When you applied as an undergraduate, your personal statement probably didn't make much of a difference, because undergraduate admissions are heavily based on numbers (GPAs, test scores, etc). Graduate and professional school admissions are different! Your competitors will have grades and test scores similar to yours, because most people who have the motivation to pursue an advanced degree did well as undergraduate students. As the number of applicants rises and academic budgets are cut, every year there's more competition for fewer admissions openings. How does the committee determine that you have what it takes to succeed in advanced studies? You guessed it. Your personal statement will play a determining role in whether or not your application is successful. So you know you need to write the strongest, most persuasive personal statement you can. But here are two facts you may not know. First, most reviewers will spend only a couple minutes skimming your personal statement. Second, because their job is to weed out the majority of applications, reviewers are looking for reasons not to recommend you for admission.
Common Errors in Composing Personal Statements _ The following lists some of the more common errors in most compositions: In appropriate use of punctuations such as excessive commas, and incorrect placement of apostrophes and quotation marks, colons, and semi_colons. When in doubt, consult a basic style guide to check your usage. _ Contractions. Contractions dramatically reduce the formality of your composition. Use the more formal "cannot," "would not," or "should not," instead of "can't," "won't," or "shouldn't." Slang and common colloquial words and expressions. Words and phrases like "a lot," "ain't," "got," "big," "for sure," "gonna," "sort of," "kinda," and the like should never be used. Clichés. These make your writing informal and unintentionally funny. However, when employed correctly, they can actually help add variety to your essay. Repetitive use of words such as ("likewise," "thus," and the like). Keep a thesaurus handy so that you can vary your language. However, do not use "big" words just to impress the reader. Vagueness. This may lead to open interpretation that does not express your ideas as well as more precise words would. "A few" or "enough" can often be replaced by a word that is more precise. Phrases such as these will only leave the reader confused. Make your claims clearer and justified. Steps to Follow to Ensure the Further Improvement of a PS