Writing a personal statement

Your Personal Statement is an important component of your application to the MESM program.

Guidelines for preparing a Personal Statement

For many applicants, writing an essay on their past achievements and future plans can be an uncomfortable experience. We urge applicants to look at this task as a unique opportunity to directly address the admissions committee members. Remember, the committee members are trying to learn as much as they can about you and will be making their admissions decision based solely on the information you provide in your application packet. The Personal Statement is your chance to help the committee “make sense” of all the individual elements of your application.

We have compiled the following suggestions to help you prepare your statement.

1) Do not wait until the last minute to write your statement. Being that most applicants find the essay-writing process daunting, naturally they tend to put this task off until just before the application deadline. Don’t! Start now. Write a rough draft of your essay very early in the process and provide a copy to your referees to aid them in preparing their letters. Handing over a draft to your refs early carries an additional benefit in that you can ask for feedback and you will actually have time to incorporate their edits into your final draft.

2) Highlight professional and personal experiences that have brought you to this point in your life. Is your application to the MESM program a natural step along the continuum of your current career trajectory, or are you seeking retraining for a new career track? Help the admissions committee understand why the MESM program makes sense for you given your academic, personal and professional goals.

3) Explain surprising elements in your application. If your undergraduate major was Music Theory, the committee will be interested in knowing that you developed an interest in environmental science through some professional or volunteer experience. Let them know how you have prepared for the MESM curricula if the connection to your undergraduate work is not evident from your transcripts.

4) Mention intended career paths. While the committee certainly does not expect every MESM applicant to have a future career completely mapped out, they would like to know the type of work you intend to pursue. How will the MESM degree help you realize your career goals? What types of courses do you hope to take? Have you been in touch with program faculty who do the type of work you are interested in doing? Are there ongoing projects at URI or in the local community that you would like to join as part of your education? The answers to these questions will help the committee determine if MESM is a good fit for your needs.

5) Don’t be afraid to toot your own horn. After all, your immediate goal in writing the Personal Statement is to create a successful application. The admissions committee wants to learn about your successes, the obstacles you have overcome in reaching your goals, and what you have learned from projects that didn’t turn out the way you might have hoped. Write a story about yourself that includes your vision of your role as a member of the MESM community. Tell us your passions and what excites you about your chosen discipline and professional goals. Above all, have fun and try use the writing experience as an opportunity to clarify your own goals and expectations for graduate study.