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What is a Personal Statement? 

  • A method to introduce yourself as an individual, the way you think, and your ability to express yourself in writing. Essays are normally reviewed by an admission committee, so preparation is essential to success.

What are the admission counselors trying to find out? 

  • If you have a realistic and clear understanding of the field and the demands of the program. Graduate programs are trying to protect themselves from students dropping out due to disappointment or becoming overwhelmed by the workload.
  • Can you write an essay, express yourself in an intelligent way, use proper logic, form, grammar, and punctuation? The essay is important for both what you write and how you write it.

How should I start writing mine? 

  • Carefully review the application to identify what specifically needs to be answered in your essay.
  • Identify special, and/or impressive experiences from your background.
  • Develop ways to describe your college years that might help an admissions committee better understand you or help demonstrate you are a stronger candidate than other applicants.
  • Consider how you originally became interested in the field, the insights you have gained, what have you since learned about it and about yourself that has confirmed this interest.
  • Describe how have you learned about this field through classes, activities, work or other experiences/conversations with people in the field.
  • Define how activities or work experiences during your college years have contributed to your personal growth.
  • Reflect and clarify your career goals.
  • Pinpoint ways you can document personal characteristics that show your inclination for success in the field.
  • List the most compelling reasons the graduate program should admit you?

What should I leave out of the essay? 

  • Experiences prior to college, unless it was an extraordinary achievement in junior high school that impacted your life in terms of your career development.
  • Subjects that are controversial, such as religion and politics.



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