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December 13, 2017

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The Weekly Writer

This will be our last issue of the Fall semester, but we will resume publication the first week of Spring semester. As always, please share this information with anyone who might be interested. Happy Holidays!

Application Deadline Refresher: Personal Statements

By Hadi B., Tutor

Having read many personal statements for graduate school this past month made me witness several challenges student writers encounter with this genre. A personal statement is a persuasive narrative which reflects a candidate's interest in graduate school and scaffolds on prior academic and life experiences.

Student writers tend to stick to clichés and overstate general claims that graduate school committees find in every statement they read. What you need to do is the opposite! Keep in mind that your statement has to stand out in a busy and competitive environment, and to do so you may benefit from the following tips:

  • Do not be afraid to focus on personal unique experiences.
  • Focus on your ability to solve prior challenging situations.
  • Bring your own background to the statement.
  • Explain how your background makes you a good fit for graduate school.
  • Present brief narrative examples reflecting your experience.
  • Be concrete and focus on what you did.
  • se the past tense or present perfect when you narrate.
  • Do not include everything you did in your life.
  • Focus on the most significant experiences that relate to graduate school life.
  • Keep a personal voice to engage your readers.

These tips are helpful but might sound overwhelming when you sit down to write your graduate school personal statement. For that reason, you should consider visiting the Writing Center. We can help you with brainstorming, and we use questions to prompt your ideas to flow. We also help you organize these ideas in different paragraphs. We give you time to draft, and we advise you to schedule follow up appointments to make sure you have a polished statement and a product you are proud to present to graduate school—a narrative that represents you and the brilliant things you did in life!

Writing Lab News & Events

Writing Lab Hours During Finals Week
The Writing Lab will be open our regular hours of 9 AM – 6 PM through Wednesday, December 13th.

We will reopen for the Spring semester at 9 AM on January 8th, 2018.

Graduate Student Writing Winter Workshop Series
December 18 – 19
Advance registration is required. For dates, times, and topics, visit our online schedule at https://cla.purdue.edu/wlschedule/ and choose the "Graduate Workshops" schedule from the dropdown menu.

Staff Spotlight

By Ryan S., Tutor

I'm a PhD student in American Studies at Purdue, and this is my first year working in the writing lab. Most of my grad work focuses on the intersection of literature, culture and the environment. I care a lot about helping people express themselves and their ideas as clearly as possible, which is why I got involved with the writing lab. My background is in journalism, where I've worked as a writer and editor for several years, but I've also taught rhetorical strategy and fundamentals of communication at the college level. As a tutor, I like helping clients develop and clarify their ideas. If you make an appointment with me, I look forward to talking about your projects and goals.

From Our Partners


Finals Frenzy at the LCC
December 11th – 14th

The LCC will remain open on Monday, December 11th through Thursday, December 14th for quiet study hours. Come by to study and have a snack.

Hours of Operation

Finals Week—Fall 2017

Dec 11 – Dec 13

Main Location

Heavilon Hall, Room 226

Mon – Wed
9 AM – 6 PM

Evening Satellites

HSSE Library


ME Building

Spring hours begin January 8th, 2018.

Connect With Us

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Writing Tip of the Week

"Use topic sentences to focus your writing."

-David M., Tutor

Book of the Week

Guide to Rapid Revision by Daniel D. Pearlman and Paula R. Pearlman

Recommended by Hope F., Tutor: "Intimidating at first glance, the contents section of this book provides a list of symbols used in marking common mistakes in papers; students receiving graded rough and final drafts can refer to pages on these symbols for what they mean as well as knowledge on how to approach correcting them."

You can find this book in the Writing Lab's library. Just ask the front desk.

As always, please share this information with anyone who might be interested.

To subscribe to this list, forward this message to our secretary, Chris Voeglein (cvoeglei@purdue.edu).

Writing Consultations

Schedule a writing consultation/tutoring appointment at any location or register for our group programs with our online schedulerFace-to-face (in-person), online (live video chat), and etutoring (emailed feedback) appointments available.

Please note: You must be a Purdue student, staff, or faculty member of the West Lafayette campus to use our writing consultation services or attend our group programs. For assistance scheduling your first appointment, we've prepared a helpful guide to using our online scheduler, WCO. 


Monday-Friday 9:00 am - 6:00 pm

Evening and weekend hours may be available at our satellite locations or virtually as late as 9:00 pm, please check our online schedule for details on current availability.

Contact us

Phone: (765) 494-3723
Fax: (765) 494-3780

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