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Academic Statement vs. Personal


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Hi all,

I am applying to 6 schools, 5 of which require a SOP. The 6th school (UC Berkeley) requires a separate Academic Statement and Personal History. I have spent a lot of time on my SOP for the other schools and was hoping I could break it apart into the two UC statements, but it's not working out as I planned.

Does anyone have some tips on what to specifically address in the Personal Statement? My SOP can be molded into the Academic Statement easily, but I'm stuck on what to put in the PS...how I relate to my area of study has a lot of personal background, but doesn't my interest in my area of study need to be in the AS...just don't want to repeat info...help!

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I am applying to Michigan State and it is the same story....academic is just that, academic. What are your interests and why. Personal statement is family, economical, social, and life experience background. They want to know what lead you to this point.

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The way I approached this was to use the academic statement of purpose to describe past relevant experience, research interests, and why X's program is a great fit for me, and to use the personal statement to illustrate my motivation to embark on a career in my field. For the latter I told a story about working at a specialty loose leaf tea shop. Get creative.

Applying to: 
U Chicago
U of Illinois
U Virginia
U Michigan
Ohio State

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I'm also applying to Berkeley.

After consulting with some professors who have experience in this, and since I don't have anything too special in my personal background, I used the Personal History paper to describe a specific volunteering experience that had a personal impact and led me to choose my field.

I made sure I don't repeat any academic stuff that appear on the SOP, and added some more past experience to give a whole picture of my own personal perspective on the field.

Although I didn't really have to overcome any special barriers (well, it's not that my education was given to me on a silver spoon, I had to work hard for it, but so do most people...), I did emphasize my political activities in my home country, since it's a big deal for me, and described it in a way that helped me to make a general point: That I engage in struggles for the betterment of other people, in ways that may also relate to my field, and that definitely coincide with Berkeley's mission to promote equality etc...

Good luck!

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