Do not make any spelling or grammar mistakes. Proofread the letter yourself, have several other people proofread it, and take it to your schools writing studio. If necessary, hire a professional proofreader. Method 3 tailoring the letter to each University 1 reuse most of your statement. You should be able to leave much of your statement unchanged from application to application. Your history, your goals, and the reason you have chosen your field will not need to change. You should, however, include a short section towards the end explaining how a specific university can help you meet your academic goals. You should customize this statement for each university.
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Then address how you plan to handle any high-stakes testing (such as comprehensive exams) the program requires. For example, if you have one undergraduate semester in which you made all Cs, explain why (ie: depression, a death in the family, substance abuse). Then explain how you overcame the adversity and words went on to improve from that point forward. 8 use maintain a formal style. This is the equivalent of an interview. At an interview, you would want to appear professional, put-together, and polished. Your letter should communicate a professional tone, effective organization, and careful proofreading. 11 avoid abbreviations, smiley faces, and exuberant punctuation such as explanation points! Be completely brutal with yourself while editing. Ask yourself whether each sentence you write is completely necessary and an accurate portrayal of yourself, your history, and your future goals. If it isnt, delete or edit.
6 Add relevant non-academic information. Use caution when adding information that is not specifically academic. 9 For example, the admissions committee is unlikely to care if you were president of your sorority. If you must include information that is nonacademic, tie it to your future academic achievement. In the case of being sorority president, you may want to mention that you maintained.0 gpa while serving as president and overseeing two very large fundraisers. This shows that you can manage both people and time effectively, a necessary skill for a graduate student who must balance research, teaching, and scholarship. 7 Address any inconsistencies in essay your academic record. If there is something in your academic history that may harm your candidacy, you need to address it head-on without sounding like you are making excuses. 10 For example, if you suffer extreme text anxiety and thus have low gre scores, you should make a statement explaining the scores.
It is important to communicate your academic achievements. It is not necessary to list every class you have taken or boast about every good grade you made in college. You should communicate that you have been academically successful, particularly in courses related to your field. Also demonstrate that you have the intellect and work ethic required for graduate studies, and that you have experienced academic rigor in the past. 8 be sure to mention all the degrees you hold, as well as honors such as summa cum laude and any other honors listed on your diploma (e.g. Research honors or general honors if you participated in an undergraduate honors program). Include academic awards such as competitive merit-based academic scholarships and gpa-based awards. Also include special scholarly achievements like undergraduate research awards.
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If you may write up to 500 words but only write 200, you risk seeming glib or, worse, lazy. If you go over the allotted length, it will bubble seem as though you cannot follow directions or that you do not care about specific requirements. Neither is a desirable quality in a graduate student. Remember that the committee or individual reading your application is likely reading hundreds of applications. Providing generic material will not make your essay stand out from the others.
Making overly general statements may lead the admissions committee to skim or skip over your letter. Instead, aim to make concrete, specific statements about yourself as a person that will motivate the readers to want to meet and work with synthesis you. 7 too vague: I wish to become a historian. More specific: I want to study the history and culture of indigenous persons of British Columbia to fight against their marginalization in the present day. 5 Summarize your academic history.
5, formal letter-writing etiquette dictates that you should include the following: The institutions mailing address, greeting addressed to appropriate person (or to whom it may concern: if you are not sure). Todays date, the body of the letter, a formal closing (such as Sincerely a signature at the bottom of the letter 2 Begin with a hook. As with any essay introduction, you should try to grab the attention of the readers with a hook in the start of your essay. 6 you may offer a vivid personal anecdote that provides the basis of your personal connection to your field of study. For example, you may say i stood feeling helpless while my twin brother attempted to begin his presentation to the class. He sputtered a feeble w- w- w- when then fell silent, shame-faced and unable to continue.
In the deafening silence that ensued, i vowed that I was going to devote my life to ensuring that other kids would never face similar humiliation. My future career in speech therapy was born in that moment. 3 Use all your allotted words. The length of a personal statement varies, but it is important to use as many words as you are allowed. You should try to fit as much concrete, specific information about yourself into your statement as you can, so use as much space as you are allowed. If the application instructions do not give a length requirement, limit the statement to 1-2 typed pages.
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The department youre applying to should keep some data; if their placement rate is high, they will likely advertise it as business such. 5, look through the department course catalogue. If possible, look at the graduate-level course offerings in the universitys course catalogue. This will help you ensure that you will have ample opportunities to take both short required and elective courses. You should be able to get a sense of both the scope and depth of available courses and determine whether there are several professors who offer courses in your areas of interest. Method 2, writing your Statement. Format your statement appropriately. Your statement of purpose is often the first item in your application packet and often serves as a cover letter for the rest of your application materials. Particularly if the school calls the statement of purpose a letter, you should format it as such.
Though its tempting to select schools with the biggest names, the process of selecting a graduate school should be a bit more intensive than that. Its important to ensure that the graduate institution you choose will fulfill your academic needs and that you and the school are a good fit for each other. 4, be sure the school offers support for your specific field of specialization. It is helpful to work with someone who is well-respected in your specific area. For example, if you want to study east Asian history, make sure you apply to departments with several professors in that field. These professors should have publications in East Asian history. Learn about the graduate school process at each institution. Most programs follow the same general timeline: coursework, comprehensive exams, a formal thesis/dissertation proposal, and finally the thesis/dissertation writing and defense. Select a school that has a high job placement rate after graduation.
a lab. More specific: Because i watched my beloved grandfather wither away to a shadow of his former self, i want to devote my life to researching Alzheimers disease. No one should have to lose a loved one before he is truly gone. Too vague: I want to be a history professor to inspire students to love history. More specific: Visiting civil war battle fields with my parents helped me realize the importance of understanding and learning from our history. I want to bring that history to life to a generation of students who may not have had the travel opportunities that I had. 4, select graduate programs that will meet your academic needs.
For example, your intent may be i want to study early onset Alzheimers disease in men. Plan your career goals. If you brief are planning to attend graduate school, you should have some idea of what you want to do after graduate school. Part of your statement should address how you plan to use your graduate degree to further your career aspirations. Its okay if your career plans change over the next few years, but its useful to have a concrete starting point. Your career goal may be i want to obtain a phD in History in order to become an Assistant Professor of History at a small liberal arts college. 3, connect your life to your academic ambitions. This is perhaps the trickiest part of your statement of purpose, but it is important to make your goals personal.
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