A personal statement is the only part of the application where a candidate gets to make their own case for what they can add to the cohort of incoming first year students." Students may get applications that ask for statements of purpose, or statements of intent, as well as personal statements.
With such similar names, it's no surprise that many students wonder whether there is a difference.
Familiarizing themselves with the ins and outs of writing strong personal statements for graduate school can alleviate stress and ease the process of sending out those applications.
Because personal statements are individual to the applicant, there is no one-size-fits-all way to write them.
In general, the statement of purpose focuses more on a student's reasons for applying to that particular graduate program and may address topics such as career and research goals, how his or her academic track record demonstrates qualification for that particular school or program of study and how a given program will impact the student's future.
By contrast, personal statements usually lend more freedom when it comes to content and form and are intended to give the admissions committee a glimpse into a candidate's personality.
The personal statement is an oft-elusive element of the grad school application, but it fulfills a specific and significant need in the eyes of admissions committees.
By learning about the personal statement and its role, getting familiar with this essay's key elements and soaking in tons of advice from an admissions expert, graduate school applicants can prepare to write outstanding personal essays that can help them land spots in their ideal graduate programs.
"Metrics only show one small part of the entire picture," says career coach and former university admissions representative Meg Radunich.
"Graduate programs care about the person behind the standardized test score and grade point average.