2016 NSBC – Crafting a Personal Statement

Crafting a personal statement
Friday, June 10, 2016 – 1:45-3:00pm
Presenter: Monica Anderson-Herzog, The University of Alabama

• What is a personal statement and why is it important?

• Exploration: What should I write about?

• Considerations when writing a personal statement

• Exploration: A personal statement critique

• Applying to graduate school – Other tips

• Summary

¥ Crafting The Personal Essay: A Guide for Writing and Publishing Creative by Dinty W. Moore
¥ Look up school specific resources
¥ Purdue – https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/642/02/
¥ CMU – https://www.cmu.edu/gcc/handouts/Graduate%20School%20Application%20Essay%20Handout.pdf
¥ UIUC – http://www.cws.illinois.edu/workshop/writers/tips/personalstatement/
¥ Study examples of personal statements
¥ REUs
¥ NSF REU Site – https://www.nsf.gov/crssprgm/reu/
¥ DREU – http://cra.org/cra-w/distributed-research-experiences-for-undergraduates-dreu/
¥ Gender bias in recommendation letters https://www.ncwit.org/sites/default/files/resources/avoidingunintendedgenderbiaslettersrecommendation.pdf
Sample Personal Inventory Questions (can find more in the book)

• What makes you unique, or at least different from, any other applicant?
• What attracts you to your chosen career? What do you expect to get out of it?
• When did you initially become interested in this career? How has this interest developed?
• When did you become certain that this is what you wanted to do? What solidified your decision?
• What are your intellectual influences? What writers, books, professors, concepts in college have shaped you?
• How has your undergraduate academic experience prepared you for graduate/professional school?
• What are two or three of the academic accomplishments which have most prepared you?
• What research have you conducted? What did you learn from it?
• What non-academic experiences contributed to your choice of school and/or career? (work, volunteer, family)
• Do you have specific career plans? How does graduate or professional school pertain to them?
• What’s the most important thing the admissions committee should know about you?
• Think of a professor in your field that you’ve had already and that you like and respect. If this person were reading your application essay, what would most impress him or her?

Writing resources
• Craft of scientific writing – Michael Alley
• 5 tips to improve your writing – YouTube – https://youtu.be/GgkRoYPLhts
• 7 Tips to Improve Your Writing! – YouTube – https://youtu.be/FHEAmAyMdG0