A graduate school personal statement is for convincing admissions committee that an applicant is fit for an academic program and has something to contribute to the department. It can be in the form of a personal statement or statement of purpose. A personal statement discusses more you. A statement of purpose (SoP) shows your personality but also explains things that influenced your career path, professional interests, and plans.

The difference is that a SoP answers questions by the school in a concise way, but a personal statement has a story telling element that makes it more engaging.

A graduate school essay is one of these forms is a way to present information that portrays you as the right candidate for an academic program. Only a few members of the department faculty are available to read essays by thousands of applicants. You should make yours sharp as possible to convince the busy readers that you can be meaningful contributors to their department and college. Increase the chances of admission by writing a graduate essay that:

Demonstrates your capacity and motivation to succeed

Graduate schools do not jut select students for education only. They also consider them to be future ambassadors of their programs and the institution. Persuade the admissions committee that you are going to contribute to the college’s reputation during your studies and professional practice. Provide concrete examples including relevant classroom assignments, presentations, employment experience and related publications. You can, for instance, describe your participation in a service project to demonstrate your compassion which is something that many schools value. Describe your contribution if you collaborated with other students on a research topic. It will show you as a team player who is a positive attribute because you will more likely participate in such activity during graduate studies, in particular for a Ph.D. candidate.

Describe your particular professional interests that relate to research

If you have identified some faculty members sharing your topic interests, express your wish to work with them. It is to have a reasonable scope when describing your professional interests. Do not declare an interest in all or many research areas of the faculty as committee members may think you are uncertain about what you want and abilities. On the other hand, they will question your ability to work with professors if the research interests are too narrow.

Articulate the reasons for choosing the career

Often, many call graduate school essay a personal statement but still it is not an autobiography. You should write about your journey as a budding scholar. Provide evidence that demonstrates that you are sure about your interests and how an advanced degree is going to help your achievement of these goals.

Describe the courses, service projects, research, internships, professors and co-curricular activities that have contributed to shaping your aspirations. Avoid clichés such as “I have always wanted to join this career” without providing any evidence. Add credibility to your essay by showing passion. For example, if you are applying to a law graduate program, have you been in student's government or served a law firm. If some of the reasons behind the inspiration are controversial to certain sections of the community, avoid or address them cautiously. Do not offend readers with extreme religious or political rhetoric to demonstrate your understanding of the field.

Write for a specific program

Explain the rationale for selecting one program among the available alternatives unless the university has a standard application system. Many schools using these systems may also require supplemental essays to inquire the reasons for choosing a program. Some of the reasons that you can provide the motivation to join a program are a conversation with an alumni or emphasis of a particular area by a professor.

Write your essay in straightforward language. You must use graduate level vocabulary but limit it to the correct points in the right way. End on a strong note that summarizes why the graduate school is your top choice and how it will prepare you for a career.

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