It is that time of year again, the time when you have to start composing personal statements for grad schools. Here at the Writing Center, we see a lot of these personal statements come through with various issues that lay outside the realm of simple grammatical errors. Here are a few tips to keep you on track when writing a personal statement:
1.) Maintain a confident but not cocky tone. Don’t be afraid to write about all the things you have done and don’t shy away from making straightforward statements. Instead of saying, “I think I would be a good fit for your program because of x, y, and z.” Say, “I am a good fit for your program because of x, y, and z.”
2.) Research each and every program you are applying to and write down on a sheet of paper what their mission statement is, who their faculty is, what they research and have accomplished, as well as what the program’s alumni have accomplished.
3.) Remember that although personal statements seem like they should be all about how a program is perfect for you, they really aren’t. They are more about what you can bring to a program and how you could benefit the program more than the other applicants.
4.) Using all the research you have done, begin to compose your personal statement. Make sure to talk about what the program could teach you and how certain faculty could further your knowledge in a given field. Next, discuss how your experiences relate to what the program is all about and how these experiences will allow you to bring a unique set of skills to the program that no one else could offer.
5.) Avoid telling a program they are your “dream program” or anything of that nature. Hundreds of other personal statements are likely to say that. Phrases like this aren’t anything unique and will not set your application apart. Your personal statement should reflect you and make you stand out, so write in a way that will make you stand out from the crowd.
6.) Bring your personal statement into the Writing Center and let us work on it with you! If you have any questions at all we are here and glad to help!
Remember throughout all of this to plan ahead, keep track of when your personal statements are due and stay ahead of the game!
November 20, 2014