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Writing the Personal Statement

Summary:

This handout provides information about writing personal statements for academic and other positions.

Contributors:Jo Doran, Allen Brizee
Last Edited: 2012-05-08 09:59:04

The personal statement, your opportunity to sell yourself in the application process, generally falls into one of two categories:

1. The general, comprehensive personal statement:

This allows you maximum freedom in terms of what you write and is the type of statement often prepared for standard medical or law school application forms.

2. The response to very specific questions:

Often, business and graduate school applications ask specific questions, and your statement should respond specifically to the question being asked. Some business school applications favor multiple essays, typically asking for responses to three or more questions.

Questions to ask yourself before you write:

General advice

Answer the questions that are asked

Tell a story

Be specific

Find an angle

Concentrate on your opening paragraph

Tell what you know

Don't include some subjects

Do some research, if needed

Write well and correctly

Avoid clichés

For more information on writing a personal statement, see the personal statement vidcast.

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