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[文书写作] Guidelines for writing PS [复制链接]

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The book has guidelines for writing, examples of successful statements, and advice from admissions officers. This handout summarizes Stelzer's guidelines and contains a few of the examples he includes of statements and admissions officers' advice. If you wish to read more examples and do not purchase the book, you may read the Writing Lab's copy, which is on reserve in the lab.

The personal statement, your opportunity to sell yourself in the application process, generally falls into one of two categories:

1. The general, comprehensive personal statement:

This allows you maximum freedom in terms of what you write and is the type of statement often prepared for standard medical or law school application forms.

2. The response to very specific questions:

Often, business and graduate school applications ask specific questions, and your statement should respond specifically to the question being asked. Some business school applications favor multiple essays, typically asking for responses to three or more questions.

Questions to ask yourself before you write:
What's special, unique, distinctive, and/or impressive about you or your life story?

What details of your life (personal or family problems, history, people or events that have shaped you or influenced your goals) might help the committee better understand you or help set you apart from other applicants?

When did you become interested in this field and what have you learned about it (and about yourself) that has further stimulated your interest and reinforced your conviction that you are well suited to this field? What insights have you gained?

How have you learned about this field--through classes, readings, seminars, work or other experiences, or conversations with people already in the field?

If you have worked a lot during your college years, what have you learned (leadership or managerial skills, for example), and how has that work contributed to your growth?

What are your career goals?

Are there any gaps or discrepancies in your academic record that you should explain (great grades but mediocre LSAT or GRE scores, for example, or a distinct upward pattern to your GPA if it was only average in the beginning)?

Have you had to overcome any unusual obstacles or hardships (for example, economic, familial, or physical) in your life?

What personal characteristics (for example. integrity. compassion. persistence) do you possess that would improve your prospects for success in the field or profession? Is there a way to demonstrate or document that you have these characteristics?

What skills (for example, leadership, communicative, analytical) do you possess?

Why might you be a stronger candidate for graduate school--and more successful and effective in the profession or field than other applicants?

What are the most compelling reasons you can give for the admissions committee to be interested in you?
General advice
Answer the questions that are asked
If you are applying to several schools, you may find questions in each application that are somewhat similar.
Don't be tempted to use the same statement for all applications. It is important to answer each question being asked, and if slightly different answers are needed, you should write separate statements. In every case, be sure your answer fits the question being asked.
Tell a story
Think in terms of showing or demonstrating through concrete experience. One of the worst things you can do is to bore the admissions committee. If your statement is fresh, lively, and different, you'll be putting yourself ahead of the pack. If you distinguish yourself through your story, you will make yourself memorable.
Be specific
Don't, for example, state that you would make an excellent doctor unless you can back it up with specific reasons. Your desire to become a lawyer, engineer, or whatever should be logical, the result of specific experience that is described in your statement. Your application should emerge as the logical conclusion to your story.
Find an angle
If you're like most people, your life story lacks drama, so figuring out a way to make it interesting becomes the big challenge. Finding an angle or a "hook" is vital.
Concentrate on your opening paragraph
The lead or opening paragraph is generally the most important. It is here that you grab the reader's attention or lose it. This paragraph becomes the framework for the rest of the statement.
Tell what you know
The middle section of your essay might detail your interest and experience in your particular field, as well as some of your knowledge of the field. Too many people graduate with little or no knowledge of the nuts and bolts of the profession or field they hope to enter. Be as specific as you can in relating what you know about the field and use the language professionals use in conveying this information. Refer to experiences (work, research, etc.), classes, conversations with people in the field, books you've read, seminars you've attended, or any other source of specific information about the career you want and why you're suited to it. Since you will have to select what you include in your statement, the choices you make are often an indication of your judgment.
Don't include some subjects
There are certain things best left out of personal statements. For example, references to experiences or accomplishments in high school or earlier are generally not a good idea. Don't mention potentially controversial subjects (for example, controversial religious or political issues).
Do some research, if needed
If a school wants to know why you're applying to it rather than another school, do some research to find out what sets your choice apart from other universities or programs. If the school setting would provide an important geographical or cultural change for you, this might be a factor to mention.
Write well and correctly
Be meticulous. Type and proofread your essay very carefully. Many admissions officers say that good written skills and command of correct use of language are important to them as they read these statements. Express yourself clearly and concisely. Adhere to stated word limits.
Avoid clichés
A medical school applicant who writes that he is good at science and wants to help other people is not exactly expressing an original thought. Stay away from often-repeated or tired statements.
Some examples of successful statements
Statement #1
My interest in science dates back to my years in high school, where I excelled in physics, chemistry, and math. When I was a senior, I took a first-year calculus course at a local college (such an advanced-level class was not available in high school) and earned an A. It seemed only logical that I pursue a career in electrical engineering.

When I began my undergraduate career, I had the opportunity to be exposed to the full range of engineering courses, all of which tended to reinforce and solidify my intense interest in engineering. I've also had the opportunity to study a number of subjects in the humanities and they have been both enjoyable and enlightening, providing me with a new and different perspective on the world in which we live.

In the realm of engineering, I have developed a special interest in the field of laser technology and have even been taking a graduate course in quantum electronics. Among the 25 or so students in the course, I am the sole undergraduate ate. Another particular interest of mine is electromagnetics, and last summer, when I was a technical assistant at a world-famous local lab, I learned about its many practical applications, especially in relation to microstrip and antenna design. Management at this lab was sufficiently impressed with my work to ask that I return when I graduate. Of course, my plans following completion of my current studies are to move directly into graduate work toward my master's in science. After I earn my master's degree, I intend to start work on my Ph.D. in electrical engineering. Later I would like to work in the area of research and development for private industry. It is in R & D that I believe I can make the greatest contribution, utilizing my theoretical background and creativity as a scientist.

I am highly aware of the superb reputation of your school, and my conversations with several of your alumni have served to deepen my interest in attending. I know that, in addition to your excellent faculty, your computer facilities are among the best in the state. I hope you will give me the privilege of continuing my studies at your fine institution.

(Stelzer pp. 38-39)

Statement #2
Having majored in literary studies (world literature) as an undergraduate, I would now like to concentrate on English and American literature.

I am especially interested in nineteenth-century literature, women's literature, Anglo-Saxon poetry, and folklore and folk literature. My personal literary projects have involved some combination of these subjects. For the oral section of my comprehensive exams, I specialized in nineteenth century novels by and about women. The relation ship between "high" and folk literature became the subject for my honors essay, which examined Toni Morrison's use of classical, biblical, African, and Afro-American folk tradition in her novel. I plan to work further on this essay, treating Morrison's other novels and perhaps preparing a paper suitable for publication.

In my studies toward a doctoral degree, I hope to examine more closely the relationship between high and folk literature. My junior year and private studies of Anglo-Saxon language and literature have caused me to consider the question of where the divisions between folklore, folk literature, and high literature lie. Should I attend your school, I would like to resume my studies of Anglo-Saxon poetry, with special attention to its folk elements.

Writing poetry also figures prominently in my academic and professional goals. I have just begun submitting to the smaller journals with some success and am gradually building a working manuscript for a collection. The dominant theme of this collection relies on poems that draw from classical, biblical, and folk traditions, as well as everyday experience, in order to celebrate the process of giving and taking life, whether literal or figurative. My poetry draws from and influences my academic studies. Much of what I read and study finds a place in my creative work as subject. At the same time, I study the art of literature by taking part in the creative process, experimenting with the tools used by other authors in the past.

In terms of a career, I see myself teaching literature, writing criticism, and going into editing or publishing poetry. Doctoral studies would be valuable to me in several ways. First, your teaching assistant ship program would provide me with the practical teaching experience I am eager to acquire. Further, earning a Ph.D. in English and American literature would advance my other two career goals by adding to my skills, both critical and creative, in working with language. Ultimately, however, I see the Ph.D. as an end in itself, as well as a professional stepping stone; I enjoy studying literature for its own sake and would like to continue my studies on the level demanded by the Ph.D. program.

(Stelzer pp. 40-41)

Some advice from admissions representatives:
Lee Cunningham
Director of Admissions and Aid
The University of Chicago Graduate School of Business
The mistake people make most often is not to look at what the questions are asking. Some people prepare generic statements because they're applying to more than one school and it's a lot of work to do a personal essay for each school. On the other hand, generic statements detract from the applicant when we realize that we're one of six schools and the applicant is saying the same thing to each and every school despite the fact that there are critical differences between the kinds of schools they may be applying to. They don't take the time. They underestimate the kind of attentions that is paid to these essays. Take a look at what the essay asks and deal with those issues articulately and honestly.

At least 2, and sometimes 3, people read each essay. I read them to make the final decision. Our process works so that each person who reads the application does a written evaluation of what he or she has read and the written evaluations are not seen by the other reader.

(adapted from Stelzer, p. 49)

Steven DeKrey
Director of Admissions and Financial Aid
J. L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management (Northwestern University)
We're looking for a well-written, detailed essay that responds directly to the question. The questions are about extracurricular activities, motivation, challenges, commitment to the school that kind of thing. We see a variety and that's fine. Our approach is very individualized. The way the applicant devises the answer, determines the length, develops the response, is all part of the answer. The level of effort applicants put into essays varies considerably, which sends messages to the admissions committee as well. Over-involved, elaborate essays send one message, while very brief and superficial essays send another message.

Trying to second-guess what we are looking for is a common mistake--which we can sense.

We can tell when applicants use answers to other schools' questions for our essays; we're sensitive to this. Poorly written essays are a bad reflection on the applicant.

Don't over-elaborate; we're reading a lot of these kinds of essays. Also, don't be too brief or superficial. We like to have major ideas presented well.

( adapted from Stelzer, p. 55)

Michael D. Rappaport
Assistant Dean of Admissions
UCLA School of Law
Applicants should take the time to look at what the law school is asking them to write about. At UCLA, we say, "we know you have lots of extracurricular activities--we want to know how you differ, what makes you unique? What can you bring to the first year class that's going to make you distinctive from the other 99 people who are already there?" The fact that you were active in your fraternity or sorority is really not going to do it. What we're looking for is somebody who, in their personal statement, stands out as being so unusual, so diverse, that they're extremely attractive as a law student for the first-year class. Maybe what's going to make them distinctive is the fact they spent six months living in a log cabin in Alaska. You try to give the law school some justification for admitting you. With a lot of people, there's nothing that's going to make them distinctive. If that's the case, they've got to recognize that, indeed, the essay is not going to make that much difference here at UCLA.

We're also asking if there's any reason their LSAT or grades are not predictive. You'd be amazed at the number of people who completely ignore this--they don't take advantage of the opportunity.

Most law schools operate fairly similarly. There's a certain group of applicants whose grades and LSAT scores are so high that the presumption is that the applicants are going to be admitted unless they do something terribly stupid to keep themselves out. I have seen applicants whose personal statement has done that, but it's extremely rare. At the other extreme is another group of applicants who, no matter what they write, are not going to get in.

The applicant has to realize, first of all, where he or she stands. If you have a straight-A grade point average and a perfect LSAT score, you don't have to spend a lot of time worrying about your personal statement. On the other hand, if you know you're in the borderline area, that's where the personal statement becomes very, very important.

The applicant should take the time to read the application to see what the schools are asking for. Sometimes the school will ask for a general description of why you want to go to law school, or why they should admit you, something of that nature. In such case you can be fairly sure that the school is just interested in the essay to see how well you write. So what you say isn't as important as how you say it. On the other hand, some schools are more specific--UCLA being a very good example of that.

Make sure the essay is grammatically and technically correct and well written. Avoid sloppy essays, coffee stained essays, or ones that are handwritten so you can't read them. You'd be amazed at what we get!

(Stelzer, pp. 70-71)

Beth O'Neil
Director of Admissions and Financial Aid
University of California at Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall)
We're trying to gauge the potential for a student's success in law school, and we determine that, principally, on the basis of what the student has done in the past. The personal statement carries the responsibility of presenting the student's life experiences.

Applicants make a mistake by doing a lot of speculation about what they're going to do in the future rather than telling us about what they've done in the past. It is our job to speculate, and we are experienced at that.

Applicants also tend to state and not evaluate. They give a recitation of their experience but no evaluation of what effect that particular experience head on them, no assessment of what certain experiences or honors meant.

They also fail to explain errors or weaknesses in their background. Even though we might wish to admit a student, sometimes we can't in view of a weakness that they haven't made any effort to explain. For example, perhaps they haven't told us that they were ill on the day that they took the LSAT or had an automobile accident on the way. Such things are legitimate reasons for poor performance. I mean, we understand that life is tough sometimes. We need to know what happened, for example, to cause a sudden drop in the GPA.

Another mistake is that everyone tries to make himself or herself the perfect law school applicant who, of course, does not exist and is not nearly as interesting as a real human being.

Between l and 5 people read each application.

(Stelzer, p. 72)

Dr. Daniel R. Alonso
Associate Dean for Admissions
Cornell University Medical College
We look for some originality because nine out of ten essays leave you with a big yawn. "I like science, I like to help people and that's why I want to be a doctor." The common, uninteresting, and unoriginal statement is one that recounts the applicant's academic pursuits and basically repeats what is elsewhere in the application. You look for something different, something that will pique your interest and provide I some very unique insight that will make you pay some l notice to this person who is among so many other qualified applicants. If you're screening 5,500 applications over a four- or six-month period, you want to see something that's really interesting.

I would simply say: Do it yourself, be careful, edit it, go through as many drafts as necessary. And more important than anything: be yourself. really show your personality. Tell us why you are unique, why we should admit you. The premise is that 9 out of 10 people who apply to medical school are very qualified. Don't under any circumstances insert handwritten work or an unfinished piece of writing. Do a professional job. I would consider it a mistake to attempt to cram in too much information, too many words. Use the space as judiciously as possible. Don't submit additional pages or use only 1/20th of the space provided.

(Stelzer, p.81)

John Herweg
Chairman, Committee on Admissions
Washington University School of Medicine
We are looking for a clear statement that indicates that the applicant can use the English language in a meaningful and effective fashion. We frankly look at spelling as well as typing (for errors both in grammar and composition). Most applicants use the statement to indicate their motivation for medicine, the duration of that motivation, extracurricular activities, and work experience. So those are some of the general things we are looking for in the Personal Comments section.

We also want applicants to personalize the statement, to tell us something about themselves that they think is worthy of sharing with us, something that makes them unique, different, and the type of medical student and future physician that we're all looking for. What they have done in working with individuals--whether it's serving as a checker or bagger at a grocery store or working with handicapped individuals or tutoring inner city kids--that shows they can relate to people and have they done it in an effective fashion? What the applicant should do in all respects is to depict why he or she is a unique individual and should be sought after. Of course, if they start every sentence on a whole page with "I," it gets to be a little bit too much.

(Stelzer, p. 82)
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Tips for Writing Your Essays

Tips for Writing Your Essays
DO strive for depth rather than breadth; narrow your focus to one or two themes, ideas, or experiences.
DO tell the reader what no other applicant could honestly be able to say.
DO provide the reader with insight into what drives you--what makes you "tick."
DO be yourself rather than pretending to be the ideal applicant.
DO get creative and imaginative, particularly in your opening remarks.
DO address the particular school's unique features that attract you.
DO focus on the affirmative in the personal statement itself; consider using an addendum to explain deficiencies or blemishes.
DO evaluate your experiences rather than merely recounting them.
DO enlist others to proofread your essay for grammar, syntax, punctuation, word usage, and style.
DO use a highly readable typeface with conventional spacing and margins (if you're submitting a paper-based application).

DON'T submit an expository resume; avoid merely repeating information that you've provided elsewhere in your application.
DON'T complain or whine about "the system" or about your circumstances in life; however, constructive criticism is fine as long as it relates directly to your career goals.
DON'T get on a soapbox and preach to the reader; while expressing your values and opinions are fine, avoid coming across as fanatical or extreme.
DON'T talk about money as a motivating factor in your plans for the future.
DON'T discuss your minority status or disadvantaged background unless you have a compelling and unique story that relates directly to it.
DON'T remind the school of its ranking or prestige among the various programs of its type.
DON'T waste your personal statement opportunity with a hackneyed introduction or conclusion.
DON'T use a gimmicky style or format.
DON'T submit supplementary materials unless the admissions office requests them.
DON'T get the name of the school wrong!

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Note: these tips are intended for students applying to CS/ECE programs.

Note: these tips are intended for students applying to CS/ECE programs.
Statement of purpose
Be specific, persuasive, clear.
Tips from http://www-2.cs.cmu.edu/~harchol/gradschooltalk.pdf. This is an excellent paper that addresses the bigger picture of applying to CS program, and is relevant to EE people as well:
It’s misleading that the personal statement is called a “personal” statement, since what admission committees are really looking for is a research statement. What admission committees want is a statement about what research you have done, what research you hope to do, and why you like research.
First paragraph – Describe the general areas of research that interest you and why. (This is helpful for a committee to determine which professors should read your application.)
Second paragraph and Third paragraph – Descibe some research projects that you worked on. Tell us what you found, what you learned, what approaches you tried. It’s fine to say that you were unable to prove what you wanted or to solve your problem.
Fourth paragraph – Tell us why you feel you need a Ph.D.. Look back to section what in there appealed to you.
Fifth paragraph – Tell us why you want to come to CMU. Whom might you like to work with? What papers have you looked at from CMU that you enjoyed reading? What will CMU teach you?
Tips from http://www.sjsu.edu/faculty/gcal ... nningstatement.htm:
Your purpose in graduate study. This means you must have thought this through before you try to answer the question.
The area of study in which you wish to specialize. This requires that you know the field well enough to make such decision.
Your future use of your graduate study. This will include your career goals and plans for your future.
Your special preparation and fitness for study in the field. This is the opportunity to relate your academic background with your extracurricular experience to show how they unite to make you a special candidate.
Any problems or inconsistencies in your records or scores such as a bad semester. Be sure to explain in a positive manner and justify the explanation. Since this is a rebuttal argument, it should be followed by a positive statement of your abilities.
Any special conditions that are not revealed elsewhere in the application such as a large (35 hour a week) work load outside of school. This too should be followed with a positive statement about yourself and your future.
You may be asked, "Why do you wish to attend this school?" This requires that you have done your research about the school and know what its special appeal is to you.
Career goals. write two short paragraphs:
What career have you chosen? What factors formed this decision?
What evidence shows that this is a correct choice? That is, how can you show that this choice is realistic? (Personal experience in the field is a good place to begin.)
What accomplishments, work experiences, important activies (skills/qualities) will help me in grad school?
Tips from http://bgess.berkeley.edu/cgi-bi ... dinfo/purpose.html:
Demonstrate motivation in-between the lines.
Emphasize everything from a positive perspective
Recommended writing structure:
This is where you tell them what you want to study. For example, M.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering with an emphasis in dynamics and controls.
Summarize what you did as an undergraduate
Important class or classes you took which stimulated your desire for graduate study; specific project or class?
Research you might have done. Indicate with whom, the title of the project and what your responsibilities were. Write technically; it's professors, not secretaries, reading this.
Work experience, especially if you had any kind of responsibility for testing, designing, or researching a product or apparatus.
Indicate what you want to study in graduate school in greater detail.This is a greater elaboration of your opening paragraph.
Indicate area of interest, then state questions you might have which are associated; i.e. what you might be interested in studying. You should have an area selected before you write the statement.
If you can, contact the department for information and find out what the professors are doing for research. Are there people whose interests match yours? If so, indicate this as it shows a sign that the student has done his or her homework and is highly motivated. (Be sincere, however. Don't make up something bogus just to impress people.)
Tips from http://www.careerservices.calpol ... onal_statement.htm:
Academic background
How have you prepared yourself to succeed in graduate school?
What body of relevant knowledge will you take with you?
Significant study or lab skills
Research or publications completed to date
A successful statement will...
Has great opening lines or paragraphs
Conveys at least a glimpse of the applicant's personality
Substantiates specific academic preparation and knowledge of subject matter
Demonstrates an understanding of the challenges as well as the rewards of a chosen career
Gives a sense of maturity, compassion, stamina, teamwork skills, leadership potential and general likability, usually without addressing these issues directly (tells a story rather than gives a list)
Says what you really mean by describing an event or emotions and thoughts in detail
Gives specifics, with DETAILS. It's far better to give your essay a complete description of one incident than to cram it full of activities and accomplishments without any hint of what they meant to you, your motivations for doing them, what you learned, or emotions evoked.
Shows how you will use the graduate education in your planned career and establishes that you understand your place in the "big picture"
Demonstrate that you've read the catalog carefully, researched the program, and considered your reasons for applying to the particular school.
Direct your focus at that specific program; refer to faculty with whom you have been in contact.
Get the name of the program you are applying to into the statement. Know the exact name.
All the best essays will be both honest and direct.
Don't attempt to guess at what you think people want to hear.
Sincerity and truthfulness should be clearly evident.

Tips from http://www.csulb.edu/~psy301/perstate.html:
You must demonstrate to the committee how your goals coincide with what the program has to offer as well as how you will fit in and how your qualifications will benefit the program.
The applicant should not use the same essay for each program. A generic personal statement is easy to detect.
Tips from http://www.princetonreview.com/g ... cation/purpose.asp:
To distinguish your essay, add something unique to it without throwing in irrelevant information that will annoy your readers. One of the best ways to do this is to discuss, briefly, an idea in your field that turns you on intellectually. It's an effective essay-opener, and it lets you write about something besides yourself for a bit. There are other benefits as well. The idea you choose to talk about, and your comments on it, often tell an admissions committee more about you than your own self-descriptions can.
Finally, don't just reuse the same statement of purpose for each school you apply to. You can recycle the same information, but make sure you tweak it for every school. Your statement will sound stale and the admissions committee will notice if you don't do this.
Tips from http://www.fulbright.co.uk/eas/postgrad/statement2.html:
Things which all college admissions officers want to see in the application:
A Picture of Your Overall Personality
How will you give a picture of your personality? I would suggest that you imply rather than state the facts. For instance, don’t say ‘I am a smart person.’ Demonstrate it, imply it. Don’t say ‘I am energetic.’ Give evidence by the fact that you worked after school for six hours every day and still had time to play on the volleyball team.
Academic Background and Work Experience
It would be a mistake to talk about your high school. Start with your undergraduate career. School records may be worth mentioning if there is something extraordinary about them.
Admissions officers are looking for some continuity in what you have done, what you want to do in the near future and what you hope to do in the distant future. So, connect them.
Commitment and Motivation
Rather than simply saying ‘I am committed’, find a way of inferring that you are indeed highly committed and motivated to your proposed field of study.
Communication Skills
They will be looking at your writing skills - how well you can present yourself clearly and intelligently when writing, hence the importance of spending considerable time on the statement.
Writing style
Write simply, not in a flowery and complicated manner.
Write in a straightforward way.
In other words don’t be subtle or cute. Write in a clear and logical manner. If you have to be creative, that is fine, but do so in a straightforward way. These people are really interested in your vocation. They don’t want to read something that is in the form of one act plays nor do they want to read three adjectives per noun. They want you to be direct and straightforward.
Be clear in what you are saying.
Make sure you are logical. Explain yourself with great clarity. Finally, most important of all, be specific, not vague. Don’t say - ‘My grades were quite good’ but say ‘I belonged to the top 5% of my class’. Don’t say - ‘I am interested in sports’. Say ‘I was captain of my hockey team’. Don’t say ‘I like poetry’. Say ‘I did a study of Shakespeare’s sonnets and wrote a twelve-page bachelor’s degree dissertation on Imagery’. Don’t say - ‘I want to be a Supreme Court Judge, that is why I want to go to law school’. Say things like ‘I was an apprentice in a court’ or ‘I often went with my father to the courts to listen to cases’ or ‘I wrote a legal column for a school newspaper’. That is being specific.
Tips from http://www.coe.berkeley.edu/cues/grad.strength.html:
Think of the statement of purpose as a composition in three different parts. The first part is a brief summary of the program you want to study and what particular area of research you want to focus on. The second part should be a summary of your college experiences. What brought about your interest in engineering (perhaps a bit of pertinent background information), any work experience you might have had, if you put yourself through school, co-op or summer job experiences and research experiences--here you can elucidate what design or job responsibilities you had. You may be as specific as possible, as it is engineering professors who are reading this statement. The third part is composed of why you want to go to graduate school, what you would like to study (research), and ideally, with whom you would like to study. Write the department or consult the web for information concerning the professor's research interests, then consult your library for recent publications. When you can mention what you would like to study, and whom you would like to study with, it often indicates to a department that you've done your homework and have serious intentions about the pursuit of graduate study. At all times, be sincere and honest


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发表于 2003-12-16 13:30:56 |显示全部楼层

Glenn M. Callaghan D

http://www2.sjsu.edu/faculty/gca ... inningstatement.htm

Glenn M. Callaghan                                                        Department of Psychology                                                            San Jose State Univsersity

Before you start, check out the tips below on "Getting Started"
                I. Determine your purpose in writing the statement
Usually the purpose is to persuade the admissions committee that you are an applicant they should choose. You may want to show that you have the ability and motivation to succeed in your field, or you may want to show the committee that, on the basis of your experience, you are the kind of candidate who will do well in the field. Whatever the purpose, it must be explicit to give coherence to the whole statement.
Pay attention to the purpose throughout the statement so that extraneous material is left out.
      2. Pay attention to the audience (committee) throughout the statement. Remember, your audience is made up of faculty members who are
          experts in their field. They want to know that you can think as much as what you think.
II. Determine the content of your statement

Be sure to answer any direct questions fully. Analyze the questions or guidance statements for the essay completely and answer all parts.

For example: "What are the strengths and weaknesses in setting and achieving goals and working through people?" In this question there are actually six parts to be answered 1) strengths in setting goals, 2) strengths in achieving goals, 3) strengths in working through people, 4) weaknesses in setting goals, 5) weaknesses in achieving goals and 6) weaknesses in working through people. Pay attention to small words. Notice: This example question says through people not with people, if it says with people, answer that way.

Usually graduate and professional schools are interested in the following:
1. Your purpose in graduate study. This means you must have thought this through before you try to answer the question.

2. The area of study in which you wish to specialize. This requires that you know the field well enough to make such decision.

3. Your future use of your graduate study. This will include your career goals and plans for your future.

4. Your special preparation and fitness for study in the field. This is the opportunity to relate your academic background with your extracurricular experience to show how they unite to make you a special candidate.

5. Any problems or inconsistencies in your records or scores such as a bad semester. Be sure to explain in a positive manner and justify the explanation. Since this is a rebuttal argument, it should be followed by a positive statement of your abilities.

6. Any special conditions that are not revealed elsewhere in the application such as a large (35 hour a week) work load outside of school. This too should be followed with a positive statement about yourself and your future.

7. You may be asked, "Why do you wish to attend this school?" This requires that you have done your research about the school and know what its special appeal is to you.

8. Above all this, the statement is to contain information about you as a person. They know nothing about you that you don’t tell them. You are the subject of the statement.

Determine your approach and the style of the statement
There is no such thing as "the perfect way to write a statement." There is only the one that is best for you and fits your circumstances.
1. There are some things the statement should not be:
Avoid the "what I did with my life" approach. This was fine for grade school essays on "what I did last summer." It is not good for a personal statement.
Equally elementary is the approach "I’ve always wanted to be a __________." This is only appropriate if it also reflects your current career goals.
Also avoid a statement that indicates your interest in psychology is because of your own personal psychotherapy or a family member’s psychological disturbance. While this may have motivated many of us to go on to graduate study in psychology, this is not what your audience is necessarily looking for in your statement.
These are some things the statement should do:
It should be objective yet self-revelatory. Write directly and in a straightforward manner that tells about your experience and what it means to you. Do not use "academese" or jargon.
It should form conclusions that explain the value and meaning of your experiences such as: (1) what you learned about yourself; (2) about your field; (3) about your future goals; and (4) about your career concerns.
It should be specific. Document your conclusions with specific instances or draw your conclusions as the result of individual experience. See the list of general Words to Avoid Using without Explanation listed below.
It should be an example of careful persuasive writing.
Keep to the Page Limit Number!!! Reviewers have to read hundreds of these applications, don’t overburden them with extra pages.
Do not leave in typographical errors. You don’t want to be taken less seriously due to a typo, rite? (laugh)
Significant                                 Invaluable                                         appealing to me

interesting                                 exciting, excited                                 appealing aspect

challenging                                enjoyable, enjoy                                I like it

satisfying, satisfaction                 I can contribute                                 it’s important

rewarding                                  valuable                                            fascinating

gratifying                                   helpful                                               appreciate

meaningful                                 useful                                                 helping people

meant a lot to me                       feel good                                           I like to help

stimulating                                 remarkable                                         people






A. Recalling and analyzing experience - write short paragraphs on the following:

1. Pick a memorable accomplishment in your life. What did you do? How did you accomplish it?
2. What sort of important activities have you engaged in? With whom? what role did you play?

3. What work experiences have you had? What was your job? responsibility? How did you carry it out?

Now look over your paragraphs. What skills and qualities do you see that you possess? For example, consider working with others. Were you a leader? important "team" player?
Looking at what you have found, you can now look for skills and qualities that will help you in graduate school. What factors stand out?
NOTE: You will undoubtedly have more material than you can use. This is good, but you need to make strategic choices.
B. Your career goals - write two short paragraphs:
1. What career have you chosen? What factors formed this decision?
2. What evidence shows that this is a correct choice? That is, how can you show that this choice is realistic? (Personal experience in the field is a good place to begin.)

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发表于 2003-12-16 13:31:48 |显示全部楼层

Ten Do's and Don'ts for Your Statement of Purpose


Ten Do's and Don'ts for Your Statement of Purpose
The Do's
Unite your essay and give it direction with a theme or thesis. The thesis is the main point you want to communicate.
Before you begin writing, choose what you want to discuss and the order in which you want to discuss it.
Use concrete examples from your life experience to support your thesis and distinguish yourself from other applicants.
Write about what interests you, excites you. That's what the admissions staff wants to read.
Start your essay with an attention-grabbing lead -- an anecdote, quote, question, or engaging description of a scene.
End your essay with a conclusion that refers back to the lead and restates your thesis.
Revise your essay at least three times.
In addition to your editing, ask someone else to critique your statement of purpose for you.
Proofread your personal statement by reading it out loud or reading it into a tape recorder and playing back the tape.
Write clearly, succinctly.
The Don'ts
Don't include information that doesn't support your thesis.
Don't start your essay with "I was born in...," or "My parents came from..."
Don't write an autobiography, itinerary, or résumé in prose.
Don't try to be a clown (but gentle humor is OK).
Don't be afraid to start over if the essay just isn't working or doesn't answer the essay question.
Don't try to impress your reader with your vocabulary.
Don't rely exclusively on your computer to check your spelling.
Don't provide a collection of generic statements and platitudes.
Don't give mealy-mouthed, weak excuses for your GPA or test scores.
Don't make things up.

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发表于 2003-12-16 13:32:44 |显示全部楼层

Ten Tips for Better Writing

http://gradschool.about.com/gi/d ... 2Flaw%2Ftentips.htm

Ten Tips for Better Writing
1.  Express yourself in positive language. Say what is, not what is not.

2.  Use transitions between paragraphs. Transitions tie one paragraph to the next.

A transition can be a word, like later, furthermore, additionally, or moreover; a phrase like After this incident...; or an entire sentence.
If you are writing about Topic A and now want to discuss Topic B, you can begin the new paragraph with a transition such as "Like (or unlike) Topic A, Topic B..."
3.  Vary your sentence structure. It's boring to see subject, verb, object all the time. Mix simple, complex, and compound sentences.

4.  Understand the words you write. You write to communicate, not to impress the admissions staff with your vocabulary. When you choose a word that means something other than what you intend, you neither communicate nor impress. You do convey the wrong message or convince the admissions officer that you are inarticulate.

5.  Look up synonyms in a thesaurus when you use the same word repeatedly. After the DELETE key, the thesaurus is your best friend. As long as you follow Tip 4, using one will make your writing more interesting.

6.  Be succinct. Compare:

During my sophomore and junior years, there was significant development of my maturity and markedly improved self-discipline towards school work.
During my sophomore and junior years, I matured and my self-discipline improved tremendously.
The first example takes many more words to give the same information. The admissions officers are swamped; they do not want to spend more time than necessary reading your essay. Say what you have to say in as few words as possible. Tips 7, 8, and 9 will help you to implement this suggestion.

7.  Make every word count. Do not repeat yourself. Each sentence and every word should state something new.

8.  Avoid qualifiers such as rather, quite, somewhat, probably, possibly, etc.

You might improve your writing somewhat if you sometimes try to follow this suggestion.
The example contains nonsense. Deleting unnecessary qualifiers will strengthen your writing 1000%. Equivocating reveals a lack of confidence. If you do not believe what you write, why should the admissions officer?

9.  Use the active voice. Compare:

The application was sent by the student. (Passive voice)
The student sent the application. (Active voice)
They both communicate the same information. The active voice, however, is more concise; it specifies who is performing the action and what is the object. The passive voice is wordier and frequently less clear.

10.  Read and reread Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr. and E.B. White. Containing basic rules of grammar, punctuation, composition, and style, this indispensable classic is available in paperback and is only eighty-five pages long.

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发表于 2003-12-16 13:34:27 |显示全部楼层

Tips for Writing Your Personal Statement (from U of Washington)


Tips for Writing Your Personal Statement

Before you even begin writing, choose the topic you want to discuss
and the order of your points. Some people like to write an outline. Others like to just sit down and start writing – they edit later to see that it makes sense. Do whatever helps you write your best!
Write about what interests you,
what excites you. Your interest will come through in your writing. Don't choose your subject because you think it's what someone else in admissions wants to read. It's called a “personal statement” because it's all about you!

Use concrete examples from your own life experiences
to support your topic and distinguish you from other applicants. Use words like “me” and “I” not “one”. Other students may choose the same topic you do (playing football, a family trip, or a church group they belong to, for example) but your experiences are UNIQUE and what we're interested in!

To sum it all up:
Choose a topic that excites you.
Organize your paper in the way that works best for you.
Use real examples from your own life to illustrate what you're saying.
Make sure you DO:
1. Write about yourself, not how much you love the school you're applying to.
2. Stress your strengths and the positive things about yourself.
3. Deal with your weaknesses honestly and without being defensive.
4. Talk about your life experiences, activities, and work that you are proud of.
5. Be confident, but not arrogant.
6. Follow the instructions on the application!
7. Proofread carefully for grammatical errors and misspelled words.
8. Ask someone to read it out loud to see if what you wrote makes sense to another person.
9. Treat your personal statement as if it were your interview and put your best foot forward!

Make sure you DON'T:
1. Write in generalities, e.g. “When one has a bad day, one might not be in a good mood….”
2. Write it the night before it's due.
3. Send admissions an 8-page statement when they ask for 2 pages.
4. Talk about why our school is your first choice. Admissions will assume it is!
5. Sound like you used a thesaurus every other word to try to impress.
6. Assume that your statement won't be read. It will be!

What admissions looks for in your statement
The BEST statements:
·   Effectively and insightfully address the writing task.
·   Are well organized and fully developed with clear examples to support ideas.
·   Display facility in language usage, variety of sentence structure and range of vocabulary.

The AVERAGE statements:
·   Address the topic.
·   Are organized and somewhat developed, with some examples to support ideas.
·   Have adequate but inconsistent facility in the use of language, some errors in grammar and diction.
·   Minimal sentence variety.

INADEQUATE statements: (And you don't want to write one in this category!)
·   Are poorly organized.
·   Are thinly developed.
·   Have little or inappropriate detail to support ideas.
·   Have frequent errors in grammar, diction, and sentence structure.

Writing a good personal statement means coming up with a meaningful topic for you, being organized in your presentation, and writing using good grammar and punctuation. It also means you and at least one other person need to
proofread, proofread, proofread!
The general rule to remember - tell the admissions counselors something
about yourself, your experiences, and your life and write it well.

Written by EJB and KDS
Revised by J. Schoen

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