What are the main differences between personal statements ( / statements of purpose) written to support a graduate school application versus one for an REU? I have now written two successful REU personal statements, so one might assume that I was doing something right when writing them. In those personal statements I discussed: brief mention of career goals and desired field of specialization, past research experience, special skills I have acquired, and honors / awards I have received. Now I am in the process of writing a personal statement to apply to graduate school. What should I be doing differently? I would assume that this one should be more detailed (since they can generally be longer) and include a more specific idea of one's grad school, and career, goals (since now, hopefully, one should have some idea as to what sub-field(s) one is interested in). Obviously, if a particular school lists things to include in the personal statement, these should defiantly be addressed. I have also been told that the personal statements are of relatively low importance in the overall application; they are more for keeping someone who cannot write well or has the wrong impression of what graduate school is for out, than getting qualified applicants into the program. So that might lead me to believe that content is not all that important, rather just write a well-worded statement with adequate content and do not worry so much about it.