Anyone want to critique my grad school personal statement?

I’ve been laid up with a bad cold and finally decided to write my grad school personal statement. I’m applying to International Development programs at some pretty top schools- Yale, Georgetown, etc. So I need a hell of a statement. I need to make these admissions officers cry, shout, and start high-fiving each other. I’d appreciate any all advice.

The version I have right now is really rough…it starts off slow and puts off the most important stuff. What advice do you guys have for me?

In fears that Yale admin have nothing better to do than troll the net, I don’t think it’s wise just to post a link. So instead, write here and I’ll PM you a link.

Thanks in advance!

I’ll take a look at it if you like, although I’m a (7th year - sigh) grad student rather than a faculty member.

Awesome! I sent you a link.

Keep in mind this is a very rough draft, just pounded out in the middle of the night. I think the final version needs to be a little less personal and more professional. But I’d like to know if I’m at least on the right track.

Thank you so much!

sven,I don’t have time to read (especially given that I will be reading folders in a few weeks). I am the director of a graduate program in another discipline. Here are the tips I tell applicants:

  1. Tailor your statement so it specifically addresses what our program does. Talk about our internship program and how it suits your needs. Mention our professors and their research. You really need to fashion your statement for each individual program.

  2. Tell us what you will contribute to the program. Not as a world-famous alum, but like next year when you’re part of a cohort, taking courses. Will you take a leadership role in the student body? Do you intend to involve yourself in academic governance issues?

  3. What’s unclear or vague in your trajectory to this point? Don’t let the admissions committee fill in the blanks about unemployment gaps, drops in GPA, expected letters of rec that aren’t coming, etc. I would not apologize for anything, but tell the story so that the cynics among us can’t invent a salacious story about the semester you spent snorting coke off the backs of models when in fact you were balancing a full time job, a family member’s illness, and you broke your foot. :slight_smile:

I might think of others but those are the biggies… good luck!

Excellent advice. This is clearly a very different thing than an undergrad personal statement. So much work to do!