Familiarizing themselves with the ins and outs of writing strong personal statements for graduate school can alleviate stress and ease the process of sending out those applications.
Because personal statements are individual to the applicant, there is no one-size-fits-all way to write them.
"Metrics only show one small part of the entire picture," says career coach and former university admissions representative Meg Radunich.
"Graduate programs care about the person behind the standardized test score and grade point average.
It's important that students remember to keep anecdotes relevant to the specific programs to which they are applying and to make it clear how the experiences led them to those programs.
Along with a focused narrative, grad school applicants should demonstrate for the admissions committee why they want to attend this program and how doing so relates to their place academically, locally and globally.
"One major mistake I see all the time is students who try to tell too much in the personal statement," says Radunich.
"Tell one or two specific stories or scenarios really well instead of having a broad focus and attempting to tell your life story.
The goal of the essay is to get an interview, one-on-one face time that will you allow you to divulge more.
Use that personal statement to tease them just enough so they feel like they need to get you in for an interview to learn the rest of your story." The best personal statements have clear purposes and easily draw readers in.