Personal Statement

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A personal statement is a detailing of your interests, achievements, and personal attributes. The purpose of writing a personal statement is to prove to a graduate admissions committee that you are an appropriate fit for their program. Keep reading to learn how to write a personal statement.

Steps For Writing Your Personal Statement
  • 1

    Determine The Type of Personal Statement You Are Required to Give. As a general rule, there are two types of personal statements. The first requires that you provide answer to a set of given questions. The second is a personal statement you write to describe yourself, provide reasons why you should be accepted into the program.

  • 2

    List Questions to Answer or Consider The Questions You Have Been Given. If you have been provided questions, read over them and begin considering your answers. If not, make your own list of questions that you think the admissions staff will  want answers to. Note that if you haven’t been provided questions  your final statement should not be in question/answer format. This is simply to get you to consider what admissions would like to know.

  • 3

    Research The Program. Take the time to research the graduate program. Learn about the professors, projects students have worked on, and about notable alumni. This will give you an idea of what they are looking for as well as what they expect.

  • 4

    Make a List of The Things You Want to Communicate. How will you communicate your enthusiasm for the program. They truly want to be convinced that you are interested and committed.

  • 5

    List Activities And Accomplishments That Make You a Good Fit For The Program. Think of any research projects, work study experience, and internships that qualify you for acceptance. You can also include clubs, activities, and volunteer work if it is relevant.

  • 6

    Also List Your Technical Skills. Don’t forget about your technical skills. For example, if you are applying for a master’s program in computer science, you should include the languages and other technologies you have mastered.

  • 7

    If Applicable Begin to Thoroughly Answer The Questions Given. Use your notes to begin writing out answers to the questions you were given.

  • 8

    Create an Outline For Your Free Form Personal Statement. If you are writing a free form personal statement, create a bit of an outline. This will ensure you cover everything you need to. However, keep in mind that this is not a formal paper. The idea is to speak about yourself, not support some thesis.

  • 9

    Review And Edit. Thoroughly review your personal statement. Make sure it is free from errors. If you need personal statement help, consider getting assistance from a trusted instructor or TA.

  • 10

    Make it Interesting. Whenever possible, try to tell a story. For example, if you spent a semester overseas, weave in a story about your experiences that illustrate what you learned.

Points to Think About
  • 1

    There is no right or wrong personal statement structure. Use what is effective.

  • 2

    The person reading your statement has to read dozens. Be kind and use a readable font.

  • 3

    By submitting your personal statement early, you avoid it getting lost in the shuffle.

  • 4

    Professional yet enthusiastic language is best.

  • 5

    Writing in the first person is most approachable.

Do and Don`t
Do
  • Be Friendly Open And Interesting
  • Share a Personal Story
  • Double Check Your Grammar
  • Follow All Submission Instructions
  • Seek Advice From Someone Already in The Program
Don't
  • Use Big Words in an Attempt to Impress
  • Include Demographic Information
  • Make Excuses For Any Shortcomings
  • Kiss up by Using Words Like Amazing Great or Wonderful
  • Provide a Play by Play of Your Life
Mistakes to Avoid
  • Not Being Genuine Enough - Focus on being genuine and relatable.
  • Trying to Get it Done in One Night - This is important, make the time do it right.
  • Creating a Bio - Talk about yourself as it is relevant to the program instead of selling your biography.
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