To assist you in writing your personal statement for graduate school applications, University Career Services has prepared this three-step worksheet and guidelines.
3 Basic Steps:
- Writing Your Personal Statement
- Personal Statement Critiques
STEP 1: Brainstorming
- Devote some undisturbed time to reflecting on these key questions.
- Also discuss them with friends or family members.
- Jot down notes. In some cases write sentences.
- Don't expect to have responses to every question or example.
- Also think about the flip side of each question. For example, why are you really committed to the field of biology despite pressure from your parents to become a lawyer or to get a job?
Your answers to the following questions will form the heart of your personal statement.
- How did your pre-college education influence your decision to pursue graduate study in your field?
- Think about: High school courses, teachers, special programs, student organizations,and community or volunteer work.
- How has your Rutgers experience influenced your decision?
- Think about: College courses, professors, academic interests, research, special programs, and student organizations. Think about the decision-making process you went through to choose your major.
- How has your work experience influenced your decision?
- Think about: Internships, externships, part-time jobs, summer jobs, and volunteer or community work.
- What person or persons have had the most influence on your decision to pursue graduate study? In what ways?
- Think about: Parents, relatives, teachers, professors, clergy, friends of the family, college friends, parents of friends, local merchants, supervisors, coaches, doctors, dentists, lawyers, etc.
- What situation or situations have had the most influence on your decision?
- Think about: Family, academic, work or athletic situations. Think about happy, sad, traumatic, moving or memorable situations.
- What personally motivates you to pursue graduate study in this field?
Think about: Your personal skills, interests and values.
STEP 2: Writing Your Personal Statement
- Read the guidelines listed on this page.
- Incorporate your notes or responses to the above questions.
- Begin writing your first draft.
- Develop an outline of your statement prior to writing. It doesn't have to be a detailed outline. It can be three or four main points in the order you want to make them.
- Accentuate your strengths and what makes you unique.
- Explain your weaknesses in a positive way. For example, refer to them not as weaknesses, but as areas for improvement or growth.
- Paint pictures and tell stories about what makes you special. In this way the admissions readers will remember you. The story can be happy or sad. The more feeling you can inject into your statement, the more you will stand out.
- Find out the specific orientation and philosophy of the graduate program to which you are applying. Adapt and refine your statement to fit the program. This will make you stand out from other applicants who recycle the same personal statement with each application.
STEP 3: Personal Statement Critiques
Schedule an appointment with a Career Services counselor to have your personal statement reviewed.
If you want to get in, the first thing to look at is the acceptance rate. This tells you how competitive the school is and how serious their requirements are.
The acceptance rate at Rutgers is 58%. For every 100 applicants, 58 are admitted.
This means the school is moderately selective. The school expects you to meet their requirements for GPA and SAT/ACT scores, but they're more flexible than other schools. If you exceed their requirements, you have an excellent chance of getting in. But if you don't, you might be one of the unlucky minority that gets a rejection letter.
Many schools specify a minimum GPA requirement, but this is often just the bare minimum to submit an application without immediately getting rejected.
The GPA requirement that really matters is the GPA you need for a real chance of getting in. For this, we look at the school's average GPA for its current students.
The average GPA at Rutgers is 3.66.
(Most schools use a weighted GPA out of 4.0, though some report an unweighted GPA. This school did not officially report its average GPA, but we've estimated it here using data from over 1,000 schools.)
With a GPA of 3.66, Rutgers requires you to be above average in your high school class. You'll need at least a mix of A's and B's, with more A's than B's. You can compensate for a lower GPA with harder classes, like AP or IB classes. This will show that you're able to handle more difficult academics than the average high school student.
If you're currently a junior or senior, your GPA is hard to change in time for college applications. If your GPA is at or below the school average of 3.66, you'll need a higher SAT or ACT score to compensate. This will help you compete effectively against other applicants who have higher GPAs than you.
Each school has different requirements for standardized testing. Most schools require the SAT or ACT, and many also require SAT subject tests.
You must take either the SAT or ACT to submit an application to Rutgers. More importantly, you need to do well to have a strong application.
Rutgers SAT Requirements
Many schools say they have no SAT score cutoff, but the truth is that there is a hidden SAT requirement. This is based on the school's average score.
Average SAT: 1300 (Old: 1828)
The average SAT score composite at Rutgers is a 1300 on the 1600 SAT scale.
On the old 2400 SAT, this corresponds to an average SAT score of 1828.
This score makes Rutgers Moderately Competitive for SAT test scores.
Rutgers SAT Score Analysis (New 1600 SAT)
The 25th percentile New SAT score is 1190, and the 75th percentile New SAT score is 1410. In other words, a 1190 on the New SAT places you below average, while a 1410 will move you up to above average.
Here's the breakdown of new SAT scores by section:
|Section||Average||25th Percentile||75th Percentile|
Rutgers SAT Score Analysis (Old 2400 SAT)
The 25th percentile Old SAT score is 1650, and the 75th percentile SAT score is 2000. In other words, a 1650 on the Old SAT places you below average, while a 2000 puts you well above average.
Here's the breakdown of old SAT scores by section:
|Section||Average||25th Percentile||75th Percentile|
SAT Score Choice Policy
The Score Choice policy at your school is an important part of your testing strategy.
Rutgers has the Score Choice policy of "Highest Section."
This is also known as "superscoring." This means that you can choose which SAT tests you want to send to the school. Of all the scores they receive, your application readers will consider your highest section scores across all SAT test dates you submit.
Click below to learn more about how superscoring critically affects your test strategy.
For example, say you submit the following 3 test scores:
Even though the highest total you scored on any one test date was 1000, Rutgers will take your highest section score from all your test dates, then combine them to form your Superscore. You can raise your composite score from 1000 to 1400 in this example.
This is important for your testing strategy. Because you can choose which tests to send in, and Rutgers forms your Superscore, you can take the SAT as many times as you want, then submit only the tests that give you the highest Superscore. Your application readers will only see that one score.
Therefore, if your SAT superscore is currently below a 1300, we strongly recommend that you consider prepping for the SAT and retaking it. You have a very good chance of raising your score, which will significantly boost your chances of getting in.
Even better, because of the Superscore, you can focus all your energy on a single section at a time. If your Reading score is lower than your other sections, prep only for the Reading section, then take the SAT. Then focus on Math for the next test, and so on. This will surely give you the highest Superscore possible.
Download our free guide on the top 5 strategies you must be using to improve your score. This guide was written by Harvard graduates and SAT perfect scorers. If you apply the strategies in this guide, you'll study smarter and make huge score improvements.
Rutgers ACT Requirements
Just like for the SAT, Rutgers likely doesn't have a hard ACT cutoff, but if you score too low, your application will get tossed in the trash.
Average ACT: 30
The average ACT score at Rutgers is 30. This score makes Rutgers Strongly Competitive for ACT scores.
The 25th percentile ACT score is 27, and the 75th percentile ACT score is 32.
Even though Rutgers likely says they have no minimum ACT requirement, if you apply with a 27 or below, you'll have a harder time getting in, unless you have something else impressive in your application.
ACT Score Sending Policy
If you're taking the ACT as opposed to the SAT, you have a huge advantage in how you send scores, and this dramatically affects your testing strategy.
Here it is: when you send ACT scores to colleges, you have absolute control over which tests you send. You could take 10 tests, and only send your highest one. This is unlike the SAT, where many schools require you to send all your tests ever taken.
This means that you have more chances than you think to improve your ACT score. To try to aim for the school's ACT requirement of 30 and above, you should try to take the ACT as many times as you can. When you have the final score that you're happy with, you can then send only that score to all your schools.
ACT Superscore Policy
By and large, most colleges do not superscore the ACT. (Superscore means that the school takes your best section scores from all the test dates you submit, and then combines them into the best possible composite score). Thus, most schools will just take your highest ACT score from a single sitting.
We weren't able to find the school's exact ACT policy, which most likely means that it does not Superscore. Regardless, you can choose your single best ACT score to send in to Rutgers, so you should prep until you reach our recommended target ACT score of 30.
Download our free guide on the top 5 strategies you must be using to improve your score. This guide was written by Harvard graduates and ACT perfect scorers. If you apply the strategies in this guide, you'll study smarter and make huge score improvements.
SAT/ACT Writing Section Requirements
Both the SAT and ACT have a Writing section that includes an essay.
Rutgers hasn't reported their stance on SAT/ACT Writing, but most likely they consider it to be optional. Thus you don't need to worry too much about Writing for this school, but other schools you're applying to may require it.
SAT Subject Test Requirements
Schools vary in their SAT subject test requirements. Typically, selective schools tend to require them, while most schools in the country do not.
We did not find information that Rutgers requires SAT subject tests, and so most likely it does not. At least 6 months before applying, you should still doublecheck just to make sure, so you have enough time to take the test.