Personal Narrative Essay (500-700 words)
Option 1: Statement of Purpose
Perhaps the most common personal narrative, a personal statement or statement of purpose provides future graduate schools or employers with a quick glimpse into who you are and how well you will fit into a program or workplace. These statements very often follow the formulaic essay style, as readers of these statements must sort through hundreds in a short amount of time. The keys for these statements are clarity and authority. Your job is to research the school or company/job and depict yourself in a way that shows readers why you are a good investment.
You may use this option as an opportunity to compose a statement for a real graduate school or job opening; or you may respond to the prompt below, which is similar to many prompts for graduate school:
How have you made use of your education for the betterment of the community around you? How will your research/scholarship in our program allow you to further develop your communities?
Option 2: Personal Ethnography
If you have no specific audience for whom you would like to write, you may choose to write a personal ethnography essay. Similar to a personal statement or an artist’s statement, a personal ethnography tells a biographical story. However, as with the scientific genre of ethnographic writing, you will analyze your own personal story or experience with a critical eye. In particular, your ethnography must examine how one moment or event in your life reflects the way you are socially positioned by gender, race, class, sexual orientation, or nationality.
The objective of this genre, much like the other two options, is to reflect on the reciprocating forces of your own intentions, values, and desires and the cultural conditions that surround you.
Each narrative should be 500-700 words.