Writing Your Personal Statement


Personal statements are designed to give graduate schools insight into your motivation for applying to their program. It is an opportunity for applicants to set themselves apart and potentially address any problem areas of their application (low GPA, test scores, etc.)

Here are a few tips as you outline and begin writing your essay:

  • Make sure you are answering the application essay prompt/question
  • Do not rehash your resume
  • Focus on no more than 2-3 experiences to highlight
  • Depth is more important than breadth
  • If applicable, mention a professor’s research in the graduate program to which you are applying and why you are interested in that area
  • Do not try to impress the committee with elevated vocabulary or overly technical language
  • Focus on what motivates you to study and pursue a career in this area and be specific
  • Make the essay tailored to the school; mention what appeals to you about the program and show how it relates to your background
  • Tell a story and logically walk the admissions committee through why you are applying to this program, at their school to achieve this goal
  • Have your essay reviewed and proofread by multiple people

If you are applying to multiple graduate programs, each of your application essays should be different and tailored to the specific program.

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