Included here is a copy of my personal statement that I submitted with my application to the University of Denver Publishing Institute. I feel this is an accurate description of what forces compelled me to pursue a career in publishing, beginning with the DPI’s Certificate in Publishing.
Prompt: Write not more than two pages to explain why you are considering or are involved in a career in publishing and what personal characteristics, interests, and aspirations have led you to this choice. Please type your name, college, and graduation year in the upper right-hand corner of both pages of the statement.
Like many children, I spent most of my time living in novels, from Nancy Drew to Harry Potter. Despite months of checking the mailbox, I never did receive my Hogwarts letter at age eleven. So in the absence of an education in witchcraft and wizardry, a friend and I formed the “Nancy-Potter club” instead. By thirteen, I was filling my parent’s Amazon shopping cart with many books whose titles faded with time, while others, like The Virgin Suicides, continue to captivate me. In high school, I enjoyed meeting new people and documenting their experiences as a journalist. A few friends and I started a music blog, ensuring backstage access to the Warfield, a nightclub in San Francisco, a place few 16-year-olds had been as members of the press. As I finish college, my love for prose has culminated in a talent for reconfiguring text. I often find myself correcting errors in textbooks or academic journals, because I enjoy finding ways to improve sentences. When I read a book for an English class, I look beyond the author’s intention and construct my own opinion of the writing, evaluating whether a particular character or symbol was executed elegantly. As I look to the future, I hope to refine my eye for prose at the University of Denver Publishing Institute.
I began college set on a career in journalism as an investigative reporter. As I progressed through the CU Independent’s editorial ranks, my understanding of language expanded from my initial intention of becoming a writer. Working with reporters on improving their writing was the most fulfilling part of my experience at the CU Independent. Watching stories move from idea to first draft to final copy is an engaging process, and I take pride in the decisions I made that helped make the publication a more reputable news source.
Nonetheless, our student reporters struggle with the finite details that go into making their copy publishable. Although the media commonly portray respected editors as impatient or cruel, I am satisfied with working with the writers themselves. Collaboration between editor and writer is a delicate balance requiring positive interpersonal communication and mutual understanding. I know how to improve the mechanics of prose while still retaining the author’s voice, having had both perspectives on the writing process. I enjoy the challenge of puzzling over language and discovering the ideal combination of syntax, making a statement precise and profound. This process often requires editing alongside the writer, as we work in tandem to develop a strong sentence. Editing prose is a cathartic process for me; after assembling text to its potential I feel an unmatched sense of mental clarity.
What was a vocational experience in college has become an impulse toward greater intellectual challenge. As my skills as an editor have become more sophisticated, I edit, interpret and question any and all prose I encounter; newspaper articles, academic writing and popular fiction are not spared my analysis. I’ve learned that while editing fulfills me, the newsroom environment does not. I thrive on deadline, but prefer editing prose that is more substantive. The best part about college is interacting with content in which significant ideas emerge across disciplines. I love nothing more than to learn something new from text, and editing papers for colleagues has allowed me to think critically about topics I wouldn’t otherwise be exposed to.
Generally, material sent through a publisher is more crafted or complex than the standard news article. While I have developed a rhythmic and efficient editing style, I have much to learn about the publishing industry. The Denver Publishing Institute is where I can advance my editorial skills and apply them in new, significant ways. Whether I am working with academics at a university press, or authors at a publishing house, I will enjoy helping people improve their writing. I believe that every individual has the potential to be a writer, but many don’t know how to express ideas into words. Entry into the Denver Publishing Institute would help me decide which platform best suits my editorial inclination.