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Admissions PhD Application: Personal Statement in Story-Telling Style??

  1. Oct 7, 2016 #1
    I am not sure if I can write the ps in the form of a story-telling of how I became interested in the graduate field of study, which naturally talks about my research/other experience in the chronological order, or directly jump straight into chunks of paragraphs (of course with transitioning sentences) that concentrate on my experience and why I want to go to such and such graduate schools?
    I am leaning towards the first one because it naturally flows better with the same content. But I am not sure if this will be viewed to be a little unprofessional as it is not a personal statement to colleges anymore?
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 7, 2016 #2
    Did you do undergrad research and do you have a Masters degree? Also, other experience? All that will appear in the basic CV. Depending on the school you are applying to, the personal statement should link them all together in a narrative fashion without having to rehash specifics already in the CV. This is your chance to show who you are and your motivations to get from the start to where you are now.
  4. Oct 7, 2016 #3
    Motivations and passions
  5. Oct 8, 2016 #4
    I agree with the narrative approach.

    There are several organizational possibilities: historical, topical in an academic sense, topical in a motivational sense, etc.

    I work with a lot of students on application essays, and these choices often come down to how to fit the desired information into the available space (word or page limit), and how to frame things that portray the student in the best light while putting the most important things first (since many readers only read the first two paragraphs) while attempting to catch their interest so they read the whole essay.

    For the higher stakes essays, one might even draft it with different organizational approaches and see which works better.

    I tend to favor approaches that hook the reader in the first paragraph, because it doesn't matter what comes after that if no one reads it.
  6. Oct 8, 2016 #5
    Great advice. I am finishing my undergraduate and I did some research already and am currently doing one.
    If already have the details of my research experiences in the CV, what else could I say about these experiences in the PS?
    Thank you!:smile:
  7. Oct 8, 2016 #6
    Thank you for the advice again Dr. Courtney! The narrative style looks more appealing to the readers in my opinion because I think it will naturally explain why I did C and D things after I did A and B.
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