Here’s an example of a common prompt: ”A personal statement of 1,000 words or less from the nominee describing his or her background, interests, plans for graduate study and career aspirations. The statement should include a discussion of some experiences and ideas that have shaped those interests, plans and aspirations.”
As Mary Tolar has noted, “If you are applying for nationally competitive scholarships, for graduate school, or for a number of post-graduate service or employment opportunities, you have seen the vaguely phrased request; in one form or another, it comes down to “tell us something about yourself… You are asked to share your “academic and other interests. A clearer charge might be: compose an essay that reveals who you are, what you care about, and what you intend to do in this life. Tell this story in a compelling manner, and do so in less than a thousand words. What’s so hard about that? Simply make sense of your life. (right.) But what does that mean?”
The personal statement is more like a genre than a rubric; there are set of constraints, but no formulas. This means that we need to triangulate our understanding of what it will be with more than one piece of advice rather than a single definition.
For that reason, I recommend you begin by printing out Mary Tolar’s advice. Highlight the phrases that strike you as helpful. Chances are, these are the phrases that surprise you or confirm what was a hunch. Noticing what stands out will help reveal assumptions you may not have even known you had. (This is a stage in the process that should not be overlooked in your rush to master the personal statement. The more you notice what you are learning, the easier the process will become.)
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EssaysOur Stern essay question gives you the opportunity to more fully present yourself to the Admissions Committee.
- Essays must be typed and double-spaced, in 12-point font.
- Word limits apply to the total question.
- Label the top of each essay with the following: Name, Date of Birth (month, day, year), Essay Number and Page Number.
- Your essays should be written entirely by you. An offer of admission will be revoked if you did not write your essays.
(500 word maximum)
- Why do you wish to pursue this degree?
- What do you see yourself doing professionally upon graduation?
(500 word maximum)
Please provide any additional information that you would like to bring to the attention of the Admissions Committee. This may include further explanation of your undergraduate record or transcript(s), plans to retake the GMAT, GRE, IELTS and/or TOEFL or any other relevant information.
You may upload documents into the online application in the following formats: word, excel, PDF, .txt, .rtf and .wpd.