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Writing Personal Statements

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UWC Presentations

on 7 February 2017

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Transcript of Writing Personal Statements

Writing Personal Statements
The University Writing Center Presents
The University Writing Center
The Learning Commons at PCL
M-Th 10-8; F 10-4;
Sun 1-7
512-471-6222
The University Writing Center
Anyone enrolled in a UT class
One-on-one expert writing help
45 minute personalized consultations
Any piece of writing at any stage
Non-directive
Non-evaluative
Diagnostic outside readers
Today's Agenda
Questions?

Comments?

Concerns?
Thanks!
University Writing Center
PCL 2.330 - 512-471-6222 - uwc.utexas.edu
Created by Tom Lindsay and Elizabeth Goins

Last updated by Jacob Pietsch, September, 2012
Information, writing help, teaching resources, and
online appointment-scheduling
available at:
uwc.utexas.edu
Writing in
Process
Preparation
Creation
Revision
Individual
Non-linear
Flexibile
Lengthy
For consultations...
Make an appointment (
online
at uwc.utexas.edu),
Or walk in.
Be sure to bring...
The writing prompt or assignment description,
Your brainstorming notes,
Your current draft,
Instructor comments,
And/or any other materials related to the piece of writing.
Bank of stock frames:
Strategies for Planning
Strategies for Content
Strategies for Structure
Strategies for Revision
Additional Resources
What are your main concerns with writing your personal statement?

What challenges do you anticipate?

What confuses you?

What makes you uncomfortable?
Brainstorming Activity
Writing in
Process
Preparation
Creation
Revision
Individual
Non-linear
Flexible
Lengthy
Who is my audience?
What are the formatting requirements?
What kinds of research do I need to do?
Who can I ask for help?
What is the main message I’m trying to communicate throughout my application?
What are your unique strengths that can’t be communicated by a GPA, resume, or test score?
How do your experiences evidence these strengths?
How are you suited for the rigors and demands of the profession or program you're applying to?
How realistic and insightful is your knowledge of the profession or program?
What will you gain from and contribute to this profession or program?
:
We believe that the best writers allow themselves the time and flexibility to move back and forth through these stages multiple times before arriving at a final product.
To prepare, first ask...
Interpret the Statement Prompt
What, exactly, is the prompt asking me?
What kinds of information is it asking me to provide?
What is the scope of the prompt?
Tips and Tricks:
"Optional" essays are often not really optional.
Readers look for excuses to dismiss applicants.
So, read the prompt carefully!
Demonstrate your ability to read and follow instructions.
Statement prompts are often general, but statement audiences will often look for answers to more specific questions. For instance, "Why do you want to attend medical school?" might really entail a whole host of questions: "Why do you want to go to this particular medical school?" "How are you suited to the rigors of graduate school and a profession in medicine?" "How would you make a good doctor?" Check with someone who knows about the job or program you're applying for to see what questions might be "hidden" in your statement prompt.
What
Models for Generating Content
2
Don’t say what you think they want to hear.
Do project honesty and authenticity.
"I’ve wanted to be a lawyer all of my life."
"During my years as an AmeriCorps volunteer, I realized I wanted to become a lawyer."
VS.
"Your program's resources will help me develop innovative models for elementary education."
Don’t use clichés.
Do write about specifics.
"I want to work with children."
VS.
Don’t use overly-academic language. Do write with sophistication.
"This complex conundrum required the agility of an urbane and erudite researcher."
VS.
"This problem tested my critical thinking skills."
Don't risk offending your audience.
Do practice cultural sensitivity.
"The poor people I worked with didn't care about nutrition and I had to teach them why they needed to care."
VS.
"While participating in the nutrition outreach program, I had to learn about and account for the special needs and challenges that low-income communities face."
Don't be general or philosophical.
Do be specific about your experiences.
"With the current state of U.S. health care, doctors are ruled by insurance companies and greedy politicians, so they have to choose between profits and patients."
VS.
"My internship at this hospital taught me about the everyday challenges of balancing beauraucratic procedures with patient care."
Don't be arrogant.
Do project confidence.
Rather than saying something like this
:
"I will revolutionize product design."
VS.
Prove this
:
"I will use my experience in this program to do innovative work in the field of product design."
Professional Brand
Structuring Your Statement
Developing a structure:
Draft
Draft
Organize
Models for structure:
Narrative
Chronological
Topical
Organize
Why does structure matter?
Manage reader expectations.
Make a first impression.
Be memorable.
Highlight strengths.
Revising and editing are not the same thing; you need to do both.
Multiple drafts are necessary, but learn when to say "when" and set personal deadlines.
Feedback is essential, but don't have too many cooks in the kitchen!
Revising Your Personal Statement
do you want to communicate?
DOs
DON'Ts
Personal Statement
&
Potential-Investor
Schools, scholarships, employers have limited space, time, and money.
Why should they "invest" those limited resources in you?
How can you be a good "return" on their investment?
What skills, qualities, or capacities do you have that will enable you to make a good "return"?
The
Model
Now, you've got what it takes.
Your skills,
qualities,
and capacities

Especially ones
that will make you
a good "return"
Stories,
anecdotes,
details,
and specifics
about any
relevant
experiences
Column 1
Column 2
PROOF!
prove
PCL Learning Commons Resources

The Public Speaking Center

UT Librarians by appointment

UT Libraries "Chat with a librarian"

The University Writing Center
Full transcript