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What’s your story? Michelle Miley Assistant Director, Writing in the Disciplines University of Houston Writing Center Fall 2007 Writing the Personal Statement.

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Presentation on theme: "What’s your story? Michelle Miley Assistant Director, Writing in the Disciplines University of Houston Writing Center Fall 2007 Writing the Personal Statement."— Presentation transcript:

1 What’s your story? Michelle Miley Assistant Director, Writing in the Disciplines University of Houston Writing Center Fall 2007 Writing the Personal Statement and Preparing the CV

2 University of Houston Writing Center Imagine you’re on an elevator... …and the giant in your field steps in with you. You introduce yourself, and she asks you what you do. You have 20 floors to tell her who you are, what you are interested in, and why you should study with her. What are you going to tell her?

3 University of Houston Writing Center You write your own story. And when writing you must always ask What’s my purpose? Who’s my audience? Knowing the above, what medium should I use?

4 University of Houston Writing Center What is the purpose/ audience of a personal statement? “In no more than 800 words, discuss your personal motivations, academic interests, relevant research or experience, long- term objectives, and your specific interest in attending Mythic University.” -Schall, Joe. Writing Personal Statements and Scholarship Application Essays.” Eden Prairie, MN: Outernet Publishing, p. 19.

5 University of Houston Writing Center Knowing the purpose and audience, what form will your personal statement take? 1.Introduction Articulate a personal or professional inspiration; provide a quick, meaningful snapshot of who you are as a person, and establish your thesis. 2.Body A. Discuss your academic background/ experience as a learned set of skills in relation to your thesis. B. Establish some long-term objectives to show your sense of purpose. 3.Conclusion Close with specifics about your target program and how your goals and background link to that program.

6 University of Houston Writing Center What are some details you might include? Anything special about the academic program you are in now Participation in a first-year or senior seminar or thesis program Past academic scholarships (and the criteria) Intern, co-op, or work experiences relevant to graduate study Educational training Interesting personal stories related to graduate study (or your ability/ motivation for graduate study) Workload while going to school Experience you’ve had between undergraduate and graduate school to prepare you for the field Other activities you participated in besides academia (if juggled successfully) Service projects A rising GPA (if the first two years weren’t so hot)

7 University of Houston Writing Center What tone/style do you use? 1.Assume a respectful, individual tone throughout. 2.Use narratives and anecdotes. 3.Use definitions when necessary. 4.Use metaphors, similes and analogies. 5.Use active, powerful verbs.

8 University of Houston Writing Center Don’t forget to leave time to revise!

9 University of Houston Writing Center What is a CV, or Vita, or Vitae? “The curriculum vitae, commonly referred to as a CV, Vita, or Vitae, is a brief biographical resume of one’s educational and work background. The origin of the term is Latin and means ‘the course of one’s life or career.’... [T]he CV is often referred to as an ‘academic resume.’” --Jackson, Acy L. “Introduction.” How to Prepare Your Curriculum Vitae. Lincolnwood, Illinois: VGM Career Horizons, 1995.

10 University of Houston Writing Center What are the sections included? 1.Education 2.Coursework 3.Honors/ Achievements/ Awards/ Kudos 4.Thesis/ Dissertation Abstract 5.Research Interests 6.Research and/or Laboratory Experience 7.Teaching Interests and Experiences

11 University of Houston Writing Center 8.Instrumentation Experience 9.Special Skills 10.Publications/ Presentations/ Works-in-Progress 11.Work Experience 12.Professional Associations / Learned / Scientific Societies 13.Background 14.Community Service 15.Cocurricular Activities 16.Interests (avocational activities) 17.References / Recommendations What are the sections included? (cont.)

12 University of Houston Writing Center Final Thoughts Ask the experts – those like the people who will be reading your applications. Ask the experts – those who write cv’s all the time; especially those in your field. Always revise! Edit! Proofread! Remember the Writing Center. Remember this is your life.

13 University of Houston Writing Center Works Cited/ Resources for you.... Jackson, Acy L. “Introduction.” How to Prepare Your Curriculum Vitae. Lincolnwood, Illinois: VGM Career Horizons, (Available in e-book form at the UH Library. ) Schall, Joe. Writing Personal Statements and Scholarship Application Essays.” Eden Prairie, MN: Outernet Publishing, 2006.


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