Please write an essay, approximately 500-700 words (typically one page) in length on one of following topics:

USC’s speaker series What Matters to Me and Why asks faculty and staff to reflect on their values, beliefs, and motivations. Presenters talk about choices they have made, difficulties encountered, and commitments solidified. Write an essay about an event or experience that helped you learn what is important to you and why it is important.

Visions and Voices is a university-wide arts and humanities initiative that seeks to transform students’ perspectives through presentations and performances by top artists, writers and scholars. Tell us about a creative project, performance or other work of yours and how it reflects your vision or voice.

Thomas Edison failed many times before successfully inventing the modern electric light bulb. He said, "If I find 10,000 ways something won’t work, I haven’t failed. I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward." Reflect on a challenge you overcame through persistence.
Tips and Techniques

  • Start early– Allow time for reflection, thoughtful preparation, and revision.
  • Choose a topic for each essay—Look critically at the information in your application: your graders, activity and work experience, family income. Anticipate questions an admission evaluator will have after reading your application. The personal statement is your opportunity to answer those questions.
  • Compose your personal statement in a word-processing program—Don’t type it directly into the application. This way, you will have the opportunity to print copies for review.
  • Write in a natural style—Present your information and ideas in a focused, thoughtful and meaningful manner. Support your ideas with specific examples. A personal statement that is simply a list of qualities or accomplishments is usually not persuasive.
  • Proofread—In addition to checking your spelling, be sure your grammar is correct and your essays read smoothly.
  • Solicit feedback—Your personal statement should reflect your own ideas and be written by you alone, but others… family and teachers — can offer valuable suggestions.
  • Copy and paste—Once you are satisfied with your essays save them in plain text and paste them into the space provided in the application. Proofread once more to make sure no odd characters or line breaks have appeared.
Last updated: 10/5/2010 3:25:51 PM