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Undergraduate News to Use

Perfecting Your Personal Statement

By Katy Krieger, GSC Member-at-Large for Undergraduate Affairs

It is officially the season for graduate school applications and I am sure all of you have come upon the writing of the personal statement. But, fear not! I have gathered some useful information on how to avoid statement pitfalls and make yours shine.

  1. Do your research on the program. This includes the overall focus of the program, the faculty and their research, and how your work fits into theirs. This is like dating, so, make sure you do all you can to impress them by knowing your information and details.
  2. Focus on what you have done AND what you plan or hope to do. Specific project ideas or research directions is key here. Again, make sure you show compatibility.
  3. Check out your university’s writing center for helpful tips, feedback, and even sample statements. Make sure they are in the same field, however, as what we do is different than biology, medical school or forestry.
  4. Have your advisor or professor you have worked with (possibly one of your letter of rec. writers) review your statement and provide insight into how to make it better.
  5. Do not create a stock statement to send out to every program. Tailoring is essential at this stage of the game.
  6. Finally, use some great psychology research to guide how you write your statement. One incredibly helpful article I have used before:

Appleby, D. C., & Appleby, K. M. (2006). Kisses of death in the graduate school application process. Teaching of Psychology, 33(1), 19-24.

Good luck with your personal statements and remember to DO YOUR HOMEWORK when it comes to the entire application! See you all at SPSP 2016 in San Diego!