The competition is withering. After a decade of record enrollment in undergraduate CS programs, a veritable army of computer scientists is now fleeing the stagnant job market and stampeding back to school. Ph.D. enrollment alone is up twenty percent. With legions of ex-dot-commers competing for a limited number of graduate slots, setting yourself apart requires more than just blockbuster GRE scores and impeccable grades -- it requires the perfect essay.
Whether you're pursuing an M.S. in Computer Theory or a Ph. D. in Computer Systems, your job is the same. You must distinguish yourself from hundreds or even thousands of applicants with comparable work experience and academic credentials. To achieve this, your personal statement must outline your technological expertise and academic background in language that is as precise and exacting as an algorithm. You must explain your research objectives, your rationale for seeking a graduate-level degree, and your attraction to a particular program.
And above all, you must make the reader respect you and feel compelled to admit you.