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Personal Statement

个人陈述 Statement of Purpose

 
 
 

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个人陈述详解(5) - UCB  

2009-09-12 15:30:24|  分类: 默认分类 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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Structuring Your Personal Statement

A typical two-page personal statement will consist of the following:

 

个人陈述详解(5) - UCB - 个人陈述 - Personal StatementAn introductory paragraph that provides your essay's controlling theme

 

个人陈述详解(5) - UCB - 个人陈述 - Personal Statement2-4 body paragraphs that develop your theme through examples and detailed experiences and build upon each other. The final body paragraph will contain your most poignant information

 

个人陈述详解(5) - UCB - 个人陈述 - Personal StatementA conclusion that widens the lens and wraps up your essay without summarizing or repeating what has already been written
 


Structuring Your Personal Statement: The Introductory Paragraph

Your introduction is where you establish the tone of your personal statement and set the scene, define its theme, and generally hook your reader by sparking interest with details and quotes. It's important that you avoid meaningless prose and get right to the point. Be sure, too, that your language is clear and specific--avoid filler words and clichés. Most importantly, be sure that the introductory paragraph captures the main idea of your essay.

Sometimes the introduction is the last portion of the essay to be completed, and that's okay. The introduction should provide a snapshot of what the rest of the essay will develop and expand upon, so if you don't know where the rest of the essay is headed, the introduction is impossible to write. Therefore, it is important to outline your essay so that you know how each of your examples will build upon one another and can better draft your introduction to reflect this.

个人陈述详解(5) - UCB - 个人陈述 - Personal Statement

Here are some sample introductory paragraphs. You're the judge--which one is strongest?

1. On September 16, 1990 I experienced the worst feeling of my life the feeling of incompetence. It was a feeling of indescribable disbelief. My mother, my only parent, fell down the stairs of our home. It was then that I knew that I had to become a doctor to help people who were suffering like my mother. By attending your college, I will be able to fulfill my dream and to give back to my community through medicine.Click here if you selected this opener.

2. My father divorced us when I was in seventh grade. At that time, I was going through what my mother called my "difficult stage" because my world revolved around school, friends and boys, and "family" was often put on the back burner. I was unprepared for the resulting family crisis; my father, the man who nurtured my passion for art, literature and my love of languages, would no longer be a part of my life. At the time, I thought that I could not go on. Now I realize that my father's rejection, while extremely painful, gave me a resiliency and strength of character that I did not previously know I possessed. Click here if you selected this opener.

3. It was once said that "We have nothing to fear but fear itself," and that is a motto that I have lived by for all of my seventeen years on this earth. It is a motto that I have based all of my academic endeavors on. It literally came into effect one Wednesday morning earlier this year. I got called into the House One Principal's office at our school. I walked towards the office a little pondered. I had never been called into that office before, because that principal only handled the math and science departments of the entire school. I doubted that the principal even knew me. When I entered the office I was greeted by a group of familiar faces that I knew from my physics class. Our principal told us to have a seat and relax. The reason that we were called in was that there was going to be a Science Competition happening that Saturday and the school really wanted us to enter into it. The principal said that she knew it was short notice, but based on our performances in all our science classes she knew that we could pull it off. She stated that we were some of the only high school juniors and seniors who had completed and gone beyond the required science courses. (I personally had already taken a semester of both Physics and Physiology that year, and two of the other girls that were in there with me had already completed AP Biology.)Click here if you selected this opener.

Read the sample essay to visualize a strong opener in the context of an essay.



Structuring Your Personal Statement: Body Paragraphs

Body paragraphs are the meat of your essay, and as such are the most important component of your essay. In the body paragraphs, you will expand upon and provide support for the theme you introduced in the first paragraph and will provide the details that move that theme forward. A two page essay will typically contain 2-4 body paragraphs. Each paragraph contains:

个人陈述详解(5) - UCB - 个人陈述 - Personal StatementA topic sentence that expands your theme and makes a transition from the previous paragraph
个人陈述详解(5) - UCB - 个人陈述 - Personal StatementDevelopment of ideas that support your essay's theme
个人陈述详解(5) - UCB - 个人陈述 - Personal StatementAn ending sentence that wraps up the paragraph and helps to transition into the next paragraph

The first body paragraph is the place to start building your support for your theme. Here you will begin with the smallest components of your theme and, in subsequent paragraphs, work toward the most significant. Or you can organize chronologically. Try both methods and see which one is most persuasive for your particular theme.

个人陈述详解(5) - UCB - 个人陈述 - Personal Statement

TIP: As you draft each paragraph, use the following Signpost Questions in as you develop your essay to help ensure that you have developed your paragraphs fully.

个人陈述详解(5) - UCB - 个人陈述 - Personal Statement

Introduction and/or First Body Paragraph

个人陈述详解(5) - UCB - 个人陈述 - Personal StatementWhat are my values and philosophies about my theme? What is the basis of these values?

Body Paragraphs 2-4

个人陈述详解(5) - UCB - 个人陈述 - Personal StatementWhat accomplishment am I most proud of, and why?
个人陈述详解(5) - UCB - 个人陈述 - Personal StatementWhat incident/event provides evidence of my responsibility, and how?
个人陈述详解(5) - UCB - 个人陈述 - Personal StatementWhat difficulties or disadvantages have I faced and how did I overcome them? (This is especially important if you are applying for the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP).
个人陈述详解(5) - UCB - 个人陈述 - Personal StatementWhat is one area in which I am weak, and how have I overcome it?

个人陈述详解(5) - UCB - 个人陈述 - Personal Statement

TIP: Avoid simplistic transitions between paragraphs. If your topic sentences (generally the first sentence in each paragraph) all begin with some sort of numerical transition (first, second, third, finally), or you find yourself relying to heavily on "also" to move your paragraphs forward, look for more interesting and sophisticated transition words and phrases to move the essay along.

个人陈述详解(5) - UCB - 个人陈述 - Personal Statement

Here is a sample essay to help you visualize this structure and development.




Structuring Your Personal Statement: Conclusions

Your conclusion is your chance to extend your essay's parameters and to demonstrate the significance of your experience in a larger context A conclusion is not a repeat or summary of ideas presented elsewhere in the essay or application. Instead, it should re-affirm the validity of your essay's theme. This means that your conclusion should widen the lens rather than narrow the focus.

个人陈述详解(5) - UCB - 个人陈述 - Personal Statement

Here's an example of a poor conclusion:

I hope that this has helped you see me more as an individual. Whatever challenge is handed to me I give it my best effort. If my goals are a little far from my reach, I push harder. I know that if I don't reach my destination, I will understand. I will never quite and never think negatively. My hopes and dreams may be similar to others, but how I go about reaching my goals are different. This difference between us all is what determines our individuality.

个人陈述详解(5) - UCB - 个人陈述 - Personal Statement

This type of conclusion relies on predictable language about goals and dreams and does not seem to be directly connected to any theme. In fact, this conclusion could be tacked on to the end of just about any college essay, which means it is not particularly significant to the essay to which it belongs.

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