Grad School Personal Statement Sample

Your graduate school personal statement may initially get only five minutes of an admissions officer's attention. In those five minutes you have to show that you are a good pick for the school.

Writing an amazing graduate school essay is probably far more straightforward than you might think. Graduate school admissions officers aren't looking for gimmicks. They're looking for passionate, motivated, and prepared applicants who are ready to hit the ground running in their program. Read on for more details in creating your best graduate school essay. If you're looking for one-on-one assistance, check out EssayEdge.com.

Know what the admissions officers are seeking

Don't make assumptions about your graduate school personal statements. Many programs simply ask you to submit a personal statement without any further guidance. Other programs will tell you exactly how they want the essay structured along with word count limits and formatting requirements. Review the prompt thoroughly and plan your essay before you begin writing to ensure that you create an essay that will be an effective and persuasive addition to your application package.

What should you do if the program doesn't give you any specifics? With greater numbers of applicants to graduate programs, the trend is toward shorter essays. This is especially true of graduate programs in the STEM fields. Unfortunately, longer essays tend to be skimmed rather than read thoroughly, and most any admissions officer will tell you that the best essays that they've read are always shorter essays. Think about what is absolutely essential, and write about those aspects of your experience with passion.  

Personal, personal, personal

Did we mention personal? Some graduate programs will ask you to write an additional essay about an issue within your chosen field. However, your personal statement should be about you as an individual. Write about issues only if they relate specifically to your personal experiences. For example, 'In Africa, a child dies every minute. This stark statistic prompted me to join an NGO aimed at providing nutrition and healthcare for children in Namibia.'

Keep your anecdotes focused on your life after you began college

It is common for graduate school applicants to start their personal statements with an anecdote about something that happened during childhood or high school. On the surface, this makes sense because that event was what started the journey that has culminated in an application to the program. However, graduate programs are for professionals, and writing about your childhood is more appropriate for an undergraduate essay than one for graduate school. If you feel that you absolutely must include something from your childhood, use it as the starting sentence of your concluding paragraph. 

Know your program and make connections

Securing acceptance into a graduate program is more about being the best match than about being the most highly qualified. Among applicants who meet the program's minimum requirements, they'll choose an enthusiastic and informed applicant over one with higher test scores and a better GPA who doesn't seem to know much about their program.

During your graduate studies, you'll likely do research, and graduate programs want to know that you can both participate in ongoing research as well as find a mentor for your own project. In your essay, write about professors in the programs whose work interests you and why. Also, there is life outside of the classroom. Does the school have a close-knit traditional college campus? Is it located in the heart of the city? Especially if you will be moving with your family, show the admissions officers that you will thrive in their environment.  

Finish with a strong statement about why the school is your top pick

This doesn't necessarily mean that the school is your only pick. However, generic essays have no place in the graduate school application process. Form letters aren't persuasive, and generic essays won't help your application package. If you can't sincerely write that the school is a top pick, then why are you applying there? Instead, focus on creating stellar essays for the ones that actually interest you. Help the admissions officers understand your overarching vision for your future career and how your time at the school will prepare you to realize these goals.

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I am applying for a place on the Master of Business (M.B.A) course at Moi University, because I am very interested in the topics covered principally quantitative finance and Risk management. My interest in these areas was first awakened during my undergraduate studies at the University of Nairobi where I studied Business Management. I chose to do a final year research topic on Quantitative Stock market prediction techniques. During my research I obtained documents relating to financial calculus and my interest was further stimulated when reading volatility based trading by Kirk Northington. Your course not only covers the above topics but will also introduce me to new areas of quantitative finance and risk management which will broaden my knowledge and understanding of the topic as a whole. I attained a high mark for my dissertation and I am keen to build on my interest in research during the dissertation section of the course. I am expecting to attain a second class honors upper division or first class degree which I hope will validate my academic ability to study at this level.

 

My job placement at Equity Bank between June 2010 and September 2010 strengthened my interest in the areas of quantitative finance and I was able to experience the impact of quantitative techniques on financial markets in a working environment. My main role was to monitor the effects of interest rates through central bank data and to analyse it based on real time market activity. I wrote a report on my findings which was well acknowledged by my organization. This experience helped me to develop relevant skills in studying financial markets, understanding market drivers and managing financial risk.

 

I am particularly keen to study at the department of finance and economics at Moi University because of your research interests in finance and your reputation of excellence in these fields. The international repute of the department attracts such a variety of students and I believe it will be a stimulating environment in which to study at graduate level. Your university also provides outstanding working and leisure facilities for graduate students which prove your commitment to the graduate student body.

 

Following the graduate course I would like to pursue my interest in research in the area of quantum financial trading either through doing a PhD or possibly researching with a major bank or other financial sector player. I believe my skill and competence level is in tandem with Moi University’s graduate level requirements.

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