Writing Persuasive Personal Statements
This session considers personal statements as a form of argument and focuses on their underlying rhetoric. The workshop will:
- Review examples of calls for proposals and decode their language to see more clearly how best to respond
- Construct general principles about audiences for statements of purpose and how to write to meet their needs
- Offer tips on easy ways of preparing to write and enrich the statement
- Share exercises on how to conceive of the statement as an argument
- Consider what UM statistics say about why proposals are rejected
- Review a list of things (and words) to avoid in statements of purpose
This workshop will be useful for any graduate student applying for fellowships, grants, or other opportunities whose applications require some form of statement of purpose. It will not address how to identify grant or fellowship opportunities.
Paul Barron teaches a variety of writing courses in the English Department, Lloyd Hall Scholars Program, and the Sweetland Center for Writing, where he also serves as co-director of the Dissertation Writing Institute.