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Personal Statement - Statement of Purpose

A few tips for writing strong personal statement

Use your own style

An employee in the admissions office reads dozens of personal statements every day. Your style must strike a different note than those of the other applications. As a foreigner, you have a different personality for the reader to appreciate. The schools expect foreign applicants to bring diversity to the program and not conformism.

Be professional and structured

Don't get your reader lost in overcomplicated reasoning. Set out from the very first paragraph your main idea or the goal of your personal statement. As a rule, Americans prefer reasoning which gets straight to the point. use directness in your phrasing as much as possible. The word limit in the questions and statement of purpose is not set in the stone, but if you go past the limit, it must be because you have something fantastic to say.

Be enthusiastic and engaging

Dynamism, enthusiasm and the ability to "shake things up" are the essential qualities for getting into graduate school. The admission office will place enormous emphasis on your personal statement to gauge whether the school is the right environment for you. Don't be shy about your successes if you want to get ahead of other applicants.

Seduce your reader

The best leaders are those who are liked by their subordinates. At the end of your statement of purpose, the reader should be thinking: "well, there's someone I'd like to work with, dine with or talk with for an hour". Be adorable, spotlight your charisma and your ability to influence others. Be funny without, however, taking the risk of shocking your reader.

Make the whole application coherent

Cohere must be applied on two levels:

  • You are not supposed to know what exactly your recommenders have said about you, but you've certainly got a pretty good idea. You should hand the admissions panel a coherent applicant and should make sure that you don't contradict what was said in the recommendations.
  • Coherence should also apply to the match between the school and your personality: give qualitative points i the criteria which inform your choice, such as a discussion with students, meetings with professors or former students, etc. Highlight your abilities to participate in a group, to integrate yourself into new teams and to be on top of things in every situation you are involved in.

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