Personal Statement Letter

My advise to you, then, is go into the writing center and get help with writing your cover letters; it might just be the thing that separates you from the competition.-- Sam Eckmeier ('13) Stay on task, plan to revise many drafts, and ask for all of the help that you can.

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Although this process can be discouraging in the beginning, I found that revisiting my previous drafts gave me the energy to work toward a statement that I am proud to reread.

Plus, having multiple people read drafts of my statement opened my eyes to a variety of ways to improve in minor ways. -- Jeweletter “Jewel” Johnson (‘13) Cover letters are tricky, which is why when writing one you will need to be prepared to revise, revise, and--then--revise some more.

Multiple visits with Kathy at the Writing Center, Susannah the TRIO writing assistant, and Brent from the Career Center drastically transformed my cluttered paper into a complete written reflection of my life goals and aspirations, which they helped me magically fit into less than 1000 words.

Not only did these people have seasoned and experienced eyes and advice, but they provided me with new insights by echoing back my enthusiasm.

Instead of stating "Ever since I can remember, I have been passionate about helping orphans," describe one particular orphan you helped when you were seven.

Try and start with a memorable first sentence (something funny/quirky/jarring) to draw your reader in.-- Dennis Ea ('13) My biggest piece of advice would be to guard against complacency.Be ready to revise, and revise again, and revise three times after that.Start early and make sure you get advice from a lot of people.For grad school apps, definitely try to visit and learn as much as possible about the research people are working on.It's also a good idea to research the program you're applying to- this will not only make you more confident that this is a program you'd actually be interested in committing to, but citing particular people in that department whose work is of interest to you shows that you know what you're getting into.No matter what you're applying for, there will always be lots of other very qualified applicants.Therefore, you need to be sure that when you send your cover letter off, it is as good as it possibly could be.I found that going over my cover letters with Kathy made writing them much less stressful and was pivotal in my success with getting internships.Therefore, it's important to make your personal statement original so it will stand out.Tell your reader something about you that can't be read from your resume and that makes you different from all the other smart, capable people, applying for whatever you're applying for.


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