What is a Personal Statement?
A 1-2 page essay that is often requested for college applications, sometimes with specific prompts. At minimum, be prepared to describe who you are, your educational/professional background, your career goals, and why your are interested in going to this particular school.
What is a Teaching Philosophy?
A 1-2 page essay that is often requested for teaching positions, especially in higher education. It describes your focus, goals, and approaches to courses you instruct, such as what every student will learn, how they are assessed, how you engage your class, and examples of implementation.
What Is a Diversity Statement?
A 1-2 page essay that is often requested for teaching positions, especially in higher education. It describes your philosophy AND your actions (both inside and outside the classroom) around supporting diversity, equity and inclusion in your field.
Steps to Writing a Statement
1. Read the Prompt
Before starting, be sure to read any specific prompts that are outlined by a school or organization. These questions must be answered and, therefore, you can not send an absolutely identical statement to every opportunity.
2. Draft an Outline
Write down the layout of your essay. Use a short introduction, 2-3 body paragraphs, and if space a quick conclusion. Be sure to theme each body paragraph with a topic, idea, or focus that is clearly identified.
3. Identify Specific Examples
Now that you know what you want to discuss, be sure to provide specific details or examples. It’s not enough just to say you are “passionate” or “committed” to music, teaching or diversity. You must demonstrate through your actions.
4. Make Connections
For personal statements, you must ALWAYS make a direct connection to the program for which you are applying – whether they ask you to or not. For philosophies, be mindful of the position and type of institutions you are applying for so that you focus on the correct thing (i.e. private piano instructor vs. group piano instructor might have different approaches).
5. Have Someone Read It
Whatever you write down, no matter how many times you edit it, it is a draft. Always have a friend, colleague, or advisor review it so they can confirm you are stating things clearly and without mistakes.
Whatever feedback you received, incorporate it into your final version and give it one more look over before sending as PDF.
Statement Tip Sheet!
For examples of prompts and further instructions, please view our Personal Statement Tip Sheet.
“The IML has been incredible in shaping my musical and entrepreneurial career. The advisors are extremely professional, knowledgeable, and welcoming which made me feel comfortable and productive every time I scheduled a session. All Eastman students should take advantage of this valuable resource. I am a better musician, activist and ambassador of the arts because of them.”
Naomi Nakanishi, ’20E
B.M. Jazz Studies and Contemporary Media in Piano