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However, there are a few key elements of strong personal statements that prospective graduate students should keep in mind as they write.When writing personal statements, students may feel pressured to tell admissions committees everything about themselves.Students should be cautious about turning their personal statements into risky or edgy creative writing projects and instead maintain a strong narrative structure using anecdotes for support when necessary.
It's important that students remember to keep anecdotes relevant to the specific programs to which they are applying and to make it clear how the experiences led them to those programs.
Along with a focused narrative, grad school applicants should demonstrate for the admissions committee why they want to attend this program and how doing so relates to their place academically, locally and globally.
Applying to graduate school can be a significant step toward reaching academic and career goals, which can make the admissions process even more intimidating.
Along with gathering letters of recommendation, taking exams and submitting transcripts, prospective graduate students typically have to write personal statements to include with their applications.
"Remember that the faculty have a vested interest in admitting students who will be fun for them to work with and watch grow." Applicants should determine which key points about themselves are most important to make and then choose situations or experiences that demonstrate those points.
This serves as the main content of the personal statement.As they write, students should remember that admissions personnel must read many personal statements and sort through thousands of applications.Being conscious of how words or stories may be perceived by those with experiences different from their own can be invaluable to students."Metrics only show one small part of the entire picture," says career coach and former university admissions representative Meg Radunich."Graduate programs care about the person behind the standardized test score and grade point average.This narrative essay combines specific, self-reflective anecdotes with details about past experiences (internships, volunteer experiences, etc.) and a clear delineation of a student's goals and interest in the prospective graduate program to provide a fuller picture of the applicant.This combination, often unaccompanied by an explicit writing prompt or set of instructions, can make even the most practiced essay writers freeze up.Graduate school applications often have prospective students include personal statements.These help admissions committees get to know the person behind each application."One major mistake I see all the time is students who try to tell too much in the personal statement," says Radunich."Tell one or two specific stories or scenarios really well instead of having a broad focus and attempting to tell your life story.