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What phrase in Spanish is used to describe a "personal statement" (i.e. a short essay composed for a college application, for example)?

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The term I think is most close to personal statement is carta de intención.

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carta de presentación is also commonly used. –  Gonzalo Medina Jan 18 '12 at 5:04
1  
As I have seen, when you are applying for something, "carta de intención" or "carta de recomendación" (recomendation letter) is written by other people in you behalf. But "carta de intención" is written by you as an essay about why you want to be in a course, for example. –  Ricardo Jan 18 '12 at 7:13

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