Personal Statement for Graduate School

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A presentation given at the Graduate School Expo at UTEP

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Personal Statement for Graduate School

  1. 1. Writing a Statement of Purpose <br />Dr. Beth Brunk-Chavez<br />Graduate School Expo Day<br />March 26, 2009<br />
  2. 2. What it is<br /><ul><li>An overview of what you plan to study and what you have already done
  3. 3. Education, work, publications, etc.
  4. 4. Self-promotion
  5. 5. Probably the most important piece of your application package. If all things are equal, this will be the deciding piece.</li></li></ul><li>Why is it so important?<br /><ul><li>Sell yourself as a good student, hard worker, reliable, someone who will finish the degree
  6. 6. Distinguish yourself from other applicants</li></li></ul><li>What it tells committees<br /><ul><li>How good a fit you are
  7. 7. How committed you are to a graduate education
  8. 8. How good of a writer you are
  9. 9. What you have accomplished
  10. 10. What you hope to do/study/become</li></li></ul><li>What not to do<br />DON’T<br /><ul><li>Be too personal
  11. 11. Write about inappropriate topics
  12. 12. Forget to change the name of the school
  13. 13. Be too modest
  14. 14. Or, be too braggy
  15. 15. Use clichés
  16. 16. Dwell on weaknesses</li></li></ul><li>What to do<br /><ul><li>Use detail
  17. 17. Address weaknesses
  18. 18. Focus on the opening paragraph
  19. 19. Be interesting and personable
  20. 20. Tell a story
  21. 21. Write concisely and correctly
  22. 22. Follow guidelines.
  23. 23. If it asks for 2 pages, don’t send 3. </li></li></ul><li>Getting started<br /><ul><li>Read instructions carefully—schools may ask for different things:
  24. 24. Personal statement
  25. 25. Statement of interest
  26. 26. Research agenda
  27. 27. Teaching philosophy</li></li></ul><li>Getting started<br /><ul><li>Do research
  28. 28. On the discipline
  29. 29. On the program
  30. 30. On the faculty
  31. 31. On the current students
  32. 32. On the graduated students</li></li></ul><li>Use a writing process<br /><ul><li>Brainstorm, invent, draw maps, free write, draw pictures
  33. 33. Draft quickly
  34. 34. Revise
  35. 35. Have someone read it
  36. 36. Revise more
  37. 37. Revise again
  38. 38. Edit
  39. 39. Have someone read it </li></li></ul><li>Language Choices<br /><ul><li>Use “I”—but don’t overuse it
  40. 40. Use active voice/present tense
  41. 41. Not too casual, not too formal</li></li></ul><li>Nice touches<br /><ul><li>Mention several faculty by name
  42. 42. Mention something about what current students are working on or publications of former students</li></li></ul><li>Online Resource <br />The Purdue OWL<br />http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/642/01/<br />

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