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Revising you personal Statement for a SLP graduate program

I highly recommend buying this book because it has awesome tips and examples of letters other student essays.

Perfect Personal Statements by Mark Alan Stewart

Here are some great tips for revising you personal statement, if you are reapplying or applying for the first time.

  • What should you write about? This issue forced me to procrastinate forever! I felt like everyone had such a good story about why they wanted to become a SLP. Some girls in my undergrad classes had children with autism, siblings with hearing impairments, or a grandparent with a tracheostomy. I just loved the healthcare field and happen to stumble across SLP as a career choice, but that doesn’t make for a moving or inspirational story for the admissions committee to read.
  • This book gives a few good topic choices, but one really stuck out for me. I wanted to discuss my learning disabilities and how I overcame them, but I did not want to sound “damaged”. This book explained that it is okay to as long as you make the topic about how you overcame the situation and do not whine about it. Some of the most compelling essays that universities see are on disabilities, low economics status, and/or minority status.

    I used this book to revise my personal statement before reapplying. While reading the DO and DON’T chapter, I found tons of things I did in the “DON’T section and I had to edit them out of my statement. Here are a few:
    • Your essay should give them an idea of your personality, not reiterate your resume
    • The opening sentence should capture the reader’s attention and curiosity. It should entice them to keep reading on
    • You are wasting your personal statement opportunity and the reader’s time by writing introduction and conclusions even though this is the way you were taught to write a proper essay. Typically you will not have enough space to write these given the 250-1000 word limit. For example, erase sentences like these…

    “allow me to introduce myself…”

    “these are the reasons you should admit me…”

    “thank you for your time and consideration…”

    “I hope you grant me the opportunity…”

    [*]Double check each school for the word limit and stick to it. You will not be disqualifies for going over, but the admissions reader has too many others to read and will only read the 1st pager (or whatever the limit is) and move on.

    [*]Use normal vocabulary. Trying to impress them with large words will only distract them from the content.

    [*]Don’t “whine” about the system or about how hard the GRE’s are

    [*]Don’t remind the university about their rankings or strong faculty. They already know that’s why a lot of students want to attend there, dig deeper and get specific about THAT particular university and certain faculty members. Go to the website and research each and every faculty member until you find one that has similar interest as you.

    [*]For example, do talk about wanting to go to that school because of the close proximity to great hospitals and you want to do you CFY there and specialize in swallowing. (or great schools systems they are affiliated with)

    [*]For example, do talk about a particular faculty member who is currently doing research that is interesting to you. Then e-mail that professor, telling them you are impressed with the research they are currently doing and that you hope you can learn more about when you are accepted. Then you go back to your essay and say I have even sent Dr. so and so an e-mail expressing my interest.

    [*]Make sure to twist your weaknesses into something good

    read more tips like this on my blog at


    by the way how do I submit my blog to thegradcafe.com???

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  • 1 year later...

I just finished reading Alan Stewart's "How to Write the Perfect Personal Statement" and he wrote that the biggest mistake people make when writing their SOPs is "to write an expository resume of your background and experience."

Taking this advice, I wrote an essay explaining why I'm passionate about this field and did not mention a lot about the SLP classes I took or anything about working with kids and in the hospital. My experience is plentiful, but I was afraid of writing a resume, as the author put it. But today I was looking over some SLP sample SOPs and they ALL mentioned classes, work and volunteer experiences.

So now I'm completely confused as to what I should do: should I write an expository resume or not?

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