Writing Personal Statements

Hello, there!

All right, so I’ve not been the best at updating, but I have two excellent excuses. The first, obviously, is thesis, which is going great, thanks for asking!

The second excuse is Grad School Applications, and the necessary evil of writing personal statements.

Obviously, I’m not done with it yet. The first apps are due the second week of December, but I figured i’d take a moment to share what I’ve learned about writing them.

First of all, every place has slightly different expectations, so it’s a good idea to check who wants what, and to keep them in different documents so that you don’t accidentally send something that says one school’s name to another school. That’d be a pretty big oops.

I’m being very careful to do one at at time, focusing on only the one I’m writing so I don’t get boggled and confused. I pick the school with the next due date (or rolling admission, but my one school with rolling admission strangely doesn’t want a personal statement) and then I read their expectations, contemplate the school and why I’m applying there, why I think I’m a fit, and how this particular school would help me reach my goals.

When I finish a statement, I don’t read it. I don’t edit it. I don’t even look at it on the page. I send it straight to my mother to look over, give feedback, and then when she gives me her feedback I restructure it and start in on the editing process. My mother happens to be my personal go-to person because she’s been through this with my sister and has a good eye for this sort of thing, but for you it could be a friend, professor, career services professional…. Whoever can help!




About Charlotte Blackwood

Charlotte Blackwood is a self-employed aspiring author working on perfecting her first novella/ first novel. She is a current student at Claremont McKenna College in Claremont, CA. If you're looking for a reading list (someday she'll add her own works to the list), she's currently supporting Anna Karenina, anything by Dickens, anything by Tolkien, anything by JK Rowling, A Song of Ice and Fire, and The Hunger Games.

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