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Personal Statement (PS)

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The Personal Statement is an essay about how an applicant's background and life experiences, including cultural, geographical, financial, and educational or other opportunities or challenges, motivated the decision to pursue a graduate degree at the University of Michigan. For example, if an applicant grew up in a community where educational, cultural, or other opportunities were either especially plentiful or especially lacking, they might discuss the impact this had on their development and interests.

The PS should be a discussion of the journey that led to the decision to seek a graduate degree.

The length of the PS should be 500 words or less.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Can I combine the Personal Statement with the Statement of Purpose in one document?

A: No. We ask that all applicants submit two separate documents for the Statement of Purpose and Personal Statement. If an applicant submits one document we will contact them to request two separate documents. The Graduate Admission Committee requires two separate documents.

Q: Are there specific guidelines for formatting?

A: No there are no formatting guidelines in regards to font type, font size, etc.

Q: Should I include my name on the Personal Statement?

A: Yes. We ask applicants to include their full name and UMID near the top of the document. This allows are office to quickly match this document to the application.

Q: What should I include in the Personal Statement (PS)?

A: The Personal Statement is an essay about how an applicant's background and life experiences, including cultural, geographical, financial, and educational or other opportunities or challenges, motivated the decision to pursue a graduate degree at the University of Michigan. For example, if an applicant grew up in a community where educational, cultural, or other opportunities were either especially plentiful or especially lacking, they might discuss the impact this had on their development and interests. This should be a discussion of the journey that led to the decision to seek a graduate degree.

Q: How long should the Personal Statement be?

A: The PS document should only be 500 words or less.

Q: I uploaded my Personal Statement with the online application. Should I mail a hard copy in to Mechanical Engineering Department or Rackham Graduate School?

A: ME does not accept hard copies mailed to our office. Rackham Graduate School only accepts the version uploaded with their online application. Please do not mail any hard copies to us.

Q: Can I submit an edited Personal Statement?

A: Yes we will. Applicants will need to submit a PDF version of the revised document to me-grad-application@umich.edu. The edited version must have your full name and University of Michigan Identification Number (UMID). If you do not have a UMID yet, please add your date of birth to the document. We need this information in order to match your new document with your application file.

Please note that once an applicant submits their online application, no changes to the Personal Statement, Academic Statement of Purpose Letter, Curriculum Vitae, and Application can be modified online.

Q: I previously applied to a past term and was not admitted to the program. I am submitting a new application to the new term and would like to request that my Personal Statement be used for the new application. Is this possible?

A: Yes we can pull the Personal Statement from your previous application file. We will need your full name, University of Michigan Identifier Number (UMID), and the term you previously applied to in order to match the new document to your new application. A message can be sent to us at me-grad-application@umich.edu.