Personal essays for graduate schools

Bookmark Remember when you sat down to write your undergrad application essays? It was your chance to show colleges the real you—and the world was your oyster!

Personal essays for graduate schools

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. Want to improve your GRE score by 7 points? We have the industry's leading GRE prep program.

Built by world-class instructors with 99th percentile GRE scoresthe program learns your strengths and weaknesses through machine learning data science, then customizes your prep program to you so you get the most effective prep possible. 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: What type of content your personal statement should include or generally focus on you might even get an actual prompt to answer!

How long your statement should be What type of heading, if any, you must include on your statement How to save and submit your statement e. Please describe how your personal background informs your decision to pursue a graduate degree. Please include information on how you have overcome barriers to access in higher education, evidence of how you have come to understand the barriers faced by others, evidence of your academic service to advance equitable access to higher education for women, racial minorities, and individuals from other groups that have been historically underrepresented in higher education, evidence of your research focusing on underserved populations or related issues of inequality, or evidence of your leadership among such groups.

On the other hand, if you were to apply for an MS in Mining, Geological, and Geophysical Engineering at the University of Arizonayour personal statement would follow these parameters: Your personal statement is an opportunity to sell yourself, in terms of your research interests, research experience and research goals.Read about the graduate school essay (also known as the personal statement for graduate school) in the Admissions section of Peterson's Graduate Schools Search.

It is for this reason that your graduate school admissions essays need to be authentic and exceptional. The following resources will walk you through the process of creating a captivating, thoughtful, and well-written grad school personal statement or statement of purpose.

How to Write a Personal Statement for Graduate School

Personal Statement Examples for Graduate School. Writing a personal statement for graduate school may at first seem like an overwhelming task. It sets the tone for your grad school application after all. While every personal statement should be different, these examples can help you brainstorm ideas and give you a place to start.

A personal statement is a required essay on many graduate school applications. It focuses on the applicant’s goals in applying, their reasons for doing so, and their personal background. But unlike the similar statement of purpose, a personal statement tends to be person-oriented, helping the graduate admissions committee get to know the applicant as an individual.

Some programs will ask you to write a single essay covering both your personal background and what you wish to study in graduate school. Others, however, will require both a personal statement and a statement of purpose.

personal essays for graduate schools

An outstanding graduate school statement of purpose is critical in the application process You want to get accepted to a top school, but you need to show you're more qualified than other applicants. U.S. News reports the average graduate school acceptance rate is 20% for the top 10 engineering programs and 15% for the top 10 education programs.

Write a Graduate School Essay that Will Knock Their Socks Off