This is somewhere in my conclusion. I do not want to expand further; just state it without sounding boastful.

My undergraduate result shows that I am diligent, intelligent and focused.

Does something like the following make me seem unsure?

I like to believe I am diligent, intelligent and focused.

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    You may be asking the wrong question. No matter how you put it, you are telling, not showing, that you have these qualities. 'Why Your Job Cover Letter Sucks (and what you can do to fix it)' covers this nicely in §2. Although the article is about cover letters for academic jobs, not PhD admissions (I assume that's what you're asking about), I think it still applies (mutatis mutandis). – Benedict Eastaugh Dec 6 '16 at 12:54
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    @BenedictEastaugh Fully agreed. It is a non-statement and all I glean from an application letter with that type of statement is that the applicant is not experienced enough to realise that. – Captain Emacs Dec 6 '16 at 14:40
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    @BenedictEastaugh - Excellent point. Post that comment as an answer! – eykanal Dec 6 '16 at 19:33
  • @eykanal I think Elmer Villanueva's answer covers this point very well. – Benedict Eastaugh Dec 6 '16 at 21:54

The only time I would ever make this statement is if I actually won the Most Diligent, Intelligent and Focused Undergraduate Student Award.

You didn't include the rest of your statement, but it's hard for me to believe that an undergraduate outcome has the capacity to demonstrate these three qualities. Course marks or a cGPA are hardly an indicator of diligence or focus, and certainly not a marker of intelligence the way I would define it.

I find that the best statements don't so much state the personal characteristics of the applicant in so direct a way (a la the conclusions of a lab experiment) but relate how these personal characteristics are demonstrated in real life. The reader is not so much TOLD that you are diligent, intelligent and focused as much as he or she UNDERSTANDS that you are these things.

If you really, truly wanted to include this statement, I wouldn't position it in the end. I would start somewhere at the beginning:

My peers have remarked that my most endearing qualities are my diligence, focus and intelligence. During field experiments in my final year, we spent 17 weeks in Borneo tracking a potential new species of shrew. Our equipment broke down by the second week and we were suffering from malarial fever by the third week. I jury-rigged a camera trap made from vines and the bottom of a coke bottle and stayed in a single position for 14 weeks. My perseverance paid off when I captured short (2-second), grainy footage of the animal. By then, my entire team had long since abandoned me. I thought they were weak.


Your references get to sing your praises.

You get to present the facts.


In my opinion, the first one sounds a bit arrogant especially if not backed up by any evidence. As all the HRs suggest, when describing your self and your qualities, try to exemplify them with previous achievements. Instead of saying that you are focused or diligent, try to describe the situations which led you to think so. If this is somehow described previously then, i believe, there is no point in mark it so explicitly when concluding.

Hope it helps!

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    It's not so much arrogant as uninformative. – Captain Emacs Dec 6 '16 at 14:37

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