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SGPRE Seminar #4. Tips for Writing The Personal Statement that Gets You In Summer 2007. Overview. Types of Personal Statements and Graduate School Guidelines Preparation Important Points to Remember Areas to Avoid Dr. Morris Weinberger Experiences with Graduate Applicants

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sgpre seminar 4

SGPRE Seminar #4

Tips for Writing The Personal Statement that Gets You In

Summer 2007

overview
Overview
  • Types of Personal Statements and Graduate School Guidelines
  • Preparation
  • Important Points to Remember
  • Areas to Avoid
  • Dr. Morris Weinberger Experiences with Graduate Applicants
  • Short Activity
what is the personal statement
What is the personal statement?
  • The personal statement is your opportunity to sell yourself in the application process, generally falls into one of two categories:
  • The general, comprehensive personal statement
  • The response to very specific questions.

Response to three or more questions with word limits between 250- 700 words.

Source: Purdue University On-line Writing Lab. Writing the Personal Statement. www.owl.english.purdue.edu.

Accessed June 11, 2007

what to do before you begin writing
What to Do Before You Begin Writing
  • Meet with faculty in the academic department you are applying to. If not possible, then review their website.
  • Ask yourself the following questions:
  • What's special, unique, distinctive, and/or impressive about you or your life story?
  • Why might you be a stronger candidate for graduate school than other applicants?
  • Are there any gaps or discrepancies in your academic record or exams that need explaining?

(keep personal at first)

universal tips for writing personal statements
Universal Tips for Writing Personal Statements
  • Concentrate on your opening paragraph
  • Tell you STORY, not your resume.

-Form conclusions that explain the value of your experiences, such as what you learned about yourself, your future goals, and your career plans.

  • Answer the questions that are asked

- Don't be tempted to use the same statement for all applications

  • Write well and correctly.
  • Be Meticulous. Type and proofread your essay very carefully.
  • Pay attention to the audience of professionals.
  • Articulate how you can add to the research at the department, but be carefully not make it sound like it’s a weakness in the department.
what to avoid when writing a personal statement
What to Avoid When Writing a Personal Statement
  • Avoid the "what I did with my life" approach.
  • Avoid the "I've always wanted to be a " approach.
  • Avoid a catalog of achievements.

Words and phrases to avoid without explanation:

  • Significant, interesting, challenging satisfying/satisfaction, invaluable, meaningful
  • “Appealing to me”, “I like it”, “it’s important”, “appealing aspect”, “I like helping people”.
personal perspective
Personal Perspective….
  • Starting Early: Scheduling meetings with professors to discuss admission requirements and research interests.
  • Inexpensive Travel: Attended Conferences, ‘Recruitment Days’, and usually got application waivers.
  • An Advocate for Me! – Identified professors with similar research interest and included them in my personal statement.
  • Personal Statement Reviewers: Pick at least one seasoned faculty member outside of your discipline to review personal statement.
  • I’ve struggled but I’m capable: Very briefly mention weakness in scores but do discuss academic progress and point reader in direction of evidence that shows progress.
dr morris weinberger
Dr. Morris Weinberger
  • Senior Career Scientist, Durham VAMC Center for Health Services Research
  • Vergil N. Slee Distinguished Professor of Healthcare Quality Management Director, Program on Health Outcomes, UNC
  • Well experienced with clinical drug trials and health care quality.
personal statement activity lauren eric
Interested in 19th-centruy literature.

Taught folk literature to elementary students in D.C. one summer.

Born and raised in Harlem, NY.

Extremely high GRE scores, nearly excellent. Low GPA.

Interested in electrical engineering

Was 2nd author on a published paper on laser technology research

No interest in academy but rather pursue career in industry.

Scored exceptionally well on math portion of GRE but performance was poor in grammer portion.

Personal Statement Activity Lauren Eric

1. What are the strong points of his/her essay? 2. What should be added?

3. What would you do?

sources for presentation
Sources for Presentation
  • Purdue University On-line Writing Lab. Writing the Personal Statement. www.owl.english.purdue.edu. Accessed June 11, 2007.
  • University of California, Berkeley. Career Center. Student Affairs Information Gateway. Graduate School Statement. http://career.berkeley.edu Accessed June 11, 2007.