They are also short - 1,000 words or less - so you should identify the three or four most important points that you want to develop. Other parts of your application (including letters of recommendation) can present other important information. Remember that your essay is a writing sample. The essay will be read for indications of clear, well-organized thinking and effective communication. Personal statements are often read quickly and in bulk, so make yours a pleasure to read. Provide a compelling snapshot of who you are and what contributions you want to make. Indicate what your priorities are and the kind of passion you bring to your work. The academic proposal required by some competitions and by graduate schools has a similar purpose but a more defined focus.
Read the advice on starting the writing process, and start to write before you are ready. Try to schedule short appointments with yourself just to generate ideas and to write. Be honest with yourself. Every fellowship or graduate school application requires a statement that asks, in one way or another, for the candidate to describe their academic or other interests. This personal statement is your introduction to the selection committee. For a plan of research essay, devote considerable effort to your "methods" as you need to demonstrate you have a plan, not just a good idea. For more information: Dissertations, Research Proposals, and Foundation Grants (which differ from personal statements Maintained by, last modified: Sep 15, 2015, 13:38 EDT). An outstanding personal statement will not win you a scholarship, but a poorly prepared one can deny you the chance to be considered as a finalist. Because personal statements are personal, there is not one format or approach that will work well for everyone.