Whether we are talking about a five year old that is about to start learning to read or whether we are talking about a thirty year old woman who is attempting to write a thesis for her master's degree, we cannot deny the fact that taking time to learn proper English grammar is important.

When we see or hear about English grammar, the immediate reaction of many people I know is to cringe. They are reminded of junior high and high school English class and the way that their English teachers made them to English grammar exercise after exercise. Because English grammar is usually seen in such a negative sense, it is all the more important that people replace those lies with the truth that learning English grammar really is important for anyone who wants to have a proper perspective of the English language.

When we are speaking or hearing English, not too many of us take the time to think about the fact that English grammar is the very thing that allows us to communicate with and understand one another. It is not so much because we use the same words of the English language, but it is because we all put our words together in certain ways to form thoughts and sentences that we can understand each other. This, in short, is the purpose of English grammar.

English grammar is the mechanics of the English language that allows for two people who use the same vocabulary to be able to communicate without misunderstanding. Certainly there will always be some level of misunderstanding that happens when two people communicate, but so much of our problems will be lessened if we all take some time to learn English grammar.

Many schools today are moving away from making English grammar a part of the regular curriculum. So while students may learn how to read and write successfully, they will likely never learn the English grammar or the reasons why they are speaking and writing as they are. So if you or someone you know is struggling with any element of the English language, or if you know a child or someone who is attempting to learn English for the first time, then make sure English grammar is included as an important part of the learning process.

Being able to speak, understand and write a language is an important part of being successful no matter what you do in life. And taking the time to learn even the basics of English grammar will go far in helping people communicate even better.

Plan Your English Lesson

Posted by idea2ry | 2:16 PM

It is not easy to plan a fresh and new class for your English students every week. Even though your teacher book gives you some great ideas not all of them are practical enough for your classroom. You often have to come up with a few exercises and ideas of your own to fill in as needed.

You may try to get away and find some quite places that can help you focus and concentrate on your planning. Do not forget to take a notepad and some pens. That is about all you will need for now.

First, take a moment to clear your mind of all other distractions and prepare yourself mentally for the task at hand. Okay! Are you ready? Good! Now think about the first group of students you need to plan for. Think about their needs. What do they know? What do they need to know to become more fluent and proficient speakers of the English language? How can you teach them what they need to know?

Just brainstorm for a few minutes and write everything down. No idea is too crazy or unimportant. Once you have drained your brain...write out your best ideas on a separate sheet of paper. These are the ones that you will implement in your classes during the following week.

Remember that every idea that comes up are valuable and do not throw away the ideas that are left over though. Save them in a safe place for you to refer to during future planning sessions. This will keep you from having to think so hard the next time.

It is wise to do some research on the Internet. Take each of your ideas to the next level. Drill down into each one of them vertically. Go just as deep as you can. Then find other ideas that you can add on horizontally to broaden your lesson plans. These are all ideas that complement your original, brainstormed ideas.

If you have made it this far...then the rest is a piece of cake. Just pick out the best of the best of your ideas and add them to your lesson plans. Prepare the materials and resources you will need for each exercise. Make copies of any handouts you intend to pass out to your students.

Do this for each group of students you teach. Once you are done, organize everything in a handy place like a folder or filing cabinet. Do a quick check to make sure you did not forget anything.

With this plan, your class will be well organized and you can make everything turned into a system which will allow you have even more time.

The General "Rule" of English Pronunciation

You know that it is difficult to know when to pronounce the written letter “s” in English like “s”, the sound of air escaping from your bicycle tire, and when to pronounce it as the letter “z”, the sound of an angry bee. This problem shows up in the plural of nouns.

In the same way, the written letter “t” sometimes sounds like the letter “d”. This problem comes up in the past tense of verbs.

There is a logic that is at work in both cases, that of the plural of the noun and that of the past tense of the verb. The two cases have a lot in common even though one has to do with the "s" sound" and other has to do with the "d" sound.

There is so much in common that some language teachers say that there is one general "rule" for the two cases. This "rule" works in most of the cases that you will have to learn.

In both situations, the ending of the word depends on the sound that it follows.

1. If the noun or verb ends in a voiceless consonant (one that doesn't vibrate the vocal cords), like the "p" of soap or the "k" of wink, the result (the plural of the noun or the "s" of the third person singular of the verb) is a voiceless consonant.

In the case of the nouns ending in a voiceless consonant, the "s" that indicates the plural of the noun has the sound of the voiceless "s", (tops, tacks, etc.). In the case of the verbs ending in a voiceless consonant, the "ed" that indicates the past of the verb has the sound of the voiceless "t" (flapped, talked, etc.)

2. If the noun or verb ends in a voiced consonant (one that vibrates the vocal cords, the result is a voiced consonant.

In the case of these nouns (tub and lug) ending in a voiced consonant, the "s" that indicates the plural of the noun has the sound of the voiced "s", ( tubs, tugs, etc.).

In the case of the verbs ending in a voiced consonant, the "ed" that indicates the past of the verb has the sound of the voiced "d" (rubbed, tugged, etc.)

3. In both cases, that of the plural of the noun, and that of the past of the verb, a syllable is added when the consonant sound of the last syllable of the noun or verb is pronounced in the same part of the mouth as is the consonant sound of the ending.

That is, if a noun ends in any sibilant sound (voiced or unvoiced) like the words mess or buzz, the plural adds a syllable and the plural forms are messes and buzzes. If a verb ends in the any "t" or "d" sound (voiced or unvoiced) like the words pet or weed, the past tense adds a syllable and the past forms are petted and weeded.

The syllable that is added is the vowel sound called the “short i”, (the sound of the simple words: it, his, fish, chips) followed by a final voiced consonant, either the voiced “z” sound for the plural noun or the voiced "d" sound for the past of the verb.

Look at the pairs of words in the following table. Words were chosen that are both nouns and verbs so you can see the changes in both parts of speech.

Try to identify the "rule" that applies to each of them. See you need help you can check the the answers at the end of this article.

Voiced
Noun or 3rd Person Singular of the Verb................ Past Form of the Verb

load loads...........................................................load loaded
hose hoses...........................................................hose hosed
turn turns...........................................................turn turned
farm farms...........................................................farm farmed
haze hazes...........................................................haze hazed
weed weeds...........................................................weed weeded
lug lugs.................................................................lug lugged
judge judges...........................................................judge judged

Voiceless
Noun or 3rd Person Singular of the Verb.................Past Form of the Verb

wish wishes..........................................................wish wished
heat heats...........................................................heat heated
fuss fusses...........................................................fuss fussed
talk talks...........................................................talk talked
tape tapes...........................................................tape taped
clutch clutches........................................................clutch clutched
fluff fluffs............................................................fluff fluffed
meet meets...........................................................mete meted

Now that you have learned this "rule", you can listen to the difference in the e-book “Leer Es Poder, a sample (in Spanish)of which you can find in www.BooksLibros.com/muestra_index.htm . Pay attention to the voiced and unvoiced consonants and try to understand why the changes occur.

The pertinent "rules" are:

Nouns
Nouns that end in a voiced consonant sound form the plural with a voiced “s” sound. The words: load, hose, turn, farm, weed, lug, judge are of this type. If the noun ends in a voiced sibilant (hissing or buzzing) consonant sound, a syllable is added, por example, hoses, hazes, judges.

The nouns that end in a voiceless consonant sound form the plural with a voiceless “s” sound, such as the words: wish, heat, fuss, talk, tape clutch, fluff, meet. If the voiceless consonant is a voiceless "s" or similar sound, the plural is formed with an extra syllable, for example, wishes, fusses clutches.

Verbs
Verbs that end in a voiced consonant sound make their plural with a voiced “s” sound. por example, the words: load, hose, turn, farm, weed, lug, judge. If the verb ends in a “d” or “t” sound they add a syllable, for example, loaded, weeded.

The verbs that end in a voiceless consonant sound make their past tense with a voiceless "d" or "t" sound, for example, wish, heat, fuss, talk, tape, clutch, fluff, meet. Verbs that end in a “d” or “t” sound, a syllable is added, for example, heated, meeted.

At one time, in the not so distant past, computers were not commonly found in homes. Computers served as a time saving device for businesses and offices and they were big, heavy, unattractive and very expensive. Over time computers, have become smaller, lighter, operate faster and have price significantly dropped in price. Thus many more of us have incorporated computers into our daily lives and homes. Today, most of us would be lost without our computers, electronic devices and the Internet!

Before the age of computers, the only way to correspond with others at a distance was through letters written by hand or on a typewriter. There was no spell check or grammar check to make life easy. People had to rely on their own proof reading and language skills in order to be understood.

In the 1990’s when computers began popping up in homes all over the world and the Internet became readily available, chatting programs such as ICQ, MSN, and AOL Instant Messenger made their debut. With these developments, communicating through writing was forever changed, and the English language has never been the same.

The development of instant messaging programs has resulted in the use of a new ‘spin-off English’ and has quickly become the de facto means by which many young people communicate. The most common spinoff would have to be using short forms and it is common to see entire phrases abbreviated. This new language is often referred to as “Internet slang”. Examples include:

• lol = laugh out loud
• ur = you are, your, or you’re
• h2gtw - have to go to the washroom
• cmitm - call me in the morning
• btw = by the way
• b4n = bye for now
• l8er = see you later
• teotwawki - the end of the world as we know it
• p911 - parent emergency / parent near

Internet slang is a form of chat room shorthand that should only be used informally. However, this slang has spilled over the chat room wall and has made it into e-mails, written correspondence, and yes, it has even found its way into research papers and the homework of schoolchildren and college students.

When writing formally, important points such as capitalization, punctuation, and grammar structure should always be used. Writing English is a craft, and this craft should be practised regularly in order to train and engrain proper techniques. Unfortunately, the use of chat rooms and slang has begun to replace reading and letter writing as primary forms of communication, ultimately harming our language skills.

The use of Internet slang has undeniably affected grammar, punctuation and spelling. Grammar is the foundation of the English language. Punctuation sets the tone and the overall meaning of a sentence - without tone, meaning can be easily misconstrued. There are often many mixed-messages in chatroom slang and e-mails!

Today many people spend more time conversing over the Internet than they do face-to-face. The Internet (including instant massaging and e-mail) is quickly becoming the most prevalent form of written correspondence. It is therefore easy to understand how the use of Internet slang for hours a day can lead to the development of poor English habits. People even belting out “LOL” in the middle of a conversation instead of laughing when speaking to a friend or colleague!

So what can be done to keep slang out of formal writing such as research papers and homework? Upon finding slang in homework and test, are deducting are more pints than they would for the usual grammar mistake. This makes the student more mindful of what they are writing and for whom.
Replacing the use of chat rooms and slang with regular reading and writing with a conscious effort to observe proper English grammar, punctuation and spelling will go a long way. Practice certainly makes perfect where the English language is concerned.

Important Points When Writing an English CV

The purpose of an English CV is to sell yourself: An English CV is seen as an opportunity to sell yourself and should emphasise your skills, experiences and achievements. You should include successes and wherever possible include facts and figures to support your claims. Do NOT include information that is negative.

Spelling and Grammar Check: Correct spelling and grammar are of absolute importance in an English CV. Employers will NOT tolerate any mistakes. It is very important that a native English speaker checks your CV before you send it to an English-speaking employer.

CVwriting.net can provide a full spelling and grammar check and suggest any changes to the content of your CV in line with what employers expect.

Do not include a photo: Most English employers do NOT like to see a photo on the CV and, in fact, including one could work against you. Only include a photo if it has been specifically requested for a particular job application.

English Language skills: This is a very important aspect of your CV and your professional career. You must explain your knowledge of the English language under the ‘Skills’ heading. Describe your level of knowledge as one of the following:

· Bilingual – You can speak English as well as your mother tongue
· Fluent – You have a complete working knowledge of the English language, both written and speaking.
· Working knowledge- you have a good practical knowledge of English for professional purposes.
· Conversational – You can converse adequately in English with good comprehension.

English CV Format:

Your name, address, telephone number and email address should appear at the top of your English CV. Always use a capital letter at the beginning of a name including the name of a street, town or country. Do NOT put CV or Curriculum Vitae as a heading.

Your CV should be produced on a word processor, not hand written, and be available softcopy as a Word or PDF file. If you are printing your CV you should use good quality paper.

An employer will scan your CV in thirty seconds looking for keywords that are relevant to the vacancy he is trying to fill. Keep your CV short and concise so that your positive attributes stand out. Your CV should be no more than two pages long.

Do NOT use initials for company names or qualifications, as these could be meaningless to an English employer. Always write the words in full.

Headings:

1. Profile: This is an opportunity to summarise the skills and experience you have described elsewhere in your CV. It is the first part of the CV that the employer will read. It should be only one or two paragraphs long otherwise the reader may not go on to read the rest of your CV. You should also include your career aspirations.

2. Achievements: list any special achievements from your career history or education that may make you stand out from other candidates. List no more than six.

3. Career History: This is a very important part of your CV. The most common CV format is written in reverse-chronological order. Start with your most recent employment and work backwards. List the dates between which you worked for each employer; the name of the employer, your position and the location at which you worked. Write a short description of the company and then describe your responsibilities including facts and figures as much as possible.

4. Skills: In an English CV it is necessary to list particular technical, professional or other skills separate from your career history. An English employer will not necessarily be familiar with non-English professional qualifications therefore you must explain each one.

5. Education: You must enter your highest qualification first, then where achieved, and then dates. Make sure you explain any non-English qualifications or try and put the English equivalent, e.g. Baccalaureate, French equivalent to the Higher Leaving Certificate and A levels. Do not include grades unless they are particularly impressive.

6. Personal details: It is not necessary to include all of your personal details on an English CV as your skills and experience are of paramount importance. However, you need to include your nationality and it is normal to include your Date of Birth such as: 11th November 1967. Do not put your age.

7. Interests. You do not have to include your interests on an English CV but they will help to give the employer a rounded picture of you as an individual.

Signature: It is not necessary to personally sign your English CV.

Essay writing is a technical process; it is not as easy as it seems. People perceive essay’s importance and technicality to be very trivial but it is not like that. Unless and until a person writes an essay of his own he can not understand its importance, methodology and mechanics.

If a person needs to improve his essay writing and formatting style he needs to follow some tips with which he can make a drastic difference in writing style. Following is the discussion about the tips to improve essay writing and formatting:

First of all there should be a brief introduction of the essay topic which is an overview of the whole essay. Introduction is the mirror of essay through which the reader can see the whole essay, so it should be given special attention. After intro, the discussion should wrap up thorough information about the topic.

Discussion not only needs information but it also needs critical analysis of the topic along with your personal comments whether you agree or disagree. The criticism should be healthy; it should not be written in such a way that it hurts any body’s ego because people may have a different opinion. Finally a conclusion or sum-up paragraph has an importance of its own; it also needs future recommendations. Writing style and language should be easy and simple that it can be easily understood by the readers.

Finally comes the formatting, if words and sentences are the food of essay, formatting is the clothing; it makes an essay presentable which can attract the readers. There are certain types of formatting; for example: APA, MLA, CHICAGO, TURBIAN etc; formatting can easily be learned by some practice and it is very interesting to learn. Apart from referencing you can also incorporate a bibliography page in order to give credit to those whose books you used for information.

Essay writing seems very difficult to some student; they think that they can not write. Though they are very knowledgeable and intelligent, they are not able to write a piece of their own.

To some extent it is true that writing is not everybody’s cup of tea but if a person is keen to learn, nothing is impossible in this world. If a person is consistent in his aims and goals he can rule the world; he can make impossible things possible. Same is the case with essay writing; it needs hardworking and practice; the more you write the more your writing style and language will be polished and within a short span of time you will be included among those who are called the best essay writers.

There are certain skills required for essay writing. First of all you need to analyze the title or topic of the essay on which you are asked to write essay. Once you completely understand what the title says next step is to collect information and facts using various source like print or electronic source. After gathering information you need to highlight the most important and less important things in order to prioritize your task. After that, comes the writing process; once you start writing there are few things which should be kept in mind.

First you should not try to overwhelm your essay with difficult words, lengthy sentences and stylish writing style. Always remember, your essay should be written in such a way that it can be understandable to every person; difficult words and lengthy sentences may lose readers’ attention.

A writer should know his readers; according to the comprehension level of reader a writer should create his piece of writing. If you are writing for children, the language should be simple and easy but if it is for intellectuals the language can avoid simplicity.

Good essay writing requires certain essay writing guidelines which should always be adhered. It is a critical requirement for every academic essay that the student should prove his point or argument in the most transparent way. This can be done through the presentation of original thoughts or ideas or by analyzing what others have researched on the topic that is about to be written.

It should always be realized that while writing an academic essay simply summarizing or repeating a set of text is seldom adequate to the assigned essay assignment. For example, while writing a research essay, only presenting an idea would not get the job done but it should be further spiced up by the inclusion of relevant facts and figures on a particular topic of study. The essay writing guidelines for a particular essay varies depending on the topic of the essay as well as the type of the essay.

One important guideline that should always be followed is the format or structure of the essay should always be kept in complete synchronization. The essay topic should first be introduced in the introduction section. It should be further highlighted and debated in the discussion section and the overall summary of the argument that has been presented should be highlighted in the conclusion section.

Cohesion of thoughts and words is important in essay writing. While writing an essay related to the field of literature, a student is never asked to simply summarize the text or explain what it's about. A student needs to establish an argument, which again is a contention or a position that has been developed or determined based on realistic and practical information gathered from the works of other authors or studies. Moreover plagiarism must be avoided at all costs and credit should be given where it’s due.

In sum it is suggested that students must follow the rule of the thumb while writing essays and must always adhere to the common essay writing guidelines so that their work is organized, synchronized and to the point.

College essay writing

Posted by idea2ry | 5:51 AM

The college essay should not pose a challenge if you have kept up the writing habit after leaving school. The best way to do so is to keep in touch through writing letters. Whether you write with a pen or a mouse the heart of the matter is that if you have kept your thoughts flowing through words, writing a college essay should not pose a problem. Writing involves your style and habit as well as vocabulary. You must have a rich vocabulary bank. For that be a voracious reader. There is no other way of increasing your bank balance of words.

Writing a college essay has become very important because with each passing day gaining entrance into colleges is becoming more and more difficult. The number of seats just cannot cope with the number of applicants. One of the best ways to gain entry is to write a star college essay as part of your application for admission. Usually it should consist of five hundred words. The essay must show why you are different from another. Thus admitting you will bring credit to the institution. A single college essay can be more evocative than marks and grades. It will speak for you and about you.

What will the college essay be about? You might talk about your favourite hobby, a memorable incident in your life or even about your favourite pet. The college essay must capture the attention of the reader. It must be un-put-down-able! Thus the college essay is important right from the starting point of choosing the topic to delivering the goods. Spend a lot of time, say about one to two weeks just thinking of the ideas. In this way you might come across a topic, which you had never thought of before.

Before sitting down to writing the college essay ask yourself some questions. What are your achievements? Do not just narrow it down to those that have got formal recognition – because it is not always the grades and marks that can measure your full potentiality. What seemed to be of no importance today might be the cause of your success tomorrow. In the college essay you must find out the answer to the queries that what is it that distinguishes you from another. Think about the books and movies you love. Any special work of art? Why? The questions and answers will give you the substance of your college essay. Mull over your struggles and how you have sought to overcome them. What was the key to your success or cause of failure? Out of all this will come out your approach or philosophy of life. In this way we are all distinct from one another. Unknowingly, by bringing this out in your college essay you will stand out as an individual.

A college essay is all about your dreams and hopes and what you want to make of this world. The college essay must stand out as a rose in the thorn bush.

Learning how to express your ideas through article writing is a great means to becoming a professional writer.

The crux of an article is the content. Organizing your ideas will make your article more readable and will earn you a greater audience. Consider these two steps when writing an article:

1. Choose simple language

By writing in simple language, you are able to reach a broad range of people. Most magazine and newspaper writers compose their articles at a fourth grade level so their material is understood by the maximum number of readers.

These writers are highly skilled and could write at a much higher level, but keep their reporting at an almost universal level, so the news can reach more people. Of course not all publications can communicate at such a remedial level.

This does not mean that they dont possess the capabilities to write in hi-fi language, they just wish that the news should reach to more and more people. But surely, using simple language is not possible for all types of publications. Many of the magazines related to technical issues, social commentary or politics will use such complex language to put the audience away from the actual facts. But for such kind of writing, appropriate level of complexity is needed. Apart from such magazines, its always preferred to use simplest and straightforward writing style.

2. Present your ideas in an interesting way

Your ideas should be represented in such a way that they are useful to the audience. The better you frame your ideas, more readers will be attracted towards your article. Organize your ideas in such a manner that it entertains the readers. Make sure that dont write whole descriptive stuff so that the readers feel bored. Most of the articles written for the internet or for magazines are in classic style known as five paragraph essay, which is an ideal format for writing articles in brief. If this style is followed then you can express your ideas in a very beautiful way with the good and interesting start and end.

Five paragraph essay " Step by step guide

1) First paragraph: Introduction-to represent the actual topic and related concepts in brief.

2) In the second, third, and fourth paragraphs, expand on the topic from the introduction in simple, yet creative language.

3) In the fifth paragraph, summarize the topic that you've introduced.

By keeping the language of your articles understandable, simple, and clairvoyant, you will be able to write for magazines or Internet publication. By organizing your ideas and keeping your reader interested throughout, and by using "Spellings and Grammar" facility in Word software, you can become a successful article writer with a wide range of readers.

A personal statement is a crucial part of your graduate school application, but writing it can also be one of the most stressful things on your to-do list. Many students do not consider writing to be their strong suit, and matters are only made worse due to the intense importance of this particular essay.

It may help many students to remember what the purpose of the personal statement is. The grad school admissions board uses it to determine two things:

• Whether you will be an asset to the graduate program
• Whether you will be an asset to the school itself

Graduate schools are typically judged by the performance of their students. As a result, no school wants to admit a student who will be a black mark on its record. Your personal statement’s purpose, therefore, is to convince the admissions board that:

• You are deeply motivated to learn about (and excel in) your chosen area of study
• You are a capable student who will perform well in your studies

In order to accomplish these tasks, there are several points that almost every personal statement must cover (unless, of course, asked to do differently by the admissions board itself). You also have the challenge of trying to make your personal statement stand out from the hundreds of other applicants, who will all be saying basically the same thing.

For more information on how to write a winning personal statement, follow the guidelines below.

What Should a Personal Statement Include?

Not every personal statement should look the same. Different graduate schools have different expectations of what you should include in your personal statement. First and foremost, your responsibility is to make sure your essay answers the questions asked.

In general, though, most personal statements should include five things:

• Area of study – This should be a given, but you would be amazed by how many students focus so much on answering other questions that they forget to state which program they are interested in. Don’t leave your reader to figure it out by deduction – make sure your chosen area of study is clearly stated in your personal statement.

• Your interest in the subject – By discussing the basis for your interest in the subject, your personal statement will prove you have a genuine interest in your chosen area of study. However, don’t simply say, “I have always wanted to be a ______.” Instead, use a personal experience to show – rather than tell – what drives your interest.

• Related experience – Graduate schools also look at your experience in the field in order to determine your interest level. For example, if you are pursuing a graduate degree in psychology, the admissions committee will expect you to see some combination of related courses, research work, internships, volunteer work, membership in related organizations, and/or other extracurricular activities.

• Your interest in the school – Many people choose a graduate school because it has a program that interests them. This should go into your personal statement. However, make sure you go beyond general flattery – the committee will want to see that you have actually researched the program. For instance, if you admire the work of a professor who teaches in the program, mention this and discuss why you would like the opportunity to study under him or her.

• Post-graduation plans – In order to choose the graduate program that is right for you, you should have a general idea of what you will do with your degree. Be sure to convey your career goals in your personal statement, as this proves that you have given some serious thought to your future, and therefore are more likely to finish the program.

How Do I Make My Personal Statement Stand Out from All the Rest?

Once you have outlined how you are going to answer the question or cover the five points listed above, you need to figure out how you will make your personal statement memorable. Remember, there are most likely hundreds of other applicants, all of whom will say more or less the same thing. Here are a few ways to make sure your stand out from the crowd.

• Make it personal. A successful personal statement should not read like a description of your resume. Instead, use stories and examples from your life to illustrate why you became interested in your chosen area of study, and your experiences as you have pursued it thus far.

• Make it organized. A personal statement is not a term paper, but it should still be well organized. Make sure your sentences flow well from one paragraph to the next.

• Make it between one and three pages. Like a resume, it is hard to say how long a personal statement should be. Some admissions boards may only ask one question to be answered, allowing your personal statement to be as short as 250 words. On the other hand, more complex answers may require as many 750 words.

• Have a theme or thesis. Like any other personal essay, your personal statement should have a unifying theme. The anecdotes you use to illustrate the above five topics or answer the admission board’s question should also support your theme.

• Maintain a professional tone. As a graduate, you are no longer just a student – you are also a professional in your field. Your personal statement should reflect your professionalism and dedication to your studies.

• Gear it toward the specific school. While you may be able to reuse certain sections of your personal statement for other schools, sending out the same essay to every school is a major faux pas. For one thing, many schools differ in their requirements: They may impose a different maximum or minimum length, or ask that different questions be answered. Make sure that your personal statement is written for the specific requirements of the school you are applying to.

• Proofread your work. Nothing will turn an admissions board off faster than sloppy writing. If you are going to convince them that your graduate degree is one of your top priorities, then your personal statement should reflect your level of dedication. Take the time to perfect your work, eliminating typos and grammatical errors as well as fine-tuning the overall message.

Writing a Winning Personal Statement

While it’s true that there is a lot riding on your personal statement, this does not mean that it needs to be difficult to write. By understanding the purpose of the exercise, making sure that it concisely yet thoroughly covers the necessary information, and minding details such as organization and grammar, anyone can write a winning personal statement.