This handout will help you write and revise the personal statement required by many graduate programs, internships, and special academic programs.
Because the application essay can have a critical effect upon your progress toward a career, you should spend significantly more time, thought, and effort on it than its typically brief length would suggest.
The narrative should reflect your perspective, experiences, thoughts, and emotions.
Focusing on events or ideas may give your audience an indirect idea of how these things became important in forming your outlook, but many others have had equally compelling experiences.
Applications that have several short-answer essays require even more detail.
Get straight to the point in every case, and address what they’ve asked you to address.
If you don’t do what they ask, the reader may wonder if you will be able to follow directions in their program.
Make sure you follow page and word limits exactly—err on the side of shortness, not length.
With this in mind: Imagine the worst-case scenario (which may never come true—we’re talking hypothetically): the person who reads your essay has been in the field for decades.
She is on the application committee because she has to be, and she’s read 48 essays so far that morning.