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Personal Statements

A personal statements allows you the opportunity to sell yourself to an admissions committee, much like you would sell yourself to an employer when writing a cover letter. Most often, personal statements will fall into one of two categories:

  • General Statement: Allows you the most freedom and flexibility in terms of what to include.
  • Question-Specific Statement: The academic program asks specific questions which you should address in your statement.

As you begin to draft your personal statement, consider the following:

  • When did you become interested in the field? What knowledge have you gained about the field that has strengthened that interest?
  • What are your career goals after graduate study is complete?
  • What personal qualities/experiences will make your application appear unique?
  • How has your involvement in college activities, part-time work, internships, or volunteer work helped prepare you for this next phase of study?
  • What skills do you possess that would be most relevant to the field? (Use EXAMPLES to illustrate those skills.)
  • Are there any academic discrepancies on your transcript or in your application you need to address?

General tips as you write:

  • Be specific. Use examples to illustrate your interests, skills, etc.
  • Tell an interesting story. Admissions committees read a ton of these statements...what will you write that will make them remember your story? (In a positive way)
  • Make sure your opening paragraph is an attention-grabber. If not, the reader will lose interest and move on to the next applicant.
  • Avoid clichés. Use this statement to show your originality.
  • One size does not necessarily fit all. If you have the chance to tailor your statement to particular schools, do it. It will be worth the extra effort.
  • Proofread! Review and revise your document, and get others to review it as well (including the Career Center).