How to Write a Personal Statement for Graduate School

How to Write a Personal Statement for Graduate School

If you intend to join a graduate school, you should know how to write a personal statement for graduate school. A personal statement for graduate school is a statement of purpose or a letter of intent-

There are graduate schools that require applicants to provide specific information such as the area that they intend to specialize in during their graduate studies. However, some personal statements are unstructured, allowing the applicants the freedom to address different matters. Basically, personal statements vary between graduate schools and study fields.

Guidelines on how to write a personal statement for graduate school

  • Determine the purpose of the personal statement

A personal statement serves the purpose of introducing you as an applicant, explaining your training, educational and career goals as well as presenting qualities that make you the best-suited candidate for a graduate school. It should also tell the admission committee your reasons for applying to a college and choosing a particular program. Basically, it is important to know the purpose of a personal statement before knowing how to write a personal statement for graduate school.

Basically, prospective supervisors and admission committees compare personal statements of different applicants before choosing the candidates to admit to graduate schools. The success of your personal statement depends on your thoughts, ideas and how you articulate them or express yourself. Your personal statement gives the admission committee a chance to know you more. It indicates whether you have good judgment, maturity and a plan that will enable you to accomplish your goals-

  • Determine the content of a personal statement

You might have questions that you are required to answer through your personal statement. Study and analyze those questions carefully before your start writing the statement. If the questions require you to write a personal statement that has different parts, identify them.

Usually, graduate schools are interested in these specific areas although how the questions are framed varies:

  • Your purpose for applying. This implies that you must think about why you are writing before you start writing the personal statement.
  • The study area that you intend to specialize in. This means that you must be knowledgeable about the specific area that you want to venture into so that you can state your choices using the necessary language of that particular field.
  • How you will use the knowledge and skills that you will acquire from graduate school. This includes your career plans and goals.
  • Your fitness and special preparation for that study field. This gives you a chance to correlate academic background with extracurricular experience to indicate how they make you the right candidate for the program that you apply for.
  • Inconsistencies or problems in your scores or records including bad semester. Ensure that you explain this positively and provide justification for your explanation. This is important because it is a form of rebuttal argument. Therefore, make sure that it has a statement of specific abilities that follows it. Note that there are instances where it can be appropriate to give the information outside your personal statement.
  • Social conditions that may not appear anywhere else in your application. This includes significant workload that is outside the graduate school. Ensure that this is also followed by positive statement of your special abilities or your future.
  • If you are asked why you chose to apply for this graduate school, conduct extensive research about the school to know what makes it special and appealing to you.
  • Include information about your personality. The admission committee does not have prior knowledge about you. Since you are the main subject of your personal statement, tell readers about you.
  • Determine the best style and approach for your personal statement

There is no perfect way of writing a personal statement for graduate school. You simply need to know what your personal statement should do.

Make sure that your personal statement:

  • Is objective but self-revelatory. Use straightforward and direct expressions that tell your readers what experiences you have been through as well as why they are important to you. Remember that you are not writing a research paper. Therefore, avoid writing your statement as a general academic paper.
  • Forms a conclusion that explains the meaning and value of personal experiences. Perhaps, this is what will tell the admission board or committee whether you know how to write a personal statement for graduate school. Your personal statement should clearly show what experiences taught you about your field and yourself, future goals as well as career plans. The conclusion should be drawn from the evidence that your life has offered you.
  • Is specific. Your conclusion should be documented with specific examples or instances. They should also be drawn from personal experience.
  • Persuades readers. A good personal statement is a form of persuasive writing. Therefore, make sure that your statement catches the admission board members’ attention and compels them to take your desired action which is to grant you admission into the graduate school that you are applying for.
  • Is within the specified length. Basically, a personal statement for graduate school should not be more or less than two pages. However, there are cases when it can be longer. Follow the instructions of the graduate school that you are applying for to determine the length of your personal statement.
  • Organize your personal statement properly

Your personal statement should start with a strong introduction, followed by the body and then a strong conclusion.

  • Introduction

The introduction should capture the attention of the readers and compel them to continue reading. Do not start your personal statement with something like, “I was born…” Instead, start with a vivid description, a quote, a question or an anecdote- pdf.

  • Body

The body should explain your skills, experiences and abilities. It should also provide evidence or examples to support your intention to join a particular graduate school and to pursue a specific program. Ensure that body paragraphs are linked with the right transitions.

  • Conclusion

End the personal statement with a strong conclusion. The conclusion should make a reference to your introduction and the body. It should also summarize the statement in a brief manner. The conclusion should be drawn from the explanation that you provided in the body.

  • Proofread and edit

Anybody who knows how to write a personal statement for graduate school will emphasize the importance of proofreading and editing a personal statement. You may write a great personal statement but minor mistakes ruin it. To avoid this, proofread and edit your statement or simply hire our editing service. Our professional editors will eliminate all mistakes in your personal statement to make it impressive and appealing to the admission board.

More on writing a personal statement for graduate school

  • Content

Tell vivid, concrete stories and include examples in demonstrating your strengths. Ensure that your personal statement is not crowded by many unexplained ideas. Also do not exaggerate your abilities or skills.

  • Expressions

Use active voice and be yourself. Avoid expressions like “feel good”, “I like it”, “fascinating”, “satisfying”, “meaningful” and “invaluable” among others- – pdf. Simply put, avoid words that make your personal statement sound like an autobiography. Instead, use words and phrases that market you. Be direct, concise and clear.

  • Organization

Organize your personal statement in a logical manner. Make sure that it follows the given instructions regarding length. Also have an attention-grabbing introduction, properly linked body paragraphs and a logical conclusion. Make your personal statement easy to read and follow by including information and ideas that flow logically.

  • Make your personal statement personal

Just like the name suggests, a personal statement should be personal. Ensure that the statement gives the department or graduate school that you are applying for information about yourself. Such information includes the last school or college that you attended, the course that you pursued and grades that you scored. Additionally, customize your personal statement to suit the department that offers the course or program that you are applying for. This shows that your reasons for applying for that program or course are real.

  • Use samples as your guide for writing a personal statement for graduate school

Almost everybody who knows how to write a personal statement for graduate school has most probably used a sample personal statement at some point. A good personal statement sample will enable you to determine the best approach to take in writing your personal statement and what to include.

Here are sample personal statements for graduate school that you can find online:

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