personal-statementIf you are in the process of applying to grad school, an important question has probably crossed your mind: “What is a personal statement?” By reading the information found below, you can obtain an answer to this question and several others that pertain to the grad school application process.

Grad School Applications-The Basics

Grad school applications are the applications students fill out in order to determine their eligibility for entry into a graduate-level program at a learning institution. There are several components that go into the construction of a grad school application, and some of them include the application itself, the personal statement, transcripts, and letters of recommendation.

Personal Statement-The Brief Overview

The personal statement is a very important component of the grad school application process. Although broadly defined, the personal statement is designed to provide admissions representatives with a basic understanding of your personality, goals, and educational achievements. The personal statement will also typically include detailed information regarding the applicant’s interests and intended area of study.

Personal Statement-Questions to Anticipate

In some cases, an educational institution may request that applicants answer specific questions within the body of their personal statements. Some of them may include:

•What about your greatest accomplishment makes you proud and how did it shape or change the person that you are today?

•What is your intended major? How did you develop interest in this field? (Answers can include things such as internships, employment, volunteer work, and/or participation in student activities and organizations.

•What role has your background (in terms of family, school, and community) played in your personal development?

Editorial Considerations

Although the point of a personal statement is for you to be personal, this does not mean that you should write in a sloppy, ungrammatical manner. Just as you would incorporate reason and logic upon composing an argumentative essay, your writing style for the personal statement should be deliberate, focused, and thoughtful. Moreover, your personal statement should not be vague. Rather, you should include very specific examples that provide the admissions representatives with a clear, concrete understanding of who you really are and what your purpose is in applying for their grad school program. When this information is attained, the admissions representatives can make an informed decision regarding whether you are a good fit for their program. Finally, a reviewer may help you spot and eliminate the inclusion of potentially controversial statements, which many professional educators say should be omitted from your personal statement.

Getting It Reviewed

No matter how proficient you are in writing well, it is always appropriate and advantageous to have your personal statement reviewed by another person. This is the case for several reasons, including the fact that you write and interpret your own personal statement through a limited, subjective lens. When you allow another individual to critique your work, you gain the opportunity to have it objectively analyzed. In addition to catching grammatical errors, a reviewer can spot sentences that are “fluff,” vague, or tangential.

If you are interested in going to grad school, you should know that successfully completing your grad school application will be an important and inalienable part of the admissions process. Now that you understand what the personal statement is and the type of information it should include, you can move forward with confidence in completing your grad school application.

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