For most graduate programs, how well an applicant ‘fits’ with the program or department is one of the most important requisites next to skills and capabilities. Of course your grades from undergrad and scores on your admissions test will play a big role in your application, but there are ways to highlight your capabilities, strengths and talents through the personal narrative. These are a few of the things that will influence the admissions committee, but keep in mind to make everything your own. What you write should also reflect your personality and individuality because personal qualities are equally appreciated.

  • What you might add to the program. This relates what you might be able to contribute during class discussions, program related activities, and the work you might publish or produce while you are there.
  • What you will get from the program. Here it is important to communicate to the selection committee how you will benefit from the classes and curriculum offered and how the program fits into your long-term professional goals.
  • Experience. This can come in the form of work, study abroad, volunteer, research, undergraduate course work or any combination of all of them. Ideally, your experience and your future goals will fit with what you would learn during your graduate studies.
  • That you have done your homework. For many programs you will be required to work with a faculty member to complete a final thesis or project. If you can say that you took the time to research the faculty, their interests and perhaps even contacted the faculty member, you will be able to demonstrate the thought you put into your decision to apply.
  • Writing and communication skills. As basic as it seems, your personal statement is a direct reflection of your ability to write and communicate ideas effectively, so make you have someone else review your work!


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