top of page

How to Craft a Powerful Grad School Personal Statement


 

Table of Contents:

Introduction


#1 Know Your Audience Well

#2 Unveil Your Motivation

#3 Be Specific and Concrete is Never Enough

#4 Address Your Weaknesses in a Positive Way

#5 Discuss Your Future Goals


Conclusions


 


Introduction


Parallel to preparing a CV and taking standardized tests, every graduate school applicant needs to consider a further step, which is writing a personal statement. It is a very crucial passage, as while crafting this document students need to show a bit of themselves. For example, they can talk about their motivation to pursue a certain degree and about how their unique characteristics can be a contribution to that environment. While being personal, it is important to remember to keep an academic attitude. Indeed, you are applying to a graduate school after all! Having explained this, in the following paragraphs you can find a list of tips about how to craft a powerful grad school personal statement. This will help you both to give a personal character to your application as well as structuring your statement with academic rigor. Let’s leave a lasting impression on the admission committee!



#1 Know Your Audience Well


When writing your personal statement, keep in mind that there are real people in your dream graduate school that will examine it. These individuals usually share the same values of the institution they are working in, and are looking for those values and motivations when selecting the applications. While this reasoning seems quite logical and simple, researching information on a faculty’s mission and on its professors and staff members is a long and complex process. Be sure to allocate enough time and energy to really understand the people you are writing your personal statement to - only if you have a complete picture of their values will you be able to show your genuine interest for your dream school.



#2 Unveil Your Motivation:


As it was already mentioned, a big part of your personal statement is about explaining what motivates you to apply to a specific graduate program. Ok, but how to do that? A good strategy can be to stop for a bit and think at all the experiences you have lived (academic and non-academic) that were important to determine your decision to apply. These can be the relationship with a specific undergrad professor, an internship abroad you have been admitted to, or a difficult situation in which you have persevered with your passion for a certain subject.


Also, I know some people may think not to have anything “special” in their past university and life experiences. However, the goal in this case is not to have your mind clear since the beginning of the application process. Rather, it is to see and discover step by step the connections that are there between your passions and interests and the degree you are interested in. You may not even have thought consciously of some of these links, so don’t feel demoralized and start looking for them.


#3 Be Specific and Concrete is Never Enough


Until now, you have read about the importance of showcasing your passions and motivations, and of supporting these claims with specific examples and experiences you have lived. However, be aware that when doing this there is always the risk to generalize and to shape your personal story based on some clichés (common expressions that are said without really thinking of their meaning). For example, writing a phrase such as “I like to think outside of the box when I have to solve a problem” can communicate vagueness and lack of originality. You could talk instead of a specific issue you have faced, which can demonstrate your ability to find creative solutions, using your own words and no already-made sentences.


#4 Address Your Weaknesses in a Positive Way


Talking about any gap or weakness that you have in your academic record is very important for your statement of purpose. Explaining these difficulties you may have had can make you a stronger candidate for two reasons. First of all, it demonstrates that you are an honest and mature person, that you are not afraid of making yourself vulnerable and of initiating a dialogue about your weaknesses. Secondly, remember that whenever we face a struggle, there is always a strategy to cope that we adopt. Talking about some negative experience means also showing how you manage to solve the problem. This can only demonstrate your determination and resilience to the admission committee and strengthen your candidacy.


#5 Discuss Your Future Goals


Knowing what are your goals for the future is an essential component you should mention in your graduate school personal statement. Indeed, while you are going to bring a valuable contribution to the faculty due to your passion and motivation, how is that school giving you the knowledge you could use for your career? For example, you can reflect on how a particular professor’s insight could help you to specialize in a certain professional field, or on how the lab resources of that faculty would allow you to perform experiments about an unstudied scientific phenomenon.


Conclusion


Crafting a powerful graduate school personal statement is a milestone in the application process. In this article, we have gone through five tips you can follow: understanding your audience, explaining your motivation, being specific and concrete, addressing struggles in a positive way, and demonstrating your future goals. Having said this, there is one last remark that you need to have in mind, which is that you should be sincere and authentic all the time. No matter if you are talking about your passion for a program or about your plans for the future, keeping an honest attitude will demonstrate that you are mature and able to attend graduate school professionally. And with this, I hope you enjoyed the article and wish you good luck in your application journey!

48 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Comentários


bottom of page