So, you need to write a personal statement. Okay, relax and breathe, this is a great opportunity to talk about what you are interested in doing and why you want to come to our REU program. Remember, this is a very important part of your application, don't leave it until the last minute.
To help you get started consider answering these questions in your statement:
- Who are you?
- Why are you interested in marine science?
- What are your career goals?
- Why do you want to apply to this particular REU site?
- What skills do you possess?
- Why should the Maryland Sea Grant REU program be interested in you and why are you interested in us?
When you write a personal statement, make sure to focus on the place where you are applying. For example, you should look at the REU web site to get an idea of what other students have done in the past, and then mention in your essay what mentors and topics are of primary and secondary interest to you.
Here are some helpful guidelines for writing a personal statement:
- Use spell check. Spelling and grammar mistakes will DOOM your essay and your application, so proofread your personal statement carefully.
- Start with an outline, then expand it.
- Keep it short and concise. A page should be plenty.
- Type (rather than handwrite), using at least 11 pt font.
- Be honest, positive, and be yourself.
- Ask a friend, teacher or writing support group at your university to read your essay and make comments/edits.
BE INFORMED. Get information, guidance, and examples on writing a great personal statement by using the web. The web is a great place to find LOTS of guidance. We selected a few websites to help get you started. Writing a personal statement for an REU application is a lot like what you will do if you apply to graduate school. Below, we suggest some graduate school guidance web sites to help you write your REU personal statement and some good lists of "Do's and Don'ts."
A couple of good sites from gradschools.com:
Johns Hopkins career center website:
A good website of Do's and Don'ts from Purdue University:
More Do's and Don'ts from accepted.com: