Sample Personal Statements

Statement #1

 

My interest in science dates back to my years in high school, where I excelled in physics, chemistry, and math. As a senior, I took a first-year calculus course at a local college and earned an A. Based on my interest and success in this course, it seemed only logical 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, which 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 taken a graduate course in quantum electronics. Among the 25 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 impressed with my work and invited me to return when I graduate. Of course, my plans following completion of my current studies are to move directly into graduate work toward my MS degree. After I earn my master's degree, I intend to start work on my Ph.D. in electrical engineering, with the goal of working in the area of research and development for private industry. In R & D, I believe I can make the greatest contribution, utilizing my theoretical background and creativity.

I am highly aware of the superb reputation of your school, and my conversations with several of your alumni have served to reinforce 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.

Statement #2

 

Having completed a MS degree in literary studies (world literature), I would now like to concentrate on English and American literature at the doctoral level. 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 my senior project, I specialized in nineteenth century novels by and about women. The relationship between "high" and folk literature became the subject for my graduate thesis, which examined Toni Morrison's use of classical, biblical, African, and Afro-American folk tradition in her novel. In my studies toward a doctoral degree, I hope to examine this relationship more closely.

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.

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.

In terms of a career, I see myself teaching literature, writing criticism, or publishing poetry. Doctoral studies would be valuable to me in several ways. First, your teaching assistantship 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 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.