Who are you really? That’s what the admissions committee for any program you’re applying to wants to know, and your personal statement is how you can show them. A personal statement is a critical part of the graduate school application process. In an ever-competitive graduate school environment, it’s important to let institutions see who you really are beyond your previous coursework and your GPA. If you’re uncomfortable talking about yourself, this is the time to get past that and really get, well, personal. This is where they get to know you, not just your CV.
Writing your personal statement
Unlike a statement of purpose which explains what you want to do, a personal statement is an essay that explains who you are as a person, and how those qualities will translate to a successful student in whatever program you’re applying to.
A personal statement should include a description of your talents, achievements, interests and goals. More importantly, it should convey how accomplishments and achievements are relevant to the program you’re applying to. Institutions want students who will contribute something valuable to their various graduate programs, and certainly recruiters will be looking for that as well.
Follow the guidelines
Check each program’s requirements and be aware of any guidelines, such as word count or specific details to include. It’s imperative you strictly adhere to any guidelines set forth by an admissions committee. Failing to follow their directions will likely result in the rejection of your application.
Take it slow
Allow enough lead time to write. Your personal statement isn’t something you should sit down and write the night before it’s due. You’ll want to write a few drafts, edit, rewrite, proofread and have someone else review your piece before you submit it.
Organization is key
A personal statement isn’t a one-size-fits-all kind of document and should be customized for each program you’re applying to. It’s important to stay organized and keep track of what you’ve sent and to whom.
What should you include in your statement?
Take writing your personal statement seriously and put the time in to create a worthy piece. Remember to write a customized statement for each program you’re applying to so that the admissions committees can see your personality and special qualities shine through.