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Free Sample Personal Statement in Communication

Program: Ph.D. in Communications
I wish to continue my academic career at the University of Southern Minnesota in the School of Journalism and Mass Communications, with the eventual goal of receiving my Doctoral Degree. As a Master's student in the School of Journalism and Mass Communications, I learned research methodology and theories of mass communications, which I have applied in a professional marketing/advertising career for the past one and a half years. At this time, however, I wish to continue my research in advertising and further explore the ways by which manipulating the content of an advertisement can affect consumers' attitudinal responses to advertising and, subsequently, their brand evaluations and/or purchase behaviors.

I will present a brief history of my academic and professional backgrounds as they relate to my application to the program. My Bachelor of Science degree in English at the University of Southern Minnesota afforded me the ability to research and write coherently on a wide range of subjects. After a brief professional interlude as a technical editor, I returned to USM in January 1990 to seek my Master's degree in the School of Journalism and Mass Communications. As an undergraduate, I had taken introductory public relations and advertising courses and I decided to devote my academic career to one of these areas. My graduate degree focused on advertising theory, along with coursework in public relations, sociology research methods, and marketing. In addition, I served as a research assistant to a graduate student who was studying the effects of color and graphics in print advertising, which incited me to investigate the "other" facets of print advertising for my master's thesis.

With this research, I realized that much emphasis had been placed on graphics in advertising, but what of the written word? I questioned, "How does advertising copy in general and certain types of words or phrases affect the consumer's perceptions, cognitions, emotions, and understanding?" My master's thesis investigated the effectiveness of synesthetic metaphors in print advertising headlines. Synesthetic metaphors are "words or phrases describing experiences proper to one sense modality, which transfer or compare their meanings to another modality." Although advertising practitioners are using synesthetic metaphors such as, "Can't You Just Hear This Color," for a printing company and "Juicy, Mouth-Watering Color" for a lipstick, there are no published studies about synesthesia in consumer literature. While the results of my exploratory experiment showed that subjects exposed to synesthetic metaphors evaluated brands and advertisements more unfavorably than those exposed toliteral headlines, a number of considerations and future research questions remain for this novel area of advertising communication.

Last summer I presented this synesthetic metaphor research at the Annual Convention of the American Psychology Association (Consumer Psychology Division) in Washington D.C.. My presentation was part of a panel discussion on the effectiveness of print advertising headlines. Currently, I am enrolled in a graduate level Marketing Research course at USM, where I intend to gain a better understanding of the entire marketing process, while reviewing research skills. Since receiving my Master's Degree, I have been employed as a Marketing Coordinator for a construction industry trade association, where I am responsible for the development of a marketing plan and all external communications, including a monthly newsletter, a print advertising campaign, and collateral materials.

At this time, however, I would like to return to the challenge and intellectual stimulation of academia and work toward contributing to the field of communications through research in innovative areas and teaching. For my academic area of concentration, I would like to continue my master's research on synesthetic metaphor and delve further into the processes of human communication, particularly in the area of advertising.

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