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Topic: Personal Statements  (Read 20682 times)

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Offline SM30

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Personal Statements
« on: November 26, 2007, 07:53:09 PM »
does anyone actually read them?

Offline agrobert

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Re: Personal Statements
« Reply #1 on: November 26, 2007, 09:59:12 PM »
Does it matter?  Your personal statement is the only chance you have to differentiate yourself from the other applicants.  Write the best, honest letter you can and don't worry about it.  I found my real interests in chemistry and the motivation behind going to graduate school through writing my personal statement.  Maybe you will learn something about yourself.
In the realm of scientific observation, luck is only granted to those who are prepared. -Louis Pasteur

Offline Dan

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Re: Personal Statements
« Reply #2 on: November 27, 2007, 03:32:05 AM »
Yes people read them. I'm assisting my supervisor with entrance interviews this year (as a witness in case of lawsuits following rejection, it happens) and he has certainly read them, as have I. They are almost all indistingushable though. Agrobert's given some sound advice there, it is important to try and stand out from the crowd.
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Offline Mitch

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Re: Personal Statements
« Reply #3 on: November 28, 2007, 11:33:43 PM »
Stand out but not in the wrong way. There is a rather specific flow all personal statements should have.

1st paragraph:
  • Why you're in science.
  • why you enjoy chemistry.
  • why you want to do this or that specific sub-field of chemistry
2nd paragraph:
  • Your accomplishments in chemical field (ie. research experience, poster presentations)
  • Favorite experiment/class and why. A lot of details on the why its your favorite.
3rd paragraph
  • Briefly discuss your ability to work with diverse people and/or outreach experience.
  • List relevant clubs and organizations you belong to or were an officer.
4th paragraph
  • List how your skill-set/experience would be applicable to the institution your applying to.
  • List some professors who you would like to work with
  • Finish with some broad statement including the institution's name your applying to.


« Last Edit: November 30, 2007, 01:51:56 PM by Mitch »
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Offline hmx9123

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Re: Personal Statements
« Reply #4 on: November 30, 2007, 01:28:47 AM »
I wouldn't say 'but not too much'.  In my opinion, if you are trying to get into a top tier school, there's going to have to be something on your application that makes you out to be a rock star.  Everyone who applies has good grades, good test scores, undergrad research experience, a good personal statement and good recommendations.  One of those things is going to have to make you stand out of the crowd to ensure your acceptance.

Make sure that one part of the application is stellar, and that none of the parts are bad.  If you have a really crappy personal statement, that will stand out in the wrong way.  Personally, I think the largest part of the application is an outstanding recommendation, particularly if it comes from an alumnus of the school.

Offline SM30

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Re: Personal Statements
« Reply #5 on: November 30, 2007, 03:52:43 PM »
this maybe nitpicky but I was wondering what exactly the top tier really is. Is it the top 6 (UCB, MIT, Harvard, Scripps, Caltech, and Stanford) or is it the top 10-15 (throwing in UW, UIUC, Columbia, Northwestern...etc). I know the acceptance rates for the top 6 are nothing higher than 20% but I know UCLA (just outside the top 10) has around a 60% acceptance rate annually.

Offline Mitch

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Re: Personal Statements
« Reply #6 on: November 30, 2007, 07:01:31 PM »
you forgot Berkeley.
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Offline agrobert

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Re: Personal Statements
« Reply #7 on: November 30, 2007, 07:12:44 PM »
UCB
In the realm of scientific observation, luck is only granted to those who are prepared. -Louis Pasteur

Offline Mitch

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Re: Personal Statements
« Reply #8 on: December 02, 2007, 02:16:13 AM »
:P
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Offline Mitch

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Re: Personal Statements
« Reply #9 on: December 02, 2007, 02:18:05 AM »
Top tier usually refers to top 10, sometimes top 5 if your my boss.
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Offline enahs

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Re: Personal Statements
« Reply #10 on: December 02, 2007, 01:27:03 PM »
A note, just because the school is ranked over-all in the top X, does not always mean the department you are interested in is in the top X. Yes there is usually overlap, but not always. Or that one specific department might be in the top X for those departments while the rest of the school is not.


I did the opposite, but really it is best to choose a graduate school in where you might get a chance to work with a professor who is already doing research in the general area you would like to pursue (if you know what that is yet).

Offline hmx9123

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Re: Personal Statements
« Reply #11 on: December 05, 2007, 03:55:10 AM »
Depends on the field you want, but:

Harvard, Berkeley, MIT, UIUC, Northwestern, Penn State, UW-Madison, CalTech, Stanford.  Might have forgotten one or two.

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