The grad school personal statement: getting it right

By Emily Elia: When writing your personal statement, start early, think about your audience, and proofread!

The grad school personal statement: getting it right

With applications soon opening for Fall 2020 admission, we encourage you to take the time to prepare by registering for the GRE, reaching out to potential recommenders, and if you are an international applicant, verifying the TOEFL and IELTS requirements for your program.

In addition to the application, many programs require a personal statement; here are four things you can do to knock it out of the park.

Start early.
The personal statement is your chance to advocate for yourself; make sure you give yourself enough time to reflect and work through drafts of what you want to say. Block out time for revisions, and brainstorm all of the topics you'd like to cover.

Think about your audience.
The graduate committee for your program will be the ones to review your personal statement. They are experts in their field; this is your opportunity to prove that you have what it takes to be a Rice graduate student. They will want to get a good idea of who you are and your familiarity with the field before investing in your potential. Keep in mind that many faculty may read your file, and it is worth writing about the broad range of your interests rather than over-focusing on a single topic.

Why grad school at Rice?
Think about the reasons you are pursuing a graduate degree, and what a degree can help you accomplish post-grad school. Lay out your formulated plan to the committee and indicate how being at Rice will fit with your goals.

Proofread, proofread, proofread.
The personal statement is a demonstration of your writing skills; essential for success in graduate school and beyond. It's always wise to ask your adviser, professors, managers, friends or colleagues to read and edit your statement for you, as well as provide suggestions on how to best advocate for yourself. Teamwork makes the dream work!

Explore more:

Find your Rice University graduate program

Applying to grad school? Three tips from Rice University.

How to apply

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