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Writing a Personal Statement

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Katelyn Kivett

on 26 August 2015

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Transcript of Writing a Personal Statement

Whats special, unique, distinctive and/or impressive about you and your life story?
What are your long term
Career Goals?
What have you learned about the field that has further stimulated your interest and reinforced your conviction that you are well suited for it?
Answer the Questions that are Asked!!!
Choose a FOCUS...
Concentrate on your Opening Paragraph...
the lead paragraph is the most important- grab the readers attention, or you might lose it!
Create Strong Transitions...
Create a Concluding Observation...
"The mistake people make most often is not to look at what the questions are asking."
-Lee Cunningham
Director of Admissions
The University of Chicago
General Advice...
Advice from Admissions
Writing a Personal Statement...
...an inside look

What is a
Personal Statement?

Ask yourself...?
What details of your life might help the committee better understand you or help set you apart from other applicants?
personal or family experiences
people or events that have shaped or influenced your goals
When did you become interested in this field?
Why/how did you choose this major?
How have you learned about the specific field- through classes? Readings? Seminars? Personal experience?
How has any work/ volunteer experience contributed to your growth? Do you have leadership or managerial skills?
Are there any gaps or discrepancies in your academic record that need to be explained?
What personal characteristics do you possess that would make you successful?
Integrity? Compassion? Persistence?
Why are you a stronger candidate than everyone else?? What is the
reason they should choose you?
Tell a Story...
Be Specific.
<Find an Angle>
Avoid Cliche's!
Tell what you know...
*Avoid some subjects*
this paragraph becomes the Framework for the rest of your statement. (thesis statement)
Choose a Main Point or Theme that you will support throughout the rest of your statement
Most personal statements are centered around "Why I should be accepted to ..." - try to find something unique & personal
While your personal statement should be unique- it doesn't have to be about something life shattering! Focus on something you can write about with conviction, enthusiasm and authority.
Find an experience that you see as a "turning point"- why are you changed because of it?
create a bridge between your thoughts and ideas
restate your focus to show how it has evolved over time from your experiences
For Example...
"Trying to second-guess what we are looking for is a common mistake- which we can sense."
-Steven DeKrey
Director of Admissions
Northwestern University
"...we know you have lots of extracurricular activities- we want to know how you differ, what makes you unique?"
-Michael Rappaport
Assistant Dean of Admissions
"The applicant has to realize, first of all, where he or she stands. If you have a straight-A grade point average and a perfect LSAT score, you don't have to spend a lot of time worrying about your personal statement. On the other hand, if you know you're in the borderline area, that's where the personal statement becomes very, very important."
-Michael Rappaport
Assistant Dean of Admissions
"The personal statement carries the responsibility of presenting the student's life experiences."
-Beth O'Neil
Director of Admissions
University of California at Berkeley
"Applicants also tend to state and not evaluate. They give a recitation of their experience but no evaluation of what effect that particular experience had on them, no assessment of what certain experiences or honors meant."
-Beth O'Neil
Director of Admissions
University of California at Berkeley
"Another mistake is that everyone tries to make himself or herself the perfect law school applicant who, of course, does not exist and is not nearly as interesting as a real human being."
-Beth O'Neil
Director of Admissions
University of California at Berkeley
"We look for originality because nine out of ten essays leave you with a big yawn. "I like science, I like to help people and that's why I want to be a doctor." The common, uninteresting and unoriginal statement..."
-Dr. Daniel Alonso
Associate Dean of Admissions
Cornell University Medical College
"And more important than anything:
. Really show your personality. Tell us

-Dr. Daniel Alonso
Associate Dean of Admissions
Cornell University Medical College
1. Don't regurgitate your resume!
2. Sell WHY YOU are a GOOD FIT.
3. Focus on your strengths.
4. Can be non-academic- what are your accomplishments outside of the classroom?
5. Write from the heart <3
6. What have you experienced that has made you who you are today?
7. An opportunity to address discrepancies in your academic career.
8. Don't procrastinate!!!
9. Don't use big words- this is about YOU!
10. If there are questions, make sure you are answering them!
Remember; no one is admitted or denied JUST because of their Personal Statement.
Why this program? School? Scholarship?
Your Story...
Sell Yourself...
Final Tips
Get your Statement critiqued
(Writing Center, Career Center)

Read out loud to yourself

Talk to someone who's been though it

Pay attention to format- is there a word length?

Writing Center Locations:
Park Hall, Room 66
Science Library, Room 201
MLC, Room 302
Career Center Walk In Hours:
Monday-Friday, 12-2pm
2nd floor, Clark Howell Hall
Connect to each other--4 square
What subject/major/program are you interested in?
What first sparked your interest in this program? (read something, tv show, family, friends, money etc.)
Name three accomplishments that make you the most proud?
Name three skills you feel make you unique?
What is a personal statement?
What questions should you consider?
What should You include?
What do experts have to say?
Put it into practice
Lets critique a personal statement in pairs
Quiz time!
Full transcript