You are writing a persuasive essay, but it should also have some of the elements of a persuasive speech. That is why it is generally called a personal “statement,” instead of personal essay. The personal statement is a unique genre and very difficult to master, since at most people write one or two in their lives. Most importantly for this genre, you want to build a strong ethos. That means your audience should like you and find you authoritative, competent, thoughtful, and honest. You want to demonstrate that you are a perceptive leader, who can communicate well with others, that you are open to new experiences and are enthusiastic. You do not want to come across as too formal, stuffy or too technical. You must give your audience evidence for your assertion that you should be admitted. The best essays will interpret the evidence provided by explaining how each piece of evidence contributes to supporting the assertion. The best essays will also be clear, concise, and graceful.
Personal Statements for Graduate School (Humanities) Everything that follows is an elaboration of this one main issue: graduate school is specific career training and apprenticeship for the the profession of academic teaching and scholarship. If you are the sort of person who should be a professional academic. and can say honestly and clearly how you know that your essay will probably succeed. If you aren’t your essay will probably reveal that-saving you and your readers much wasted time and needless sorrow. either way, everybody wins.
Some programs will ask you to write one statement covering a number of areas. Others require a brief response to a series of essay questions. Your best writing comes when you have an actual audience in mind and specific questions. I recommend that you don’t just write a generic personal statement but that you write a personal statement for the school with the earliest deadline.
Many graduate schools require you to write a personal statement for purposes. It is also known as a statement of purpose or letter of intent. If you are applying for a graduate school, your personal statement should reflect some bit of maturity and style. Remember, your personal statement is going to be read by an academic expert, so you need to be very careful with the structure and content of your statement. Besides, an evaluator will have a very small amount of time at his disposal to read your essay. Typically, they spend approximately five minutes to read your personal statement. So, you should be prepared to write an exceptionally good statement for your application since it will be a determinant factor in your selection process. Your aim is to draw attention of the admissions officer in the shortest time possible.
This is an excellent personal statement because it shows this candidate has had a tangible impact on organizations, and probably on the global economy. The statement keeps the reader engaged by giving a meaningful story with background, context, conflict, and resolution. It also provides a peek into the mysterious and increasingly legendary world of Silicon Valley start-ups. This is a good model for someone who has been out of college for a while, but who hasn’t been working in a law firm. The essay is focused on career goals, with career history to back it up. This person is a doer, not a dreamer. The writer shows a depth of technical knowledge and strong analytic reasoning skills that go way beyond linear thinking, especially when he describes finding new solutions to highly technical problems that do not violate patents. The statement creates desire in the admissions committee to admit this person because other companies seek to hire the applicant and venture capitalists are willing to support the applicant with substantial funds. This statement will inspire members of the admissions committee to act on the applicant’s behalf because he has reached way beyond the safety net of college, and succeeded.
For students applying to business, law, medical or graduate school, the application essay is more commonly referred to as the "personal statement" or "statement of purpose".
In many ways, your statement of purpose is like a much longer cover letter, written in essay form. The format of the personal statement will vary according to school, academic discipline, and program type. You may be asked about your reasons for applying to the program, your professional goals, experiences that have influenced your development, or role models that have had an impact on your life. Regardless of the question, your personal statement should reflect some knowledge of the particular school and department that you are applying for. This is where all your research really starts to pay off; a statement that shows familiarity with the goals of the program and the interests of the faculty will stand out from a sea of generic statements.
The biggest problem with this personal statement is its lack of specific details. The reader doesn’t feel like he or she gets to know the applicant. The writer doesn’t explain why he respects Winston Churchill, nor does he explain how the quote applies specifically to him. Furthermore, he gives no specific details about the law school he is applying to and why he feels he is a good match for that school. The reader learns from this statement that the writer feels he has improved as a student thanks to a teacher named Dr. Smith. There are no specific details about the author or his mentor. The reader is also told that the applicant began school with four credits and graduated from USC in three years, all of which can be learned from the transcript.
This personal statement also sets up a potentially powerful quote to create a thematic backbone for the essay, but the essay does not unpack the rhetorical power of the quote and weave that power through the essay. This writer needs to sit down with the quote and spend time unpacking the various levels and resonances of it in relation to his life and goals. The quote by Winston Churchill this writer chose as his epigraph is, “The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see.” The writer of this statement should have looked back at least as far as the time when Churchill said this, since the quote itself is about the value of history, not the value of an individual life. However, a cunning writer could beautifully bend the quote’s meaning to encompass one life, while at the same time invoking world events of great significance that have impacted him. For example, if the applicant were able to mention a grandparent who had some significant connection to World War II (and therefore Churchill) and who influenced the applicant by teaching him lessons about life or law, then the quote would have both mythic and personal significance, in addition to specific details that would contribute to a positive ethos. A rhetorical strategy such as this would allow the quote to unfurl its full rhetorical power, and it would elegantly bind the quote to a personal history, one that impacts, and is impacted by, others.
Finally, this essay focuses too much energy on negative aspects of the applicant’s personal history. Focusing on the fact that the applicant was among the bottom tier of students in his high school class does nothing to recommend the applicant for law school. Law schools, especially top law schools, expect applicants to have been high-achievers all along. Showing improvement over time might not be the best structure for this applicant to choose in the final draft of the personal statement. Improvement over time is best used when the applicant has had to overcome a major difficulty, such as a learning disability, a major accident, or moving to a new country with a new language, not just moving to a new school.