To write a statement that will help you win a seat in the graduate program of your choice, you need to think like a member of the admissions committee. You are welcome to schedule an appointment to meet with a career counselor to start the process, help with ideas or receive a critique of your draft.
Tell a story.
The best personal statements give the reader a window into who you are, often by the use of an example or story.
Ask yourself key questions.
- Does the essay introduce me as a person and a future practitioner in the field?
- Does it have elements that will stick with the reader?
- Do the action words accurately describe me?
- Are there specific, personal examples to back up my statements and illustrate my qualities?
- Are there guiding questions posed in the program application and have I answered them?
- Would the reader want to meet me after reading my statement?
Organize your material.
Even the best content will be lost if the ideas are presented in a jumbled incoherent manner. Clear writing begins with an outline.
What is your message? Write that first.
- How will your ideas logically progress to get to that conclusion?
- Write your key sentences. These may be parts of your larger story but should lead to the message.
- Provide a framework for your essay, with the first and last sentences referring to the same topic.
- Do the key sentences flow in a logical order? Does the entire think make sense?
- Can you “flesh out” each of the key sentences with interesting paragraphs that complete the sentence’s idea?
- Does the final essay say what you wanted in a logical and compelling way?
Edit, then edit again.
Poor grammar, spelling and typographical errors can ruin your statement. Review your essay:
- Check guidelines for appropriate length.
- Used varied sentence structures.
- Avoid starting sentences with “I”.
- Use standard punctuation, capitalization and spelling.
- Use no exclamation points, except in dialogue.
- Use active, rather than passive voice when possible, (e.g., “I found the book.” vs. “The book was found by me.”).
- Write sentences no longer than approximately 30 words in length. Some should be much shorter.
- Shorten paragraphs so that the page doesn’t look like a gray wall of type.
- Avoid contractions.
- Maintain agreement between subjects and verbs.
- Use at least 10-point font.
When you are finished writing, consider contacting us to make an appointment for a critique. We would be glad to help support you in achieving your goals.