Denison Grads in Grad School: MS in Digital Marketing

Ashmita Das

Denison Graduation Year:  Class of 2018
Denison Major(s):  English Literature & Communication
Graduate Degree Type:  MS in Digital Marketing from Dublin City University, Class of 2019
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Describe the process you went through while selecting your graduate school and career pathway: what impacted your decision?

I wanted to move back to Europe for my masters. I narrowed down the country with the course I wanted to do. Ireland is the only country in Europe with a masters degree in digital marketing. As for the school I picked, I looked into rankings, where the alumni were working and the number and reputation of the accreditation’s that the business school had.

What challenges did you face on the way to or during graduate school, and how did you overcome them?

The biggest challenge I faced in graduate school was combating imposter syndrome. I knew nothing about marketing, web development or data analytics. I kept thinking that I didn’t really belong in the course and struggled with changing the way I studied, or even the way I write my papers. The only way I could overcome it was to face all of the challenges head on. I got a lot of help from my classmates in navigating all of the subjects and spent more time than I had ever spent just doing assignments and keeping up with my work. Since my degree was only a year, I realized that I just had to put my life on hold and give my 110% in finishing my degree.

What was your favorite part of your graduate school experience?

My favorite part has definitely been the people I’ve met through not only the course, but also just by virtue of living in a new country. I have honestly been taken aback by how close I’ve become with my classmates in just a few months and how willing everyone has been to help so that everyone succeeds. The environment of healthy competition and support has definitely been a pleasant surprise.

What are your professional plans post-graduation?

I plan to stay on in Dublin, Ireland for the next year or so and work as a Digital Marketing Executive.

What advice would you give a current Denison student considering a graduate program like yours?

Definitely do a lot of research on the college. Specially when moving countries. I spent a lot of time in picking the university I did. Don’t just go by a big name. Also, I would definitely recommend reaching out to alumni and asking for advice and experiences. Figure out if that’s the kind of experience you’re looking for. I’ve learned that the same course in different colleges, just in Dublin, offer vastly different experiences and different strengths and weaknesses.

Denisonians in Health Professions: Mental Health Counseling & Behavioral Medicine

Name:  Emily Grabauskas
Denison Graduation Year:  Class of 2018
Denison Major:  Psychology, Religion (minor)
Graduate/Professional Degree Type:  Master of Arts (MA) in Mental Health Counseling and Behavioral Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine, Class of 2020
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Describe the process you went through while selecting your graduate or professional school pathway: what impacted your decision?

I looked into both Mental Health Counseling and Social Work degrees to decide what best fit my goals. I talked with people in the field and then chose some schools to apply to! I ultimately chose BU because it is a counseling program that also provides its students with classes such as Psychopharmacology and Neuroscience counseling courses, which was incredibly appealing to me.

What challenges did you face on the way to graduate or professional school, and how did you overcome them?

I was very nervous about moving to a new city where I didn’t know anyone, but I decided to live with another Denison Grad and I joined the alumni chapter of Theta, so I still had a little bit of Denison with me while still starting fresh in a new city. In regards to coursework, I felt very prepared by Denison for what was ahead of me in graduate school.

What has been your favorite part of your graduate school experience so far?

My favorite part is the clinical experience I am allowed. I am currently an intern at a Substance Use Detox and Intensive Outpatient Treatment Program. The opportunity to actually engage in the work you will be doing while also attending school is wonderful.

What are your professional plans post-graduation?

I plan on working in the field of addictions counseling moving forward!

What advice would you give a current Denison student considering a graduate or professional program like yours?

Choose a path you are passionate about. It makes all the difficulties like moving and making new friends so worth it!

The Graduate School Interview: Be prepared for these 10 questions

Be ready to be asked these 10 questions during your grad school interview

Receiving an interview invitation for graduate school can be one of the most exciting and terrifying events in your undergraduate experience. Positive: you are one step closer to an acceptance. Negative: you now must arrange travel and get hyped up to go talk to some really intelligent people. Or maybe that is just a negative for me, due to my very introverted heart! Graduate school interviews are not always super formal, but you still need to prepare in advance to give a positive first impression. Here are ten questions to consider in advance:

#1. Tell me about yourself.

Dreaded, I know. But this question is actually a gift. It is wide open, allowing you to set the tone of the interview by sharing the most relevant and interesting information about yourself. Here is my easy formula for answering this question flawlessly, every time: Present + Past + Future. The goal is to say 2-3 things about each of these for a total answer lasting about 2-minutes, customized to the audience you are speaking to. Think of this question as the teaser trailer before the movie: it’s short and it highlights the best stuff.

Bare-bones example for a PhD interview: “I am currently a Senior at Denison University, a small liberal arts institution in Ohio. I am studying biochemistry and am particularly interested in how *insert science jargon*. I am very involved in my academic department, including servicing as a TA for the past 3 years in a variety of courses. My first exposure to research was through *insert short description*. Since then I have deepened my engagement and am conducting senior research around *again, science stuff*. That really is what brings me here today. I know I want to study *things*, and I am so excited by the idea of *important trait* available at this institution.”

#2. Why are you interested in this institution?

This question is meant to examine if you are diligent, and therefore have conducted your research in advance and been thoughtful in selecting institutions. It also is a value-based question, trying to see what is important to you and how it aligns with this particular school. In answering this question, stick to the rule of three: only mention three reasons you are interested. This allows you to list them, tell more about why those factors resonate with you, your goals, your strengths. Any more than three and it is harder for the listener to grasp and it quickly begins to sound like a list being recited. Things to consider mentioning: curriculum, mission of the program/institution, experiential opportunities, faculty (don’t ever mention just one, mention 2 or more in your scope). Things not as important to mention in this case: location (unless it’s related to the research/experiences you are most excited about), prestige of the institution, and admission requirements (hey, no GRE required!).

#3. Why are you interested in this particular degree?

No right or wrong answer here, if it is thoughtful and authentic. Just be yourself and all that.

#4. What will you bring to our program? Why should we select you?

Your response could be a combination of strengths and skills, but with a focus on fit with this institution. Before your interview, ask yourself: what is this graduate program looking for? What are they trying to achieve? You can gain good insight into these questions by reviewing mission statements and looking at student outcomes post-graduation. Then consider: how would I be positioned to further this school’s interests, goals, and mission? Try to remember this is an interview, but they are trying to see if this is a mutually beneficial opportunity for you AND them.

#5. Tell me about your past research/internship experiences.

The goal here is to give them the highlights, but to not get lost in the details. Remember- they can ask follow-up questions. An answer about 2-minutes long that discusses what you were trying to accomplish, what you did to contribute, and what you learned/what happened is a great start.

#6. What are your plans if you are not accepted into graduate school?

Consider: why are you applying in the first place? Whatever is motivating you, think about other ways you could channel that motivation in this worse case scenario. If you are applying to a PhD program because you want to research and teach at a college, you might discuss how you would take a year or two to work as a Research Assistant or in an educational capacity. It is ok to say that you would likely reapply. Things to avoid: not having a clear plan or saying something totally opposite of what you are applying for (if you apply for a master’s in museum studies but say you would go into financial consulting if this doesn’t work out, they will question your self-awareness and motivation).

#7. Describe your greatest accomplishment.

This is another value-based question. What is most important to you? It is also a chance for you to humble-brag, and you should take it. This is the time to talk about presenting that research poster in Norway, or the time you help your faculty member fix the methodology of a complex experiment, or when you gave a flawless musical performance of a notoriously complex piece.

#8. Tell me about a time you failed.

This is an example of a behavioral question, which is trying to predict your future behaviors based upon your past behavior. What you pick for this one should be authentic, but does not have to be your deepest darkest, most personal failure. No need to say, “I failed me girlfriend by not picking up pizza when she specifically asked” or “I feel like I should have spent more time with my little brother before college”. Instead, select something that was challenging (like when you were failing English), briefly describe the situation, and then talk about what you learned about yourself or how to approach things differently in the future. Always end with a positive learning experience. My favorite formula for answering behavioral questions:

S:  situation (the context of the story)
T:  task (what you were trying to do)
A:  action (what did you do in attempting that task)
R:  result (what happened)
T:  tie it back (make bigger meaning of this story: what you learned, how it changed you)

#9. How would your professors describe you?

Again, the rule of three: pick three traits. Think about your biggest strengths: you are a learner, you are intellectually curious, you are detail-oriented, a critical thinker, whatever. Then give a quick example of why a professor would pick that trait for each one to support it.

#10. What questions do you have for us?

You must have questions. Seriously, do it. The more, the merrier. You don’t only want to plan 2-3 questions and then 2 of them get answered during your interview. Good questions are either tactical based on your research (I see that there will be a new research wing added in 2020. How can I anticipate that impacting this program?) or opinion questions that help you understand the culture and values of the school (In your program, what do you find are the traits or skills that successfully students possess?). The more conversational you can be, the better.

Now, it is likely that you will be asked questions beyond this list in your graduate school interview. But: if you think critically about your goals, research the program extensively, design questions to ask them, and consider the examples/stories you hope to tell, you will be in great shape regardless! Go get ‘em, tiger.

Authored by Sara Stasko, Associate Director for Graduate School & Pre-Health Advising

Denison Grads in Grad School: PhD in Computer Science

Will Brackenbury

Denison Graduation Year:  Class of 2015
Denison Major(s):  Theatre & Economics
Graduate Degree Type:  PhD in Computer Science from University of Chicago, Class of 2022
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Describe the process you went through while selecting your graduate school and career pathway: what impacted your decision?

I had been working as a consultant for a year and a half at the time. I was enjoying what I was doing, but as I looked ahead to the next steps in my career, I realized that the aspects of the job I enjoyed–data analysis, programming, and writing database queries–would diminish to almost nothing. I realized that attending graduate school in Computer Science would allow me to continue doing all these things, and in fact, would increase their importance in whatever job I would hold in the future.

What challenges did you face on the way to or during graduate school, and how did you overcome them?

The first year was especially challenging. Because I had been a Computer Science minor, and not a Computer Science major at Denison, I was comparatively behind my peers in terms of subject matter knowledge. Additionally, the first year was when course requirements were most demanding. I had little time to devote to the aspects of the graduate school experience I enjoyed most (research, attending seminars), and this was very draining. However, I had built a community among my fellow PhD students, and by leaning on each other, we helped motivate each other to make it through the most difficult times.

What has been your favorite part of your graduate school experience so far?

I absolutely love the subject matter, and because of this, the job of being a PhD student is the best I can imagine. The incredible freedom to mold my own working and learning experience is easily my favorite aspect of graduate school.

What are your professional plans post-graduation?

I plan to work in a research lab in industry after graduation.

What advice would you give a current Denison student considering a graduate program like yours?

If you’re able, get involved in research as an undergraduate. I was lucky enough to have had the chance to participate in summer research at Denison, and the publication resulting from that experience was a major differentiator in my application.

Graduate School: The 10 financial questions you should investigate

10 Financial Questions You Should Ask Yourself About Grad School

I like money. I sometimes pull up my banking app just to stare lovingly at my savings account (it’s not robust, but it’s mine). When I chose to attend graduate school, I knew that decision had financial implications, both positive and negative, that I needed to examine. No matter the type of program, you should be asking questions about the financial layers involved in graduate school before choosing when and where to attend. While I am no financial expert myself, I can tell you what questions I would recommend you research, ask about, and think through with every graduate program. Here are my top ten:

#1.  What is the cost of tuition per semester and how many semesters will it take to complete the degree?

#2.  What other costs can be expected in this program, beyond just tuition?

#3.  How do most students in this program pay for tuition and other expenses?

#4.  Are there opportunities for tuition waivers and stipends through assistantships (experiences where you research, teach, or otherwise work for the graduate school)?

#5.  Are there merit scholarships available through the graduate school?

#6.  Are there external fellowships you could apply to and use for graduate school financing? (I recommend utilizing the Lisska Center in answering this question)

#7.  What is the cost of living in the graduate school’s location?

#8.  What is the median income of students fresh out of the program?

#9.  What is the return on investment- will an expected salary post-degree make paying off any loans manageable?

#10.  Is this program flexible with working part-time during the academic year?

Financial aid and admission counselors at graduate programs are a good place to start with these and other questions you may have about the financial investment of attending graduate school. I also highly recommend chatting with Denison’s own Financial Wellness Coach, Samantha Smith. Finances don’t need to drive your graduate school selection process (some investments are worth the money) but they must be a factor considered. The more you know, the more stress you save yourself later!

Authored by Sara Stasko, Associate Director for Graduate School & Pre-Health Advising

Denison Grads in Grad School: MBA

Amanda Adornato

Denison Graduation Year:  Class of 2018
Denison Major:  Economics
Graduate Degree Type:  Master of Business Administration (MBA) from John Carroll University Boler College of Business, Class of 2019
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Describe the process you went through while selecting your graduate school and career pathway: what impacted your decision?

I knew after I graduated from Denison, I wanted to go straight to graduate school and receive my MBA. I applied to about 5-6 MBA programs ranging from the Midwest to the East Coast. I looked at schools that were small to medium sized, had a strong alumni network, strong reputation, as well as programs that had an internship/working experience component. I chose John Carroll University because they had an accelerated Full-Time MBA program of 16 months instead of 2 years and an internship component. That was very enticing to me as well as their strong alumni network and career placement.

What challenges did you face on the way to or during graduate school, and how did you overcome them?

The main challenge I face is limited work experience. While in undergrad, I did obtain two internships at Merrill Lynch Wealth Management as well as an externship, which was a good foundation going into the program with limited work experience. However, it was challenging at times to connect topics and concepts to work experiences when I was just fresh out of undergrad. But having many business professionals in my classes helped me overcome this hindrance through learning from their shared experiences and discussions in class and working with them on group projects and class assignments. The internship component also increased my exposure and experience to real work life matters. I am able to experience, see, and connect what I am learning in the classroom. Hands on learning is the best kind of learning!

What is your favorite part of your graduate school experience?

My favorite part of graduate school are the professors! They bring so much experience and knowledge into the classroom. They have a vast network that you can utilize and connect with in order to leverage your career.

What are your professional plans post-graduation?

Post-graduation, I hope to land a job working for a fashion company’s headquarters in Columbus, Ohio working in their planning and allocation department.

What advice would you give a current Denison student considering a graduate program like yours?

Receiving an MBA is so viable and important if you aspire and want to obtain a leadership role in a company. If you decide to work for a couple years then go back to school or go straight out of undergrad, both paths have their pros and cons, but both will lead you to receiving a degree that will allow you to leverage your career to the fullest! Embrace the challenge and success is waiting for you!

A 4-Step Process for Obtaining Flawless Letters of Recommendation

4 Steps for Getting Great Letters of Recommendation

Letters of recommendation are more powerful in the graduate school admission process then you might expect. Grades, whether good or bad, don’t tell the whole story about you as a person or about your academic potential, which graduate programs understand. That is where letters of recommendation come in. They provide insight into your strengths, add context to support or contradict your academic metrics, and comment on your ability to succeed in your chosen academic or professional endeavor. We want letters of recommendation to support the claims you are making elsewhere in your application, such as in your personal statement and on your resume. Getting such letters, however, takes an intentional approach.

Here is my recommended 4-step process:

Step 1: Be thoughtful about who you select to ask for a letter

Getting an “A” in someone’s class does not mean you should automatically ask them to be a letter of recommendation writer. Similarly, getting a “C” in someone’s class does not automatically mean you shouldn’t ask that person! Most graduate schools will ask for about three letters of recommendation. You want these letters to provide as close to a 360 view of your strengths as possible. As you consider who is appropriate to ask for a letter of recommendation, think about:

        • How well does this person know me? Have my experiences with them been positive?
        • What perspective will they provide for the admission committee that is valuable?
        • Will they say something meaningful about me that is different from others writing letters?

Step 2: Set up a meeting, phone call or email in which you ask for a letter of recommendation

This can feel intimidating but remember that at an institution like Denison, faculty typically want to help and they field requests like this often. For them, this is a normal Tuesday. When you meet with the potential letter writer, let them know why you are asking them in particular to write a letter. Example: “Because we worked together this summer on research, I feel you can speak to my critical thinking skills and resilience better than anyone”. Remember: letters of recommendation are a privilege, not a right. Understand faculty members may choose to say “no” to your request. To avoid general weirdness, provide the individual with the option of a few days to consider the request. Do not force an immediate decision, but know that they may joyfully give an answer on their own. If that person knows they will be too busy or does not feel able to write you a positive letter, you WANT them to say no. A “No” now is much better than a weak or negative letter later that lowers your chance of admittance.

Step 3: Once an individual accepts your request, set guidelines and provide helpful tools

Yay! The letter writer said yes! I know that feels good. Now there are two important steps necessary for making the letter a smashing success:

        • Agree on a time-frame for completion of the letter. Try to allow a minimum of three weeks for letter writing, and make sure to establish the process for submitting the letter and discuss when/how you can follow-up about the letter (again, we are trying to avoid general awkwardness).
        • Provide them with the tools to write a personalized, excellent letter. Generic letters fade into the background of the admissions process and do not help your chances of admission. A great letter provides positive specifics. To supplement their writing, offer your recommenders a copy of your personal statement and resume, and volunteer to have a conversation with them about your goals if you have not already done so.

Step 4: Follow-up and say “Thank you”

I am a Type-A person, so keeping track of deadlines and tasks is my jam. It is not, sadly, everyone’s jam. A few days before the agreed upon deadline for the letter, email the letter writer with a friendly reminder of the approaching date and the submission process. Once you receive confirmation of a submitted letter, send a “Thank you” note or email to each letter writer. Then, go out and eat as many tacos as you can to celebrate (or drink a healthy smoothie if that is your preference, no judgement).

Authored by Sara Stasko, Associate Director for Graduate School & Pre-Health Advising

Denisonians in Health Professions: Osteopathic Medicine

Name:  Courtney Testani
Denison Graduation Year:  Class of 2015
Denison Major:  Biology, Spanish (minor)
Professional Degree Type:  pursuing a Doctor of Osteopathic (DO) degree from Campbell University School of Osteopathic Medicine, Class of 2022
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Describe the process you went through while selecting your professional school pathway: what impacted your decision?

I always knew I was interested in pursuing some sort of scientific career, but I was never 100% sure if I wanted to pursue medicine. Quite frankly I kept trying to look at what other options were out there because I knew how much of a commitment medical school would be. When I attended a job interview in a different field however, I knew I wasn’t in the right place. I instantly realized that medicine was the field I wanted to be in.

What challenges did you face on the way to medical school, and how did you overcome them?

Because I didn’t make my decision to apply to medical school until second semester senior year, I had a bit of catching up to do. I moved back home and took all the courses I still needed to meet the prerequisite requirements for most medical schools. Once these were completed I took the MCAT. In total I took 3 years off in between graduating from Denison and starting at Campbell University School of Osteopathic Medicine. During that time (in addition to what I’ve already listed above) I also gained invaluable experience working as a medical technician and surgical assistant for a retina specialist. It was a very grueling road to get into medical school and I often questioned why I was doing it. It absorbed all of my time and a lot of my finances, and I often felt like I needed more guidance from someone who knew how this process worked. The thing that helped me the most during this time was contacting anyone I could possibly think of who was in medical school and had recently gone through this same process. People in the medical field know how hard it can be, and pretty much all of them will want to help you. Don’t be afraid to reach out to someone, even if it’s a strange connection like a friend of a friend. I promise you they will be happy to answer your questions. All you have to do is shoot them an email or ask them if they have time for a 15 minute phone call. It will help guide you in the right direction during the application process, and reassure you that you’re doing the right thing. If this is truly the path you want to take, the hard work will 100% pay off.

What has been your favorite part of your medical school experience so far?

I just completed my first year of medical school and my favorite part so far has been the incredible professors and mentors that I’ve met. We have an incredible faculty of physicians and it has been such an inspiration to hear their experiences in the field.

What are your professional plans post-graduation?

When I graduate my hope is to get a residency in Orthopedic Surgery, or a residency in Internal Medicine and then a fellowship in Sports Medicine.

What advice would you give a current Denison student considering a graduate or professional program like yours?

Do your research and don’t be afraid to ask for help! Medicine is an incredible field but you need to be prepared. Know what programs require of prospective applicants and make sure you have your ducks in a row before you begin to pursue your applications. It is a very competitive field and you want to make yourself as desirable of an applicant as possible the first time around. With that being said, do NOT be discouraged if you don’t get accepted anywhere the first time you apply. This is becoming more and more common, and it happened to me too. It is certainly frustrating, but if you know this is what you want to do, just ask yourself what you could do to make yourself look better for the next round, and apply again. My second round of applications to medical school were much more successful than my first and now I’m already a quarter of the way done!

Denisonians in Health Professions: Physical Therapy

Name:  Thomas (Tommy) DiFilippo
Denison Graduation Year:  Class of 2015
Denison Major:  Physical Education/Athletic Training
Graduate Degree Type:  pursuing a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) Degree, from Nazareth College, Class of 2018
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Describe the process you went through while selecting your graduate school pathway: what impacted your decision?

In reality, the first part of the decision is based on admission. Don’t down play this, it is hard to get accepted into these graduate programs. After that, I reached out to professionals in the area to get a sense of the reputation of the program, cost of private vs. public etc. as well as extras or perks that set the school apart.

What challenges did you face on the way to graduate school, and how did you overcome them?

The main challenge is the academic rigor and time commitment. It can be more challenging than undergrad to work, balance a social life, etc. I found it crucial to do other things with my life to “escape” physical therapy for a little because in graduate school it can be all you think or do.

What was your favorite part of your graduate school experience?

My favorite part was networking and working with people all interested in the same field. This is the point where you truly choose what exact route you want to go and you take classes and meet professionals with the same interests.

What have you enjoyed most about your work post-graduation?

Putting 7 years of education into practice and having patients trust you immediately made it very rewarding.

What advice would you give a current Denison student considering a graduate or professional program like yours?

Do your research. Shadow, talk to people in multiple jobs, think hard about career goals. These programs are very time consuming and very expensive. Make sure you want to be that type of professional and then commit 100%.

Writing an Awesome Personal Statement: 5 strategies for success

5 Strategies to Writing a Successful Personal Statement

Every student I have ever worked with has absolutely loved writing their personal statement for graduate school. Who wouldn’t, right? Ok, honestly, no one does. It is a notoriously painful process that few people relish; trying to encompass who you are and what you want from life in 5,300 characters. But, it doesn’t have to be such a difficult endeavor! Follow these five strategies for success:

#1. Have other people read it

Listen, I get it. I hate people reading my work before I feel like it is shiny and wonderful. But that is not how a personal statement process works. You need to let other people read it, and you should let them read it early in the process to save yourself time and angst. Why obsess over perfecting sentence structure before you get feedback regarding whether the content you have is on track? People to consider for reviewing your statement: a Knowlton Center Career Coach (Pick me! Pick me!), a faculty member, someone from the Lisska Center, a professional in the industry you have an interest in, or a mentor. However, don’t ask more than 2-3 people to help with the review process. Any more than that, and you have too many cooks in the kitchen (as my grandma loved to say, probably to keep me out of said kitchen and its customary cookie jar).

#2. Start early

I mean it! Not just early, I’m talking EARLY early. When working with a student, I typically go through a minimum of four drafts with them. I reviewed 13 drafts for one student I worked with last year (let me tell you, that was a polished final product!). So, this isn’t something where you sit down, pound back a Vitamin Water “Focus” drink and write the night before you submit. I recommend starting your first draft two months in advance of when you hope to apply, at minimum. This also allows you to provide your personal statement draft to letter of recommendation writers if they want it, which enhances the cohesiveness of your application materials.

#3. Focus on a few things, but tell them well

I 100% understand that you, as a complex human being, have so much you want the admission committee to know about you. However, I strongly recommend not telling your audience ten things broadly, and instead telling them 2-3 things powerfully. Always strive for depth over breadth by focusing on key ideas and expanding on those well.

#4. Create a compelling narrative

Show, don’t tell. Give readers a story to connect with. This means providing examples that expand and connect to your goals and values, not just reiterating your résumé. Your goal is not to just list experiences, but to make meaning of them. Discuss what life events brought you to this decision, the experiences that confirmed it for you. Ask yourself:

  • What kinds of qualities are necessary for the profession I wish to pursue?
  • Where have I demonstrated those qualities?

The personal statement is your chance to show why you are a good fit for the profession and the program in an authentic manner. You don’t have to be “unique”, you just have to be real.

#5. Just get started!

You are never going to feel excited to sit down and bust out a personal statement. The hardest step will be writing the first sentence on a blank word document. Stop, breathe, just begin. Here are some strategies to get started:You are never going to feel excited to sit down and bust out a personal statement. The hardest step will be writing the first sentence on a blank word document. Stop, breathe, just begin. Here are some strategies to get started:

Make a Life Timeline: Outline your life in chronological order. Include anything that is important to you, from running a marathon to conducting research with faculty. Put this aside for a few days, then revisit it and ask: “What are the things that most excite me and relate to my pursuit of graduate school?”

Free Write: Sit down and start writing. Don’t worry about if it is “good”, just write.

Here are some questions to free write in response to:

  • Why am I interested in pursuing this program of study?
  • What experiences have confirmed my commitment to pursuing this program?
  • Who has influenced my decision?
  • What challenges have I faced on the way to graduate/professional school?
  • What kind of impact do I want to have on the world with this degree?
  • Why do I believe I will be a good fit for this program & excel in it?

 Authored by Sara Stasko, Associate Director for Graduate School & Pre-Health Advising