2001年 04月 04日
エッセー
エッセーについて。



出願でポートフォリオの次に、いやもしかしたら最も苦労するであろうマテリアルとしてエッセー(Personal Statement)があります。大学ごとに要求内容は若干違うものの、基本的に「自分が何をしてきたか、志望校で何をしたいのか、なぜその大学でなければならないのか」を書くとみてよいと思います。
例えばHarvard GSDだと

Submit an online essay that addresses your background as it relates to your academic and professional interests, and why you wish to pursue the specific GSD degree program to which you are applying.


Princetonは
Please write a statement of your current academic and future career plans as they relate to the Princeton department to which you are applying. In doing so, please cite relevant academic, professional, and personal experiences that motivate you to apply for a graduate degree here.


多少の表現の違いこそあれ、殆ど要求している内容に差異はないですね。ただ時々他と違った要求をしてくるところもあるので注意。たとえばColumbia GSAPPは今現在大学に在籍していて、そこを退学しての入学を希望している場合はその理由も書くように指定しています。


さて、どのように書くか。フルブライトに応募した人は5月に提出書類用にStudy/ Research ObjectivesとPersonal Statementを書いている筈なので、そこでの内容をうまく再構成してゆけばよいと思います。あとアルクからこういった本も出ているので、掲載されている実例から良いなと思った構成や表現を使ってみてもよいと思います。
自分はこの大学じゃないと駄目なんだ!という想いがビシバシと伝わってくるように工夫するのが大切だと思います。そのためにはしっかりとその大学の特徴、セールスポイントを掴んでなるべく具体例を提示しながら書いてゆくのが良いかなと。ただあまりにもベタなのは多分あまり効果がないのかな、とも。例えばColumbiaでParametric designが凄いから行きたいと書くだけではあんまり訴求力はないですよね。そこに誰か教授の名前を挙げてその作風・思想について言及したりすると深みが出てきます。学生の端しっくれが書いたものであっても褒められて悪い気はしないでしょ(新居さん談)。

とりあえず、僕が書いたものを以下に掲載します。
As the saying goes, seeing is believing. My portfolio is the best material for evaluation. However, I hope this essay will be helpful for you to understand about me.

When I was in high school, I thought about architecture when I was struggling to decide my major at the university. At that time, my parents hired an architect to design our new house. I was fascinated by the models he made for explaining his design, also by the design process; that vague concepts get evolved into drawings and models, and into a real house. Affected by the architect, I decided to study architecture. So I entered Kyoto University Undergraduate School of Architecture.

I was admitted to Shin Takamatsu’s Laboratory in my fourth year at undergraduate school. I learned a lot from my professor Shin Takamatsu. At the end of my fourth year, I worked on my graduation work under his guidance. Although I was working hard, he never said yes to any of my ideas. I nearly gave up my project, but I kept making working models and drawings. As a result, I won a third prize at the biggest competition for students’ graduation works in Japan. This experience is not only an achievement, but also made me aware of what area of architecture I’m interested. After I entered a Master’s course, I participated and often took leadership in various activities in my laboratory such as: teaching assistance for design studios, organizing a laboratory’s exhibition and leading a team for the international competition, for the museum of Polish history. These opportunities in the laboratory enabled me to gain leadership skills, also it gave me the occasion to have objective views, on my philosophy by having discussion with many people and by listening to what people think about my work.

I have developed my own philosophy of Architecture in these five years at Kyoto University. Let me explain it, since it will be helpful to understand my reason for studying at your university about which I will write later. I titled my concept “Eroticism of Architecture”, which is focused on the relationship between architecture and the city. Especially how buildings can animate and interact with the city. Here is my definition of the word “Eroticism”. According to Georges Battaille’s saying, “Eroticism is assenting to life even in death”, which means “Eroticism” takes place when two conflicting elements are mingled together, or “a state of ‘Discontinuity’ approaches ‘Continuity’ ”(Battaille). And when Eroticism breaks out, things are put into danger of death. Taking advantage of this concept, I believe that it is possible to have architecture into a variable state by inserting irrationality (or “Sensuality”) to rationality of architecture. Which has been dominating philosophy of architecture since Modernism. When architecture becomes unstable as clouds, it will blur its boundary between the city, and will interact, or “make love” to vitalize the city.

Although I have a year left to gain a Master’s degree at Kyoto University, I am planning to quit the course, and enter your department. This is because I realize that I need to study about parametric design and to have comprehensive standpoint adopting the knowledge from other disciplines, to develop my design philosophy. However it is difficult to achieve those objectives at Kyoto University or any other universities in Japan. Parametric design is not common in Japan, and we don’t have integrated research of architecture, urban design, and landscape.

In 2009, I went to a couple of conferences: “Imminent Domains” in Kyoto, and “IAES” in Tokyo. There were numerous lectures and discussions by faculties from your program, and I found them very interesting. Prof. Stan Allen’s vision of integrating the fields of architecture, urban design, and landscape design enables us to view the urban tissue as a part of buildings, and I believe this would deepen my research on interactivity between buildings and the city. And there are many professional architects in your program, who have unique visions on the relationship between buildings and the city. I’m looking forward pursuing my study under them. In addition, your program has many prominent theorists. Having discussions with them would be wonderful occasion to examine effectivity of my philosophy, and to strengthen it. Thus, I found your program to be my ideal place to accomplish my academic objectives.

My future objective is to be an architect. I am conscious that it would be really challenging to be an architect in today’s world during the economic crisis, however I believe now is the chance for us to make a paradigm shift in architecture. Taking a look at the past, Modern Movement emerged from unstable days of interwar period.

I believe that my academic experience and my passion will stand as my best selling points, and I assure you that I can make a unique contribution to your department. I earnestly ask for your favorable consideration in accepting me, and thank you for your time.

Sincerely,

これはPrincetonに送ったものですが、他大学のもほぼ一緒の内容です。
流れとしては、最初に自分が建築学科を選んだ訳、次に研究室での活動、研究概要、留学の動機、将来について、という具合になっています。
第2,3パラグラフはフルブライトのPersonal Statementで書いたのを基に書き直して再構成しています。第4はResearch Objectiveから。
で、第6パラグラフは先述した大学ごとの特徴に言及しているところで、ここを大学ごとに文章を作って入れ替えています。
Harvard GSDだと
Last spring, I had an opportunity to visit the GSD and see the Spring Final Review. I learned a lot about your program and I found your program has many qualities that are essential and would enable me to accomplish my academic objectives.
First, your university’s education system highly integrates the fields of Architecture, Urban Design, and Landscape Design. I saw many projects at the review had visions not only on their designed building themselves, but also on surroundings and how the buildings would have the relationships between the city. And I was impressed that there is no boundary between the three departments. Students can develop their thoughts by having discussion with students in different major field, thanks to Gund Hall where all students work together under one big roof. Every department’s studio review is held in the same period, so that students can see and be stimulated by what students in other course are doing.
Second, your program offers various types of design studios focusing on different aspects of architecture. When I saw the review, there was Mack Scogin studio, which was rather personal and abstract; whereas there was Farshid Moussavi studio, which strongly focused on structural solution for huge shed design for airport. These kinds of studios would give me opportunities to closely examine the specific aspects of Architecture.
I was also intrigued by the fabrication labs, featuring cutting-edge tools and devices, such as: robotic arms, rapid prototyping devices and so on. I believe I will be able to take advantage of these equipments, for a further expedition into new forms, whereas now I’m making models in very primitive way and unable to examine numerous patterns of shapes.
Considering these characteristics of your department, I regard your university to be the best place to achieve my research objective.


UCLAだと
I had opportunities to hear about your program from Ms. Heather Roberge, and from Mr.XX, an alumnus of M.Arch.II. Their stories about your program are really helpful for me to grasp what is going on at your department, and also make me excited about studying there. In addition to information I acquired from them, I found following qualities of your program to be essential and would enable me to accomplish my academic objectives. First, many faculties are specialized in computer aided design. When I talked with Ms. Heather Roberge, she showed me some of her projects and I was fascinated by her fully employing CAD technologies to the design. Second, courses in your program have various design studios which highly integrate architectural design and urban research. This will enable me to take advanced research on the relationship between architecture and the city. I was also intrigued by the fabrication labs, featuring a wide range of cutting-edge tools, and devices. I believe I will be able to take advantage of these equipments, for a further expedition into new forms, whereas now I’m making models in very primitive way and unable to examine numerous patterns of shapes. Considering these characteristics of your department, I regard your university to be the best place to achieve my research objective.

こんな感じで、具体例をなるべく多く盛り込んで、他のエッセーとの差異化を図っています。

あと一通り書けたらネイティブチェックを一度は受けた方がよいですね。僕は普段通っている英会話学校で見てもらいました。ネイティブチェックといっても、がっつり見てもらって表現とかも全部修正してもらう必要はないと思います。そもそも非ネイティブが書くエッセーだと向こうも認識した上で読んでいる筈ですから、パーフェクトな英文は求めていないのではないかな、と。多少不自然な表現や間違いがあったとしても問題ではなく、むしろTOEFLのスコアとはかけ離れたようなエッセーだと逆に印象を悪くしてしまうと思います。

兎に角、日本語でも普段書かないような内容を英語で書かないといけない訳なので、早めから構想を練って十分時間を掛けて準備して下さい。
[PR]

by hirano-eureka | 2001-04-04 20:24 | 留学


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