College personal statement vs essay

Applications for graduate school include writing samples, particularly a personal statement or a statement of purpose. But what is a personal statement, and what is a statement of purpose? Briefly, a personal statement looks back and a statement of purpose looks forward, or, in other words, a personal statement explains who you are, while a statement of purpose describes what you want to do. Both focus on your experience and knowledge, but the first tells the reader about you as a person and the second emphasizes what you want to study and what you plan to do with the degree you hope to earn. A personal statement is less formal and more personal, as it is written in a way that lets the reader get to know you — your background, your hopes and dreams, your practical experience, your challenges and the hardships you have overcome. Three main points to remember about the personal statement:.
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What Is a Personal Statement? Everything You Need to Know About the College Essay

Some college applications allow applicants to attach an essay as a file. To the chagrin of many, quite a few college applications do not provide guidelines for formatting personal essays , whether it be for undergraduate, transfer, or graduate admission. The Common Application and many online forms will automatically format your essay, so you have no say when it comes to spacing. If the school provides no guidelines, either single- or double-spaced is fine with a slight preference for double-spacing.
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What Is the Difference Between an Essay & a Personal Statement?

Writing samples are an important part of your application to any college. Your responses show how well you would fit with an institution; your ability to write clearly, concisely, and develop an argument; and your ability to do the work required of you should you be accepted. Use both short answer questions and personal essays to highlight your personality and what makes you unique while also showing off your academic talents. Short answer questions are almost harder to write than a personal essay, since you usually have a word limit. Often, this may be as short as words a paragraph.
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A personal statement is an autobiographical essay that many colleges, universities, and professional schools require as part of the admissions process. Also called a statement of purpose, admissions essay, application essay, graduate school essay, letter of intent , and goals statement. The personal statement is generally used to determine a student's ability to overcome obstacles, achieve goals, think critically, and write effectively.
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