Personal Statement Resources

The personal statement is an important part of the graduate school application. This document allows the admission committee to get to know the applicant better and to directly connect the applicant’s interests and pursuits to our department. The applicant is free to address a wide range of topics. There are no rules or specific requirements. The personal statement is generally 2-3 pages in length. As guidance, personal statements often address the following questions:

  • What motivates you to pursue a Ph.D. in astronomy and astrophysics? What field(s) of astronomy/astrophysics excites you?
  • What are your interests and goals?
  • What skills, experience, personal characteristics do you have that will help you succeed in graduate school (e.g. coursework, leadership roles, teaching/mentoring experience computer programming, employment, research experience, etc.)?
  • What challenges have you overcome in your path toward applying to graduate school?
  • Why would the University of Chicago in particular be a good fit for you?

These questions are intended to serve as guidance. They should not prevent the applicant from sharing other information or highlighting other experiences or aspects of their application.