Graduate Admissions Essay

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Depending on the program and writing prompt, a personal statement and a statement of purpose may fill the same need in the eyes of the admissions committee.

In cases where both are required, however, things can get a little tricky.

This narrative essay combines specific, self-reflective anecdotes with details about past experiences (internships, volunteer experiences, etc.) and a clear delineation of a student's goals and interest in the prospective graduate program to provide a fuller picture of the applicant.

This combination, often unaccompanied by an explicit writing prompt or set of instructions, can make even the most practiced essay writers freeze up.

The goal of the essay is to get an interview, one-on-one face time that will you allow you to divulge more.

Use that personal statement to tease them just enough so they feel like they need to get you in for an interview to learn the rest of your story." The best personal statements have clear purposes and easily draw readers in.

A personal statement is the only part of the application where a candidate gets to make their own case for what they can add to the cohort of incoming first year students." Students may get applications that ask for statements of purpose, or statements of intent, as well as personal statements.

With such similar names, it's no surprise that many students wonder whether there is a difference.

Strong personal statements demonstrate awareness of audience and how content may be received.

Radunich advises applicants to think about their essays from admissions deans' perspectives: What would and wouldn't you want to read it if you were in their shoes?

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