Brainstorming the Personal Statement PowerPoint

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Transcript Brainstorming the Personal Statement PowerPoint

Brainstorming the Personal
Barbara Gorka, Director
Scholar Development and Fellowships Advising
Tuttleman 201
A personal statement is…*
• A picture
• An invitation
• An indication of your priorities and
• A story, your story
• An intellectual autobiography
*Adapted from Definition of a Personal Statement, Mary Tolar
What is a personal statement?
• Fulbright example:
– This 1-page narrative is designed to give the reviewers a picture of
you as an individual. It is an opportunity to tell the committee more
about the trajectory that you have followed and what plans you
have for the future. Whereas the Statement of Grant Purpose
focuses on what you will be doing in the host country, the Personal
Statement concentrates on how your background has influenced
your development and how that relates to the Fulbright opportunity.
– The statement can deal with your personal history, family
background, intellectual development, and the educational,
professional, or cultural opportunities to which you have or have not
been exposed; explain their impact. This should not be a reiteration
of facts already listed in the Biographical Data sections or an
elaboration of the Statement of Grant Purpose.
What is a personal statement?
• Rhodes example:
– The Rhodes Scholarship application asks
you to provide a short Personal Statement
describing your academic and other
interests. This statement should describe
the specific area of proposed study and
your reasons for wishing to study at Oxford
What is a personal statement? Or, “Tell
us something about yourself!”
• In a nutshell: “Compose an essay that
reveals who you are, what you care
about, and what you intend to do in this
life. Tell this story in a compelling
manner, and do so in less than 1000
*From Definition of a Personal Statement, Mary Tolar
Telling Your Story
• Show, don’t tell
• Set you and your examples apart from
other likely candidates
• Know the funding organization’s
mission. What do they care about?
• Know your audience
Telling Your Story
Exercise 1
• Think of the characteristics or actions
that make you distinctive. How would
your friends describe what's important
about you to someone who doesn't
know you?
• Think about an incident from your life
that illustrates one of these
Telling Your Story
Exercise 2
• Think of one of the most significant
learning experiences in your life -- an
Aha! moment -- when you finally
understood something for the first time.
Write about this experience and relate it
to your development and your
Telling Your Story
Exercise 3
• Where do you want to be in 5- 10 years?
What do you envision accomplishing in the
world? Where and how?
• What have you done so far that prepares
or informs you for the short term and the
long term? What are you studying or
practicing in jobs, internships, research,
Other Questions to Ask Yourself
Before You Begin to Write
What's special, unique, distinctive, and/or impressive about you or your life story?
What details of your life (personal or family problems, history, people or events that have
shaped you or influenced your goals) might help the committee better understand you or
help set you apart from other applicants?
When did you become interested in this field and what have you learned about it (and about
yourself) that has further stimulated your interest and reinforced your conviction that you are
well suited to this field? What insights have you gained?
If you have worked a lot during your college years, what have you learned (leadership or
managerial skills, for example), and how has that work contributed to your growth?
What are your career goals?
Have you had to overcome any unusual obstacles or hardships (for example, economic,
familial, or physical) in your life?
What personal characteristics (for example, integrity, compassion, and/or persistence) do
you possess that would improve your prospects for success in the field or profession? Is
there a way to demonstrate or document that you have these characteristics? (Remember:
show, don’t tell!)
What skills (for example, leadership, communicative, analytical) do you possess? Is there a
way to demonstrate or document that you have these skills? (Remember: show, don’t tell!)
A Few Additional Recommendations
Be prepared to write multiple drafts
Seek feedback from others
Discipline-specific jargon or not?
Find an angle, a hook, a theme that
connects the multiple pieces of your life
• Do your research
• Avoid cliché (like being passionate
about X, or wanting to help others)
Internal Fulbright Application Timeline
March 31, 2016: Fulbright competition opens for 2017-2018. As soon as possible, create an account
on the Fulbright Embark platform.
June 30, 2016: Submit official or unofficial transcripts to the Fulbright Embark platform. You must
upload one academic transcript from each post-secondary institution from which you received a degree.
Additional transcripts should be uploaded for coursework and grades not reflected on degree-granting
transcripts. If submitting unofficial transcripts, they must be easy to read and include your name and the
name of the institution.
August 22, 2016: Preliminary deadline. Submit the following application materials by the
preliminary deadline and receive feedback on your application’s strengths and weaknesses. You will then
have the opportunity to revise your application before the official campus deadline.
Abstract of the Statement of Grant Purpose
Brief explanation of your future plans upon returning to the U.S.
Statement of Grant Purpose
Personal Statement
September 9, 2016: Official campus deadline for Temple applicants. The application, including all
supporting documents, must be in the Fulbright Embark on-line application system. Be sure to give your
references this deadline, not the national deadline.
September/October 2016: Campus Interviews. The campus committee will evaluate your
application based on a review of your materials and a brief 20 minute interview. The committee
completes a campus evaluation, which is submitted with your application.
Next Steps for Fulbright Applicants
• Don’t wait until you hear the outcome of your
Fulbright application to consider alternatives!
You can find several options here.
• Check the Fellowships Advising website for
additional information sessions.
• Start brainstorming your personal statement.
• Consider who you will ask for a letter of
• Schedule an advising session in advance of the
mid-August to early-September rush.
Questions? Follow-up?
• General questions
– [email protected], [email protected]
– 215-204-0708 (Director: Barbara Gorka)
– Walk-In Hours in Spring 2016: Every Friday from
• One-on-one Advising (for specific scholarships
and personal statement review)
– Can be scheduled online
• Fellowships Blackboard site
• LinkedIn Fellowships Advising Group
Scholar Development and
Fellowships Advising