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Essay tips and selective schools

*  STEPS TO TAKE Investigating Selective Schools

* Amherst College Career Center 


 What is a personal statement and why is it important?
Graduate and professional schools make their decisions to admit applicants based on test

Scores, undergraduate academic performance, co-curricular activities, recommendation letters, an interview, and application essays.  Many schools or programs will also ask for a personal statement.  The personal statement is an opportunity to write about yourself.

 You are competing with hundreds of other applicants who have similar test scores and grades.  The personal statement can be the factor that differentiates you from the other candidates.  It gives the admissions committee a chance to get a glimpse of you as a person rather than as a set of numbers.

 The Challenge of Writing a Personal Statement
A personal statement is a very different kind of writing than the analytical writing required in many of your college courses.

Your personality needs to emerge from the writing.  Admissions officers will evaluate your ability to communicate clearly and concisely.  Your personal statement should be grammatically correct and error-free.

 As you Begin to Write Your Personal Statement
Think about your life and why you are applying to a specific program.

Ask yourself, “What do I want the admissions committee to know about me that is not already in my application?”  To get started, you might want to ask yourself the following questions:
                  What is important to me?
                  What am I interested in?
                  What am I proud of?
                  What significant experiences have I had?
                  What kinds of qualities are necessary for the
                         profession I wish to pursue?
                   Why do I think I possess these qualities?

After you have thought about your life and goals, think about the profession you are intending to enter.  What are the skills and values of people in that particular profession?  How do they match with yours?  How can you highlight those values and skills in your personal statement?

 More Tips….
            Brainstorm your achievements, career goals, leadership, and personal   

            Narrow your emphasis to one specific theme or point.  Begin your essay with
             this theme and the following paragraphs should logically develop and
              illustrate it.

                      Edit, Edit, Edit…..till you have a clear, concise, error-free



        Significant travel, work or volunteer experience
         Personal triumph, achievement or revelation
         Overcoming or understanding a hardship
         Significant personal influence in your life
         Significant piece of learning, text, or reading and how you were
             affected or influenced by it.     


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