Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Personal Statement

Writing a statement about yourself can be difficult.  I mean, you do know yourself better than anyone, but you are a very complex, multi-faceted person and it can be challenging knowing where to start.

As I mentioned in this week's episode of Tassel to Tassel Radio, sometimes an application will have specific questions for you to answer that can shape your statement.  However, there are times when you are left to your own devices.  While that may feel undirected, it is a way for you to demonstrate that you are able to write with focus.  So let me help you out.  When given no questions, simply answer these three:

  1. What influenced your decision to choose your major and pursue your field of study?
  2. What do you hope to gain from participating in this particular program or being employed by this company?
  3. What makes you a good candidate? (Think skills, not qualities.)
If you find you still need help as you answer these, be resourceful.  Check out your career services center or campus writing center.  I think Purdue has a great resource in their Online Writing Lab and have directed my own students there for sample documents.

Regardless of whether you are answering specific questions or using my suggested ones, always use an outline to direct your writing and ALWAYS have someone review your writing before you submit it.  Incorporate the feedback, even if it leads to a second (or third) draft.  We're not perfect and that's okay.  We are all works in progress.

So as you finish up your summer applications, begin your essays with enough time to have them reviewed and reworked.  I can't wait to hear all about your summer plans once the acceptances begin rolling in.  

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