Graduate School Personal Statements

Written by Adam Blau
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You've completed your undergraduate study after writing countless papers and taking innumerable tests, and suddenly you're faced with the most daunting obstacle of all: graduate school personal statements. For many recent and soon-to-be graduates, the idea of writing these personal statements and statements of purpose is more terrifying than any collegiate exam ever was. Some graduate programs are notoriously competitive, and financial aid and scholarships can foster some cutthroat competition.

Most programs require you to write graduate school personal statements for several reasons. First, these statements convey a sense of the person you are and all of your study to date. Second, they allow a program to assess your writing skills; considering the copious amount of material most graduate students must write, this is an important factor to consider. Finally, many graduate schools want to see if you are a good match for their program. Graduate programs involve an intense amount of very narrow study with specific faculty members, so it is important that a sensible match is made.

Making Your Graduate School Personal Statements Stand Out

How can you make your graduate school personal statements rise above the rest? For starters, it is important to convey a specific theme and purpose in your essay. That theme can vary significantly from person to person, but many choose to explain their purposes for going to graduate school in the first place. Graduate school is a large commitment, both financially and time-wise, so graduate programs like to see that you are submitting yourself for clear, solid reasons.

Above all, honesty shines through in graduate school personal statements. It is best that you let the admissions board get a sense of who you are, warts and all. Let them see and understand who you are, what you've done and-most of all-what you hope to achieve at their institution. Rather than fabricate some excuse or reason you think an admissions board would like to hear, write honestly and from the heart.


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