Updated: May 1
Writing a personal statement intro can be exhausting! Everyone says a personal statement is how the school gets to know you as a person and student - outside of grades and GRE performance.
Your personal statement tells the admissions committee why you are interested in your field of choice. The strength of your personal statement can be a telling factor in whether admission is granted. But...
Where do you even start?! How can you set yourself apart from other applicants?
I wondered these questions for so long until I finally made myself sit down and start writing. I wanted to set myself apart and catch the admissions committee's attention in an instant, and I discovered a few ways to do just that.
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1. A Compelling Story
Everyone loves a good story, right? Especially one that resonates with them and gives them all the feels! But, how do you create a story within a personal statement? Use the following ideas to create a story that will compel the readers to learn more about you.
Do you have a powerful story of how you became interested in the field of Speech Pathology? Some possibilities include:
A close relative with a speech, language, or swallowing disorder
A friend who went through speech therapy
A sibling or yourself received therapy when younger
A friend’s family member who has a certain disorder and has had great success with speech therapy
All of the previous examples will not only clinch the reader’s attention but will also allow them to get to know you. Personal statements are meant to be just that - personal. Yes, you need to present yourself in a professional manner. But in a lot of cases, this is your one opportunity to convince the readers that you are unique.
Now, you may be like me, where there really isn’t a totally compelling reason you became interested in this field. I stumbled upon the profession when I was a Junior in high school. My psychology teacher’s wife had just become a Speech Pathologist, and he raved about her profession for two full days. I was hooked! But, the story isn’t something that would necessarily 'hook' a graduate committee.
If you’re in a similar situation, don't worry. You can still tell a compelling story! Think about a time when you just knew you chose the right profession. It could have been:
A client or patient who stole your heart
An intense lecture where you discovered exactly what you wanted to specialize in within the field
A guest speaker specializing in a specific area who told heartwarming (or just totally interesting) stories about their patient(s)
Regardless of how you got interested in the field, or that exact moment you knew you had chosen the right path, a compelling story related to the profession will resonate with the admissions committee.
2. A Powerful Quote
Powerful quotes can strike awe in the admissions committee. It’s very likely that those people have been in the profession for years. A strong quote can catch their attention, and pull at their heartstrings in a split second.
There are many quotes about communication, speech impediments, and medical complications that can quickly grasp the attention of your readers. The trick, however, is finding a quote that you can further relate to yourself.
Look for quotes that:
Relate to the reason you chose the field of Speech-Language Pathology
Link to your specific interests within the field
Connect to a client or patient you’ve seen in the past who sparked your interest in Speech Pathology
Identify with a family member who has undergone speech therapy, and thus sparked your interest in the field
It is always a good idea to bring your personal statement intro back to you. Make it truly personal. Let the committee get to know you, and why you are so passionate about becoming a Speech-Language Pathologist.
3. An Eye-opening Fact
Facts are always good attention-getters because they can be intensely surprising. Look for facts that surprise you, because again, the intro needs to smoothly transition into the rest of your statement. Find a fact that you want to write about. Once you find that fact, you can do one or more of the following:
Discuss why you identify with the fact
Connect it to your experiences
Relate the fact to why you became interested in the field
Transition into discussing your specific interests by linking them to the fact
There you have it! These three types of personal statement introductions will catch the review board's eyes. You will grasp their attention and reel them in to thoroughly read the rest of your statement. Your ultimate goal is to get them interested in you. Hook them, then keep them reading by creating a great flow to your statement.
For more on how to format and what to include in your statement, head over to How to Write the Best Grad School Personal Statement.
Thanks for reading! As always, feel free to fill out a contact form or contact me directly at email@example.com with any comments, questions, or suggestions :) Have a wonderful day!