Scholarship Winner Pedro Shares His Experience
Pedro wrote a number of essays on various subjects before deciding which to submit back in 2020. His final essay was a winner!
We interviewed Pedro about his journey to becoming one of our 100% scholarship winners, and joining us on our Career Insights programme in London from Portugal.
What made you decide to submit an essay for the competition?
“I found out about the competition through my high-school counsellor.
I thought that it was an incredible opportunity that I was prepared to take advantage of. I also wanted to work on my short essay writing since I hadn’t done a lot of that. Most importantly, I wrote the essays because I was genuinely interested in the questions. I ended up writing 4 essays that were for programmes of my chosen field (science) but I initially set out to write 6 essays ( the other two were for international relations and law) because I found the questions truly thought-provoking.
I chose to submit the medicine essay question because I knew that I wanted medicine to follow that career path, thus, I wanted to explore whether it was truly what I wanted.”
Can you tell us about your essay-writing process?
“My essay writing process was slightly frantic and it differed from essay to essay.
First, for all of the practice essays, I discussed the topic with my sister who helped me to organize my thoughts and future research.
Then, I did background research on the topic, focusing on finding scientific papers to cite throughout the text. Once I had enough material, I would start to write. I would research further if I was writing and thought that I needed a citation to substantiate a claim I was making.
Then I would compile my bibliography and ask family, friends, and teachers to read over everything. I was way over the word limit so I focused on cutting down words while editing and then I submitted the essay. I remember I was working on my essay until the literal last possible second, I finished my bibliography for it at 11:58 and submitted everything at 11:59 on the day it was due.”
How helpful did you find the support provided by Immerse for writing your essay?
“The only thing I used were the sample essays from past winners to see what was expected of me. This really helped me realize how it was crucial that I write in a direct and concise way since the word limit was very small (500 words) for the extremely broad questions.
I do not recall any direct support I received from immerse to write the essay (maybe this was because I wrote mine 3-4 years ago before COVID). However, the staff were always very quick at answering emails with questions which was very helpful.”
“I was extremely happy. I think I reacted mostly with disbelief. Although I applied to the course through the essay competition I never thought that I would win anything, much less an 100% scholarship. It was from the start what I strive for, I really wanted that 100% scholarship but I felt that it wasn’t real. I think that it was only when I went to the actual course that I fully realized that I actually had won!
I realized that the essay that won was really good because the idea behind it was better and more surprising than for the practice essays. I was also very excited to go to the course, however, I was slightly worried that my mother wouldn’t let me go to London for the program because she she is sometimes over protective. But then I told my parents and they were also really excited and let me go.”
How did you find your experience on your residential Immerse programme?
“I felt that the program was overall really cool. I met a lot of incredible people, the mentors were really really fun, I made a lot of friends.
What most pleased me were the activities: seeing The Lion King, the trip to Cambridge, the trip to downtown London. This is only in terms of activities, because truthfully, the best thing about the program was the people, both in terms of my friends, and in terms of the mentors and the teachers who are really interesting and fun people.
I definitely developed better time management as a result of the programme. Although my time management for the essay wasn’t the best, I was able to learn from the mistakes that I made.
Additionally, I remember not knowing how to write hooks for my essays and making my writing sound interesting. Through seeing the example as of past winners I realized what was missing in my writing and I researched on how to make my writing more interesting and I think that has translated into a lot better writing.
What would you say to someone who was thinking about entering the Immerse Education Essay Competition?
“Do it! There is no downside to entering the competition. If you win, it is awesome. If you don’t win, you gained an experience. Entering the competition and working as hard as I did for it was one of the most gratifying experiences. From this competition you really get what you put into it, if you put in a lot of effort, you will be rewarded.
Always go for it. Even if the chances seem low, take a chance. Because what’s the worst that can happen? Believe in yourself, and surround yourself with people who believe in you too, often more than you believe in yourself. If you do these two things you’ll be immensely successful in life.”