Most graduate programs will require an essay or personal statement. Some will provide a question which needs to be answered and some will leave it up to you to decide what you think is important for the admissions committee members to know about you. It is EXTREMELY important that you write coherently, effectively, and perfectly for this essay. If you are asked to answer a specific question, be sure that you ACTUALLY answer the question. Have as many people read over your personal statements and essays as you think would be qualified to make suggestions. Ask a faculty member in your field to read through your statement to make sure you have your discipline specific jargon and information correct. Ask someone who can evaluate your work for grammatical mistakes and general essay content. You are always welcome to bring your work in to the CCO and have a staff member read through it as we are familiar with strategies for an effective personal statement.
The CCO has several books available for check-out in Spes Unica, room 114 that include examples of personal statements.