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The Dixon Fellows Program is designed for students who have the talent, motivation, and commitment to excel at Clemson University and to aspire to compete for prestigious national and international fellowships, such as the Rhodes, Marshall, and Truman Scholarships.
Unlike a resume, which provides information about yourself, a personal statement is an essay that offers understanding of the kind of person you are and of the life you live. It should be the product of deep, thoughtful reflection on who you are, how you got to be the way your are, and where you think you are headed in the future, not just in college or in your chosen career field, but in life itself. A personal statement is required by the Rhodes and most other prestigious fellowships as part of the application itself. It is also a required element of many graduate school applications.
Think about how you would answer questions such as these: What fascinates you and why? What are you passionate about? To who do you feel obliged, and why? When facing moral choices, where do you "draw the line"? What do you like and dislike about yourself? What people, books, and experiences have shaped your life (note: people other than your family, books other than the Bible, and those experiences other than faith experiences)?
These questions are just examples of the kinds of themes you might want to address in your personal statement. In other words, you should not view this as a fill-in-the-blanks exercise. There is no standard format or preferred style to follow in writing a personal statement. The essay should be prepared specifically for this competition, and should bear the imprint of your individuality. Be imaginative, expressive, honest - and above all, be yourself. However, please remember not to exceed the space provided on the application form.