Finishing your undergraduate program is certainly a great achievement. However, earning a higher qualification by joining a graduate school is an even bigger achievement. If you are willing to progress your career path and boost your earning potential, these graduate schools can be really helpful. However, applying for grad school is not exactly an easy job.
For your grad school application, you do need to submit a personal statement. If you do not know what a personal statement is, do not worry. This blog will help you learn about personal statements and how to write a personal statement for graduate school.
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What Is a Personal Statement?
A personal statement is basically a short essay that is spread across two to three pages, explaining why you (the writer) are applying to a particular program. It further talks about factors that make you a strong candidate. The purpose of writing a personal statement is for the admission committee at the graduate school to understand who you are beside your academic qualifications.
The personal statement is also a great opportunity to share information that the people in the admission committee won't find in your other application documents. As you may already realize, a personal statement is significantly different from a statement of purpose. Instead of highlighting your career and academic goals, the personal statement focuses on stating why you are the right candidate for the program.
You still have the option to write about your academic and career goals in your personal statement, but you need to highlight how did you find those goals and what you want to achieve by accomplishing them. Your personal statement for grad school is a more in-depth description of what you are besides being a student.
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How to Produce a Strong Personal Statement?
An ideal personal statement should capture the essence of your personality and give the reader a clear idea about yourself once they finish reading the statement. If you have a unique story to tell, do not hesitate to add it to your personal statement. The more authentic you are, the stronger your personal statement will be.
If you are wondering how long should a grad school personal statement be, let’s clarify it once and for all – it should not be longer than two-three pages. In those two-three pages, you need to create a sense of completeness. You should not leave your readers wanting for more. You need to offer all the necessary information about you to the readers that they may need to make a decision regarding your grad school application.
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Dos and Don’ts of Writing a Personal Statement
Your personal statement needs to be relevant throughout the content. Besides, you need to follow a list of dos and don’ts when you work on a personal statement for your grad school application.
- Add examples:
While you highlight your attributes in your personal statement, you need to provide relevant anecdotes to support your claims. If you are talking about leadership skills, you should talk about some instances like how you led your school's debate team in the interschool competition or how you helped a group finish a crucial project as the group leader.
You can also prove your creativity by giving an example of the time when you offered a unique and innovative solution problem that everyone else was struggling to solve. You do not say that I am this and I am that. You show what you are.
- Do your research:
Similar to a job interview, you need to learn about the grad school you are applying for. Before you begin drafting your personal statement, you need to have a solid idea of what the program has to offer. You should know what value it offers and what kind of candidates they are looking for. This will help you write your personal statement.
- Address the prompt:
A majority of the grad schools give you the liberty to make your personal statement about whatever you want, as long as you are providing the elements they are looking for in a candidate. Some schools may require you to answer a particular question. In such cases, you should personalize your personal statement as per the prompt and be direct with the answers.
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- Do not be overconfident:
While you write your personal statement for graduate school, you need to highlight the facts that make you a great candidate. However, you should not overdo it. There is a difference between being confident and being presumptuous. Just because you think you will be a good fit for the program does not mean the admission committee will think the same way.
- Do not use clichés:
As mentioned before, you need to be authentic and tell your unique stories in a personal statement. If you oversimplify crucial important life events using a platitude or clichés, it will not make the cut. You need to avoid such things as everyone uses them. Avoid beginning your essay with a quote, definition or any other detail that signals the obvious.
- Do not overshare:
You need to be very selective about the life stories you share in your personal statement. This is not an autobiography. You need to pick a few examples of life events that shaped you and your hunger to get into grad school. There is no need to tell your whole life story. The admission committee does not have that much time to learn about everyone's life.
You need to keep your personal statement inspiring. Just remember what you are trying to convey.
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