The sample essays that we have used on this site are actual essays that were authored by applicants to American universities. We haven't altered these essays apart from sections that have been modified to protect the author's identity. We do not claim that these essays are by any means perfect.
Don't… Overview of the Personal Statement Personal statements are sometimes also called "application essays" or "statements of purpose. Some applications ask more specific questions than others. There is no set formula to follow in shaping your response, only choices for you to make, such as whether you should write an essay that is more autobiographically focused or one that is more professionally focused.
From application to application, requested personal statements also vary widely in length, ranging from a couple of paragraphs to a series of essays of a page or so each. Personal statements are most important when you are applying to an extremely competitive program, where all the applicants have high test scores and GPA's, and when you are a marginal candidate and need the essay to compensate for low test scores or a low GPA.
Context Considerations How are personal statements read, and by whom? It's most likely that your personal statement will be read by professors who serve on an admissions committee in the department to which you are applying.
It is important in developing your personal statement to carefully consider this audience. What are the areas of specialty of this department, and what might it be looking for in a graduate student?
Additionally, since personal statements will most often be read as part of your "package," they offer an opportunity to show aspects of yourself that will not be developed in other areas of your application.
Obviously, it is important that personal statements are not simply prose formulations of material contained elsewhere in the application.
It may be helpful to think of the statement as the single opportunity in your package to allow the admissions committee to hear your voice. Often times, committees are sorting through large numbers of applications and essays, perhaps doing an initial quick sort to find the best applicants and then later reading some of the personal statements more thoroughly.
Given that information, you will want your statement to readily engage the readers, and to clearly demonstrate what makes you a unique candidate--apart from the rest of the stack. One Process for Writing the Personal Statement Analyze the question s asked on a specific application.
Take a personal inventory see below.
Write out a sentence response to each question. Revise your essay for form and content. Ask someone else - preferably a faculty member in your area - to read your essay and make suggestions for further revision. Personal Inventory Questions What makes you unique, or at least different from, any other applicant?
What attracts you to your chosen career? What do you expect to get out of it? When did you initially become interested in this career? How has this interest developed? When did you become certain that this is what you wanted to do?
What solidified your decision? What are your intellectual influences? What writers, books, professors, concepts in college have shaped you?
What are two or three of the academic accomplishments which have most prepared you? What research have you conducted? What did you learn from it? How does graduate or professional school pertain to them? How much more education are you interested in? What's the most important thing the admissions committee should know about you?
Think of a professor in your field that you've had already and that you like and respect.1 Writing a Thought Paper: The Ten-Step Process There are many things that go into writing a good thought paper.
One might compare it to building a house. The Purdue University Online Writing Lab serves writers from around the world and the Purdue University Writing Lab helps writers on Purdue's campus. Apply purpose, audience, tone, and content to a specific assignment. During the writing process, it is helpful to position yourself as a reader.
Ask yourself whether you can focus easily on each point you make. Three elements shape the content of each paragraph: Purpose. The reason the writer composes the paragraph.
Tone. The attitude. Mark, that is indeed the danger with writing the way you talk which is why you need to be ruthless in your editing to catch those mistakes.
But if you let yourself relax and just write the way you would talk about your topic for your first draft, it will help you get past the writer’s block so you can get your ideas down – and then edit from there.
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Paragraph Transitions. Paragraphs represent the basic unit of composition: one idea, one paragraph. However, to present a clear, unified train of thought to your readers, you must make sure each paragraph follows the one before it and leads to the one after it through clear, logical transitions.