Grad school application – help me with my personal statement?

posted 1 week ago in College
Post # 2
615 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2018

My first reaction is that it doesn’t “individualize” you. It sounds like a template, like something anyone would write. I’m not getting a sense for your personality here. Additionally, there’s nothing concrete that the readers can sink their teeth into. There’s no imagery. You mention feeling that you wanted more from your interactions with others in your previous work — why? Can you provide some particular examples, some color, some sound to this writing? (As it were.)

Also, your “reasons” for wanting to study there are just you listing off what everyone already knows about them — their good rankings. I mean… everyone wants to study at a good school, I guess, so this doesn’t tell me that you’ve done your research. You should know some specific professors, in particular, with whom you want to work, who’ve done research or written books that you can name and discuss specifically. I can only tell from this that you’ve googled the school and gotten some rankings, which doesn’t make you sound enthusiastic to study there. For reference, you could’ve written exactly the same letter to ANY school with this particular department, and it would’ve read the same. You’ve got to individuate and show them that there’s something about THEIR school and THEIR program that’s special.  Good luck! 

Post # 4
711 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2020

I hope to pursue my MSc in Human Resources at Robert Gordon University (RGU) because of its excellent reputation, CIPD approval, and ranking as one of the top universities in the United Kingdom. With X years experience as a paralegal I am skilled in X, Y, and Z (Example: “…skilled in interpreting legal code, researching complex X, training new employees etc. – should be specific and relevant). Honing these high level skills across my career has equipped me with the grit and professionalism necessary to meet the high standards of RGU’s respected program. 

[Briefly address each skill mentioned in the intro and how it will make you a strong student]

Taking on the responsibility of training interns and new employees is what first inspired to transition into the HR profession. [Expand. Describe specific results: increased productivity, reduced number of errors, etc.]

My GPA (Mentioning both GPA AND course grades is redundant.demonstrates that I am capable of completing a rigorous course of study and that I am fully prepared to continue my education at a master’s program level.

[I would cut this – Frame everything as a strong foundation for your next step. Your paralegal work should be framed as an asset and prerequisite for your future in HR. It also could be seen as implying you didn’t get along with your co-workers: While I was successful in my previous career as a paralegal, I found myself wanting more from my career, both in professional growth opportunities and positive interactions with my coworkers and others.]

[Cut this too. Very generic – could be for a customer service job: skilled at working directly with people, the human resources field will grant me the ability to reach my goal of working directly with others. Instead SHOW these interpersonal skills, like in talking about training others.]

Agree with PP that this feels somewhat generic. Investigate the university’s specialty. Find the faculty’s research articles and see what they care about. If you can authentically connect to their research areas, write about that. Ex: I would be honored to learn from Professor Jane Doe as I was fascinated by her research on the effectiveness of X. Professors love this – a lot of their hard work goes unread (so make sure you actually read some of it if you talk about it! – don’t want to get caught in an awkward situaiton). 

Good luck! 🙂

Post # 6
865 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2020

I don’t have experience with your particular field or desired degree, but here is my perspective having applied to, and served on an admissions committee for, a PhD program.

I agree that you should consider digging a bit deeper into the program. If you could replace just the university name and still use the same SOP for another program, then it is not specific enough. Is this a coursework-only MSc, or is there a thesis component? If the latter, then you definitely want to comment on the faculty’s expertise. 

You mention your training and success as a paralegal but don’t take it far enough. What was your training? How long did you work as a paralegal? In what ways did you demonstrate that you were skilled at working with people and training interns? What other skills did you acquire that are unique to your background?

Your discussion of your motivations is rather vague as well. You don’t need to gush that “HR is my passion,” but your career goals should be specific enough to differentiate the career path of an HR professional from any other career. You say your goal is “working directly with others” and that you want more “professional growth opportunities and positive interactions with my coworkers and others.” Why HR rather than any other field that involves working with others? Show that you are knowledgable about what HR professionals do. I also agree about removing the mention of interacting with coworkers – you don’t want to imply that you haven’t gotten along with coworkers previously, and I think coworker dynamics are more job-specific than field-specific anyways. 

Finally, I don’t think GPAs require explanation or inclusion in an SOP. If a GPA is high enough, it speaks for itself. Did you take any graduate level courses as an undergrad? Did you take an unusually high number of credits most semesters? Were you balancing a full courseload with a job? Those sorts of the coursework accomplishments are less obvious than your GPA and might make a more compelling case for how you have prepared for a rigorous graduate courseload.  

Leave a comment

Find Amazing Vendors