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Studying abroad begins with a thought. It might be something like, “I think I might like to study in (country, region) for a semester. I wonder how I can do that?”

Thus begins the process of exploration. Most students will find information about studying abroad on their own campuses. And there are several organizations with online presences that facilitate international studies for students all over the globe.

At some point, a decision is made to make application to an institution. A part of that application process will normally involve an essay, often called a “statement of purpose,” in which a student is expected to include two things:

1.    Express personal, academic, and professional reasons for wanting to study abroad. Here you will want to look a bit into the future and explain what goals you have that will be met by your program of study.

2.    The reason for choosing that specific institution. What does this school offer that will move you toward your goals?

The Process for Creating the Essay

Think about all of the essays you have written during your college career. You know the process, and, if you have received good scores on those essays, you can construct them well.

So, the first thing you need to do is relax and understand that, while there is a lot riding on this essay, it is not something you cannot do well.

Let’s take a look at the process, along with some strategies/tips that will make your essay engaging and compelling.

1.    Start with Some Brainstorming

What exactly are your personal, academic, and professional goals that will relate to your study abroad?  Make a list in each of these categories, because they can form the body paragraphs of your essay.

Don’t be in a hurry. Give it a week or so, because new thoughts will come to you when you least expect them.

Once you have your lists, you can refine them, until you have the important points in each category.

2.    Read and Read Again the Instructions/Requirements You Have Been Given

Some statement of purpose essays will have prompts, and you may have options. Read these options carefully and identify the one that will be the best fit for you. You already have the points you know you want to include, so choose the prompt that will be the best fit for those points.

Sometimes, an essay prompt will be something like, “What do you believe that your study abroad will contribute to your future career?” In this case, obviously, you will only be writing about your career goals. You may be able to weave some of your personal and academic goals into this essay, but the focus must be on those points you have listed for your professional goals.

3.    Craft Your Outline

Nothing has changed from the structure of the essays you have always written – an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion.

It is the body paragraphs that will require your attention at this point. Each goal or major point you are making will be a paragraph, and each paragraph should be included as a separate item in your outline, followed by the details that you will include.

The outline is critical, if you intend to submit a well-organized, coherent essay, so do not skip this part.

Put the outline aside for a day or two, and then go back to it. Have you addressed the prompt? Are there any details you left out?

4.    Write Each Body Paragraph

As you know, each paragraph must have a strong topic sentence. In most cases, this comes at the beginning of the paragraph, supported by detail. You do not have to stick to this structure, however. If you are going to relate a personal experience to make a point, for example, you may want to begin with that story, as it will be far more engaging to a reader. In this case, your topic sentence can come at the end of the paragraph, showing how your story relates to a goal.

5.    Ready for the Introduction

Now that you have the “meat” of your essay written, you are ready for that critical introduction.

Remember this: it is the introduction that will grab a reader’s attention. You cannot be boring, and you cannot just provide your thesis statement.

The opening sentence of your introduction must engage immediately. Perhaps begin with a startling statistic about your career goal or your major field of study. Or, better, begin with a short anecdote from your life that has lead you to seek study abroad. Readers love little snippets of stories.

Your thesis statement, which is a short summary of what your essay will cover, should come at the end of the introduction. It gives your reader the “map” for what follows.

6.    The Conclusion – An Easy Strategy

Your conclusion should give a summary of what you have said to the reader. And this is also the place where you can include a statement that this specific program at this specific institution has what you need to further your goals. Flattery is always good, as long as it is subtle.

You Are Not Finished

You still have some tasks ahead of you:

1.    Never submit a statement of purpose essay without getting a “second opinion.” Have someone you trust review your essay. Does it engage them? Is the flow logical? Are there issues with grammar or punctuation?  You should not review you own piece – you are too emotionally “attached” to it.

2.    If you are applying to an institution in a country/region in which your native language is not theirs, consider having the piece translated into that language. You want the translation to preserve your “personality” and the engagement that you have imbedded into the essay. Here are some website translation services that you may want to consider. They have the expertise and can assign a translator who will work personally with you. What this will demonstrate to admissions decision-makers is that you have gone beyond the basic requirements and have taken some initiative that others have not. Good for you.

Statement of purpose essays can be the difference that results in acceptance of you over your “competition.” While others may take them lightly, you will not. When you get that acceptance, you will be glad you took the time to craft an essay that has been impressive. 

Dina Indelicato is a blogger enthusiast and freelance writer. She is always open to research about new topics and gain new experiences to share with her readers. You can find her on Twitter @DinaIndelicato and Facebook.

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

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Student Bookbinding by Caroline Leonard - 1y ago

This Creative Imaging course supports diverse studies in graphic design, moving image, printmaking, photography and aspects of fine and applied art. Southern Regional College offers a programme of study which responds flexibly to the requirements of the creative industries by evaluating, reviewing and updating course content and its relationship with the market place. You will be required to research in detail aspects of advertising, digital imaging, contemporary practice and real life design projects.

 

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Royal College of Art graduate Fiona O'Leary, has designed a pretty neat hand-held tool that captures typefaces and colours in the real world, enabling our printed materials to become interactive. The device 'Spector' has a camera inside that takes a picture of a font and when connected to the computer via Bluetooth shows you what typeface has been used and also gives you the specific RGB, CMYK or Pantone values that have been used - brilliant! Check out the video below.

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Currently being an A level student myself, I am all too familiar with the difficulties of being flooded from a tsunami of school work all at once; it seems that the work is a chain which is never ending. You always have homework and when you think you have just about finished all… you are issued another set of homework. Even on the day you don't have homework, you do. If you are considering completing A levels, you have to be prepared to be up all night doing that essay you promised yourself that you would do in a free 2 weeks ago. And as if the influx of work received after school everyday isn't enough after a long laborious day at school, in the back of your head you know you have got that early start in the morning as well. Fantastic. I find myself more frequently than not having the same on-going debate every morning of “I’ve got 20 minutes until my train arrives, I really should wake up” vs. “Wow my bed is so comfortable this morning”.

It has to be said that the jump up in intensity from GCSE work to A level can be a difficult and a sudden change after a long carefree summer break. Balancing school, a social life, exercising, a part time job, homework and getting enough sleep can sometimes be a lot to handle. However the key to overcoming this has to be organisation and time management. Here is my 5 Point Plan for conquering school, which I have personally found useful when trying to use my time productively:

1.      Use a planner. Never underestimate the use of this often overlooked book, you simply cannot organise which work you need to prioritise if you don’t know what date your homework is due!

2.      Allocate appropriate time for the amount of work that the specific piece of homework will need. Lets be honest, are you really going to complete a 1000 word essay in a free period an hour before it’s due? Probably not.

3.      Do the work when it is set – don’t leave it until last minute! Without keeping on top of your workload, more and more work is going to be set meaning you will fall further and further behind.

4.      Use online apps to do work on the go. Google Docs is my saviour for this as it means I can start planning my essays whilst waiting for my train after school.

5.      Finally, be sure to not be doing too many hours working. Even though it is good to have a part time job for experience and extra cash, ensure that this isn’t effecting your studying time. At the end of the day you’re going to be working for the rest of your life – it may not be wise to jeopardise getting those all important grades needed for universities just for the case of earning some extra money. If you’re working over 16 hours and are still in full time education, you may be working too frequently.

Even though I have moaned about schooling life, many of my fondest memories are times spent at school as well as forming many special friendships along the way.

For the times that your motivation is running low, I hope that this advice helps to pull you through and keep you looking towards the end goal. Good luck!

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Coursework is key to your degree and while sometimes it feels like you’re pulling words like teeth and watching the word count slowly tick up, it is far more enjoyable when you are well-equipped with information and advice to tackle the task. Here are some tips to help you prepare for your assessed work, so that you can present it in the best way possible with the minimal amount of stress.


Start Early!

The best way to end up with a beautiful piece of coursework is to start early - get a good idea of the topic you’d like and roughly what you want to say - and plan it. For a traditional written essay, you need a well-organised, solid structure which makes your argument clear from the start and supports it point by point throughout, with plenty of sound evidence. Talk to your tutor if you’re unsure about what’s expected of you, and discuss what will need to be done.

Before you start writing, if you haven’t already, read the style guide given to you by your course tutors. This will outline exactly what they expect, where you will gain or lose marks, how to format your footnotes and bibliography, and hopefully have a mark scheme in the back (get your hands on one of these right away and keep referring back to it!).

Procrastination is the ultimate student bugbear, but there are plenty of ways to battle it. Experiment to find out what works for you - you might fit all your work into a continuous 9-5 day so that you can relax afterwards, or work late into the night when inspiration hits, or power through in short bursts of productivity. If you find yourself straying to Facebook and Twitter, try SelfControl (selfcontrolapp.com) to block the websites you spend too much time on for a specified period of time. There’s no way to access them during lockdown, even if you reset your computer! F.lux (justgetflux.com) saves your eyes by gradually taking the blue light from your screen as the sun sets, and to improve your concentration you could try the Pomodoro technique - 25 minutes hammering away at your work, then 5 minutes’ break. Find more ideas for avoiding procrastination here: 11 ways to beat procrastination (www.studentmoneysaver.co.uk/article/11-ways-to-beat-procrastination)

Reference Properly

While you draft your coursework, particularly if it’s assessed, constantly bear in mind that plagiarism is taken very seriously at university and your work will be checked. Don’t copy chunks of text off the Internet, and while long quotes should be avoided, if you do use them, then cite their sources very clearly and obviously. Any idea that you didn’t come up with should be footnoted, as must any kind of quote or specialist fact. If you’re not too hot on referencing, then check your style guide, or try an app like RefME, which automatically creates references for you when you scan the article title or book barcode (there’s a wide variety of referencing styles to choose from, too). (link - http://www.studentmoneysaver.co.uk/refme/).

Watch your language! Make sure your tone and choice of words is appropriate for the person who will be reading your work. A good tip is to imagine your audience as an interested newcomer to the topic with only a little background information - explain specialist terms clearly and succinctly, link your points together well so the reader can follow, and make your argument strongly. Equally, don’t be tempted to use complicated words and phrases just to show off, as it will often backfire. Your work will be easier and more pleasant to read if the language you use is suitable and relevant.

Edit, edit, edit

Once you’ve bashed out your piece and redrafted it within an inch of its life, give it a day or two’s space to gain a bit of distance. Then read it through over and over. Do one edit to check that it makes sense, with no contradictions or repetitions and ensure that you’re not labouring the point. Then read through it again, as closely as you can, to pick up typos and grammar mistakes. Finally, check that your footnotes are formatted properly and all in the same style, and make sure your bibliography is complete with entries categorised and in the right order. Check that your style is consistent - and it sounds obvious, but check the font is the same throughout!

Finally, this is a tip especially aimed at dissertation-writers, particularly at postgraduate level when you’re producing epic theses, or fashion and art students needing a fabulously creative presentation of the final portfolio. Once you’ve finished writing, checking and re-checking, send it off in plenty of time to get bound for submission. If you’re presenting a large piece of work, binding will make it more readable and impressive than staples or treasury tags. Take a look through the Student Bookbinding blog to see how others have presented theirs, and look for more inspiration elsewhere online.

With these ideas and pieces of advice you should be well set to start thinking positively about your coursework. Keep motivated, and good luck!

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For hard bound books and coptic bindings we often bind using sections, otherwise known as Section Sewn Binding. We use either a 12 or 16 page section with an exception for heavier papers, where we would use 8 pages per section. These type of bindings can have either a square or a rounded spine and will lay flat.

Pagination
A section sewn binding is made of printed folded sheets which are then sewn together. As they are folded and sewn together,  the pages will need to be in the correct order for pagination before the document is exported as spreads. 

The pagination will vary depending on how many pages per section there are. i.e. 12 or 16. The diagram below shows the pagination for 12 pages.

If you are a little unsure of paginating your file, we can do this for you as an additional service - Just send us a PDF as single pages.

Creep
If creating your own paginated spreads creep is also something to consider. Creep is where the pages shift and do not sit correctly when the pages are folded over each other.  It is the distance pages need to move from the spine to accommodate paper thickness and folding. It is important to consider this for full bleed images and double page spreads. 




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Some of our books are bound using single sheets. These include Soft Bindings, Hard Bindings, Screw Post bindings and Japanese Bindings. These bindings will not lay flat as they are sewn down the gutter with an oversewn stitch.

Setting up:
When setting up your file, the first page will be the page attached to the endpaper of your book. Odd page numbers will always be on the right hand side and even page numbers on the left. Remember to include blank pages if you are printing your pages double sided.

Soft Bindings & Hard Bindings:
As the sewing is directly on the page edge itself, there is no need to allow for a large margin, but it is important to include a 3mm bleed. If you are concerned about losing text or information when sewn, include a 10mm 'safe zone' allowance.

Screw Post and Japanese BIndings:
The margins for these bindings need to be a little larger to compensate for the screws or stab binding. To do this set up a 20mm guideline from the spine edge within your InDesign document.

Double Page Spreads
If you have double page spreads then it is very important that there is a 3mm bleed around all 4 edges. We will bind on the page edge. 

For Screw Post Bindings and Japanese Bindings the pages will join where they are pinched together. Creasing pages for thicker papers with double page spreads is also an option.

Exporting
When exporting check that the spreads check box is un-checked. Export with crop marks and bleed to the correct page size. 
 

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We know you want your book to look beautiful and we want it to look beautiful too; so we've compiled a little artwork checklist to ensure it's print ready and that your finished book, often your final major project will come our print and bound just the way you planned. 

Here goes:

1) Images are no less than 300dpi (otherwise they may come out blurry) 
2) Do you have the licence to use the fonts in your artwork? (penalties can apply if not - be careful!) Make sure they are embedded into the pdf!
3) Remember to include blank pages, where they feature in your book
4) Make sure Double page spreads match up! 
5) Are you in the right colour mode? Remember CMYK is for print!
6) Do you have crop and bleed marks and exported it correctly?

Following these steps will make for a print ready pdf! Good luck. There's some tutorials on our Student Resources page if you get stuck!

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Student Bookbinding by Caroline Leonard - 1y ago

Spring has finally arrived. As the leaves turn green, it's time you dusted off the cobwebs from the books on your shelf and start leafing your way through a new book. And there's no better time to start than today, as we celebrate World Book Day, the biggest celebration marked in over 100 countries across the globe, of authors, illustrators, books and most importantly, reading.

What book are you reading at the moment? It certainly doesn't feel like a year since writing a post about my favourite childhood book for World Book Day in 2014. I concluded the post with a claim to turn off all digital media and get stuck into D-Day to brush up on my history knowledge; to that claim, I'm ashamed to say I still haven't finished the book. I may come back to it, but have sinced opened several more, Barracuda by Christos Tsiolkas to follow up on his much-acclaimed hit and book I thoroughly enjoyed 'The Slap'. Before finishing that though, I've now moved onto Eckhart Tolle's "The Power of Now" a number #1 New York Times bestseller and recommended to me by a loved one who has been somewhat transformed by his teachings. The book is of a spiritual nature and teaches one to try and live in the present moment and avoid thoughts of the past or future.

Will I finish this book? I hope I so. I can't quite work out if it's the book's fault or mine? Why can I never finish one before I feel the need to open another- surely because it's simply not a page turner? I asked around the office to find out what others were reading .. sadly there were only two of us, others reverting to magazines and newspapers, and no doubt succummed to the pull of digital world. 

Whilst schools across the UK are dressing up in wonderful book characters, on this day, we continue to make beautiful bound books for students and individuals in our Bindery. Happy World Book Day everyone! And if you've any recommendations for a good book you've read lately do tell!

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This week I'm going to walkthrough how to set up bleed and crop marks on your artwork in Adobe Indesign. I'll then show you how export to PDF so your file is ready to go to print. 

Firstly, what is bleed? Bleed is the area that extends beyond your final artwork. It is trimmed off by printers when your final piece is cut to size, but is required to ensure the print runs all the way to the edge of your artwork. If there is no bleed, there is no room for error, so if there is any movement of the paper or a misalignment when the printer is cutting your artwork to size you may see unprinted white edges along your document.

At Student Bookbinding we require 3mm of bleed on all finished artwork which is generally the standard bleed size in the UK. The 3mm should be added to each of the four sides of the page which in turn would add 6mm to the width and length of your document.

Create a 'New Document' in InDesign. You'll see at the bottom of the window that pops up,an area to input the Bleed; make sure it's 3mm on all four sides and press OK. 

Don't worry about the Slug - unless you want to include any document information such as the Version No. so you can see any tracked changes when editing your file. In InDesign, the slug will sit inside the bleed, so will be trimmed off.

A new document will open with 2 main areas, defined by coloured lines. The black line is the final dimension of your document, the line which printers will trim down. The area from the black line to the red represents your bleed area.

You will see here, that my image has extended 3mm beyond the black vertical and horizontal lines, which is where the artwork will be trimmed.

Ideally, any text or graphics you don't want cut off from your design should lie inside the purple lines, or Margins that InDesign has provided for you - also known as 'the safe area'. You can define Margin size when setting up your New Document.

Right once you are happy with your layout we can begin to export to PDF and add our Crop Marks. 

Go File Export and choose Save Type: Adobe PDF (Print)
Choose Press Quality as per below.
Then navigate to Marks and Bleeds on the left hand column

Once you're in the Marks and Bleed area:
Check Crop Marks and Check use Document Bleed Settings

Finally, click Export, and you'll have one print-ready PDF! 

If you have already laid out your artwork and need to create Bleeds afterwards, you simple need to go to File > Document Setup and it will give you the option to add in Bleed. You will have to extend your artwork though to the edge of the bleed, so it's often best to just insert your bleed right from the start. Here's a video showing you how to do add in your bleed marks afterwards just in case. 

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