How I got admitted to Chalmers

This is the story about how I failed and then succeeded in my application to Chalmers.




With help from my family and friends in Mexico, I succeeded in achieving my dream to study at Chalmers.

I studied Mechanical engineering for my bachelors back in Mexico. I picked the honours programme where I had to study a third language and go abroad for a year for an exchange. I chose German as my third language to study and expected to go there. When the time finally arrived to apply for my exchange, I realized that the courses I was supposed to take were hard enough to course them in German on top of it. A friend of mine suggested me to take a look at Sweden where the courses were in English and so I did. After some research, I decided that Chalmers would be my first option to apply because of how the campus looks, the city’s nature and the closeness to three capitals (Stockholm, Oslo, and Copenhagen).

I was truly happy when I received the news of being accepted for my exchange there. I remember how emotional it was to say goodbye to my family and friends for one year. How nervous I was during my 15 hours trip and during my first couple of days in Gothenburg. How I enjoyed all the courses and a new way of learning. I remember the wide variety of awesome committees and societies, such as the Chalmers International Reception Committee.  Along with all the amazing friends from many different countries that I made during that time. As well as an equally emotional goodbye to them when I was going back to Mexico. For all those reasons, I decided to apply for my master’s in Chalmers before finishing my bachelors. During that time, I wasn’t sure how to rank the programmes in which I had an interest. In addition, I didn’t have all the required documentation and the whole process felt rushed. As you could imagine, I failed in my first try. I felt that maybe a master’s in Chalmers wasn’t meant for me. 

So, I decided to start looking for a job and I got one in a Mexican manufacturing company. There I became fond of production and management, and I gained relevant experience. However, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to work there my entire life. My breakpoint came after a close family member passed away. I realized how fragile life is and how many things I wanted to accomplish before I died. Studying my master’s in Chalmers being one of them. I decided to apply again, this time having the Production engineering programme as my first option because it was perfect for my production management interest. 

I learned many lessons during the year between my applications. I received a lot of support and encouragement from my family and friends to overcome the loss from my first attempt and to carry on. My new job helped me recover my self-confidence and made me realize how much my work could affect other people. All these experiences helped me to improve my motivation letter. I did everything possible to have all my documentation ready in time, including driving to a different state to do my English test. 

After submitting the application, I spent the next few months waiting nervously for the decision. Finally, one day I woke up with an email with the subject: “Chalmers Scholarship Award Notification”. That was probably one of my fastest jumps out of bed. I had received the IPOET scholarship which meant I was admitted and have a 75% reduction of the tuition fees.  I immediately called (woke up) my family and shared the news with them. The same day I let my boss know about my decision of leaving the company to pursue this dream. I thought he wouldn’t be happy, but I was wrong, he felt proud and congratulated me. 

The next few months were full of preparations, including training the new guy at my job, getting my residence permit, and selling all of my stuff including my car to be able to pay for most of my expenses.  Once I was done with that, I started saying goodbye to friends and relatives yet again. However, it felt very different from the time of my exchange programme. This time I had a one-way ticket and I didn’t know when I would get to see them again. Packing wasn’t that hard after selling most of my belongings, I just needed to include plenty of Mexican food and ingredients to have a little piece of home with me. After even a more emotional goodbye to my family at the airport, I started this new adventure.

This experience made me realize that failure is not always an ending and that it can be a beginning. It is important to decide how you will fight back and recruit your family and friends into this battle. Then taking those steps to recover your self-confidence and achieve what you have set out. After that, you will rediscover what you are truly aiming for. I hope my story can help you if you are experiencing something similar. 

If you are interested in reading more about how to recover from setbacks, I can recommend the following book: Resilience (HBR Emotional Intelligence Series).​



Author: Juan​

Published: Tue 01 Sep 2020.