How To Write A Winning Personal Statement Focus On Your Conclusion

How To Write A Winning Personal Statement Focus On Your Conclusion



The second most important part of​ your essay, behind only the introduction, is​ the conclusion. Just as​ the introduction had the purpose of​ drawing in​ the reader, the conclusion's foremost function should be to​ leave the reader with a​ lasting impression. This section offers guidelines on ways you can maximize the impact of​ that impression. These guidelines can be grouped into three categories, each of​ which encompasses a​ lesson on what not to​ do.

Synthesize, Don't Summarize

The chief difference between these two tactics is​ that the former deals with themes while the latter deals with facts/experiences, though there is​ some overlap. You do not need to​ recap the essay paragraph-by-paragraph. You do not need to​ remind the reader of​ the experiences you have discussed (except as​ individual experiences might be tied to​ certain themes you want to​ synthesize).

You do want to​ reiterate key themes, but preferably not in​ a​ way that merely repeats them. Instead, in​ synthesizing these key themes in​ your conclusion, you should ideally be adding a​ fresh perspective. Try to​ tie themes together and demonstrate how they complement each other. in​ doing so, you should always avoid trite and clichéd generalizations.

In this essay, this applicant uses the conclusion to​ synthesize the second half of​ the essay. It's worth noting that he does not mention the content about recovering from addiction, because he could have tied this in​ with his renewed interest in​ public policy. Nevertheless, the concluding sentences do an​ effective job of​ linking his past experiences with his career goals: "After getting my master's in​ public administration, I would like to​ work in​ the area of​ economic development in​ the Third World, particularly Latin America. The setting might be a​ private (possibly church-based) development agency, the UN, the OAS, one of​ the multilateral development banks, or​ a​ government agency. What I need from graduate school is​ the academic foundation for such a​ career. What I offer in​ return is​ a​ perspective that comes from significant involvement in​ policy issues at​ the grassroots level, where they originate and ultimately must be resolved."

Seeing how the pieces fit together leaves us with a​ clear point to​ take away. Moreover, the last sentence is​ key to​ the lasting impression he creates, as​ it​ provides a​ fresh interpretation of​ the significance of​ his work at​ the grassroots level.

If in​ the process of​ synthesizing you are able to​ invoke your introduction, you will add to​ your essay a​ further sense of​ cohesion and closure. There are a​ number of​ different ways this can be accomplished. For example, you might complete a​ story you started in​ the introduction, as​ in​ this essay, or​ you might show how something has changed in​ your present since the timeframe of​ the introduction.

Expand on Broader Significance-Within Reason

One way to​ ensure that your closing paragraph is​ effective is​ to​ tie your ideas to​ some broader implications, whether about yourself or​ your field. However, do not get carried away. Some applicants feel they must make reference to​ changing the world or​ derive some grand philosophical truths from their experiences. Remember to​ stay grounded and focused on your personal details.

This applicant's conclusion ties his goals in​ teaching to​ a​ broader issue about research limitations at​ smaller liberal arts colleges. He does not express the goal of​ revolutionizing education, but instead simply wants to​ make a​ contribution that has personal significance to​ him. The final sentence invokes the tradition of​ scholars before him. Such a​ tactic is​ not usually advisable, because it​ can sound forced and generic, but in​ this case, the applicant has established his focus on a​ specific intellectual topic-human memory-so it's not as​ vaguely trite as​ invoking Plato, Descartes, and Kant in​ the search for truth.

Don't Add Entirely New Information-Except to​ Look Ahead

We have used the word "fresh" here several times, and what we're mainly talking about is​ perspectives and ideas. You should avoid adding entirely new information about your experiences. in​ shorter essays, you may have to​ pack details everywhere, but in​ general, if​ it's an​ important experience, it​ should come earlier.

That said, writing about your future goals is​ a​ strong way to​ end. After you have established your background and qualifications in​ the previous paragraphs, delineating your goals can help synthesize these topics, because you are tying your themes together in​ the context of​ where you will go next.

This applicant's conclusion is​ a​ straightforward, well thought out description of​ her professional goals. Such an​ ending demonstrates to​ the reader that she has given much consideration to​ her future and the role a​ Ph.D. in​ literature can play in​ it. Moreover, she makes clear that while she has definite career goals in​ mind, she also appreciates literature for its own sake. This kind of​ natural affinity for her subject of​ study serves to​ make her a​ dedicated and genuinely engaged student, and, therefore, a​ more attractive candidate to​ the admissions committee.




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