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Personal Statement for Graduate School

Personal Statement for Graduate School

Personal Statement for Graduate School

A Personal Statement for Graduate School is one of the requirements for admission to a Graduate Program. Most universities ask students to submit a Personal Statement along with the application kit. In addition to and going beyond your Transcripts and Academic Scores, Admission Panels like to scratch the surface and see a deeper ‘you’ – who you are and what you are. Personal Statements are subjective and a form of art. While there are basic ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts,’ there are no distinct guidelines that universities set, and you can use your imagination and writing skills as you see fit.

It should be noted that a Personal Statement is not about Academics; it is about presenting your true nature that would otherwise go unnoticed in daily life. This is, of course, if a university is not specific about what you are required to write. In certain cases, Personal Statements can be academic and experience-oriented. Therefore, it is always advisable to read your university’s instructions and look for specific questions being asked or points to cover. This resource guide will walk you through all aspects of a Personal Statement for grad school, including how to write, a template, an example, and FAQs.

personal statements examples for graduate school

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What is a Personal Statement for Graduate School

A simple yet often asked question is, “what is a Personal Statement for Graduate School”? The answer, in a sense, is rather self-descriptive. Just like how your unique signature, a grad school Personal Statement can be thought of as a signature of your inner and true self. It is a written form of who you are, what you value, how you think, and your identity stamp. Beyond a name you have and a signature you scribble, a Personal Statement expounds your true nature – not one that is dictated by and dedicated to people around you. To apply to graduate schools, a Personal Statement presents an opportunity for you to allow others into your mind and try and understand you beyond a Curriculum Vitae or Biodata and, and of course, an Application Form. Increasingly, grad schools have made Personal Statements an important part of the decision-making process (for admissions) because standardized test scores can only show your academic prowess and precious little else. Consequently, if you want to leave your mark and offer something that goes beyond Transcripts, a Personal Statement is the way to go about doing so. In general terms, Personal Statements can be categorized into two categories – one being Academic and Technical and the other being Character-based and Personal. The former would require your focus and emphasize your academics, goals, research, and experience; the latter warrants a personal insight into everything that is quite the opposite.

personal statements examples for graduate school

Personal Statement for Graduate School Template

A good Personal Statement for Graduate School Template must demonstrate what you have learned throughout life – skills, values, morals, ethics, and qualities – and how these have prepared you for attending college. To do so, it is always best to prepare a custom Template of your own, as there is no set graduate school Personal Statement Format or Template cast in stone. Note down your Topic, Theme, Key Points, Highlights, and Keywords before you start writing your Personal Statement. Unless surefooted, try not to rush it out the door in a few hours or a day. Also, it is important to review what you have written, checking for mistakes and points you may have overlooked.

Sections of a Personal Statement

Technically, there are three major sections you must cover when writing your Personal Statement. While this is just a thumb-rule, you are at liberty to structure your Personal Statement as you wish, provided the intent and purpose is served. Remember to write with sincerity and maturity.

The three typical sections of a Personal Statement for Graduate School are:

In addition to the three major sections of a Personal Statement for Graduate School, it is important to include points that illustrate your attributes and traits. Draw upon events and experiences that inspired you to reach where you are and eventually apply for the Program you are writing for. Showcase your ability to work under duress or in strenuous situations and the values you have picked up along your life journey.

Do make a note that some Universities have a specific requirement for Personal Statements. You may be asked to write about:

It is, therefore, necessary to read the instructions given to you carefully.

personal statements examples for graduate school

How to write a Personal Statement for Grad School

How to write a Personal Statement for grad school is a question of targeting what is expected out of you. Before you start, understand what kind of Personal Statement you are to prepare by taking note of specific questions that may have been asked. In general, writing a Personal Statement becomes easier when you know certain basic rules and have a topic you actually can write about. You should factor in a few tips and best practices before you get down to writing your Personal Statement. Here are a few that serve as guidelines; not all of them need to make their way into your Personal Statement:

Important: While the question of how to write a Personal Statement has been addressed, an integral part of making it a compelling read lies in reviewing your essay. Consider this flow: First, write a rough copy of your Personal Statement as your thoughts flow and then turn this copy into the first draft. Revise this draft several times, making changes as you do, and prepare a second draft ensuring you have covered everything. Continue to revise the second draft and get a friend, family member, teacher/professor/mentor, or colleague to read it and provide you with feedback and suggestions. Once you have made changes to this second draft (if needed), write a final draft and review it at least a couple of times before you are ready to submit it. While reviewing, check your grammar, style, sentence structure, and spelling mistakes and typos.

personal statements examples for graduate school

What to Avoid When Writing a Personal Statement for Graduate School

It is very easy to get carried away when writing a Personal Statement for a Graduate School. One must always bear in mind the intent of a Personal Statement – it is not written for entertainment or amusement, neither is it a work of fiction or a novel. There are a few points and clichés you must try and avoid:

Personal Statement Examples for Graduate School

There are plenty of Personal Statement examples for graduate school you can find on the internet. Writing one that focuses on your academic or professional credentials is comparatively easier than a more personal one. Here is a sample Personal Statement for graduate school that can make for a compelling and memorable read: 

“Growing up the small town of Grand Junction, Colorado, had its ups and downs. As a child, I always aspired to be a musician, but musicians of fame were hard to come by in this rather quaint town, for me to awe and marvel. Quite naturally, my exposure to music and its stars was restricted to the few hours I was allowed to gape, complete with an open mouth, at the television. My excitement for music used to lead me to the bathroom often. I used to croon long and loud, and I was rather relieved to have found an audience in my neighbors. After all, they did not complain as my sister did, and I did not make much of our dog seeking shelter under the bed each time I broke into song. In the two elementary schools I attended, there were very gifted kids. Some aced their studies, some could brush replicas of our beautiful mountains on canvas, a few could shake a leg to racy tunes with form and enthusiasm, and then some took to athletics and sports, as fish would take to the water. Unfortunately for me, most of this brigade could not carry a tune in a bucket! I felt isolated and alone, with hardly anyone who shared my passion and love for music. A few years on, my voice broke, and I was elated, thinking that I had come closer to becoming the next Elvis Presley. My bathroom singing grew longer and louder than yore, but gradually, the neighbors seemed to have had enough of it and soon enough resorted to snide remarks at every opportunity. I, of course, made light of it and put it down to their envy. What I did not fathom is that my voice had changed completely but horridly. Years later, I was tactfully told that I had sounded akin to a frog crying out for help. But when we moved to Denver, all that changed. Let loose in a big city, and with a few more years added to my age, I devoured all the Jazz, Blues, Pop, Soft Rock, Country, Hip Hop, and of course, Classical Music I possibly could. For me, it was a dream come true; heavenly, I surmised. With overflowing levels of enthusiasm, I wasted no time signing up for the school band. In time, I gradually became obsessed with personal success on the stage – the key to social acceptance and ‘fitting-in’ at a new school. Consequently, I was compelled to make my mark and be the celebrated hero on stage, as some were in the sports arena. It was now that my academics took a back seat. I practiced singing long and hard, often in open parks and places that were peaceful and tranquil. Within weeks, however, my world came crashing down. At a talent show, I was booed off stage and had to live with the shame of featuring at the bottom of the winner’s list. Dejected and rejected, I decided to hang in the horn. My academics, who had suffered a beating due to my foolhardiness, became a priority once again. But this time, it too had lost its zing; I treated it more like a job than a joy. No matter what I did from thereon, I always looked at myself as a failure because I couldn’t sing. That view held ground for a whole term until one day, and I was told something that turned my life around. After an event that had just concluded at school, in which the school band had played, I stepped up to Mark, the lead vocalist, and said, “you know what? I would trade places with you any day!”. Astonished, he said, “if I were as talented as you, I would have stood out and achieved something by now.” At that moment, I was incredulous. What was he talking about, I wondered? But then I realized that others around me had recognized my talent, not as a vocalist, but as a musician. Their confidence in my talent prompted me to realize I could still be a musician, still end up on stage, but not sing! Instead of singing, I espied I should teach vocals and music to others. Being fairly gifted in academics allowed me to cradle the theory of music and vocals quickly. I listened to world-renowned singers, concentrated on guitar riffs and techniques, paid attention to percussion instruments in various genres of the subject, and compiled my arsenal of lessons. I signed up at local music clubs and registered with the Denver Musicians Association. I began teaching the school band a thing or two, polished their gig, and composed a few tunes, catapulting them to fame. During school breaks, I casually taught kids who had angelic voices but precious little guidance on what to do with them. I had now acquired flexibility, adaptability, discipline, and drive – all of which determined my success. It is this understanding and intellect that has made me a better student, friend, and of course, singer. I have now grown in stature and become a far rounded person than I thought I was. Instead of aiming for fame, perfection, and social acceptance, I am now at liberty to concentrate on the things I love. All of this change has re-inspired me to express myself better and turn a weakness into a strength. After all, a gift is still a gift – and we must cherish every gift we are blessed with. While I secretly continue to harbor a desire to be the world’s best singer, I am more than happy to settle for making the world’s best singers.”

personal statements examples for graduate school

FAQs about Personal Statement for Graduate School

personal statements examples for graduate school

Additional Resources for writing Personal Statement for Graduate School

While you should compose and write your own Personal Statement for graduate school from scratch, there are some resources you could look into for ideas and suggestions to give you an easier start. But having said that, be warned that reading more samples of Personal Statements can leave you confused and frustrated. Make sure you know how much to look for and where and when to stop.

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Looking for grad school personal statement examples? Look no further! In this total guide to graduate school personal statement examples, we’ll discuss why you need a personal statement for grad school and what makes a good one. Then we’ll provide three graduate school personal statement samples from our grad school experts. After that, we’ll do a deep dive on one of our personal statement for graduate school examples. Finally, we’ll wrap up with a list of other grad school personal statements you can find online.

Why Do You Need a Personal Statement?

A personal statement is a chance for admissions committees to get to know you: your goals and passions, what you’ll bring to the program, and what you’re hoping to get out of the program.  You need to sell the admissions committee on what makes you a worthwhile applicant. The personal statement is a good chance to highlight significant things about you that don’t appear elsewhere on your application.

A personal statement is slightly different from a statement of purpose (also known as a letter of intent). A statement of purpose/letter of intent tends to be more tightly focused on your academic or professional credentials and your future research and/or professional interests.

While a personal statement also addresses your academic experiences and goals, you have more leeway to be a little more, well, personal. In a personal statement, it’s often appropriate to include information on significant life experiences or challenges that aren’t necessarily directly relevant to your field of interest.

Some programs ask for both a personal statement and a statement of purpose/letter of intent. In this case, the personal statement is likely to be much more tightly focused on your life experience and personality assets while the statement of purpose will focus in much more on your academic/research experiences and goals.

However, there’s not always a hard-and-fast demarcation between a personal statement and a statement of purpose. The two statement types should address a lot of the same themes, especially as relates to your future goals and the valuable assets you bring to the program. Some programs will ask for a personal statement but the prompt will be focused primarily on your research and professional experiences and interests. Some will ask for a statement of purpose but the prompt will be more focused on your general life experiences.

When in doubt, give the program what they are asking for in the prompt and don’t get too hung up on whether they call it a personal statement or statement of purpose. You can always call the admissions office to get more clarification on what they want you to address in your admissions essay.

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What Makes a Good Grad School Personal Statement?

A great graduate school personal statement can come in many forms and styles. However, strong grad school personal statement examples all share the same following elements:

A Clear Narrative

Above all, a good personal statement communicates clear messages about what makes you a strong applicant who is likely to have success in graduate school. So to that extent, think about a couple of key points that you want to communicate about yourself and then drill down on how you can best communicate those points. (Your key points should of course be related to what you can bring to the field and to the program specifically).

You can also decide whether to address things like setbacks or gaps in your application as part of your narrative. Have a low GPA for a couple semesters due to a health issue? Been out of a job for a while taking care of a family member? If you do decide to explain an issue like this, make sure that the overall arc is more about demonstrating positive qualities like resilience and diligence than about providing excuses.

Specific Examples

A great statement of purpose uses specific examples to illustrate its key messages. This can include anecdotes that demonstrate particular traits or even references to scholars and works that have influenced your academic trajectory to show that you are familiar and insightful about the relevant literature in your field.

Just saying “I love plants,” is pretty vague. Describing how you worked in a plant lab during undergrad and then went home and carefully cultivated your own greenhouse where you cross-bred new flower colors by hand is much more specific and vivid, which makes for better evidence.

A strong personal statement will describe why you are a good fit for the program, and why the program is a good fit for you. It’s important to identify specific things about the program that appeal to you, and how you’ll take advantage of those opportunities. It’s also a good idea to talk about specific professors you might be interested in working with. This shows that you are informed about and genuinely invested in the program.

Strong Writing

Even quantitative and science disciplines typically require some writing, so it’s important that your personal statement shows strong writing skills. Make sure that you are communicating clearly and that you don’t have any grammar and spelling errors. It’s helpful to get other people to read your statement and provide feedback. Plan on going through multiple drafts.

Another important thing here is to avoid cliches and gimmicks. Don’t deploy overused phrases and openings like “ever since I was a child.” Don’t structure your statement in a gimmicky way (i.e., writing a faux legal brief about yourself for a law school statement of purpose). The first will make your writing banal; the second is likely to make you stand out in a bad way.

Appropriate Boundaries

While you can be more personal in a personal statement than in a statement of purpose, it’s important to maintain appropriate boundaries in your writing. Don’t overshare anything too personal about relationships, bodily functions, or illegal activities. Similarly, don’t share anything that makes it seem like you may be out of control, unstable, or an otherwise risky investment. The personal statement is not a confessional booth. If you share inappropriately, you may seem like you have bad judgment, which is a huge red flag to admissions committees.

You should also be careful with how you deploy humor and jokes. Your statement doesn’t have to be totally joyless and serious, but bear in mind that the person reading the statement may not have the same sense of humor as you do. When in doubt, err towards the side of being as inoffensive as possible.

Just as being too intimate in your statement can hurt you, it’s also important not to be overly formal or staid. You should be professional, but conversational.


Graduate School Personal Statement Examples

Our graduate school experts have been kind enough to provide some successful grad school personal statement examples. We’ll provide three examples here, along with brief analysis of what makes each one successful.

Sample Personal Statement for Graduate School 1

PDF of Sample Personal Statement 1 – Japanese Studies

For this Japanese Studies master’s degree, the applicant had to provide a statement of purpose outlining her academic goals and experience with Japanese and a separate personal statement describing her personal relationship with Japanese Studies and what led her to pursue a master’s degree.

Here’s what’s successful about this personal statement:

Overall, this is a very strong statement both in terms of style and content. It flows well, is memorable, and communicates that the applicant would make the most of the graduate school experience.


Sample Personal Statement for Graduate School 2

PDF of Sample Graduate School Personal Statement 2 – Musical Composition

This personal statement for a Music Composition master’s degree discusses the factors that motivate the applicant to pursue graduate study.

Here’s what works well in this statement:

This is a strong, serviceable personal statement. And in truth, given that this for a masters in music composition, other elements of the application (like work samples) are probably the most important.  However, here are two small changes I would make to improve it:


Sample Personal Statement for Graduate School 3

PDF of Sample Graduate School Personal Statement 3 – Public Health

This is my successful personal statement for Columbia’s Master’s program in Public Health. We’ll do a deep dive on this statement paragraph-by-paragraph in the next section, but I’ll highlight a couple of things that work in this statement here:

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Grad School Personal Statement Example: Deep Dive

Now let’s do a deep dive, paragraph-by-paragraph, on one of these sample graduate school personal statements. We’ll use my personal statement that I used when I applied to Columbia’s public health program.

Paragraph One: For twenty-three years, my grandmother (a Veterinarian and an Epidemiologist) ran the Communicable Disease Department of a mid-sized urban public health department. The stories of Grandma Betty doggedly tracking down the named sexual partners of the infected are part of our family lore. Grandma Betty would persuade people to be tested for sexually transmitted diseases, encourage safer sexual practices, document the spread of infection and strive to contain and prevent it. Indeed, due to the large gay population in the city where she worked, Grandma Betty was at the forefront of the AIDS crises, and her analysis contributed greatly towards understanding how the disease was contracted and spread. My grandmother has always been a huge inspiration to me, and the reason why a career in public health was always on my radar.

This is an attention-grabbing opening anecdote that avoids most of the usual cliches about childhood dreams and proclivities. This story also subtly shows that I have a sense of public health history, given the significance of the AIDs crisis for public health as a field.

It’s good that I connect this family history to my own interests. However, if I were to revise this paragraph again, I might cut down on some of the detail because when it comes down to it, this story isn’t really about me. It’s important that even (sparingly used) anecdotes about other people ultimately reveal something about you in a personal statement.

Paragraph Two: Recent years have cemented that interest. In January 2012, my parents adopted my little brother Fred from China. Doctors in America subsequently diagnosed Fred with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD). My parents were told that if Fred’s condition had been discovered in China, the (very poor) orphanage in which he spent the first 8+ years of his life would have recognized his DMD as a death sentence and denied him sustenance to hasten his demise.

Here’s another compelling anecdote to help explain my interest in public health. This is an appropriately personal detail for a personal statement—it’s a serious thing about my immediate family, but it doesn’t disclose anything that the admissions committee might find concerning or inappropriate.

If I were to take another pass through this paragraph, the main thing I would change is the last phrase. “Denied him sustenance to hasten his demise” is a little flowery. “Denied him food to hasten his death” is actually more powerful because it’s clearer and more direct.

Paragraph Three: It is not right that some people have access to the best doctors and treatment while others have no medical care. I want to pursue an MPH in Sociomedical Sciences at Columbia because studying social factors in health, with a particular focus on socio-health inequities, will prepare me to address these inequities. The interdisciplinary approach of the program appeals to me greatly as I believe interdisciplinary approaches are the most effective way to develop meaningful solutions to complex problems.

In this paragraph I make a neat and clear transition from discussing what sparked my interest in public health and health equity to what I am interested in about Columbia specifically: the interdisciplinary focus of the program, and how that focus will prepare me to solve complex health problems. This paragraph also serves as a good pivot point to start discussing my academic and professional background.

Paragraph Four: My undergraduate education has prepared me well for my chosen career. Understanding the underlying structure of a group’s culture is essential to successfully communicating with the group. In studying folklore and mythology, I’ve learned how to parse the unspoken structures of folk groups, and how those structures can be used to build bridges of understanding. For example, in a culture where most illnesses are believed to be caused by witchcraft, as is the case for the Zande people of central Africa, any successful health intervention or education program would of necessity take into account their very real belief in witchcraft.

In this paragraph, I link my undergraduate education and the skills I learned there to public health. The (very brief) analysis of tailoring health interventions to the Zande is a good way to show insight and show off the competencies I would bring to the program.

Paragraph Five: I now work in the healthcare industry for one of the largest providers of health benefits in the world. In addition to reigniting my passion for data and quantitative analytics, working for this company has immersed me in the business side of healthcare, a critical component of public health.

This brief paragraph highlights my relevant work experience in the healthcare industry. It also allows me to mention my work with data and quantitative analytics, which isn’t necessarily obvious from my academic background, which was primarily based in the social sciences.

Paragraph Six: I intend to pursue a PhD in order to become an expert in how social factors affect health, particularly as related to gender and sexuality. I intend to pursue a certificate in Sexuality, Sexual Health, and Reproduction. Working together with other experts to create effective interventions across cultures and societies, I want to help transform health landscapes both in America and abroad.

This final paragraph is about my future plans and intentions. Unfortunately, it’s a little disjointed, primarily because I discuss goals of pursuing a PhD before I talk about what certificate I want to pursue within the MPH program! Switching those two sentences and discussing my certificate goals within the MPH and then mentioning my PhD plans would make a lot more sense.

I also start two sentences in a row with “I intend,” which is repetitive.

The final sentence is a little bit generic; I might tailor it to specifically discuss a gender and sexual health issue, since that is the primary area of interest I’ve identified.

This was a successful personal statement; I got into (and attended!) the program. It has strong examples, clear organization, and outlines what interests me about the program (its interdisciplinary focus) and what competencies I would bring (a background in cultural analysis and experience with the business side of healthcare). However, a few slight tweaks would elevate this statement to the next level.


Graduate School Personal Statement Examples You Can Find Online

So you need more samples for your personal statement for graduate school? Examples are everywhere on the internet, but they aren’t all of equal quality.

Most of examples are posted as part of writing guides published online by educational institutions. We’ve rounded up some of the best ones here if you are looking for more personal statement examples for graduate school.

Penn State Personal Statement Examples for Graduate School

This selection of ten short personal statements for graduate school and fellowship programs offers an interesting mix of approaches. Some focus more on personal adversity while others focus more closely on professional work within the field.

The writing in some of these statements is a little dry, and most deploy at least a few cliches. However, these are generally strong, serviceable statements that communicate clearly why the student is interested in the field, their skills and competencies, and what about the specific program appeals to them.

Cal State Sample Graduate School Personal Statements

These are good examples of personal statements for graduate school where students deploy lots of very vivid imagery and illustrative anecdotes of life experiences. There are also helpful comments about what works in each of these essays.

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However, all of these statements are definitely pushing the boundaries of acceptable length, as all are above 1000 and one is almost 1500 words! Many programs limit you to 500 words; if you don’t have a limit, you should try to keep it to two single-spaced pages at most (which is about 1000 words).

University of Chicago Personal Statement for Graduate School Examples

These examples of successful essays to the University of Chicago law school cover a wide range of life experiences and topics. The writing in all is very vivid, and all communicate clear messages about the students’ strengths and competencies.

Note, however, that these are all essays that specifically worked for University of Chicago law school. That does not mean that they would work everywhere. In fact, one major thing to note is that many of these responses, while well-written and vivid, barely address the students’ interest in law school at all! This is something that might not work well for most graduate programs.

Wheaton College Personal Statement for Graduate School Sample 10

This successful essay for law school from a Wheaton College undergraduate does a great job tracking the student’s interest in the law in a compelling and personal way. Wheaton offers other graduate school personal statement examples, but this one offers the most persuasive case for the students’ competencies. The student accomplishes this by using clear, well-elaborated examples, showing strong and vivid writing, and highlighting positive qualities like an interest in justice and empathy without seeming grandiose or out of touch.

Wheaton College Personal Statement for Graduate School Sample 1

Based on the background information provided at the bottom of the essay, this essay was apparently successful for this applicant. However, I’ve actually included this essay because it demonstrates an extremely risky approach. While this personal statement is strikingly written and the story is very memorable, it could definitely communicate the wrong message to some admissions committees. The student’s decision not to report the drill sergeant may read incredibly poorly to some admissions committees. They may wonder if the student’s failure to report the sergeant’s violence will ultimately expose more soldiers-in-training to the same kinds of abuses. This incident perhaps reads especially poorly in light of the fact that the military has such a notable problem with violence against women being covered up and otherwise mishandled

It’s actually hard to get a complete picture of the student’s true motivations from this essay, and what we have might raise real questions about the student’s character to some admissions committees. This student took a risk and it paid off, but it could have just as easily backfired spectacularly.


Key Takeaways: Graduate School Personal Statement Examples

In this guide, we discussed why you need a personal statement and how it differs from a statement of purpose. (It’s more personal!)

We also discussed what you’ll find in a strong sample personal statement for graduate school:

Then, we provided three strong graduate school personal statement examples for different fields, along with analysis. We did a deep-dive on the third statement.

Finally, we provided a list of other sample grad school personal statements online.

What’s Next?

Want more advice on writing a personal statement ? See our guide.

Writing a graduate school statement of purpose? See our statement of purpose samples  and a nine-step process for writing the best statement of purpose possible .

If you’re writing a graduate school CV or resume, see our how-to guide to writing a CV , a how-to guide to writing a resume , our list of sample resumes and CVs , resume and CV templates , and a special guide for writing resume objectives .

Need stellar graduate school recommendation letters ? See our guide.

See our 29 tips for successfully applying to graduate school .

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Author: Ellen McCammon

Ellen is a public health graduate student and education expert. She has extensive experience mentoring students of all ages to reach their goals and in-depth knowledge on a variety of health topics. View all posts by Ellen McCammon

personal statements examples for graduate school

For graduate school - Personal Statement Example

Personal statement for graduate school

Extract of sample "For graduate school"

That night was the turning point in my life. It made me realize a few things that I should be grateful for. However, feeling appreciative of these amazing gifts was not the only way to express my gratitude for what I have been privileged to possess. Rather, it is the contribution I could make in the society in order to share what I have been fortunate to have that actually matters. I understood right at that moment that the only way I could repay my parents for all the sacrifices they made for me in getting a good education is to do what my father had hoped I could do best in the society; that is, to help and share my knowledge in the field of Applied Math and Statistics.

As the years passed, I have come to realize that the road to my goal was not that easy. Like most students who grew up in a normal school in the United States, every day was a challenge. I went to class, wanting to excel. Unlike others who go to a boarding school where they are disciplined in a stricter way than in a normal school, no one supervised my performances in the classroom. As such, I could have been lazy and lax in my studies. Although my parents were furnished with my grades, they do not get involved in my scholastic performance.

It was not because my parents did not support me and help me with my responsibilities in school. Rather, it was their trust in me. They allowed me to direct my studies, from elementary to college and even at present. Furthermore, I did not want to bother my parents with any of my school responsibilities as they already have so much to handle, raising our family and ensuring there was enough food on the table. As such, having only myself to depend on was a far better challenge than obtaining the highest Grade Point Average or GPA in college.

Intrapersonal struggle, I have come to realize, was a lot more difficult. Free will becomes a disadvantage instead of an advantage. There was no one else to blame for the consequences of the wrong decisions I would make except myself. Exercising my own free will was so tempting that I thought I just had to exercise mine by choosing not to do my homework assignments, skip classes, and party. There were just so many things I thought I could do that would make my life in school a lot easier. Nevertheless, the thought of an obscure future as a result of choosing the easy way in college was more stressful than doing the right things that were expected of me.

My professors and family deserved to see they had trained me well. Others may think being in a normal school from primary up until college is easy, but the truth is, it is the contrary. Because one has more freedom to do things in a normal school than boarding school, practicing diligence is much harder. Nonetheless, it has shaped my personality and my attitude towards learning. The challenge of facing myself and my weaknesses was the toughest, yet the most rewarding. If it had not been for these personal difficulties I had to overcome, I would not recognize my strength in academics.

To encourage myself to focus my interests in school, I had to search for that one thing that would ignite my passion for learning. Even at a young age, I had already found myself fascinated by the way mathematics works. This realization of the fun I had while I taking my Math classes from elementary to high school was my motivation. My love for numbers, analyzing problems and solving them kept my life in school on track. I wanted things to be as precise as they could be, just as

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personal statements examples for graduate school

Personal Statement

Personal statement examples for graduate school: what is the prompt?

When doing something that can completely determine your future, people don’t neglect to use all the possible prompts and clues that are even available. One of those is personal statement examples for graduate school.

Entering grad school is a tough process that demands concentration, attention, and effort. To complete this task successfully, you have to be aware of the conditions provided for the admissions process. As a rule, an integral part of the application submission process is providing the admissions committee with several essays. They are supposed to uncover the deepest corners of your personality and make or break your admissions. With the help of essays submission, the admissions committee determines the applicants who can become the perfect match for the grad school community further. And here, we can start our conversation about the importance of graduate school personal statement examples.

You may wonder about the aim of these samples. What are they intended to change in your application, or what profit can you receive after perusing them? The thing is that samples are crucial papers in the context of any essay creation. First of all, with the help of samples, you can understand the pattern of the work that must be done and create your own essay more quickly and more effectively. However, these are not the only advantages you can get after using the samples. Using them allows you to note some useful features that can be used in your essay. For instance, it can be a trick related to the structure of your own paper, or it can be a grammar construction that can make your thoughts more clear and add some context to what you have already written. These all things would be impossible without personal statement examples for graduate school.

Reading samples isn’t always about noticing some specific and useful features for your essay. It is also about the inspiration you can receive from reading some stories about someone’s success. When having such examples in front of your eyes, you can fully immerse yourself in the reading part and recollect some achievements you had but didn’t pay attention to their value. People usually mention their best experiences and situations in their essays. You can also do the same after reading the samples and realizing that you are also the person whose experiences are worth becoming the successful sample personal statement for graduate school.

Also, when applying for a place in a particular grad school and having admission to it set as a goal, you can understand the approximate experience and life outlook of the people who have already graduated or entered this graduate program. Each of the grad schools has its own environment, values, curricular and extracurricular activities. Therefore, they have the challenging task of choosing the perfect candidates to join the community around all the willing applicants. They may all be excellent people with great experiences, but with the help of samples, you can understand the average personality type that is a perfect fit for grad school. Also, you can estimate whether you can match the community or not. And that all can be possible with the help of graduate school personal statement examples.

Personal statement for graduate school examples: how to use them?

We have already described the aim of personal statement for graduate school examples. It is pretty clear and understandable. However, many people wonder how to use these samples to get every crumb of advantages. Therefore, we have prepared several ways to make the process of using personal statement samples better, and you can spend time reading them with the full advantage.

Yes, the first and the most obvious way to use samples is simply to read them. The more samples you read, the more information you notice and, therefore, keep in mind. So, it is obvious that with this knowledge base, it will be easier for you to complete the task of creating your own essay. You will have the approximate pattern in your mind, and while writing your personal statement, some of the features you noticed in that personal statement for graduate school examples may arise. Therefore, the workflow will go faster and easier as you will have enough background knowledge for writing the essay.

Note down everything you find interesting or meaningful. Samples are the unique knowledge bases by themselves. Many different people have created a great deal of different essays. Various mindsets, outlooks on life, and background experiences are put into words in those essays. Try to write down everything that catches your attention and what you find interesting. In this way, you can get a list of clues that will help you write your own paper. Personal statement for graduate school examples is a huge base of ideas you can transfer to your paper.

Find examples of personal statements that are related to your target field of education and the graduate school you want to enter. In this way, you can find some examples of experiences that are similar to yours. Therefore, you can understand a pattern and the way in which people represented their life in the essay. Also, you can realize how to present your background. However, be careful with such examples and remember that it is prohibited to copy any information from those samples. Personal statement for graduate school examples can put an idea in your mind, but they shouldn`t become your own essays. Remember that admissions committees can check everything. Therefore, use these essays as examples but not as ready-to-submit essays.

Why is it a great idea to use sample graduate school personal statement from EssayEdge?

When searching for a great sample graduate school personal statement, it is important to know that this essay is checked and undoubtedly successful. Nobody wants to use a bad example and look up to it as it can lead to the bad outcome of your own essay. As a result, you can even have a failed application. Therefore, to avoid such troubles, we recommend using the samples that are available on our website. We do care about the quality of your essay; thus, we pay huge attention to the things we provide for our customers.

Therefore, when referring to the samples we have, you can be sure that they all are checked and reviewed by our professional essay editor. If you want your own essay to be as sample graduate school personal statement you found anywhere; you can refer to our highly proficient essay editing service. We know how to make your essay unique and unforgettable.

The advantages of using our sample essays are uncountable, but we have highlighted several ones that we find the most important.

Sample personal statement for graduate school: what do they can clarify?

What mistakes to avoid when using sample of personal statement for graduate school?

The mistakes related to sample of personal statement for graduate school can be divided into two groups. First, the most common is plagiarism and violation of personal rights, which usually occurs in institutions where students buy papers online. The second group includes the following errors that frequently occur because of lack of knowledge or ignorance: lack of clarity, unnecessary words/phrases or sentences, meaningless statements that students try to copy and use in their own essays.

It is important to remember that it is not easy writing good content all by yourself without any help from professionals. So if you need sample of personal statement for graduate school for your application with high quality, do not hesitate to use our examples! They are checked and error-free, so you can be certain that no mistakes may arise during the creation of your essay.

We have gathered the most common mistakes that can happen to students when using samples.

To use samples for the whole, we have prepared some tips that you can use. If you need more personal assistance, you can always refer to our editor, who knows how to make your essay better. Therefore, here are some tips on taking the full advantage of sample of personal statement for graduate school.

EssayEdge is ready to help at any stage of the process: from figuring out how to write one in the first place, through getting inspiration from essay examples, and checking grammar and style afterward. We provide editing and proofreading services for your successful admissions as we do care about the results of your application. If you decide to use our services, you can be assured that your essay will be the one that is worth noticing and standing out among other applicants’ essays.

The graduate personal statement tells the admission committee about you as a prospective applicant, your strength, and experiences that have made you. It is one of the most important documents, as by providing information about yourself, stating your skills, goals, and interests you will connect them with the prospective studying in the preferred graduate school, thus earning a spot at the university.

personal statements examples for graduate school

Graduate Personal Statement Samples

View these graduate personal statement samples with the before and after work of our editors and compare how thorough editing can make the writing more persuasive. To have permission please register at our site.

personal statements examples for graduate school

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/images/cornell/logo35pt_cornell_white.svg" alt="personal statements examples for graduate school"> Cornell University --> Graduate School

Personal statements, overview .

There are two types of statements included in the Graduate School’s online application; the Academic Statement of Purpose and the Personal Statement.  The Academic Statement of Purpose is required of ALL applicants to the Graduate School.  The Personal Statement may be required or optional depending on the program you are applying to.  

Optional Vs. Required

Graduate fields have the option of requiring a Personal Statement as part of the application package for their program.  If the graduate program you are applying to requires a Personal Statement, all applicants will submit the Personal Statement as part of their regular online Graduate School application package.  The Personal Statement will be used to evaluate the applicant for admission as well as our  Fellowships in Support of Diversity  (dependent on  eligibility ).  

If the program you are applying to does not require the Personal Statement, it is optional for domestic, research-degree applicants who wish to be considered for  Fellowships in Support of Diversity .  The Personal Statement will be uploaded as part of the online Graduate School application as a supplemental application document.  The Personal Statement will not be used to evaluate applicants for admission, rather, once the applicant is deemed admissible, it will be used to evaluate the applicant for Fellowships in Support of Diversity nomination.  

What Should the Personal Statement Include?

Regardless of whether or not the personal statement is required or optional, your Personal Statement should provide the admissions committee with a sense of you as a whole person, and you should use it to describe how your personal background and experiences influenced your decision to pursue a graduate degree. Additionally, it should provide insight on your potential to contribute to a community of inclusion, belonging, and respect where scholars representing diverse backgrounds, perspectives, abilities, and experiences can learn and innovate productively and positively together.

Your Personal Statement provides you with an opportunity to share experiences that provide insights on how your personal, academic, and/or professional experiences demonstrate your ability to be both persistent and resilient, especially when navigating challenging circumstances. It also gives you an opportunity to provide examples of how you engage with others and have facilitated and/or participated in productive collaborative endeavors. Additionally, it provides you with an opportunity to provide context around any perceived gaps or weaknesses in your academic record.

Content in the Personal Statement should complement rather than duplicate the content contained within the Academic Statement of Purpose, which should focus explicitly on your academic interests, previous research experience, and intended area of research during your graduate studies.

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Miami University Oxford, Ohio 1809

Howe Center for Writing Excellence

Personal statements for graduate school, key rhetorical considerations.

Personal Statement "Do's"

Personal Statement "Dont's"

Questions to Consider as You Develop Your Statement

Outline Example

Note: All schools are unique, and length requirements vary. This specific outline may not suit the expectations of your program. Adjust accordingly.

“In the PhD program in Social Psychology at Miami University, I want to study at the intersection of X and Y. This interest stems from...”

”In the Young Scholars program at (undergraduate institution), I conducted research on...”

“I am drawn to professional development opportunities in your program, particularly the possibility of assisting with scholarly and administrative projects as a research fellow...”

“I am excited at the possibility of working with (Professor X) and learning more about her commitment to (X area of study)...”

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