Examples of Successful Statements
Below are samples of personal statements. You may also select "Sample Statement" in the Media Box above for a PDF sample.
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. 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)
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 relationship 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 of our clients come to us with a title already picked out, before they've even begun to write. Others wait for the title to be revealed to them in the writing. Which way is better? It depends.
We get asked this question a lot: how do I choose a title for my book?
Should I start with a title?
Choosing a title for your memoir, especially a thematic title, before you start your project can be a great guiding force, helping you narrow the focus of your book as you write. For instance, Arthur and Lila Mae Debenham had chosen a title for their book years before they even started the process: Tender Mercies. They knew they wanted their book to reflect the "tender mercies" that God had bestowed upon them in their course through life, and this theme guided our efforts in the writing process, helping us decide what events to include and what to leave out.
But if you don't have a title already picked out, don't panic. It's much more common for writers to choose a title after they've begun or even finished writing. Often, the writing process itself will reveal a theme, phrase, or tone that suggests a title.
Start by considering what themes run through your narrative. What are the most important ideas in your book? Love, faith, survival? Look for a title that reflects the message you want to convey. Here are some examples of thematic titles from some of our clients:
Look Beyond the Weeds by Beverley Sorenson Taylor reflects her undying optimism and positive outlook expressed in her book, despite some difficult circumstances.
Unfaltering Faith by Hank Hoole details the author's religious conversion and how his faith has shaped his life. Riches of His Grace by Fay Miles and the above-mentioned Tender Mercies also reflect this theme.
Life is What You Make It by Nif Hicken. This title was a direct quote from Dr. Hicken that summed up his philosophy. "Life is what you make it. It's up to you to make it good and happy."
Dancing My Way Through Sanpete by Lois Johnson and I Could Have Danced All Night by Barbara Christensen each incorporated their authors' love of dance.
Puns, double meanings, word play, and humorous titles
Some day I will write a memoir entitled The Road Unraveled (a play on M. Scott Peck's book titled The Road Less Traveled, which was in turn taken from a line from a Robert Frost poem.) I wrote a little book about my childhood called Alison Wonderland, which is what my grade school nemesis used to call me.