Carnegie Mellon University

Graduate School Statement of Purpose / Personal Statement

It can be hard to explain why you want to enroll in graduate study. The process is fraught with questions: how do I balance my personality with my accomplishments? Is the admissions panel more interested in my uniqueness, or my accomplishments? While each school’s prompts may differ, many of the basics are the same: writing a brief essay that connects the program to you and your goals.

This handout will explain how to:

  • Relate your past and present experiences to the future
  • Explain your qualifications
  • Specifically show why an institution is the best fit for you
  • Apply your message to specialized applications like law school

To see these strategies in action, click the link in the sidebar to watch the video or to view, download, and print the PDFs.

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