Writing a Personal Statement for Graduate School

Posted: July 31, 2012 in Uncategorized

A personal statement is an essay that uniquely describes your qualifications and commitment for a chosen academic field. This document describes your skills, attributes, abilities, and accomplishments, as evidence of your goals for pursuing a degree in graduate school and in research. A very important characteristic of a personal statement is how effectively it communicates a person’s career ambitions in personal terms. Your personal statement outlines a career development plan that includes current skills, previous experiences, and goals.

The Structure

A personal statement should efficiently express your understanding of graduate school and how this degree and past experiences contribute to your professional goals. Include the following components in writing a personal statement.

Introduction—The introduction sets the stage for the entire essay. Start with a hook that will draw readers to your story—this can be a perspective on your academic career, an anecdote that relates to a career path, or a statement that summarizes your commitment to success.

Body—This part describes your career goals, experiences, motivation for reaching such goals, and how you can get there. Discuss research projects that you have been involved with clearly and intelligently. Identity research area, state questions that you are addressing, experimental design, results, conclusions, and lessons you have learned from the study. Include evidences of your accomplishments and progress in science, such as conference presentations, publication, leadership roles, and experiences that sparked up your interest in graduate school.

Conclusion—As soon as you have finished the body, it is time to wrap things up. This is the perfect time for you to reaffirm your confidence and preparation that graduate school is indeed right for you. Explain what contributions you wish to make for science and for the society, and how your graduate degree can help you realize these contributions.

The personal statement is a crucial part of your application package. Making a personal statement takes persistence, revision, and time. Check out sample personal statements online to help you draft the perfect essay.



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