Thinking about Personal Statements Discussion Board

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Spend 30-40 minutes total, exploring the two electronic full access books 50 Successful Ivy League Application Essays and Essays that Will Get You into Law School and the article “Create an Artful Essay for a Standout Medical School Application (all linked below). Notice I didn’t say to read these texts. You aren’t expected to read two books this week! You can read parts of it, skim parts of it, and skip parts of it. 

And moreover, these aren’t the kind of books most of us would ever read cover-to-cover. But if you read the table of contents and skim chapters that interest you, you’ll come away from that experience with a feeling of how seriously people take the personal statement (sometimes called person essay) document. 

All I want you to do is to spend about 30-40 minutes scanning and swimming these three digital resources. I want you to get a sense of what a personal statement looks like, see the range of possibilities, and ….. . Then, think about your own personal brand mood board. You may also want to talk about personal statements with a classmate, parent, or friend. Then you’ll write a response (described below). 

This book focuses on applying to college not graduate school but there are many similarities between essays written for college and those written for graduate school and scholarship, or internship applications. 

For this week’s post, you can use these questions to get your thinking and writing started or ignore the questions and just share whatever thoughts you have. 

  • Although the words personal brand may not appear in any of this week’s assigned reading could you make an argument that articulating your personal brand through words and stories is a part of a successful personal statement? Maybe look at one personal statement as an example.  Where did you find your example personal statement? What title did the author pick for his or her personal statement? After reading that personal statement, how would you describe that writer in a few words? 
  • Even if you aren’t considering graduate school right now, did your personal-brand mood board (this week’s assignment) provide you with a few ideas about how you might start sifting through your experiences, ideas, values, skills, and interests to write an essay that reveals what’s unique about you?
  • Some people report that writing the personal statement was the most unhappy part of the graduate school application process. Why do you think people might feel that way?
  • Did anything in the assigned books and article surprise you? For example, was there an instance of advice in the article that resonated as true? Or were there words of warning in one of the books that seemed false or unhelpful? 
  • If you have trouble seeing any connection between personal statements and your own personal-brand mood board, that’s okay. Share your impressions of the book and article. You don’t need to mention your personal brand mood board.

Your initial post must be at least 250 words long.


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