How to Write Strong, Purposeful Personal Statements

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Interested in applying to graduate school? If so, you're probably on a collision course with those wondrous (and perhaps terrifying) personal statements and other admissions essays. If you're like me, the thought of writing essays and being judged on my accomplishments caused a few heart palpitations. It's not easy to communicate your abilities in writing, to do so in an engaging way, and to convey a clear sense of purpose. And perhaps you are wondering, 'What is my purpose anyway'?

Take comfort in the fact that there is an art and a science to writing admissions essays in a way that effectively communicates who you are and where you’re headed. Both the art and science can be learned, and the process itself can help you better understand yourself and your future interests.

In this 90-minute class, you will:

  • Get a primer on the most important aspects of writing strong admissions essays
  • Identify the 2-3 key themes you want to communicate in your essays
  • Look at your ‘applicant profile’ and figure out how you can defy easy categorization by an admissions reader
  • Learn how to use narratives to communicate action, intent and a record of accomplishment
  • Look at case studies of sample essays (before and after revision) to apply our knowledge of what admissions committees are looking for
  • And the hardest part...think about what is it that you actually want to do with your life and how you communicate a strong sense of purpose and direction. We’ll review some tips for identifying your passions and communicating those in writing.

Note: For those interested, a follow-up class may be offered on identifying your professional purpose.

  • How to Write Strong, Purposeful Personal Statements


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Erik Yazdani


Erik is an experienced admissions counselor with a focus on MBA programs, however he has also consulted on public policy, medical, PhD and undergraduate admissions. Erik is direct in his coaching style and believes that applicants are at their best when they convey a strong sense of self-awareness and purpose.  Erik has an MBA from MIT Sloan, an MPA from the Harvard Kennedy School and a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Cornell University. Erik was previously a leadership researcher at MIT and leadership teaching assistant at the Kennedy School and has remained passionate about helping others achieve their goals through personal leadership.

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