Updated: Dec 6, 2018
Your Personal Statement shows how your talents, skills, and goals connect to the priorities of your chosen school
1. Connect the dots: Know how your own background informs your future
Most University & College programs require you the prospective candidate to write an original 250-500 word personal statement (equivalent to 1-page in length, typed & double-spaced), which is an essay about the reasons you have chosen to apply to a particular program at their College.
In your written statement, you must explain to a Selection Committee, how your academic skills & training have prepared you well for this next step, and why your goals will be reached by being a student at their institution.
Although expressing your academic and life goals in this distinctive format may be exercising a new skill set for you, not to worry--it is new for everyone when they first approach this task. This written statement is nevertheless a key to your future success
because your mini-essay is one of the main criteria by which your application is evaluated.
2. Be an exemplary representative, and gain funding support through an tuition scholarship, or waver
If your goals and experiences match what your chosen school is looking for, the selection committee might be ready to award you a full or partial scholarship to study at their school. They will support you with funding if they regard you as a positive and exemplary representative of their institution. Once you graduate, they will want you to excel and move upwards to your next successful stage in your career.
3. Research the school carefully
Through mentoring2success, the signature approach I advise is doing a lot of background research. You need to research carefully and diligently into the program details, the courses you would take in a given major or minor concentration, the professors with whom you would be privileged to study. It also requires research to discern what sort of candidate
each College and University Program is looking for. Once you understand their priorities,
I can coach you so you know better what to include in your statement, and upon which aspects to place emphasis.
4. Stay focused
I can help you to navigate your way through this new territory and to stay focused and organized while you learn how to approach writing this document. Since the school wants to get to know you (not me), and you are the author, I offer expert tutoring to help you to shape your narrative.
You need to articulate your key past achievements and your future goals, while injecting your narrative with enthusiasm. This must translate well across disciplines, and leap easily off the page.
The personal statement is more commonly a document required by high-school students going into an undergraduate degree program, but for prospective graduate students to a professional MA or PhD program, a well-crafted email to the major scholar in the field and/or the director of a program could be an important step in securing your place, and even obtaining an offer with funding. Indeed, for both populations of scholars, in the midst of transition, your key tasks are slightly different but overall there is similarity.
NOTE: Most American Schools use testing systems that provide you with the option to write a short personal essay on a relevant theme that is evaluated and scored as a portion of the exam. You may be permitted to plan and prepare this essay beforehand.
Jeffrey W. Cupchik is founder and director of mentoring2success.
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