One of the most important parts of a graduate school application is the personal statement. This essay should include reasons for pursuing graduate study, the desired area of study, intended use for graduate education, academic background and extracurricular experiences, highlight reasons for choosing that particular school and provide any other pertinent information relating to your qualifications and experience. The goal is to write a story about yourself, so the selection committee has a solid understanding about you by the end of the paper. Although the introductory paragraph is one of the most important parts of the paper, how you close your personal statement is just as critical for making a successful impression.
Tie your closing paragraph to your introductory paragraph by repeating some of the original imagery or information from the opening statement. It is important to think of the opening and closing paragraphs as bookends, which frame all of the content in between.
Develop meaningful conclusions that detail the value you have gained in your own experiences. Use what you have learned about yourself and your intended field to detail your intentions for your future goals.
Show enthusiasm about the chance to be accepted into the program for which you are applying. Make sure not to write with the assumption of actually being accepted. A good example would be, “I look forward to the opportunity to discuss my interest in your program in person.”
Keep it short, about four to five sentences is adequate. It is important to stay focused and not to add any new information in the closing paragraph.
- Have an adviser or a professor review your paper to give you professional feedback and help you know where you might need to make revisions.
- Start writing the personal statement long before the deadline. You need to allow time for revision and rewriting. Your personal statement is your best chance to have a competitive edge.
- Limit the statement to two pages or less, unless a particular school’s program has different specifications.