If you are applying for graduate school, you must write a personal statement as part of the application process. One of the issues you may be asked to address in your statement is your long-term career goal after you graduate. To successfully convince the reading panel, your essay must show that you are a great candidate who has a clear strategy to achieve your goals.
Begin by explaining what makes you an excellent candidate for the graduate school to which you are applying. The University of California at Berkeley Career Center suggests to "correlate your academic background with your extracurricular experience to show how they unite to make you a special candidate." Convey to the reader that you are ready for graduate school, and tailor the language and references in your statement to the specific programs and instructors offered at the school. This shows your maturity, preparedness and interest in the program.
A critical component of a goal statement for graduate school is communicating why the goal matters to you. You can reflect on what you like about your future career, provide examples of people in the field who you admire, and show how your personality and habits are a good fit for the vocation. California State University, Fullerton suggests to "tell how your interests in, and knowledge of, your chosen field developed." Show what led you to this goal and what you hope to contribute to the field.
Your statement must communicate the steps you have already taken toward accomplishing your career goals. Show the reader that you have a plan to achieve your goals and that you have broken the goal into smaller steps. For example, if you are applying to a PhD program and your career goal is to be a Spanish professor, you can write about having studied abroad in Latin America and having taught Spanish at a summer camp in your community. You should show the reader that you understand what reaching your goal entails, and that you have already begun the process.
Employ a positive vocabulary and perspective throughout the essay. You don't want the essay to focus on your hardships and weaknesses. Rather, you should focus on your strengths, lessons you have learned, your plans and the positive impact you want to have on society. Show how your positive attributes relate directly to your graduate plans and ultimately to your future career. Be specific in the language and content of the statement to make your essay unique and memorable.
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