It’s now the time that aspiring PhD students are putting together their applications for admission to graduate school. In addition to providing a transcript, CV, (maybe) test scores, and letters of reference, applicants are asked to provide a personal statement. This statement is a bit different than the essay you had to write for your undergraduate applications. How should you approach it?
As a professor for 20 years, I’ve read a lot of personal statements. Therefore I thought it might be useful to share my thoughts about what makes a good one. I also solicited input from a few colleagues and include their suggestions too. I’ll present my thoughts in Q&A format. Hopefully it goes without saying: This is just my opinion from my vantage point at UMD; different professors might have a different perspective based on where they are.