How to write your statement of purpose, personal statement and essay for American graduate programs

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Whether you are applying for an LLM, MBA, PhD, Masters, MSc, or any other graduate degree, and whether this is to Harvard, Stanford, Cornell, University of Florida, New School or any other School for that matter, you are most likely asked to submit a document that shows that you are the perfect candidate for their program. In Law School, this document is typically called a "Personal Statement". In business school, this is the "MBA Essay". In Engineering, Education, Social sciences, and the Sciences, the relevant term is "Statement of Purpose". The name is, of course, not the only difference. Each school, program, and degree requires what THEY think is relevant. The common feature of all, though, is the need to show that you and the program are a perfect match. Some general tips to achieve this goal can thus be highly relevant. Watch this video to learn more and visit www.gradtrain.com

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How to write your statement of purpose, personal statement and essay for American graduate programs

  1. 1. How to write statements of purpose personal statements and essays for American graduate programs
  2. 2. 2 Introduction LLM? MBA? PHD? Masters? Stanford harvard the new school university of florida cornell “Personal Statement” “Statement of purpose” Show that you and the program are a perfect match MSc? “MBA Essay”
  3. 3. How to write the perfect essay
  4. 4. 4 Know what the Admissions Committee wants to read. Read the guidelines on the schools’ websites. 1. Use the guidelines that the program provides Write your Statement yourself, alone. Discuss a research question? (typical for PhD) Focus on your personal and professional development path? (the typical MBA essay) Follow the instructions. Stick to the page or word limit they set. Do It Yourself
  5. 5. 5 What to research? 2. Do your homework What is the main focus of the program? Who are the leading scholars? How will the program fit your background and goals?  Program’s website.  Faculty directory.  Course names and publication lists of the professors. Seek out fields that interest you and are aligned with your goals How to research?
  6. 6. 6  Why did you choose the degree and the specific program?  What do you plan to do after graduation?  What is your vision of the contribution of this program to your future career, a more advanced degree or your life trajectory?  Be specific. 3. What should the Statement entail? Show that you and the program are a perfect match (you)
  7. 7. 7  State briefly.  How will you build on these past experiences to excel in the program you are applying for and for your future career development?  Mention points that are not reflected elsewhere in your application. 4. What there should be less of Common mistake future plans and fit to the program past achievements x Past achievements:
  8. 8. 8 ABOUT YOURSELF: Explaining points that you see as weak is almost always a mistake! In exceptional cases where you need to explain some failures, do it positively. Read our blog to learn how to do it right. 5. Be positive! Will the committee know about it anyway? Yes Is it possible to present it positively? Yes Do it then! What you subjectively feel isn’t that important. Sorry No Show you learned and grew from this mistake No Is it imporant? Yes No (it's only important to me subjectively). Don’t mention it. Move on! http://blog.gradtrain.com
  9. 9. 9 ABOUT YOURSELF: Explaining points that you see as weak is almost always a mistake! In exceptional cases where you need to explain some failures, do it positively. Read our blog to learn how to do it right. 5. Be positive! ABOUT OTHERS: Only say good things about former professors and colleagues. Your Statement is not the right forum for settling personal accounts. http://blog.gradtrain.com
  10. 10. 10 X Don’t use words you don’t know. X Don’t assume you’ll be forgiven as a foreigner.  Have a native English speaker to correct & refine grammar & phrasing and to ensure it’s all culturally appropriate.  Consider a GradCoach – www.gradtrain.com. 6. Language and culture STYLE STRUCTURE LANGUAGE
  11. 11. 11 Your application package should present you in a consistent (though well-rounded) way. The Committee should –  get the impression that they know who you are.  be confident that they want you on campus. 7. Fit the narrative of your application
  12. 12. 12 …to sum up Show that you and the program are a perfect match 1. Use the guidelines that the program provides. 6. Fit the narrative of your application. 5. Language and culture. 4. Be positive. 3. Past achievements in context. 2. Do your homework. Get help: www.gradtrain.com info@gradtrain.com
  13. 13. Get the help you need to make it. www.gradtrain.com

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