses, but I
struggled to balance my education with work. My grades were low and I dropped several classes,
but I was still interested in learning. I absolutely loved the architecture classes. I took pride in my
work, but I kept to myself in the campus studio. Advanced students came to me and mentored
me. Without me asking for it, they kept coming back. Eventually they helped me to feel at home
in the studio, and I felt comfortable as an architecture student. That made all the difference in
my educational progress. The character and determination I built from working restaurant jobs
to pay for rent and food could be focused comfortably on my dream of architecture. I have since
committed myself to helping other students in the architecture studio succeed.

I volunteer to help when I can. Outside of school I volunteer with The Sunshine Kids non-profit
organization, which provides positive group activities and emotional support for young cancer
patients. I participate in Sunshine Kids events and help kids receiving cancer treatment have a
good time. At El Camino this has gone beyond helping classmates with homework. I have found
or made opportunities to help people in other ways. I served a year as president of El Camino
Colleges Architecture Club, and I used my leadership to create programs and activities that take
the interest of over one hundred fellow students beyond the classroom.

I led El Camino Colleges Design Village teams in 2011. Going into the competition no team
member had participated in Design Village or any extracurricular design/build competition like it.
Our goal was to see our structures, a design we create just like in class, become a livable
structure on a windy hillside in San Luis Obispo. We felt this was a valuable experience to our
education as architecture students, but the school did not sponsor the teams and instructors
were not able to oversee our operations. The project was a challenge with several risks. We
needed to collaborate among ourselves to research a comfortable structure design that could be
built on a very small budget, and we needed to be confident that it would not tumble down a hill,
blow away in the wind, get washed away with rain, or fail us in any other way. It was a challenge
we enjoyed. I met with local businesses to acquire building materials as donations, local
architects to review the design, and a local engineer to check the design for its structural integrity.
We invested weeks into the idea of seeing our design become a real structure. Every member
sacrificed their entire spring break to build the structures and participate at the Design Village
event, and because of all the hard work that went into the structures, sleeping in the structures
didnt seem like a risk.

I organized a group art show that allowed everyone in the architecture club the opportunity to
display artwork in a professional gallery for one night. I wanted fellow architecture students at El
Camino to feel good embracing their creative interests, and I wanted art goers to notice that
community college students are capable of more than just computer aided drafting that there
are in fact great minds at El Camino. I collaborated with professional artists, local musicians,
poets, promoters, and a newspaper to put the event together. I initially funded all the costs of the
event with my money. I collected artwork and hung all the pieces in the gallery. I found club
members who took pride in their cooking and offered to bring in homemade goods. Everything
on the night of the event was free. Admission was free, the music was free, the refreshments
were free, and artwork sales were free of commission. The event gained so much momentum
that a man volunteered to print t-shirts for the event. He printed dozens of t-shirts and gave them
away at the event for free. All the architecture students that took the risk of showing their artwork
were celebrated, and many of them told me they had a great time.

I know my future is in design innovation bringing solutions that improve the local and global
environments. My commitment to improving the lifestyles of people within my community, country
and the planet was evident to my professors, as I was amongst only four students selected to
participate on a paid internship program with the State Chancellor Office of California Community
Colleges. The DEEP program is a pilot program that takes a systems approach to teaching
sustainability within a campus setting using buildings as pedagogical tools for learning about
topics like energy efficiency, waste, transportation. I am working alongside professors and the
boards of student clubs to integrate and infuse sustainability into existing classes, researching
topics for new curricula. DEEP programs will provide me with an opportunity to earn the United
States Green Building Council Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design LEED Green
Associate certification. I am also writing a monthly newsletter to inspire the entire campus
community to think critically about environmental issues.

California College of the Arts values align perfectly with my personal values. I want to do well,
and I want to be among the best. I want to go to CCA because CCA students do amazing work
and because I believe the colleges values create the perfect environment for students to help
each other succeed. I see a connection between the work students do and the environment
created by the colleges value, and I feel offering wisdom gained through my experiences could
contribute to the creative greatness at CCA.