Personal Statement Guidelines

Guidelines For Your Personal Statement

 

Your Personal Statement should concisely describe how your background and life experiences - including social, economic, cultural, familial, educational, or other opportunities or challenges - motivated your decision to pursue a graduate degree.

 

When preparing your Personal Statement, please address the following questions:

  • How well do your personal goals for education and research fit with the interests of our faculty and the research activities within our department? Briefly describe research areas or questions that you find interesting and identify any specific faculty, labs or research projects at MSU that are of particular interest to you.
  • How have you demonstrated your leadership skills, or your potential as a leader? For example, you might share specific examples of how you made contributions as an officer in a student organization or how you assumed a leadership role within a team or during a professional internship. You could also discuss your potential for leadership in graduate school and afterwards by sharing your career goals and discussing your capacity to make a distinctive professional or scholarly contribution in your field.
  • How have you contributed to a diverse educational community, or how will you do so as a graduate student? How have you promoted understanding among persons of different backgrounds and ideas, or how will you do so as a graduate student? Examples might include service activities, leadership roles, study abroad, language study, etc.
  • If applicable, please describe any barriers or obstacles that you have overcome in pursuit of your educational or personal goals. Examples might include economic, social or health challenges, being the first in your family to attend college, family obligations, etc.
  • If applicable, please describe aspects of your personal background that will enhance the diversity of MSU's graduate student body, such as being multi-lingual, participating in a McNair or TRIO program, attending a minority-serving institution, etc.
  • If applicable, please describe anything else in your personal history, experience, or aspirations that distinguishes you from other applicants to our graduate programs.

 

Your Personal Statement should be concise, and no more than 2 pages when formatted in Times New Roman 12-point font with 1-inch margins and single line spacing.