Personal Statement Questions 2012

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There’s no one-size-fits-all when you write a personal statement for graduate school.

Everyone’s personality and experiences are different, so everyone’s essay will be different.

While I was winning assignments from the New York Times and National Geographic, I felt that I wasn’t advancing as quickly as I wanted.

It made sense to press pause and apply to graduate school in international affairs.

Look at writing a grad school personal statement as an opportunity to state your case as to why you will be a good fit for the school and program you aspire to.

Here are three tips to make your essay as clear and compelling as possible. It sounds simplistic, but your first draft is when you throw down any and all ideas.All are questions designed to force students to focus on a discrete topic and put together a reasoned, cogent answer.Answering broad questions with a limited number of words is tough.Read through the instructions, then give yourself ample time for brainstorming ideas. Staring at a blank page or screen won’t get you there. For now, think of some narratives and examples that will bring your personal statement to life.Talk to friends, family members, professors or employers to help narrow your focus. What you write about signals to the admissions committee what is important to you and what your values are.But first, step away from the personal statement for a while—for at least a couple of hours, if not a couple of days.When you come back, you should notice what needs tweaking.On the verbal and analytical tests, I did quite well but my math scores were in the 40th percentile.But I’d reached a crossroads in my career as a journalist.I’d decided that I would only go if I got into a top tier program.My first choice was the Columbia School of International and Public Affairs.


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