1. Tell a story about your research interests. (Not a story about your personality. Not a story about your feelings.) A story that explains what research interests are driving you to graduate school and why this graduate school can help you fulfill your professional goals.
2. What questions/fields are you specifically interested in?
3. What is your research experience?
4. (Advanced) How would you go about answering the questions you’re interested in and how would graduate school help you answer them?
5. Use specific examples.
6. Get proofreading help! Show it to your professors or employers (depending on where you are in your current career) or whoever it is that is writing recommendation letters for you.
1. Start a personal statement with, “Ever since I was…” or “I have always…”
2. Talk about your personality. This is not a college application, this is a graduate school application.
3. Talk about your non-academic dreams. Ditto on the college application difference. Well-rounded for graduate school means an entering class interested in different sub-fields.
4. Put this off to the last minute and do a shoddy job.
Academic grumpeteers, what recommendations would you have for writing an application statement for graduate school?