The entire course syllabus is a disaster and meant to create issues and confrontation. It was poorly written, dreamed up, and executed. The person who wrote it does not have a clue or training to create curriculum. The person who approved it, even worse.
While some schools consider the personal statement and statement of purpose two distinct essays, others use the names interchangeably. Here are some of the most important elements to include in your essay.
After all, this essay is basically your autobiography: Unlike the statement of purpose, the personal statement should focus mostly on your personal history, from your failures to your triumphs. Open your essay with a quotation. Your goal is to look like a serious, committed applicant—not a wacky risk taker—so write clearly and avoid any unnecessary distractions such as images, colors, and unprofessional fonts.
Most importantly, remember that your graduate school personal statement should focus on your successes. While the statement of purpose elaborates on your professional goals, the personal statement explains what personally motivated you to explore your interests. For example, in my personal statement for a Japanese Studies MA program, I wrote about my hot-and-cold relationship with the Japanese language and how a literature class and a stint abroad ultimately inspired me to keep learning.
Your Motivation for Applying to Grad School Your statement of purpose should explain why grad school is a practical next step in your professional life—but your personal statement should focus on what personally motivates you to take this step.
Generally, schools want answers to the following questions: Why is grad school an appropriate step for you now? How will a graduate degree help you achieve your goals?
Strong Writing Skills A great personal statement shows that you can write cogently and coherently. After all, strong writing skills are imperative for success as a grad student!
So in addition to telling a good story, make sure you use correct grammar, spelling, punctuation, and capitalization. Use paragraphs to break up your thoughts, too. Because the personal statement is slightly less formal than the statement of purpose, feel free to play around a little with paragraph form and length.
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Try our 5-day full access trial for free: Start Early Personal statements actually, grad school applications in general! Rather, try to start working on your essay at least two or three months before your application is due.
Setting aside more time lets you work on your graduate school essay routinely without having to squeeze in too many hours each week.
If you only have a month or less until your application deadline, get started on your essay pronto! Doing this also gives others more time to edit your essay for you! Your program should give you the following information:The essays come first on the test - 30 minutes for the issue and 30 minutes for the argument.
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Graduate school is not for the weak of heart. It involves countless, long hours for little or no pay. It means squinting into microscopes for days, or sloshing into muddy streams to collect tiny bugs, or wading through stacks of papers in the name of research.