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
¥ 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
¥ 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?
• 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