Personal Statement Autobiographical Essay

Read good personal statements to see how effective and revealing they can be.Come to the writing consultancy for some, or go to the library- there are lots of books about writing personal statements with lots of examples.

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The staff of the National Scholarships Office will be happy to assist UMD students and alumni with the personal statement.

We will discuss ideas for the statement, and read and give feedback on drafts. Though the wording of the personal statement requirement may vary from scholarship to scholarship, here are some important things to remember. Think of the personal statement as an "intellectual autobiography." The statement should convey to your readers a clear, thoughtful picture or impression of you as a person who has distinct interests, motivations, accomplishments, aims and ideas. Aim to define a central idea, impression or theme you hope to convey.

An effective personal statement reveals clearly and memorably your uniqueness with particular attention to your intellectual interests, passions, leadership potential, personality, and creativity.

A conclusion that widens the lens and wraps up your essay without summarizing or repeating what has already been written.

The most memorable personal statements are ones that have a clear theme or purpose that unifies the ideas and information presented. It's easy to over-write a one-page personal statement. Help your readers remember you (and your application) by using specific names, references and illustrations. Your life has been a journey, with planned and unexpected turns, with successful and frustrated goals, with hard-earned and accidental insights, with hoped-for but as-yet-unrealized achievements. Scholarships are looking for promising people, not high-powered profiles. Scholarship selection committees have seen and heard it all.

Sometimes you'll know what this theme should be in advance; sometimes it will emerge as you begin drafting your statement. Use the words and language you would naturally use in writing a thoughtful, intelligent letter to a friend or trusted mentor. For example, always say “my internship with the Sierra Club’s bald eagle project” rather than “my internship with a renowned environmental organization’s project to save an endangered species.” Note which sounds more real and natural, and which sounds impersonal and artificial. Your basic challenge in writing a compelling personal statement is to tell the story that makes sense of your life as it has been, is, and could be. Write to engage your reader, write in a way that invites him or her to want to meet and get to know you – even if your scholarship process does not involve an interview stage. Let your credentials and awards speak for themselves.2) Personal statements at most schools are typically read by faculty and staff.Professors are critical and carefully review the essays. They want to see if you are focused and understand the topics studied in their programs.Get a mentor or critic to help you with your personal statement.Think strategically about yourself and your candidacy.Ask yourself: “What are the most important characteristics and values, goals and ambitions, life experiences and service activities that define who I am?” Then decide which of these you wish to emphasize in your personal statement. Keep in mind that while you might not have had any traumatic experiences nor come from a financially challenged family environment, you still have likely had experiences that are interesting to relate and that have been formative in your development as a future leader.Attending grad school is a huge commitment of not only money but several years of your life.You should know why you want to attend a certain school. A compelling personal statement enables you to stand out in a field with other high-achieving persons and helps you overcome any gaps or inadequacies in your record.It is always beneficial to add a paragraph on a specific feature of the program that you find interesting.Also, if students have read articles or books by a professor on the faculty of the institution, include that in the personal statement. They want to see that students have a genuine interest in the field and are ready to make a commitment.


Comments Personal Statement Autobiographical Essay

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