Thanks again for all the helpful advice. I applied last year and alas, did not get in (I only applied to four schools, thus breaking the cardinal rule to apply, apply, apply). But I feel my writing has improved since then, and I'm ready to take another go at it.
Do I need to totally rewrite my personal statement, or just revise it to reflect my growth/progress in the last year? My thinking is if they didn't get past my writing sample, they won't remember the personal statement.
I have new stories I'll be submitting to the places I didn't get into the first time around. But at schools I have never applied to, is it wise to send in one of my "old" stories (that didn't make the cut with the other school), if I still think it's one of my "best"?
Second time's a recycled charm
Second time, it's rarely the personal statement that causes a rejection: only if the writer comes across as arrogant or difficult to work with. If you're happy with your statement, then I think some minor editing would be just fine.
As for where to send which stories... Now that would be breaking another cardinal rule: send the same work everywhere. On the other hand, if you follow that cardinal rule, then you'd be breaking another cardinal rule: send your best work.
Life is just filled with these little quandries, isn't it? I find that my only defense is to use lots of italics.
I think you've thought it out well: Send the best stories to the new schools and send the new stories to the old schools. That makes sense to me, and would break the lesser of the cardinal rules (which are really not cardinal at all, but more resemble thumbs). Rock on.