How to Write a Personal Statement (Tips + Essay Examples)

This ultimate guide covers everything you’ll need to brainstorm, outline, and write an outstanding personal statement for college applications.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

What is a personal statement that just means “essay” … right, what are some great personal statement topics (aka how do i brainstorm mine).

  • Three personal statement examples

A few hundred words to capture who you’ve become over the course of almost two decades? 

Yup, makes sense why lots of students find the idea of writing a personal statement intimidating. Framed like the above, it could almost sound, I don’t know, unreasonable.

Whether you’re using the Common Application, the Coalition Application, or a school-specific application portal, it can be scary to try to come up with an essay topic that encompasses the complexity and vastness of who you are as a person … while also staying in the word count. 

But this can also be a fun, meaningful experience (real talk: We wouldn’t be doing this if we didn’t think it was true). In fact, the process of brainstorming and writing about meaningful aspects of your life can be an incredible way to practice self-reflection and think more deeply about who you are, what you value, who you hope to be in the world, and what you actually want to get out of college. 

So to help you move past the intimidating aspects and focus more on the fun and meaning, in this post, we’ll describe what differentiates the personal statement from other college essays and what function it serves in your college application. We’ll also share what qualities can help a personal statement stand out, how to find a stronger topic, how to set yourself up for an easier writing process, and even share some essay examples we loved.

A personal statement is an essay in which you demonstrate aspects of who you are by sharing some of the qualities, skills, and values you’ll bring to college. A written personal statement is typically used by college admission offices, but it’s also often used by scholarship selection committees or specific academic departments to help assess potential candidates.  

To understand what the personal statement is, it’s helpful to imagine your entire college application as a human body. The personal statement is the metaphorical “heart”—it captures the essence of who you are as a person and what motivates you, both academically and personally.

Let’s briefly clarify what it isn’t . It’s not a classic five-paragraph essay you write for English class (thesis, body, restate thesis in almost the same words, but hopefully not repetitively, done). 

Here are some other ways a personal statement is different from an English class essay:

english-class-essays-vs-personal-statements.jpg

There’s no “right” essay topic to write about, as you’ll see from the range of essay topics in this post . Students have written successfully on topics ranging from: I Shot My Brother, to Home, to Being Pooped on by Animals. Oh, and btw, we’d recommend not reading too many sample essays before you’ve done some brainstorming of your own first. But whatever topic you land on, keep this in mind: 

The goal of your personal statement is to find a topic that demonstrates the skills, qualities, values, and interests you’ll bring with you to a college campus.

In fact, though we’ll keep saying “topic” of your essay because it’s clear and easy, the topic of your essay is ultimately always you. Just as the heart drives the actions of the rest of the body, the personal statement provides context for the rest—and, in some ways, is the heart—of your application. The other supplemental essays , if required by colleges, are opportunities to go into more detail about aspects of your interests, passions, and identity not covered in your personal statement.

The personal statement is a great place to discuss critical events or experiences in your life that catalyzed you to become the person you are now, or various aspects of your identity that strongly influence the way you interact with the world around you. It’s also an opportunity to introduce readers to your most important interests and values . For more on that, and exercises to help clarify those things, check those links (we’ll also offer more on them later).

What makes a great personal statement?

Ultimately, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to writing your personal statement that will magically make colleges admit you. 

Bummer, we know.

That said, the best personal statements often share a lot of the same qualities , even when they’re about drastically different topics. 

Here, in our opinion, are a few qualities you’ll find in an outstanding personal statement:

You can identify the applicant’s core values. In a great personal statement, we should be able to get a sense of what fulfills, motivates, or excites the author. These can be things like humor, beauty, community, and autonomy, just to name a few. So when you read back through your essay, you should be able to detect at least 4-5 different values throughout.  When you look for these values, also consider whether or not they’re varied or similar. For instance, values like hard work, determination, and perseverance … are basically the same thing. On the other hand, more varied values like resourcefulness, healthy boundaries, and diversity can showcase different qualities and offer a more nuanced sense of who you are.

It’s vulnerable. We love when, after reading an essay, we feel closer to the writer. The best essays we’ve seen are the ones where students have let their guard down some. Don’t be afraid to be honest about things that scare, challenge, or bother you. The personal statement is a great space for you to open up about those aspects of yourself. As you’re writing, ask yourself: Does the essay sound like it’s mostly analytical, or like it’s coming from a deeper, more vulnerable place? Another way of asking this: Does it sound like the author wrote it using mostly their head (intellect), or their heart and gut? Remember, this is the “heart” of your application. It’s a place for emotional vulnerability. After reading it, the admission officer should (we hope) feel like they have a better sense of who you are.

It shows insight and growth. Your personal statement should ideally have at least 3-5 “so what” moments, points at which you draw insights or reflections from your experiences that speak to your values or sense of purpose. Sometimes, “so what” moments are subtle. Other times, they’re more explicit. Either way, the more illuminating, the better. They shouldn’t come out of nowhere, but they also shouldn’t be predictable. You want your reader to see your mind in action and take that journey of self-reflection with you.

It demonstrates craft (aka it’s articulate and reads well). While content is important, craft is what’ll bring the best stories to life. That’s why it’s important to think of writing as a process—it’s very rare that we’ve seen an outstanding personal statement that didn’t go through at least 5 drafts. Everything you write should be carefully considered . You don’t want your ideas to come off as sloppy or half-baked. Your reader should see the care you put into brainstorming and writing in every sentence. Ask yourself these questions as you write:

Do the ideas in the essay connect in a way that’s logical, but not too obvious (aka boring)? 

Can you tell that the author spent a lot of time revising the essay over the course of several drafts? 

Is it interesting and succinct throughout? If not, where do you lose interest? Where could words be cut? Which part isn’t revealing as much as it could be?

If you’ve written a first draft and you’re still not sure whether the essay is what you want it to be, give it to a trusted friend, teacher, or family member and have them evaluate it based on these 4 general criteria. Sometimes, we spend so much time on an essay that it’s useful to get another person’s point of view.

The answer to this question dovetails with the approach you’re taking to structuring your essay, so let’s talk about that a bit first.

And while structure may seem nebulous, offering vast options, you can really boil it down to just two approaches: montage or narrative.

So … what are those? And how can you generate some great content for either structure?

Whether you take a Narrative or Montage Approach to structuring your essay depends on your answer to this question:

Do you feel like you’ve faced significant challenges in your life … or not so much? (And do you want to write about them?)

If yes (to both), you’ll most likely want to use Narrative Structure .

If no (to either), you’ll probably want to try Montage Structure .

The above links dive into greater detail if you’re curious, but essentially, Narrative Structure is the classic story structure, focusing roughly equally on a) Challenges You Faced, b) What You Did About Them, and c) What You Learned. Paragraphs and events are connected causally. (Not casually , btw, but causally—as in, through cause and effect.)

Montage Structure focuses on a series of experiences and insights that are connected thematically (so, for example, 5 pairs of pants that connect to 5 different sides of who you are).

So how does structure play into what makes a great personal statement topic?

We believe a montage essay (i.e., an essay NOT about challenges) is more likely to stand out if the topic or theme of the essay is:

X. Elastic (i.e., something you can connect to a variety of examples, moments, or values)

Y. Less common (i.e., something other students probably aren’t writing about)

We believe that a narrative essay is more likely to stand out if it contains: 

X. Difficult or compelling challenges

These aren’t binary—rather, each can be placed on a spectrum.

“Elastic” will vary from person to person. You might be able to connect mountain climbing to family, history, literature, science, social justice, environmentalism, growth, insight … and someone else might not connect it to much of anything. Maybe trees?

“Less common” —every year, thousands of students write about mission trips, sports, or music. It’s not that you can’t write about these things, but it’s a lot harder to stand out. 

“Difficult or compelling challenges” can be put on a spectrum with things like getting a bad grade or not making a sports team on the weaker end, and things like escaping war or living homeless for three years on the stronger side. While you can possibly write a strong essay about a weaker challenge, it’s really hard to do.

“Insight” is the answer to the question “so what?” A great insight is likely to surprise the reader a bit, while a so-so insight likely won’t. (Insight is something you’ll develop in an essay through the writing process, rather than something you’ll generally know ahead of time for a topic, but it’s useful to understand that some topics are probably easier to pull insights from than others.)

To clarify, you can still write a great montage with a very common topic, or a narrative that offers so-so insights. But the degree of difficulty goes up. Probably way up.

With that in mind, how do you brainstorm possible topics that are on the easier-to-stand-out side of the spectrum?

Would you Rather watch instead?

Brainstorming your (outstanding) personal statement topic

In our experience, virtually every great college essay comes from good brainstorming. So, early on, stay in exploration mode—we recommend that students outline at least 2-3 different ideas before starting a draft. 

Quality brainstorming can reveal great topics that you wouldn’t have thought about otherwise (and that you may not even know you can/are allowed to write about). Also, more on this in a bit, but outlining well is a huge time-saver, as it can help you either build a better first draft or reveal that you may not have as much to say about a topic as you might’ve initially thought. 

Here are 5 great brainstorming exercises to get you started: 

Values Exercise

Essence Objects Exercise

21 Details Exercise

Everything I Want Colleges To Know About Me Exercise

Feelings and Needs Exercise

That Values Exercise is your cornerstone—those values are what you’ll want to thread throughout your application, regardless of what structure you use in your personal statement. 

We’d recommend doing all of those exercises, regardless of which structure you think you may use, as you may find something new in exploring, and many students will have to write a bunch of supplemental essays anyway.

That said, if you’re thinking Narrative Structure may be your thing (as in, you have some strong challenges you want to write about), be sure to spend a nice chunk of time exploring the Feelings and Needs Exercise (linked above), as it can directly lead to a strong outline and first draft.

If you’re thinking montage, think about how things like your essence objects and 21 details may be thematically linked, and how they can connect to your core values and memories. After doing those, you can also check out this list of 21 College Essay Topics and Ideas That Worked to get a sense of some topics that have paid off. We’ll draw your attention to some of the specific examples in the tips below. We’ve seen great montages built around things like:

Identity: This can be anything from sexuality, to culture, to race, to religion. For examples, check out “ My Grandma’s Kimchi ” or “ The Five Families Essay .”

Academic/career interests: This isn’t just a list of your favorite classes or a lengthy explanation of how well you did on that one AP Calculus test junior year. Instead, it’s more of an exploration of your educational interests and a meditation on how that might influence the work you do in the future. For examples, check out “ Why Behavioral Economics ” and “ Flying .”

Meaningful objects: Those “essence objects.” They’re basically just objects that mean more to you because they connect to your values at a deeper level. For instance, maybe you’d choose dumplings because they remind you of family dinners on Chinese New Year and a specific moment when you had to navigate your cultural identity. So, talking about dumplings might give you an entry point into talking about things like family and cultural connection. Doing the Essence Objects Exercise linked above will help you figure out what kind of objects might serve this function in your life. See the “ Happiness Spreadsheet ” essay for an example.

Significant Obstacles or Events: You might choose to write about a struggle you’ve faced or a dilemma that forced you to think more deeply about some aspect of who you are or what you’re interested in. “ The Tally On My Uniform ” and “ Dead Bird ” are two examples.

It’s important to note that some of these topics will likely overlap. You might choose to write about a significant challenge you faced that related to your identity in some way. Or maybe you’ll want to include details about both academic and extracurricular interests. Don’t feel like you have to choose just one. This list is just to give you a sense of what kind of topics you can explore.

How should I write a personal statement?

First, outline.

Seriously? Outline?

To get into just a little more nuance—if you have a ton of time until your deadline, and you don’t mind maybe throwing away entire drafts and starting over, then feel free to just dive in and write.

Otherwise, outline. Doing so will save you time and make your writing better.

So how do you outline?

For a narrative, use the Feelings and Needs Exercise , and build clear bullet points for the Challenges + Effects, What I Did About It, and What I Learned. Those become your outline. 

Yeah, that simple.

For a montage, outline 4-7 ways your thread connects to different values through different experiences, and if you can think of them, different lessons and insights (though these you might have to develop later, during the writing process). For example, how auto repair connects to family, literature, curiosity, adventure, and personal growth (through different details and experiences).

Here are some solid example outlines:

Narrative outline (developed from the Feelings and Needs Exercise)

Challenges:

Domestic abuse (physical and verbal)

Controlling father/lack of freedom

Sexism/bias

Prevented from pursuing opportunities

Cut off from world/family

Lack of sense of freedom/independence

Faced discrimination

What I Did About It:

Pursued my dreams

Traveled to Egypt, London, and Paris alone

Challenged stereotypes

Explored new places and cultures

Developed self-confidence, independence, and courage

Grew as a leader

Planned events

What I learned:

Inspired to help others a lot more

Learned about oppression, and how to challenge oppressive norms

Became closer with mother, somewhat healed relationship with father

Need to feel free

And here’s the essay that became: Easter

Montage outline:

Thread: Home

Values: family, tradition, literature

Ex: “Tailgate Special,” discussions w/family, reading Nancy Drew

Perception, connection to family

Chinese sword dance

Values: culture/heritage, meticulousness, dedication, creativity

Ex: notebook, formations/choreography

Nuances of culture, power of connection

Values: science/chemistry, curiosity 

Synthesizing plat nanoparticles

Joy of discovery, redefining expectations

Governor’s School

Values: exploration, personal growth

Knitting, physics, politics, etc.

Importance of exploring beyond what I know/am used to, taking risks

And here’s the essay that became: Home

Once you’ve got a solid outline, start drafting. A few really useful things for your first draft:

Don’t worry about word count (within reason).

Don’t worry about making your first draft perfect—it won’t be. Just write.

Don’t worry about a fancy opening or ending.

We’ve seen way too many students not write about the things they need to explore in a first draft because they were worried about word count. If your first draft of a 650-word essay is 800 or 900 words, cool. You’ll have to cut eventually. But that’s the easy part (you generally just hit “delete”).

And it’s actually easier to write a good first draft if you’re not worrying about writing a good first draft. We know that sounds contradictory. But what we mean is that a first draft is good if it gives you a clear sense of where to head with your second and third drafts. That’s its job—to help map where you go next.

Linked to that, a strong opening and ending are things you can more easily develop once you’re clearer on your content and structure. So, for a first draft, if something cool comes to you, great. But if not, don’t let it stop you from drafting.

Jump in and spend some time getting your ideas down on paper. Remember your first draft is just a chance to mess around with different topics and thoughts. It doesn’t have to be anywhere close to perfect. If it helps, just think of it as a brain dump. Once you’ve got all your ideas somewhere, you can start to reorganize and make them more coherent. 

Revise (And revise. And revise ...)

Like we said earlier, it’s incredibly rare for an outstanding personal statement to not go through at least 5 drafts. So this is a big part of the process.

To get you started, this guide to Revising Your Essay in 5 Steps will help you create clearer logical flow, as will this breakdown of 9 different ways to effectively transition .

If you want to build a better opening , check out a bunch of options to play with there (we’d recommend experimenting, even if you have something you like—through exploring, you may find something even better).

And if you want to strengthen the ending of your essay , wander over that way.

Additionally, one of the best general tips we can give you as you revise is to read your essay out loud to yourself. And try to read from a total stranger’s perspective. 

Reading out loud will help you notice problems you maybe missed when reading it in your mind. And reading from a stranger’s perspective will help ensure you aren’t relying on things in your brain that need to be on the page (but aren’t). 

You might also try reading it to a trusted family member, teacher, or friend. They might be able to give you some constructive feedback to make your piece more relatable or accessible for other people. Just keep in mind that some people may have a good sense of what makes for strong writing in general, but not necessarily what makes for a strong college essay specifically.

For more about the essay writing process, check out our Ultimate Guide for writing your personal statement.

Want some guidance on your college applications?

Schedule a meeting to work with my team., three personal statement examples (with analysis for why they worked).

Example 1: "Cheers" 

While my friends binge The Office , I’m at home with my favorite family tavern, Cheers . Reminiscing on my first visit five-years-ago, going into my tenth visit, I realize the gang at Cheers is my mirror: they reflect how I’ve grown.  Sam Malone. Handsome, charming, ex-pro athlete. When I first met Sam, I had the typical impression: a playboy. However, I now see the real Sam: a compassionate being. Raised in Birmingham, I’ve learned many positive lessons, but there are some lessons I’m ashamed of. Homophobia is still prevalent in Alabama; something platonic as hugging your friend fuels ridicule. There’s an episode where Sam is conflicted after discovering his old best-friend was gay. By the end, he determines that whom his friend loves shouldn’t affect their friendship--a progressive act for 1983. This became personal when my brother came out. I was angered that a society that taught me Southern hospitality tried to teach me to hate one of the people I love most. Sam’s actions taught me who one chooses to love doesn’t change their humanity and encouraged me to promote that view in Alabama. When classmates make homophobic comments, I always bring up my brother and our story. These same classmates are now attending the annual Pride parades, standing up for our friends’ rights. Diane Chambers. Educated, elitist, starving artist. Diane loved the arts and displayed her work proudly, even if her cartoons of people depicted animals. As a kid, my dad attempted to teach me how to draw. These sessions ended in frustration, as I wasn’t able to recreate his work. While I was fascinated by the expression of creativity, I thought, “I’m not talented.” Through Diane’s character arcs, I learned art is not linear; it’s multi-dimensional. Diane would appreciate the discovery of my means of expression: graphic design and programming. I blend the two mediums to create an impactful product. Whether it’s designing and developing an app to battle the Tanzanian Water Crisis, or creating advertisements and social media posts for my internship at a construction-tech start-up, I reveal my vision through my greatest passion: technology. Dr. Frasier Crane. Intelligent, empathetic, scientist. Frasier (we’re on a first-name basis), joined the gang later after falling in love with Diane at a mental health retreat. I first met Frasier when I struggled to fit in with my peers. While I had a passion for STEM and its ability to uncover mysteries of the unknown, my peers had a passion for hating everything academic. While I thought Frasier was super cool, I still called him a nerd. However, watching the way Frasier embraced science gradually allowed me to realize my love for it is something to hone rather than suppress. Eventually, I developed enough confidence to reach out to a professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham to conduct computational physics research. Over the past three years, I have completed two research projects, currently researching the distinct applications of computer vision, and have become a pioneer within STEM.  Inspired by the love for Computer Science competitions, I founded the district’s first CS team. Upon concluding our presentation at the U.S. Capitol, I knew Frasier would be proud.  The Cheers gang. I have wondered why I clicked with them so well since we are different people. Sam the jock, Frasier the nerd, Diane the artist, I the awkward teenager. I’ve realized each of them is a part of me. When I face societal pressure, I always learn and overcome. While I’m passionate about science, I also love the arts. Whereas I used to be an antisocial 7th grader, I’m now a senior with great friends and mentors. No matter what I’m struggling with in life, I know I can return to Cheers , where everybody knows your name.

Why this essay worked:

This essay does a great job of using the Montage Structure to incorporate a bunch of different aspects of the applicant’s life into one coherent piece. You’ll notice that they use the TV show Cheers and the characters in it as a clothesline off which to “hang” their interest in computer science and graphic design, LGBTQ+ community allyship, and generally endearing nerdiness. This is a really clever way of bringing together seemingly disparate topics. It doesn’t take itself too seriously but tells a lot about the author and how she thinks. It also gives her a very clear structure for her essay. Each paragraph is devoted to one Cheers character and (more importantly) expounds on the ways the author connects to that individual. The essay has a clear purpose despite lacking a linear narrative.

Also notice that the author doesn’t necessarily have a super clear idea of what she wants to do, career-wise. However, she still incorporates specific details about how she’s synthesized computer science and artistic design in various clubs and events. She doesn’t explicitly have to tell us what her future career is for us to get a sense of what interests she might pursue in college. This is a prime example of how you can write an outstanding personal statement even if you don’t totally know what you want to do in college and haven’t faced a significant challenge.

Example 2: 

All that I remember from my childhood are happy memories - of blowing balloons in summer after eating an ice-cone, coming from school to find my favourite snacks lined up on the table, my grandma feeding me with her own hands and never failing to add that extra spoon of ghee (clarified butter) to my rice. My parents shielded us from everything that was bad in this world or could somehow hurt us. They were so protective that I learned to ride a bike on the roof of our three-story house because my parents didn’t think it was safe for me to ride on the road. Even on our roof, a place well within the four walls of our house, I had someone looking out for me. That protective bubble around me finally popped when I was stopped from entering a temple where my family goes annually on an auspicious day. I loved that subtle fragrance of saffron and seeing the beautifully decorated temple with thousands of pilgrims lining up. My grandpa donates a lot there which allows us to enter early in the morning and perform the rituals without the usual crowd. The problem this year was a new rule that prohibited Western clothing. The strange thing was that they didn’t stop male my cousin even though we were wearing the exact same thing, jeans and t-shirt. I wouldn’t be surprised if this happened today but I was then, as I was only in middle school. I hadn’t seen anything like this yet because my family never treated us differently -- we hadn’t previously seen this side of the world. I started trying to learn more about the “real world”, reading more news and participating in intercultural exchanges and debates, anything that would give me more insight. This process of exploring different versions of an event, of noticing how different people might see the same thing, made me more observant. But this also made me think of how others might see me and I became scared of being judged. When I was elected Head Girl this past year, I became even more self-conscious because I was in the limelight -- and everything I would do would reflect on the school. I thankfully realized how irrational my fears were during a hectic Round Square International Conference (RSIC) at school. I was busy heading our student team and managing crises. When a school bought more students than they’d registered, I didn’t have time to think, I had to rely on my instincts and take action. Teachers from across the world praised me; one even said I’d been the soul of our conference. These small but empowering moments have helped me realize that I could trust my decisions, my input counted too. I need to be myself and worry less about what others think. I could have easily changed my clothes that day at the temple but I didn’t because that’s not who I am. There’s always going to be someone who might not approve of what I do and that is all right.  I am choosing to attend college in the United States because there I can continue my quest to learn more about the complexities of this world. My family never allowed me to use the public transportation in my city. I understand their concern, but I think it’s time for me to explore outside the safety of home, to ride a bike or take the subway, make my mistakes, and learn my way. At school, I felt like I was in the spotlight yet so invisible mostly because I worried about what others might think. But now I will choose to be visible, choose to be me.

Off the bat, one of the biggest things that stands out about this essay is the level of detail in it. In the intro, the author evokes very visceral images of blowing balloons in the summer, extra spoonfuls of ghee on rice, and riding bikes on rooftops. The more you can drop the reader into your world and engage their senses, the better. You want people to be able to identify with you so that they have a clear sense of who you are as a person. It also helps you stand out. The more specifically you write, the less likely it is that anyone else could have written it. That’s what this whole personal statement thing is all about—showing what you can uniquely bring to the table. 

The other great thing about this essay is that it ends in a different place from where it begins. This shows insight and growth. The author goes from questioning her instincts and judgements to seeing her inherent value. She begins to gain confidence and see the positive ways in which she can contribute to the conversations she’s a part of. This transformation is important because it’s a hook that keeps people reading. They don’t know where the essay is going to take them, so they keep reading to see where the author will end up. It also demonstrates the applicant’s growth and ability to self-reflect, which are always great qualities to highlight in college essays.

Example 3: 

Apparently, I have a natural “mom vibe.”  On my volleyball team, I am team mom in every way. As a natural worrier, I like to make sure that everyone has all of their necessities: knee pads, water bottle, hair elastic, uniform. Did everyone go to the bathroom before leaving on the bus? Did we count to make sure that all fourteen of us are here? Does anyone want an apple slice? Over my many years of playing volleyball, I have learned how to play every position well enough to fill in for any member of my team, whether that’s front, back, libero, setter, or hitter, so that I can always be there for my team in a pinch.  A few years ago, I transitioned from looking after only my teammates to also helping actual children. I started volunteering at my former elementary school as a teacher’s assistant. I guide third graders through difficult word problems or sentence structures, sometimes translating the lesson to Mandarin for the Chinese students who are struggling with English. I live for that moment when the impossible suddenly becomes possible and I see a student use what they just learned correctly without any assistance. I love helping kids ask big questions, and think about how to solve them, because it reminds me of how my parents guided me. Ever since I can remember, every time my father and I are alone on a long trip, we ask each other questions and the other has to answer with scientific evidence. Do birds have eyelids? Why is gelatin gelatinous? What does schizophrenia look like in a brain? I love thinking about how things work from the molecular level all the way up to the mechanical level. During a recent internship, I had the opportunity to ask big questions through research, a step beyond the guesstimating I was used to doing in my dad’s CRV. The team I was working with was conducting studies focused on treating alcoholism. My job was to “clean up” the data, or make it more readable. I sifted through spreadsheets, digging for the important data and piecing everything together logically. Knowing that my contribution would have a positive impact on people’s lives was incredibly meaningful. I’ve always enjoyed putting things together like a puzzle. As Chief Layout Editor of my school newspaper, I help my designers compile every edition. Like a real-life game of Tetris, every article must fit perfectly with the other articles around it, lined up into evenly lengthed columns. No matter how much experience a graphic designer has, no one gets all of their articles laid out nicely on the first try. We solve every edition by trial and error, which often results in lots of frustration, but no amount of frustration can surpass the pride and satisfaction once we have all the pages compiled and printed. As a pediatrician, I will be able to strengthen and use all these parts of me. I will have the chance to treat a multitude of illnesses and injuries and problem solve my way through each one. Each day, I will be able to think critically and scientifically to give families possible solutions and peace of mind about their child’s health. I hope to continually expand my knowledge as medicine advances and ask big questions by frequently participating in research. Hopefully I’ll be able to work with a great group of peers in a clinic and in public health. I want to find new solutions to seemingly unsolvable problems, and finally, use all of my skills and qualities to help better the lives of others.  Plus, as a pediatrician, I will be able to take care of children who cannot always advocate for themselves, so my mom instinct will be one of my greatest assets.

This is another creative example of how you can go about writing a montage essay. The author uses her “mom vibe” to her advantage and discusses how her interest in attending to the people (and world) around her has influenced different spheres of her life. Notice how well the first line hooks us into the story. It’s short, sweet, funny, and visibly distinct from the denser paragraphs below. When you’re writing, think very carefully about your first sentence and the work it’s doing to rope your reader in. That first sentence is your first impression on readers, so you want it to be a good one. 

One last standout aspect of this essay is the way it uses questions. In it, the author poses a lot of big and (oftentimes) unanswered questions. This is great because it highlights her natural curiosity and shows her mind in action. She doesn’t have to answer the questions for them to speak volumes about her personality and interests. Don’t feel like you have to resolve everything neatly by the end of your essay. That would be unrealistic, and ultimately, pretty uninteresting. It’s okay to pose questions for the sake of sheer wonder. In fact, it’s better than okay—it’s great. Nerd out a little. Have fun with it.

With all these writing/brainstorming strategies and example essays, the personal statement shouldn’t feel too intimidating anymore. Now you have all the tools you need to start writing an amazing essay.

Another great read: College Application & Admissions Timeline (AKA What Should I be Doing Right Now?)

a personal statement template

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Media File: Examples of Successful Statements

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Below are samples of personal statements. You may also select "Sample Statement" in the Media Box above for a PDF sample.

Statement #1

My interest in science dates back to my years in high school, where I excelled in physics, chemistry, and math. When I was a senior, I took a first-year calculus course at a local college (such an advanced-level class was not available in high school) and earned an A. It seemed only logical that I pursue a career in electrical engineering.

When I began my undergraduate career, I had the opportunity to be exposed to the full range of engineering courses, all of which tended to reinforce and solidify my intense interest in engineering. I've also had the opportunity to study a number of subjects in the humanities and they have been both enjoyable and enlightening, providing me with a new and different perspective on the world in which we live.

In the realm of engineering, I have developed a special interest in the field of laser technology and have even been taking a graduate course in quantum electronics. Among the 25 or so students in the course, I am the sole undergraduate. Another particular interest of mine is electromagnetics, and last summer, when I was a technical assistant at a world-famous local lab, I learned about its many practical applications, especially in relation to microstrip and antenna design. Management at this lab was sufficiently impressed with my work to ask that I return when I graduate. Of course, my plans following completion of my current studies are to move directly into graduate work toward my master's in science. After I earn my master's degree, I intend to start work on my Ph.D. in electrical engineering. Later I would like to work in the area of research and development for private industry. It is in R & D that I believe I can make the greatest contribution, utilizing my theoretical background and creativity as a scientist.

I am highly aware of the superb reputation of your school, and my conversations with several of your alumni have served to deepen my interest in attending. I know that, in addition to your excellent faculty, your computer facilities are among the best in the state. I hope you will give me the privilege of continuing my studies at your fine institution.

(Stelzer pp. 38-39)

Statement #2

Having majored in literary studies (world literature) as an undergraduate, I would now like to concentrate on English and American literature.

I am especially interested in nineteenth-century literature, women's literature, Anglo-Saxon poetry, and folklore and folk literature. My personal literary projects have involved some combination of these subjects. For the oral section of my comprehensive exams, I specialized in nineteenth century novels by and about women. The relationship between "high" and folk literature became the subject for my honors essay, which examined Toni Morrison's use of classical, biblical, African, and Afro-American folk tradition in her novel. I plan to work further on this essay, treating Morrison's other novels and perhaps preparing a paper suitable for publication.

In my studies toward a doctoral degree, I hope to examine more closely the relationship between high and folk literature. My junior year and private studies of Anglo-Saxon language and literature have caused me to consider the question of where the divisions between folklore, folk literature, and high literature lie. Should I attend your school, I would like to resume my studies of Anglo-Saxon poetry, with special attention to its folk elements.

Writing poetry also figures prominently in my academic and professional goals. I have just begun submitting to the smaller journals with some success and am gradually building a working manuscript for a collection. The dominant theme of this collection relies on poems that draw from classical, biblical, and folk traditions, as well as everyday experience, in order to celebrate the process of giving and taking life, whether literal or figurative. My poetry draws from and influences my academic studies. Much of what I read and study finds a place in my creative work as subject. At the same time, I study the art of literature by taking part in the creative process, experimenting with the tools used by other authors in the past.

In terms of a career, I see myself teaching literature, writing criticism, and going into editing or publishing poetry. Doctoral studies would be valuable to me in several ways. First, your teaching assistant ship program would provide me with the practical teaching experience I am eager to acquire. Further, earning a Ph.D. in English and American literature would advance my other two career goals by adding to my skills, both critical and creative, in working with language. Ultimately, however, I see the Ph.D. as an end in itself, as well as a professional stepping stone; I enjoy studying literature for its own sake and would like to continue my studies on the level demanded by the Ph.D. program.

(Stelzer pp. 40-41)

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What to include in a Personal Statement

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Personal Statement Tips

Nail your uni application with our personal statement examples.

Discover personal statements by subject, from A to Z. Find inspiration for your own application with these successful personal statement examples from real students.

A-Z of Personal Statements

Learn from previous student personal statements here. We have collated over 700 personal statement examples to help you on your university journey and to help you with how to write a personal statement.

These personal statement examples will show you the kind of thing that universities are looking for from their applicants. See how to structure your personal statement, what kind of format your personal statement should be in, what to write in a personal statement and the key areas to touch on in your statement.

A personal statement is a chance to tell your university all about you - a good personal statement is one that showcases your passion for the subject, what inspired you to apply for the course you’re applying for and why you think you would be an asset to the university.

Our collection includes personal statement examples in Mathematics, Anthropology, Accounting, Computer Science, Zoology and more.

Writing a personal statement has never been easier with our vast collection of personal statement examples.

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Personal Statement Help

What is a personal statement.

A personal statement is an essay written by a student applying to either a college or university. A personal statement is written and then uploaded to UCAS and is then attached to any university applications that the student may then make.

If you need more information check out our personal statement advice articles .

How to write a personal statement

There isn't a clearly defined personal statement template for you to use as each person's statement is different.

When it comes to writing a personal statement for universities, your personal statement should touch on your passions, your interest in the course, why you're applying for the course and why you would be an asset to the university you're applying to.

Talk about the clubs and societies that you belong to, any work experience you may have and any awards you might have won.

If you're still looking for information check out our article on how to write a personal statement .

How to start a personal statement

When it comes to starting your personal statement, the best thing to do is to be succinct and to have enough tantalising information to keep the reader informed and eager for more.

Your introduction should touch on your personal qualities and why you are applying for the subject you're applying for. Keeping things short and sweet means that it also allows you to break your personal statement up, which makes it easier for the reader.

We have plenty of advice for students that are wondering about what to include in a personal statement .

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How to Write a Personal Statement

A personal statement can be a key part of your college application, and you can really make yours shine by following a few tips.

[Featured Image] A lady with pink hair is holding a piece of paper with a laptop on her lap.

When you're applying to college—either to an undergraduate or graduate program—you may be asked to submit a personal statement. It's an essay that gives you the chance to share more about who you are and why you'd like to attend the university you're applying to.  

The information you provide in your personal statement can help build on your other application materials, like your transcripts and letters of recommendation, and build a more cohesive picture to help the admissions committee understand your goals.

In this article, we'll go over more about personal statements, including why they're important, what to include in one, and tips for strengthening yours.

What is a personal statement?

A personal statement—sometimes known as a college essay —is a brief written essay you submit with other materials when applying to college or university. Personal statements tend to be most common for undergraduate applications, and they're a great opportunity for an admissions committee to hear your voice directly.

Many colleges and universities in the US, especially those using Common App , provide prompts for you to use. For example, "Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea" or "Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time" [ 1 ]. If the school you're interested in attending doesn't require prompts, you will likely want to craft a response that touches on your story, your values, and your goals if possible.

In grad school, personal statements are sometimes known as letters of intent , and go into more detail about your academic and professional background, while expressing interest in attending the particular program you're applying to.

Why is a personal statement important?

Personal statements are important for a number of reasons. Whereas other materials you submit in an application can address your academic abilities (like your transcripts) or how you perform as a student (like your letters of recommendation), a personal statement is a chance to do exactly that: get more personal.

Personal statements typically:

Permit you to share things that don't fit on your resume, such as personal stories, motivations, and values

Offer schools a chance to see why you're interested in a particular field of study and what you hope to accomplish after you graduate 

Provide an opportunity for you to talk about past employment, volunteer experiences, or skills you have that complement your studies 

Allow colleges to evaluate your writing skills 

Bring life to a college application package otherwise filled with facts and figures 

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How to write a personal statement.

As we mentioned earlier, you may have to respond to a prompt when drafting your personal statement—or a college or university may invite you to respond however you'd like. In either case, use the steps below to begin building your response.

Create a solid hook .

To capture the attention of an admissions committee member, start your personal statement with a hook that relates to the topic of your essay. A hook tends to be a colorful sentence or two at the very beginning that compels the reader to continue reading.

To create a captivating hook, try one of these methods:

Pose a rhetorical question. 

Provide an interesting statistic. 

Insert a quote from a well-known person.

Challenge the reader with a common misconception. 

Use an anecdote, which is a short story that can be true or imaginary. 

Credibility is crucial when writing a personal statement as part of your college application process. If you choose a statistic, quote, or misconception for your hook, make sure it comes from a reliable source.

Follow a narrative.

The best personal statements typically read like a story: they have a common theme, as well as a beginning, middle, and end. This type of format also helps keep your thoughts organized and improves the flow of your essay.

Common themes to consider for your personal statement include:

Special role models from your past

Life-altering events you've experienced

Unusual challenges you've faced

Accomplishments you're especially proud of

Service to others and why you enjoy it

What you've learned from traveling to a particular place

Unique ways you stand out from other candidates

Be specific.

Admissions committees read thousands of personal statements every year, which is why being specific on yours is important. Back up your statements with examples or anecdotes.

For instance, avoid vague assertions like, "I'm interested in your school counseling program because I care about children." Instead, point out experiences you've had with children that emphasize how much you care. For instance, you might mention your summer job as a day camp counselor or your volunteer experience mentoring younger children.

Don't forget to include detail and vibrancy to keep your statement interesting. The use of detail shows how your unique voice and experiences can add value to the college or university you're applying to.

Stay on topic.

It's natural to want to impress the members of the admissions committee who will read your personal statement. The best way to do this is to lead your readers through a cohesive, informative, and descriptive essay.

If you feel you might be going astray, ensure each paragraph in your essay's body supports your introduction. Here are a few more strategies that can help keep you on track:

Know what you want to say and do research if needed. 

Create an outline listing the key points you want to share.

Read your outline aloud to confirm it makes logical sense before proceeding. 

Read your essay aloud while you're writing to confirm you're staying on topic.

Ask a trusted friend or family member to read your essay and make suggestions.

Be true to your own voice.

Because of the importance of your personal statement, you could be tempted to be very formal with structure and language. However, using a more relaxed tone is better than you would for a classroom writing assignment. 

Remember: admissions committees really want to hear from you . Writing in your own voice will help accomplish this. To ensure your tone isn't too relaxed, write your statement as if you were speaking to an older relative or trusted teacher. This way, you'll come across as respectful, confident, and honest.

Tips for drafting an effective personal statement.

Now that you've learned a little about personal statements and how to craft them, here are a few more tips you can follow to strengthen your essay:

1. Customize your statement.

You don't have to completely rewrite your personal statement every time you apply to a new college, but you want to make sure you tailor it as much as possible. For instance, if you talk about wanting to take a certain class or study a certain subject, make sure you adjust any specifics for each application.

2. Avoid cliches.

Admissions committees are ultimately looking for students who will fit the school, and who the school can help guide toward their larger goals. In that case, cliches can get in the way of a reviewer understanding what it is you want from a college education. Watch out for cliches like "making a difference," "broadening my horizons," or "the best thing that ever happened to me."

3. Stay focused.

Try to avoid getting off-track or including tangents in your personal statement. Stay focused by writing a first draft and then re-reading what you've written. Does every paragraph flow from one point to the next? Are the ideas you're presenting cohesive?

4. Stick to topics that aren't controversial.

It's best not to discuss political beliefs or inappropriate topics in your essay. These can be controversial; ideally, you want to share something goals- or values-driven with an admissions committee.

Polish your writing skills on Coursera.

A stellar personal statement starts with stellar writing skills. Enhance your writing ability with a writing course from a top university, like Good with Words: Writing and Editing from the University of Michigan or Writing a Personal Essay from Wesleyan University. Get started for free to level up your writing.

Article sources

1. Common App. " 2022-2023 Common App Essay Prompts , https://www.commonapp.org/blog/2022-2023-common-app-essay-prompts." Accessed January 9, 2024.

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  • Knowledge Base
  • Applying to graduate school
  • How to Write Your Personal Statement | Strategies & Examples

How to Write Your Personal Statement | Strategies & Examples

Published on February 12, 2019 by Shona McCombes . Revised on July 3, 2023.

A personal statement is a short essay of around 500–1,000 words, in which you tell a compelling story about who you are, what drives you, and why you’re applying.

To write a successful personal statement for a graduate school application , don’t just summarize your experience; instead, craft a focused narrative in your own voice. Aim to demonstrate three things:

  • Your personality: what are your interests, values, and motivations?
  • Your talents: what can you bring to the program?
  • Your goals: what do you hope the program will do for you?

This article guides you through some winning strategies to build a strong, well-structured personal statement for a master’s or PhD application. You can download the full examples below.

Urban Planning Psychology History

Table of contents

Getting started with your personal statement, the introduction: start with an attention-grabbing opening, the main body: craft your narrative, the conclusion: look ahead, revising, editing, and proofreading your personal statement, frequently asked questions, other interesting articles.

Before you start writing, the first step is to understand exactly what’s expected of you. If the application gives you a question or prompt for your personal statement, the most important thing is to respond to it directly.

For example, you might be asked to focus on the development of your personal identity; challenges you have faced in your life; or your career motivations. This will shape your focus and emphasis—but you still need to find your own unique approach to answering it.

There’s no universal template for a personal statement; it’s your chance to be creative and let your own voice shine through. But there are strategies you can use to build a compelling, well-structured story.

The first paragraph of your personal statement should set the tone and lead smoothly into the story you want to tell.

Strategy 1: Open with a concrete scene

An effective way to catch the reader’s attention is to set up a scene that illustrates something about your character and interests. If you’re stuck, try thinking about:

  • A personal experience that changed your perspective
  • A story from your family’s history
  • A memorable teacher or learning experience
  • An unusual or unexpected encounter

To write an effective scene, try to go beyond straightforward description; start with an intriguing sentence that pulls the reader in, and give concrete details to create a convincing atmosphere.

Strategy 2: Open with your motivations

To emphasize your enthusiasm and commitment, you can start by explaining your interest in the subject you want to study or the career path you want to follow.

Just stating that it interests you isn’t enough: first, you need to figure out why you’re interested in this field:

  • Is it a longstanding passion or a recent discovery?
  • Does it come naturally or have you had to work hard at it?
  • How does it fit into the rest of your life?
  • What do you think it contributes to society?

Tips for the introduction

  • Don’t start on a cliche: avoid phrases like “Ever since I was a child…” or “For as long as I can remember…”
  • Do save the introduction for last. If you’re struggling to come up with a strong opening, leave it aside, and note down any interesting ideas that occur to you as you write the rest of the personal statement.

Once you’ve set up the main themes of your personal statement, you’ll delve into more detail about your experiences and motivations.

To structure the body of your personal statement, there are various strategies you can use.

Strategy 1: Describe your development over time

One of the simplest strategies is to give a chronological overview of key experiences that have led you to apply for graduate school.

  • What first sparked your interest in the field?
  • Which classes, assignments, classmates, internships, or other activities helped you develop your knowledge and skills?
  • Where do you want to go next? How does this program fit into your future plans?

Don’t try to include absolutely everything you’ve done—pick out highlights that are relevant to your application. Aim to craft a compelling narrative that shows how you’ve changed and actively developed yourself.

My interest in psychology was first sparked early in my high school career. Though somewhat scientifically inclined, I found that what interested me most was not the equations we learned about in physics and chemistry, but the motivations and perceptions of my fellow students, and the subtle social dynamics that I observed inside and outside the classroom. I wanted to learn how our identities, beliefs, and behaviours are shaped through our interactions with others, so I decided to major in Social Psychology. My undergraduate studies deepened my understanding of, and fascination with, the interplay between an individual mind and its social context.During my studies, I acquired a solid foundation of knowledge about concepts like social influence and group dynamics, but I also took classes on various topics not strictly related to my major. I was particularly interested in how other fields intersect with psychology—the classes I took on media studies, biology, and literature all enhanced my understanding of psychological concepts by providing different lenses through which to look at the issues involved.

Strategy 2: Own your challenges and obstacles

If your path to graduate school hasn’t been easy or straightforward, you can turn this into a strength, and structure your personal statement as a story of overcoming obstacles.

  • Is your social, cultural or economic background underrepresented in the field? Show how your experiences will contribute a unique perspective.
  • Do you have gaps in your resume or lower-than-ideal grades? Explain the challenges you faced and how you dealt with them.

Don’t focus too heavily on negatives, but use them to highlight your positive qualities. Resilience, resourcefulness and perseverance make you a promising graduate school candidate.

Growing up working class, urban decay becomes depressingly familiar. The sight of a row of abandoned houses does not surprise me, but it continues to bother me. Since high school, I have been determined to pursue a career in urban planning. While people of my background experience the consequences of urban planning decisions first-hand, we are underrepresented in the field itself. Ironically, given my motivation, my economic background has made my studies challenging. I was fortunate enough to be awarded a scholarship for my undergraduate studies, but after graduation I took jobs in unrelated fields to help support my parents. In the three years since, I have not lost my ambition. Now I am keen to resume my studies, and I believe I can bring an invaluable perspective to the table: that of the people most impacted by the decisions of urban planners.

Strategy 3: Demonstrate your knowledge of the field

Especially if you’re applying for a PhD or another research-focused program, it’s a good idea to show your familiarity with the subject and the department. Your personal statement can focus on the area you want to specialize in and reflect on why it matters to you.

  • Reflect on the topics or themes that you’ve focused on in your studies. What draws you to them?
  • Discuss any academic achievements, influential teachers, or other highlights of your education.
  • Talk about the questions you’d like to explore in your research and why you think they’re important.

The personal statement isn’t a research proposal , so don’t go overboard on detail—but it’s a great opportunity to show your enthusiasm for the field and your capacity for original thinking.

In applying for this research program, my intention is to build on the multidisciplinary approach I have taken in my studies so far, combining knowledge from disparate fields of study to better understand psychological concepts and issues. The Media Psychology program stands out to me as the perfect environment for this kind of research, given its researchers’ openness to collaboration across diverse fields. I am impressed by the department’s innovative interdisciplinary projects that focus on the shifting landscape of media and technology, and I hope that my own work can follow a similarly trailblazing approach. More specifically, I want to develop my understanding of the intersection of psychology and media studies, and explore how media psychology theories and methods might be applied to neurodivergent minds. I am interested not only in media psychology but also in psychological disorders, and how the two interact. This is something I touched on during my undergraduate studies and that I’m excited to delve into further.

Strategy 4: Discuss your professional ambitions

Especially if you’re applying for a more professionally-oriented program (such as an MBA), it’s a good idea to focus on concrete goals and how the program will help you achieve them.

  • If your career is just getting started, show how your character is suited to the field, and explain how graduate school will help you develop your talents.
  • If you have already worked in the profession, show what you’ve achieved so far, and explain how the program will allow you to take the next step.
  • If you are planning a career change, explain what has driven this decision and how your existing experience will help you succeed.

Don’t just state the position you want to achieve. You should demonstrate that you’ve put plenty of thought into your career plans and show why you’re well-suited to this profession.

One thing that fascinated me about the field during my undergraduate studies was the sheer number of different elements whose interactions constitute a person’s experience of an urban environment. Any number of factors could transform the scene I described at the beginning: What if there were no bus route? Better community outreach in the neighborhood? Worse law enforcement? More or fewer jobs available in the area? Some of these factors are out of the hands of an urban planner, but without taking them all into consideration, the planner has an incomplete picture of their task. Through further study I hope to develop my understanding of how these disparate elements combine and interact to create the urban environment. I am interested in the social, psychological and political effects our surroundings have on our lives. My studies will allow me to work on projects directly affecting the kinds of working-class urban communities I know well. I believe I can bring my own experiences, as well as my education, to bear upon the problem of improving infrastructure and quality of life in these communities.

Tips for the main body

  • Don’t rehash your resume by trying to summarize everything you’ve done so far; the personal statement isn’t about listing your academic or professional experience, but about reflecting, evaluating, and relating it to broader themes.
  • Do make your statements into stories: Instead of saying you’re hard-working and self-motivated, write about your internship where you took the initiative to start a new project. Instead of saying you’ve always loved reading, reflect on a novel or poem that changed your perspective.

Your conclusion should bring the focus back to the program and what you hope to get out of it, whether that’s developing practical skills, exploring intellectual questions, or both.

Emphasize the fit with your specific interests, showing why this program would be the best way to achieve your aims.

Strategy 1: What do you want to know?

If you’re applying for a more academic or research-focused program, end on a note of curiosity: what do you hope to learn, and why do you think this is the best place to learn it?

If there are specific classes or faculty members that you’re excited to learn from, this is the place to express your enthusiasm.

Strategy 2: What do you want to do?

If you’re applying for a program that focuses more on professional training, your conclusion can look to your career aspirations: what role do you want to play in society, and why is this program the best choice to help you get there?

Tips for the conclusion

  • Don’t summarize what you’ve already said. You have limited space in a personal statement, so use it wisely!
  • Do think bigger than yourself: try to express how your individual aspirations relate to your local community, your academic field, or society more broadly. It’s not just about what you’ll get out of graduate school, but about what you’ll be able to give back.

You’ll be expected to do a lot of writing in graduate school, so make a good first impression: leave yourself plenty of time to revise and polish the text.

Your style doesn’t have to be as formal as other kinds of academic writing, but it should be clear, direct and coherent. Make sure that each paragraph flows smoothly from the last, using topic sentences and transitions to create clear connections between each part.

Don’t be afraid to rewrite and restructure as much as necessary. Since you have a lot of freedom in the structure of a personal statement, you can experiment and move information around to see what works best.

Finally, it’s essential to carefully proofread your personal statement and fix any language errors. Before you submit your application, consider investing in professional personal statement editing . For $150, you have the peace of mind that your personal statement is grammatically correct, strong in term of your arguments, and free of awkward mistakes.

A statement of purpose is usually more formal, focusing on your academic or professional goals. It shouldn’t include anything that isn’t directly relevant to the application.

A personal statement can often be more creative. It might tell a story that isn’t directly related to the application, but that shows something about your personality, values, and motivations.

However, both types of document have the same overall goal: to demonstrate your potential as a graduate student and s how why you’re a great match for the program.

The typical length of a personal statement for graduate school applications is between 500 and 1,000 words.

Different programs have different requirements, so always check if there’s a minimum or maximum length and stick to the guidelines. If there is no recommended word count, aim for no more than 1-2 pages.

If you’re applying to multiple graduate school programs, you should tailor your personal statement to each application.

Some applications provide a prompt or question. In this case, you might have to write a new personal statement from scratch: the most important task is to respond to what you have been asked.

If there’s no prompt or guidelines, you can re-use the same idea for your personal statement – but change the details wherever relevant, making sure to emphasize why you’re applying to this specific program.

If the application also includes other essays, such as a statement of purpose , you might have to revise your personal statement to avoid repeating the same information.

If you want to know more about college essays , academic writing , and AI tools , make sure to check out some of our other language articles with explanations, examples, and quizzes.

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How to Write a Strong Personal Statement

  • Ruth Gotian
  • Ushma S. Neill

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A few adjustments can get your application noticed.

Whether applying for a summer internship, a professional development opportunity, such as a Fulbright, an executive MBA program, or a senior leadership development course, a personal statement threads the ideas of your CV, and is longer and has a different tone and purpose than a traditional cover letter. A few adjustments to your personal statement can get your application noticed by the reviewer.

  • Make sure you’re writing what they want to hear. Most organizations that offer a fellowship or internship are using the experience as a pipeline: It’s smart to spend 10 weeks and $15,000 on someone before committing five years and $300,000. Rarely are the organizations being charitable or altruistic, so align your stated goals with theirs
  • Know when to bury the lead, and when to get to the point. It’s hard to paint a picture and explain your motivations in 200 words, but if you have two pages, give the reader a story arc or ease into your point by setting the scene.
  • Recognize that the reviewer will be reading your statement subjectively, meaning you’re being assessed on unknowable criteria. Most people on evaluation committees are reading for whether or not you’re interesting. Stated differently, do they want to go out to dinner with you to hear more? Write it so that the person reading it wants to hear more.
  • Address the elephant in the room (if there is one). Maybe your grades weren’t great in core courses, or perhaps you’ve never worked in the field you’re applying to. Make sure to address the deficiency rather than hoping the reader ignores it because they won’t. A few sentences suffice. Deficiencies do not need to be the cornerstone of the application.

At multiple points in your life, you will need to take action to transition from where you are to where you want to be. This process is layered and time-consuming, and getting yourself to stand out among the masses is an arduous but not impossible task. Having a polished resume that explains what you’ve done is the common first step. But, when an application asks for it, a personal statement can add color and depth to your list of accomplishments. It moves you from a one-dimensional indistinguishable candidate to someone with drive, interest, and nuance.

a personal statement template

  • Ruth Gotian is the chief learning officer and assistant professor of education in anesthesiology at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York City and the author of  The Success Factor . She was named the world’s #1 emerging management thinker by Thinkers50. You can access her free list of conversation starters . RuthGotian
  • Ushma S. Neill is the Vice President, Scientific Education & Training at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. She runs several summer internships and is involved with the NYC Marshall Scholar Selection Committee. ushmaneill

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AI Personal Statement Generator

A better way to get ideas for your personal statement, find inspiration in these personal statement ideas, frequently asked questions, what is a personal statement, how long should a personal statement be, how should i start a personal statement, what information should be included in a personal statement.

  • Moments or memories that helped make you who you are today
  • The contribution you want to make to the school or program you’re applying for
  • Why the school or program is a good fit for you
  • Your priorities, values, and insights

How should a personal statement be formatted?

  • Choose a standard font, like Times New Roman or Arial.
  • Make your text black.
  • Keep your margins at 1 inch.
  • Double-space your document.
  • Use a 12-point font size.
  • Include a header with your name and the page number.
  • Open with an introductory greeting such as “Dear admission committee.”
  • Close with a sign-off salutation like “Sincerely” and your name.
  • Aim for 5–8 paragraphs and use a minimum of 3 paragraphs.

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Personal Statement Examples

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Accounting and Finance

Accounting and Finance

These two subjects lie at the heart of any business, and a degree in at least one of these will equip you with essential skills for life.

View 47 Accounting and Finance Personal Statements

Actuarial Science

Actuarial Science

To become a successful actuary you will need to use both mathematical and business skills to solve problems concerning financial risk and uncertainty.

View 13 Actuarial Science Personal Statements

American Studies

American Studies

Learn more about American culture, society, history and politics with this specialised degree

View 4 American Studies Personal Statements

Anthropology

Anthropology

Study the evolution and history of humanity around the world.

View 24 Anthropology Personal Statements

Archaeology

Archaeology

Dig into the history of human activity.

View 23 Archaeology Personal Statements

Architecture

Architecture

Understand the processes involved in the planning, designing and constructing of buildings and other structures.

View 35 Architecture Personal Statements

Art and Design

Art and Design

Pursue painting, pottery, textiles, sculpture and any other discipline that interests you in the world of art.

View 56 Art and Design Personal Statements

Biochemistry

Biochemistry

Investigate biological processes at the molecular level.

View 19 Biochemistry Personal Statements

Bioengineering

Bioengineering

Use traditional engineering techniques and apply them to real-world problems.

View 6 Bioengineering Personal Statements

Biology

Study a wide range of biological topics, and choose to specialise in microbiology, ecology, zoology, anatomy or any number of other areas.

View 84 Biology Personal Statements

Biomedical Science

Biomedical Science

Study and explore medically related subjects such as genetics, physiology, pharmacology and neuroscience.

View 65 Biomedical Science Personal Statements

Biotechnology

Biotechnology

Learn how to apply biological organisms, processes and systems to industrial tasks.

View 6 Biotechnology Personal Statements

Business Management

Business Management

Learn about economics, accounting, management and more.

View 86 Business Management Personal Statements

Business

Learn all the skills you need to be successful in the world of business.

View 112 Business Personal Statements

Chemistry

Gain a solid theoretical foundation and practical training in this fascinating arm of science.

View 35 Chemistry Personal Statements

Classics

Delve into the literature, history, philosophy and archaeology of the Greeks and Romans.

View 9 Classics Personal Statements

Computer Science

Computer Science

Combine analytical knowledge and technical skills to ready yourself for an in-demand career.

View 110 Computer Science Personal Statements

Computing and IT

Computing and IT

Get ahead in IT by becoming an accomplished programmer, learning how computers work and expanding your Mathematics skills.

View 120 Computing and IT Personal Statements

Criminology

Criminology

Study the science behind criminal behaviour, laws and justice.

View 40 Criminology Personal Statements

Dance

Explore the practice of dance and develop your performance, choreography and teaching skills

View 1 Dance Personal Statement

Dentistry

Study the latest approaches in dentistry, combined with practical clinical experience that will prepare you for your career.

View 14 Dentistry Personal Statements

Design

Apply your artistic skills in a commercial environment.

View 25 Design Personal Statements

Dietetics

Qualify as a dietician in the UK with this degree that explores the science of nutrition and how to communicate it to the wider world.

View 3 Dietetics Personal Statements

Drama

Combine theatre theory and practice to help you on your way to centre stage.

View 19 Drama Personal Statements

Economics

Learning the fundamentals of this subject will pave the way to many career options, including a data analyst, stockbroker, forensic accountant and external auditor.

View 157 Economics Personal Statements

Education

Explore how people develop and learn in their social and cultural contexts.

View 26 Education Personal Statements

Engineering

Engineering

Browse our engineering personal statement examples to help you write your own, unique statement.

View 185 Engineering Personal Statements

English

Improve your reading, creative writing and critical thinking with an English degree.

View 157 English Personal Statements

Environment

Environment

Explore different habitats, climates, formations and societies and how we can reduce the human impact on nature.

View 10 Environment Personal Statements

Environmental Science

Environmental Science

Learn more about the science of the environment through collaborative research, expeditions and teaching partnerships.

View 12 Environmental Science Personal Statements

Event Management

Event Management

This varied and exciting field will prepare you for a number of careers, including a hotel manager, charity fundraiser and a tourism officer.

View 4 Event Management Personal Statements

Fashion

Find out more about the fundamentals of fashion and find out more about how to research, design and develop clothing.

View 17 Fashion Personal Statements

Film

Discover the core skills required to become a screenwriter, director or critic.

View 23 Film Personal Statements

Finance

Equip yourself with the basic skills and techniques needed for a successful financial career.

View 57 Finance Personal Statements

Food Science and Catering

Food Science and Catering

Discover more about travel, tourism, event management and food science in this exciting subject.

View 3 Food Science and Catering Personal Statements

Forensic Science

Forensic Science

Study a wide range of subjects from chemistry and biology, to criminalistics and toxicology.

View 10 Forensic Science Personal Statements

Gap Year

Personal statements written by students taking a year out before university.

View 6 Gap Year Personal Statements

Geography

Study the earth’s physical structures and scientific processes to prepare yourself for a career in urban planning, environmental consultancy, conservation and many more.

View 62 Geography Personal Statements

Geology

Understand the evolution of the earth, how our planet works and what the future holds for us through both laboratory and field work.

View 14 Geology Personal Statements

Health Sciences

Health Sciences

This subject provides a broad base of scientific knowledge and skills applicable to many occupations and potential career opportunities.

View 22 Health Sciences Personal Statements

History of Art

History of Art

Increase your understanding of ancient and modern society and culture.

View 5 History of Art Personal Statements

History

Study the events and people from the past to better understand what our future could be like.

View 143 History Personal Statements

Hotel Management

Hotel Management

Give yourself a solid foundation for many different career options in this exciting and thriving sector.

View 6 Hotel Management Personal Statements

International Relations

International Relations

Understand how politics, history, geography, economics and law all require international co-operation to resolve global problems.

View 96 International Relations Personal Statements

International Student

International Student

Read personal statement examples written by international students.

View 23 International Student Personal Statements

International Studies

International Studies

A subject that is applicable to a wide range of professions in the private and public sectors, including international agencies and government bodies.

View 11 International Studies Personal Statements

Islamic Studies

Islamic Studies

Study the foundation and development of Islamic knowledge from a broad and multidisciplinary perspective.

View 4 Islamic Studies Personal Statements

Japanese Studies

Japanese Studies

Explore Japan’s society, culture and language, with some universities offering the opportunity to spend a year abroad.

View 10 Japanese Studies Personal Statements

Journalism

Develop the full set of skills required for a career in journalism.

View 14 Journalism Personal Statements

Land Economy

Land Economy

This multi-disciplinary social science course focuses on the study of economics, business and law and their relationship to the environment around us.

View 1 Land Economy Personal Statement

Language

Set yourself on the path to an international career with a languages degree.

View 87 Language Personal Statements

Law

Develop a critical awareness of the common law legal tradition and apply problem-solving skills to a range of legal and non-legal settings.

View 166 Law Personal Statements

Linguistics

Linguistics

Learn the science behind languages, and how to understand and interpret language on a global scale.

View 19 Linguistics Personal Statements

Management

Gain a broad foundation in topics relating to business, finance, economics and marketing.

View 45 Management Personal Statements

Marketing

Give yourself the knowledge and skills you need to excel as a professional marketer.

View 24 Marketing Personal Statements

Mathematics

Mathematics

Take your understanding of the theories and concepts of mathematics to a higher level.

View 106 Mathematics Personal Statements

Mature Student

Mature Student

Read personal statement examples written by mature UCAS students.

View 15 Mature Student Personal Statements

Media

This degree is ideal if you want to pursue a career in PR, journalism, film, advertising or broadcasting.

View 45 Media Personal Statements

Medicine

Browse our collection of medicine personal statement examples to help you write your own.

View 103 Medicine Personal Statements

Midwifery

Gain the necessary skills and clinical experience to become a qualified midwife.

View 9 Midwifery Personal Statements

Music

Develop your ability to create new music by studying topics such as composition, performance and music theory.

View 24 Music Personal Statements

Music Technology

Music Technology

Prepare yourself for a career in the music and audio industry.

View 7 Music Technology Personal Statements

Natural Sciences

Natural Sciences

Focus on various perspectives of the natural world, including chemical, physical, mathematical and geological.

View 18 Natural Sciences Personal Statements

Neuroscience

Neuroscience

Explore the workings of the human brain, from molecules to neural systems.

View 12 Neuroscience Personal Statements

Nursing

Qualify for a rewarding career as an adult, children’s or mental health nurse.

View 36 Nursing Personal Statements

Occupational Therapy

Occupational Therapy

Learn the knowledge and skills to treat people with psychological, physical or social disabilities.

View 8 Occupational Therapy Personal Statements

Osteopathy

Learn the knowledge, skills, and experience you need to become a registered osteopath.

View 1 Osteopathy Personal Statement

Oxbridge

Personal statements by those applying to study at Oxbridge.

View 150 Oxbridge Personal Statements

Pharmacy

Apply for this course to successfully qualify as a registered pharmacist in the UK.

View 20 Pharmacy Personal Statements

Philosophy

Find out how to form and voice your own opinions, and how to analyse and communicate ideas clearly and logically.

View 86 Philosophy Personal Statements

Photography

Photography

A course combining academic study and hands-on practice to help you become a skilled photographer.

View 8 Photography Personal Statements

Physics

Learn about the fundamental building blocks and forces of nature and how physics helps us understand the world around us.

View 55 Physics Personal Statements

Physiology

Choose from a medical, human or general physiological science course.

View 3 Physiology Personal Statements

Physiotherapy

Physiotherapy

Learn the theoretical disciplines and gain the practical experience required to become a qualified physiotherapist.

View 6 Physiotherapy Personal Statements

Politics

Study how governments work, how public policies are made, international relations and other topics to open the door to a wide range of careers.

View 194 Politics Personal Statements

Postgraduate

Read example personal statements written by postgraduate students for their chosen universities.

View 44 Postgraduate Personal Statements

Psychology

Explore how our minds work and why we behave the way we do.

View 154 Psychology Personal Statements

Radiography

Radiography

Help diagnose and treat illness by producing and interpreting medical images, or learn how to treat cancer patients with therapeutic radiography.

View 5 Radiography Personal Statements

Religious Studies

Religious Studies

A creative discipline, vital to contemporary understandings of economy, art, politics, media culture and globalisation.

View 4 Religious Studies Personal Statements

Social Work

Social Work

A popular degree course, with a practical focus, that allows you to develop your professional skills and knowledge as you study to become a qualified social worker.

View 26 Social Work Personal Statements

Sociology

Gain the knowledge and skills required to critically engage with issues facing society today.

View 66 Sociology Personal Statements

Sports & Leisure

Sports & Leisure

Understand the value and purpose of sport in society, as well as the social, cultural and economic importance of sport and contemporary issues in sport and leisure.

View 13 Sports & Leisure Personal Statements

Sports Science

Sports Science

Learn about sports performance and the factors that affect behaviour in sport.

View 15 Sports Science Personal Statements

Surveying

Discover how to manage buildings by exploring topics such as project management, legal and technical advice, building reports, defect diagnosis and conservation.

View 2 Surveying Personal Statements

Teacher Training

Teacher Training

Become a qualified teacher with this popular training course.

View 13 Teacher Training Personal Statements

Theology

Understand the different religious and spiritual perspectives in the contemporary world.

View 9 Theology Personal Statements

Travel and Tourism

Travel and Tourism

Prepare for a career in one of the fastest growing industries with this vocational degree.

View 3 Travel and Tourism Personal Statements

Urban Planning

Urban Planning

Gather the skills required to help you shape and design the world around us.

View 3 Urban Planning Personal Statements

Veterinary Science

Veterinary Science

Study the basic veterinary sciences first before learning to apply that knowledge to veterinary practice as a clinical student.

View 5 Veterinary Science Personal Statements

Zoology

Learn about all kinds of animals, including their anatomy, physiology, genetics, and their adaptations for survival and reproduction in different environments.

View 7 Zoology Personal Statements

Personal Statement Help

What is a personal statement.

The UCAS personal statement is an important piece of writing you need to put together for your UCAS application .

It is where students should sell themselves in order to try and secure a place at their chosen universities . This includes your strengths, achievements, interests and ambitions, and you need to convey why the university should choose you over other candidates.

How do I write a personal statement?

We recommend you start by making some notes about what you want to study at university and why, as well as a list of skills and interests, and your gap year plans (if you have any).

We then suggest reading some example personal statements for inspiration, and to see how previous students have successfully applied for courses at university.

This should give you an idea of how to put your own statement together, starting with an attention-grabbing opening that explains what aspects of your subject you enjoy and why.

The next few paragraphs need to cover your relevant work experience and activities outside of school, as well as your interests or hobbies, and anything else you’ve done related to your subject that isn’t already on your UCAS form.

The final paragraph should round off your statement succinctly and talk about your future plans after university, and how a degree can help you achieve these.

Our personal statement template can help you structure your statement correctly.

Remember that the language you use and the way it is laid out will be judged too, so it’s important to get all aspects of your statement right.

Once you’ve written your personal statement, ask family, friends and tutors to read it and give you some feedback. Look through their comments and amend your statement accordingly (if you feel they improve it).

Try to ask for several rounds of feedback to make sure it's as good as it can be before sending it off.

For more advice, please see our in-depth personal statement writing guide .

How do I start a personal statement?

The first rule with opening your personal statement is to avoid using any cliches or over-used phrases or sentences that the admissions tutors have seen a million times before.

These include: "ever since I was young/a child", "I have always wanted to be..." and "for as long as I can remember".

If you want the reader to go to sleep or immediately put your UCAS form in the rejection pile, then this is a sure way to go about it.

Instead, try to put together an eye opening sentence or two that will grab their attention and make them want to read on.

Our example personal statements above will help you with this, by showing you how students have constructed successful statements in the past.

Many students choose to start their statement by talking about a specific aspect of the subject they enjoy most and why they are interested in it. Others choose to relate a life experience (avoiding cliches) from their younger days, while some decide to begin their statement in another way.

There's no right or wrong answer - just make sure it doesn't read like hundreds of other statements the tutors have already seen before!

How do I end a personal statement?

You should conclude your personal statement with a concise summary of why you are an ideal candidate for this course, your career plans, and any other ambitions you have for the future.

Try to keep it to no more than three or four lines, but make sure the content sells you as a person and has a positive tone that will encourage admissions tutors to offer you a place.

Take a look at your initial notes to help you - remember, it doesn't have to be perfect at this point, as you will have time to redraft it later.

Again, our example personal statements above will provide you with some inspiration for this part of your personal statement (but please don't copy any of them, or UCAS will penalise your application!).

How do I structure my personal statement?

Your personal statement should have a clear beginning , middle and end.

Structure is important if your statement is to be a coherent creative piece of writing, so all the paragraphs should flow nicely together.

At Studential, we recommend the following approach as a guideline:

  • Paragraph 1: Introduction to your subject, the aspects you’re interested in and why
  • Paragraph 2: What you have done related to the subject that isn’t already on your UCAS form
  • Paragraphs 3 and 4: Work experience placements and relevant extracurricular activities at school
  • Paragraph 5: Your interests and hobbies outside of school, particularly those that show you are a responsible and reliable person
  • Paragraph 6: Your goal of attending university and a memorable closing comment.

Of course, you may wish to structure yours differently and it's entirely up to you at the end of the day - just remember to make sure it's coherent and flows together well.

For additional help on piecing it together, use our personal statement template , which will give you an idea of how a successful statement should look.

What makes a great personal statement?

Tell the reader why you're applying to this particular course and university – include your ambitions, as well as what interests you about the subject, the course provider, and higher education.

Think about what makes you suitable – this could be relevant experience, skills, or achievements you've gained from education, work, or other activities.

You need to show the admissions tutors why you make a perfect candidate for your chosen course, and what value you can bring to their department.

What should you not write in a personal statement?

Avoid these common mistakes if you want your personal statement to be successful:

  • Listing your skills, experience etc. Use full sentences and examples to back everything up.
  • Any form of negativity - be positive!
  • Omitting any relevant skills or achievements
  • Embellishing the truth or lying outright
  • Not checking for spelling and grammar issues - this sort of sloppiness just tells the admissions tutors you don't care very much
  • Not asking for feedback from friends, family and teachers - this is a great way of receiving objective advice
  • Stating the obvious or repeating what is already mentioned on your UCAS form elsewhere
  • Including over-used words, phrases and sentences, such as "ever since I was a child..." and "I have always wanted to be...".
  • Using jokes or humour - this isn't the time or place, and the admissions tutors probably won't appreciate it!

How long should my personal statement be?

For undergraduate courses, UCAS allows students up to 4,000 characters for their personal statement.

This isn't a huge amount of space, so you need to make sure every word counts and you sell yourself in the best possible light at all times!

Once you have put together an initial draft, you can check if it's too long or short with our personal statement length checker .

When should I start writing my personal statement?

We recommend you begin writing some notes during the school summer holidays, and maybe even have your first draft written before going back in September (especially if you're applying to Oxbridge ).

The sooner you start writing, the sooner you can get your final draft in place ready for your UCAS form. This also helps to take the pressure off, and means you won't be rushing to get it done at the last minute.

Use our handy UCAS personal statement template to help you structure your statement, and make sure you have included everything you need to.

Personal statement tips

For a successful personal statement, we recommend following these top tips:

  • This is your opportunity to sell yourself - so use it! Talk about your strengths, abilities, achievements, personal traits, hobbies, extracurricular activities and anything else relevant that makes you an amazing candidate for this course.
  • Start writing your personal statement early - ideally over the summer holidays, which give you plenty of time to get a perfect statement in place by the autumn (this advice especially applies if you are applying to Oxbridge , or for medicine , veterinary science , or dentistry ).
  • Make sure you back up everything you say with solid examples, using your initial notes to help you.
  • Talk about your motivations for choosing this particular course, and showcase all strengths using your own voice.
  • Don’t embellish the truth or lie outright (you’ll get caught out at the interview!), and don’t use humour or tell jokes (this isn’t the time or place).
  • Use positive language and let your enthusiasm shine through - tutors only want students on their course that are passionate about their subject!
  • Don't get someone else to write your statement for you, or buy/plagiarise a statement online. UCAS check statements for similarity, and your chances of being offered a place at university could be affected if they find you have cheated on your statement.
  • Ask those you know and trust to provide you with feedback, and incorporate their comments and suggestions accordingly.
  • Go through at least several rounds of feedback before polishing your statement into a final draft.
  • Don't just rely on a Spellchecker to check your statement for errors - read it through carefully three or four times to make sure there are no spelling or grammar mistakes.
  • Use an reputable personal statement editing service if you're struggling with your final draft, or just want to try and give it some extra shine!

These tips and advice apply to all personal statements, whether you’re applying for an undergraduate or postgraduate course. If you follow them, you will have a better chance of securing a place at your chosen universities.

Best of luck with your UCAS application!

How To Write A Bad Personal Statement

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Personal Statement Mistakes To Avoid

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How to Write a UCAS Personal Statement [With Examples]

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James is senior content marketing manager at BridgeU. He writes and directs content for BridgeU's university partners and our community of international schools

What are the big challenges students should be aware of before writing their UCAS Personal Statement?

  • The essential ingredients for writing a great Personal Statement
  • How to write the UCAS Personal Statement [with examples]

Final hints & tips to help your students

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The UCAS Personal Statement can sometimes be a student’s only chance to impress a UK university. Read our in-depth guide to helping your students plan & write a winning application.

There are hundreds of articles out there on how to write a UCAS Personal Statement that will grab the attention of a UK university admissions officer.  

But if you’re working with students to help them perfect their Personal Statement in time for the  relevant UCAS deadlines , we can sum up the secret to success in three words.

Planning, structure and story. 

The UCAS Personal Statement is a student’s chance to talk about why they want to study for a particular degree, course or subject discipline at a UK university. 

As they set about writing a personal statement, students need to demonstrate the drive, ambition, relevant skills and notable achievements that make them a  suitable candidate for the universities they have chosen to apply to . 

But the UCAS Personal Statement requires students to write a lot about themselves in a relatively short space of time. That’s why lots of planning, a tight structure and a compelling story are essential if a student’s Personal Statement is to truly excel. 

As important deadlines for UK university applications grow closer, we at BridgeU have put together a guide, outlining some of the strategies and techniques to help your students to write a personal statement which is both engaging and truly individual.

Handpicked Related Content

Discover the simple steps that will boost the confidence of your native English speaking & ESL students alike in  University Application Essays: The 5 Secrets of Successful Writing .

As they begin to plan their Personal Statement, students may feel intimidated. It’s not easy to summarise your academic interests and personal ambitions, especially when you’re competing for a place on a course which is popular or has demanding entry requirements. In particular, students will likely come up against the following challenges.

Time pressure

Unfortunately, the Personal Statement (and other aspects of university preparation) comes during the busiest year of the student’s academic life so far.

Students, and indeed teachers and counsellors, must undertake the planning and writing of the personal statement whilst juggling other commitments, classes and deadlines, not to mention revision and open day visits!

Because there is already a lot of academic pressure on students in their final year of secondary school, finding the time and headspace for the personal statement can be hard, and can mean it gets pushed to the last minute. The risks of leaving it to the last minute are fairly obvious – the application will seem rushed and the necessary thought and planning won’t go into  making the personal statement the best it can be . 

Sticking closely to the Personal Statement format

The character limit which UCAS sets for the personal statement is very strict – up to 4,000 characters of text. This means that students have to express themselves in a clear and concise way; it’s also important that they don’t feel the need to fill the available space needlessly.  Planning and redrafting of a personal statement is essential .

Making it stand out

This is arguably the greatest challenge facing students – making sure that their statement sets them apart from everyone else who is competing for a place on any given course; in 2022 alone, UCAS received applications from 683,650 applicants (+1.6k on 2021) students. In addition, UCAS uses its own dedicated team and purpose built software to check every application for plagiarism, so it’s crucial that students craft a truly  original personal statement which is entirely their own work .

The essential ingredients for writing a great UCAS Personal Statement 

We’ve already mentioned our three watch words for writing a high quality Personal Statement.

Planning. Structure. Story. 

Let’s dig deeper into these three essential components in more detail.

Watch: How to Write a UCAS Personal Statement with University of Essex

Planning a ucas personal statement.

It might sound like a no-brainer, but it’s vital that students plan their Personal Statement before they start writing it. Specifically, the planning phase could include: 

  • Students thoroughly researching the UK university courses they plan on applying to. 
  • Deciding on what relevant material to include in their Personal Statement (we’ll cover this in more detail later on). 
  • Writing an unedited first draft where they just get their thoughts and ideas down on paper. 

Structuring a UCAS Personal Statement

As we’ve discussed, the UCAS Personal Statement requires students to be extremely disciplined – they will be required to condense a lot of information into a relatively short written statement. This means that, after they’ve written a rough first draft, they need to think carefully about how they structure the final statement. 

A stand out Personal Statement will need a tight structure, with an introduction and a conclusion that make an impact and really help to tell a story about who your student is, and why they are drawn to studying this particular degree. 

This brings us nicely to our third and final ingredient…

Telling a story with a Personal Statement

The UCAS Personal Statement is a student’s opportunity to show a university who they are and how their life experiences have shaped their academic interests and goals. 

So a good Personal Statement needs to offer a compelling narrative, and that means making sure that a student’s writing is well-structured, and that every sentence and paragraph is serving the statement’s ultimate purpose –  to convince a university that your student deserves a place on their subject of choice. 

How to help your students start their UCAS Personal Statement

In order to ensure that a personal statement is delivered on time and to an appropriate standard, it’s essential to plan thoroughly before writing it. Here are some questions you can ask your students before they start writing:

How can you demonstrate a formative interest in your subject?

It may sound obvious but, in order for any UCAS personal statement to have the necessary structure and clarity, students need to think hard about why they want to study their chosen subject. Ask them to think about their responses to the following questions:

What inspired you to study your chosen subject?

Example answer:  My desire to understand the nature of reality has inspired me to apply for Physics and Philosophy

Was there a formative moment when your perspective on this subject changed, or when you decided you wanted to study this subject in more detail?

Example answer:  My interest in philosophy was awakened when I questioned my childhood religious beliefs; reading Blackburn’s “Think”, convinced me to scrutinise my assumptions about the world, and to ensure I could justify my beliefs.

Can you point to any role models, leading thinkers, or notable literature which has in turn affected your thinking and/or inspired you?

Example answer :  The search for a theory of everything currently being conducted by physicists is of particular interest to me and in “The Grand Design” Hawking proposes a collection of string theories, dubbed M-theory, as the explanation of why the universe is the way it is.

Asking your students to think about the “why” behind their chosen subject discipline is a useful first step in helping them to organise their overall statement. Next, they need to be able to demonstrate evidence of their suitability for a course or degree. 

How have you demonstrated the skills and aptitudes necessary for your chosen course?

Encourage students to think about times where they have demonstrated the necessary skills to really stand out. It’s helpful to think about times when they have utilised these skills both inside and outside the classroom. Ask students to consider their responses to the following questions. 

Can you demonstrate critical and independent thinking around your chosen subject discipline?

Example answer :  Currently I am studying Maths and Economics in addition to Geography. Economics has been a valuable tool, providing the nuts and bolts to economic processes, and my geography has provided a spatial and temporal element.

Are you able to demonstrate skills and competencies which will be necessary for university study?

These include qualities such as teamwork, time management and the ability to organise workload responsibly.

Example answer:  This year I was selected to be captain of the 1st XV rugby team and Captain of Swimming which will allow me to further develop my leadership, teamwork and organisational skills.

How have your extracurricular activities helped prepare you for university?

Students may believe that their interests outside the classroom aren’t relevant to their university application. So encourage them to think about how their other interests can demonstrate the subject-related skills that universities are looking for in an application. Ask students to think about any of the following activities, and how they might be related back to the subject they are applying for.

  • Clubs/societies, or volunteering work which they can use to illustrate attributes such as teamwork, an interest in community service and the ability to manage their time proactively.
  • Have they been elected/nominated as a team captain, or the head of a particular club or society, which highlights leadership skills and an ability to project manage?
  • Can they point to any awards or prizes they may have won, whether it’s taking up a musical instrument, playing a sport, or participating in theatre/performing arts?
  • Have they achieved grades or qualifications as part of their extracurricular activities? These can only help to demonstrate aptitude and hard work. 

How to write the UCAS Personal Statement [with examples] 

If sufficient planning has gone into the personal statement, then your students should be ready to go!

In this next section, we’ll break down the individual components of the UCAS Personal Statement and share some useful examples.

These examples come from a Personal Statement in support of an application to study Environmental Science at a UK university. 

Watch: King’s College London explain what they’re looking for in a UCAS Personal Statement

Introduction.

This is the chance for an applying student to really grab an admission tutor’s attention. Students need to demonstrate both a personal passion for their subject, and explain why they have an aptitude for it .  This section is where students should begin to discuss any major influences or inspirations that have led them to this subject choice. 

Example :  My passion for the environment has perhaps come from the fact that I have lived in five different countries: France, England, Spain, Sweden and Costa Rica. Moving at the age of 15 from Sweden, a calm and organized country, to Costa Rica, a more diverse and slightly chaotic country, was a shock for me at first and took me out of my comfort zone […] Also, living in Costa Rica, one of the most biodiverse countries in the world, definitely helped me realize how vulnerable the world is and how we need to take care of it in a sustainable manner. 

This opening paragraph immediately grabs the reader’s attention by giving the reader an insight into this student’s background and links their academic interests with something specific from the student’s personal backstory. 

Discussing Academic Achievements 

The next paragraph in this Personal Statement discusses the student’s academic achievements. Because this student has had an international education, they frame their academic achievements in the context of their personal background. They also cite useful examples of other curricula they have studied and the grades they have achieved. 

Example : 

Throughout my academic life I have shown myself to be a responsible student as well as a hard working one, despite the fact that I have had to move around a lot. I have achieved several other accomplishments such as a high A (286/300) in AS Spanish at age 15, and also completed a Spanish course of secondary studies for ‘MEP’(Ministerio de Educacion Publica), which is a system from Costa Rica.   

You’ll notice that this student doesn’t just list their achievements – their strong academic performance is always linked back to a wider discussion of their personal experiences. 

Showcasing Extracurricular Activities

As well as discussing academic achievements, a good Personal Statement should also discuss the student’s extracurricular activities, and how they relate back to the student’s overall university aspirations. 

By the third/fourth paragraph of the Personal Statement, students should think about incorporating their extracurricular experiences, 

Another valuable experience was when my class spent a week at a beach called ‘Pacuare’ in order to help prevent the eggs of the endangered leatherback turtle from being stolen by poachers who go on to sell them like chicken eggs. We all gained teamwork experience, which was needed in order to hide the eggs silently without scaring the mother turtles, as well as making it more difficult for the poachers to find them. 

When the poachers set fire to one of the sustainable huts where we were staying, not only did I gain self-awareness about the critical situation of the world and its ecosystems, I also matured and became even more motivated to study environmental sciences at university.

This is a particularly striking example of using extracurricular activities to showcase a student’s wider passion for the degree subject they want to study. 

Not only does this Personal Statement have a story about volunteering to save an endangered species, it also illustrates this applicants’ wider worldview, and helps to explain their motivation for wanting to study Environmental Science. 

Concluding the UCAS Personal Statement

The conclusion to a UCAS Personal Statement will have to be concise, and will need to tie all of a student’s academic and extracurricular achievements. After all, a compelling story will need a great ending. 

Remember that students need to be mindful of the character limit of a Personal Statement, so a conclusion need only be the length of a small paragraph, or even a couple of sentences. 

“ After having many varied experiences, I truly think I can contribute to university in a positive way, and would love to study in England where I believe I would gain more skills and education doing a first degree than in any other country.  “

A good Personal Statement conclusion will end with an affirmation of how the student thinks they can contribute to university life, and why they believe the institution in question should accept them. Because the student in this example has a such a rich and varied international background, they also discuss the appeal of studying at university in England. 

It’s worth taking a quick look at a few other examples of how other students have chosen to conclude their Personal Statement. 

Medicine (Imperial College, London) 

Interest in Medicine aside, other enthusiasms of mine include languages, philosophy, and mythology. It is curiously fitting that in ancient Greek lore, healing was but one of the many arts Apollo presided over, alongside archery and music.   I firmly believe that a doctor should explore the world outside the field of  Medicine, and it is with such experiences that I hope to better empathise and connect with the patients I will care for in my medical career. 

You’ll notice that this example very specifically ties the students’ academic and extracurricular activities together, and ties the Personal Statement back to their values and beliefs. 

Economic History with Economics (London School of Economics)

The highlight of my extra-curricular activities has been my visit to Shanghai with the Lord Mayor’s trade delegation in September 2012. I was selected to give a speech at this world trade conference due to my interest in economic and social history. […] I particularly enjoyed the seminar format, and look forward to experiencing more of this at university. My keen interest and desire to further my knowledge of history and economics, I believe, would make the course ideal for me.

By contrast, this conclusion ties a memorable experience back to the specifics of how the student will be taught at the London School of Economics – specifically, the appeal of learning in seminar format! 

There’s no magic formula for concluding a Personal Statement. But you’ll see that what all of these examples have in common is that they tie a student’s personal and academic experiences together – and tell a university something about their aspirations for the future.

Watch: Bournemouth University explain how to structure a UCAS Personal Statement

a personal statement template

Know the audience

It can be easy for students to forget that the person reading a personal statement is invariably an expert in their field. This is why an ability to convey passion and think critically about their chosen subject is essential for a personal statement to stand out. Admissions tutors will also look for students who can structure their writing (more on this below). 

Students should be themselves

Remember that many students are competing for places on a university degree against fierce competition. And don’t forget that UCAS has the means to spot plagiarism. So students need to create a truly honest and individual account of who they are, what they have achieved and, perhaps most importantly, why they are driven to study this particular subject.

Proof-read (then proof-read again!)

Time pressures mean that students can easily make mistakes with their Personal Statements. As the deadline grows closer, it’s vital that they are constantly checking and rechecking their writing and to ensure that shows them in the best possible light. 

Meanwhile, when it comes to giving feedback to students writing their Personal Statements, make sure you’re as honest and positive as possible in the days and weeks leading up to submission day. 

And make sure they remember the three key ingredients of writing a successful Personal Statement. 

Planning, structure and story! 

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Looking for grad school personal statement examples? Look no further! In this total guide to graduate school personal statement examples, we’ll discuss why you need a personal statement for grad school and what makes a good one. Then we’ll provide three graduate school personal statement samples from our grad school experts. After that, we’ll do a deep dive on one of our personal statement for graduate school examples. Finally, we’ll wrap up with a list of other grad school personal statements you can find online.

Why Do You Need a Personal Statement?

A personal statement is a chance for admissions committees to get to know you: your goals and passions, what you’ll bring to the program, and what you’re hoping to get out of the program.  You need to sell the admissions committee on what makes you a worthwhile applicant. The personal statement is a good chance to highlight significant things about you that don’t appear elsewhere on your application.

A personal statement is slightly different from a statement of purpose (also known as a letter of intent). A statement of purpose/letter of intent tends to be more tightly focused on your academic or professional credentials and your future research and/or professional interests.

While a personal statement also addresses your academic experiences and goals, you have more leeway to be a little more, well, personal. In a personal statement, it’s often appropriate to include information on significant life experiences or challenges that aren’t necessarily directly relevant to your field of interest.

Some programs ask for both a personal statement and a statement of purpose/letter of intent. In this case, the personal statement is likely to be much more tightly focused on your life experience and personality assets while the statement of purpose will focus in much more on your academic/research experiences and goals.

However, there’s not always a hard-and-fast demarcation between a personal statement and a statement of purpose. The two statement types should address a lot of the same themes, especially as relates to your future goals and the valuable assets you bring to the program. Some programs will ask for a personal statement but the prompt will be focused primarily on your research and professional experiences and interests. Some will ask for a statement of purpose but the prompt will be more focused on your general life experiences.

When in doubt, give the program what they are asking for in the prompt and don’t get too hung up on whether they call it a personal statement or statement of purpose. You can always call the admissions office to get more clarification on what they want you to address in your admissions essay.

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What Makes a Good Grad School Personal Statement?

A great graduate school personal statement can come in many forms and styles. However, strong grad school personal statement examples all share the same following elements:

A Clear Narrative

Above all, a good personal statement communicates clear messages about what makes you a strong applicant who is likely to have success in graduate school. So to that extent, think about a couple of key points that you want to communicate about yourself and then drill down on how you can best communicate those points. (Your key points should of course be related to what you can bring to the field and to the program specifically).

You can also decide whether to address things like setbacks or gaps in your application as part of your narrative. Have a low GPA for a couple semesters due to a health issue? Been out of a job for a while taking care of a family member? If you do decide to explain an issue like this, make sure that the overall arc is more about demonstrating positive qualities like resilience and diligence than about providing excuses.

Specific Examples

A great statement of purpose uses specific examples to illustrate its key messages. This can include anecdotes that demonstrate particular traits or even references to scholars and works that have influenced your academic trajectory to show that you are familiar and insightful about the relevant literature in your field.

Just saying “I love plants,” is pretty vague. Describing how you worked in a plant lab during undergrad and then went home and carefully cultivated your own greenhouse where you cross-bred new flower colors by hand is much more specific and vivid, which makes for better evidence.

A strong personal statement will describe why you are a good fit for the program, and why the program is a good fit for you. It’s important to identify specific things about the program that appeal to you, and how you’ll take advantage of those opportunities. It’s also a good idea to talk about specific professors you might be interested in working with. This shows that you are informed about and genuinely invested in the program.

Strong Writing

Even quantitative and science disciplines typically require some writing, so it’s important that your personal statement shows strong writing skills. Make sure that you are communicating clearly and that you don’t have any grammar and spelling errors. It’s helpful to get other people to read your statement and provide feedback. Plan on going through multiple drafts.

Another important thing here is to avoid cliches and gimmicks. Don’t deploy overused phrases and openings like “ever since I was a child.” Don’t structure your statement in a gimmicky way (i.e., writing a faux legal brief about yourself for a law school statement of purpose). The first will make your writing banal; the second is likely to make you stand out in a bad way.

Appropriate Boundaries

While you can be more personal in a personal statement than in a statement of purpose, it’s important to maintain appropriate boundaries in your writing. Don’t overshare anything too personal about relationships, bodily functions, or illegal activities. Similarly, don’t share anything that makes it seem like you may be out of control, unstable, or an otherwise risky investment. The personal statement is not a confessional booth. If you share inappropriately, you may seem like you have bad judgment, which is a huge red flag to admissions committees.

You should also be careful with how you deploy humor and jokes. Your statement doesn’t have to be totally joyless and serious, but bear in mind that the person reading the statement may not have the same sense of humor as you do. When in doubt, err towards the side of being as inoffensive as possible.

Just as being too intimate in your statement can hurt you, it’s also important not to be overly formal or staid. You should be professional, but conversational.

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Graduate School Personal Statement Examples

Our graduate school experts have been kind enough to provide some successful grad school personal statement examples. We’ll provide three examples here, along with brief analysis of what makes each one successful.

Sample Personal Statement for Graduate School 1

PDF of Sample Personal Statement 1 – Japanese Studies

For this Japanese Studies master’s degree, the applicant had to provide a statement of purpose outlining her academic goals and experience with Japanese and a separate personal statement describing her personal relationship with Japanese Studies and what led her to pursue a master’s degree.

Here’s what’s successful about this personal statement:

  • An attention-grabbing beginning: The applicant begins with the statement that Japanese has never come easily to her and that it’s a brutal language to learn. Seeing as how this is an application for a Japanese Studies program, this is an intriguing beginning that makes the reader want to keep going.
  • A compelling narrative: From this attention-grabbing beginning, the applicant builds a well-structured and dramatic narrative tracking her engagement with the Japanese language over time. The clear turning point is her experience studying abroad, leading to a resolution in which she has clarity about her plans. Seeing as how the applicant wants to be a translator of Japanese literature, the tight narrative structure here is a great way to show her writing skills.
  • Specific examples that show important traits: The applicant clearly communicates both a deep passion for Japanese through examples of her continued engagement with Japanese and her determination and work ethic by highlighting the challenges she’s faced (and overcome) in her study of the language. This gives the impression that she is an engaged and dedicated student.

Overall, this is a very strong statement both in terms of style and content. It flows well, is memorable, and communicates that the applicant would make the most of the graduate school experience.

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Sample Personal Statement for Graduate School 2

PDF of Sample Graduate School Personal Statement 2 – Musical Composition

This personal statement for a Music Composition master’s degree discusses the factors that motivate the applicant to pursue graduate study.

Here’s what works well in this statement:

  • The applicant provides two clear reasons motivating the student to pursue graduate study: her experiences with music growing up, and her family’s musical history. She then supports those two reasons with examples and analysis.
  • The description of her ancestors’ engagement with music is very compelling and memorable. The applicant paints her own involvement with music as almost inevitable based on her family’s long history with musical pursuits.
  • The applicant gives thoughtful analysis of the advantages she has been afforded that have allowed her to study music so extensively. We get the sense that she is insightful and empathetic—qualities that would add greatly to any academic community.

This is a strong, serviceable personal statement. And in truth, given that this for a masters in music composition, other elements of the application (like work samples) are probably the most important.  However, here are two small changes I would make to improve it:

  • I would probably to split the massive second paragraph into 2-3 separate paragraphs. I might use one paragraph to orient the reader to the family’s musical history, one paragraph to discuss Giacomo and Antonio, and one paragraph to discuss how the family has influenced the applicant. As it stands, it’s a little unwieldy and the second paragraph doesn’t have a super-clear focus even though it’s all loosely related to the applicant’s family history with music.
  • I would also slightly shorten the anecdote about the applicant’s ancestors and expand more on how this family history has motivated the applicant’s interest in music. In what specific ways has her ancestors’ perseverance inspired her? Did she think about them during hard practice sessions? Is she interested in composing music in a style they might have played? More specific examples here would lend greater depth and clarity to the statement.

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Sample Personal Statement for Graduate School 3

PDF of Sample Graduate School Personal Statement 3 – Public Health

This is my successful personal statement for Columbia’s Master’s program in Public Health. We’ll do a deep dive on this statement paragraph-by-paragraph in the next section, but I’ll highlight a couple of things that work in this statement here:

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  • This statement is clearly organized. Almost every paragraph has a distinct focus and message, and when I move on to a new idea, I move on to a new paragraph with a logical transitions.
  • This statement covers a lot of ground in a pretty short space. I discuss my family history, my goals, my educational background, and my professional background. But because the paragraphs are organized and I use specific examples, it doesn’t feel too vague or scattered.
  • In addition to including information about my personal motivations, like my family, I also include some analysis about tailoring health interventions with my example of the Zande. This is a good way to show off what kinds of insights I might bring to the program based on my academic background.

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Grad School Personal Statement Example: Deep Dive

Now let’s do a deep dive, paragraph-by-paragraph, on one of these sample graduate school personal statements. We’ll use my personal statement that I used when I applied to Columbia’s public health program.

Paragraph One: For twenty-three years, my grandmother (a Veterinarian and an Epidemiologist) ran the Communicable Disease Department of a mid-sized urban public health department. The stories of Grandma Betty doggedly tracking down the named sexual partners of the infected are part of our family lore. Grandma Betty would persuade people to be tested for sexually transmitted diseases, encourage safer sexual practices, document the spread of infection and strive to contain and prevent it. Indeed, due to the large gay population in the city where she worked, Grandma Betty was at the forefront of the AIDS crises, and her analysis contributed greatly towards understanding how the disease was contracted and spread. My grandmother has always been a huge inspiration to me, and the reason why a career in public health was always on my radar.

This is an attention-grabbing opening anecdote that avoids most of the usual cliches about childhood dreams and proclivities. This story also subtly shows that I have a sense of public health history, given the significance of the AIDs crisis for public health as a field.

It’s good that I connect this family history to my own interests. However, if I were to revise this paragraph again, I might cut down on some of the detail because when it comes down to it, this story isn’t really about me. It’s important that even (sparingly used) anecdotes about other people ultimately reveal something about you in a personal statement.

Paragraph Two: Recent years have cemented that interest. In January 2012, my parents adopted my little brother Fred from China. Doctors in America subsequently diagnosed Fred with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD). My parents were told that if Fred’s condition had been discovered in China, the (very poor) orphanage in which he spent the first 8+ years of his life would have recognized his DMD as a death sentence and denied him sustenance to hasten his demise.

Here’s another compelling anecdote to help explain my interest in public health. This is an appropriately personal detail for a personal statement—it’s a serious thing about my immediate family, but it doesn’t disclose anything that the admissions committee might find concerning or inappropriate.

If I were to take another pass through this paragraph, the main thing I would change is the last phrase. “Denied him sustenance to hasten his demise” is a little flowery. “Denied him food to hasten his death” is actually more powerful because it’s clearer and more direct.

Paragraph Three: It is not right that some people have access to the best doctors and treatment while others have no medical care. I want to pursue an MPH in Sociomedical Sciences at Columbia because studying social factors in health, with a particular focus on socio-health inequities, will prepare me to address these inequities. The interdisciplinary approach of the program appeals to me greatly as I believe interdisciplinary approaches are the most effective way to develop meaningful solutions to complex problems.

In this paragraph I make a neat and clear transition from discussing what sparked my interest in public health and health equity to what I am interested in about Columbia specifically: the interdisciplinary focus of the program, and how that focus will prepare me to solve complex health problems. This paragraph also serves as a good pivot point to start discussing my academic and professional background.

Paragraph Four: My undergraduate education has prepared me well for my chosen career. Understanding the underlying structure of a group’s culture is essential to successfully communicating with the group. In studying folklore and mythology, I’ve learned how to parse the unspoken structures of folk groups, and how those structures can be used to build bridges of understanding. For example, in a culture where most illnesses are believed to be caused by witchcraft, as is the case for the Zande people of central Africa, any successful health intervention or education program would of necessity take into account their very real belief in witchcraft.

In this paragraph, I link my undergraduate education and the skills I learned there to public health. The (very brief) analysis of tailoring health interventions to the Zande is a good way to show insight and show off the competencies I would bring to the program.

Paragraph Five: I now work in the healthcare industry for one of the largest providers of health benefits in the world. In addition to reigniting my passion for data and quantitative analytics, working for this company has immersed me in the business side of healthcare, a critical component of public health.

This brief paragraph highlights my relevant work experience in the healthcare industry. It also allows me to mention my work with data and quantitative analytics, which isn’t necessarily obvious from my academic background, which was primarily based in the social sciences.

Paragraph Six: I intend to pursue a PhD in order to become an expert in how social factors affect health, particularly as related to gender and sexuality. I intend to pursue a certificate in Sexuality, Sexual Health, and Reproduction. Working together with other experts to create effective interventions across cultures and societies, I want to help transform health landscapes both in America and abroad.

This final paragraph is about my future plans and intentions. Unfortunately, it’s a little disjointed, primarily because I discuss goals of pursuing a PhD before I talk about what certificate I want to pursue within the MPH program! Switching those two sentences and discussing my certificate goals within the MPH and then mentioning my PhD plans would make a lot more sense.

I also start two sentences in a row with “I intend,” which is repetitive.

The final sentence is a little bit generic; I might tailor it to specifically discuss a gender and sexual health issue, since that is the primary area of interest I’ve identified.

This was a successful personal statement; I got into (and attended!) the program. It has strong examples, clear organization, and outlines what interests me about the program (its interdisciplinary focus) and what competencies I would bring (a background in cultural analysis and experience with the business side of healthcare). However, a few slight tweaks would elevate this statement to the next level.

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Graduate School Personal Statement Examples You Can Find Online

So you need more samples for your personal statement for graduate school? Examples are everywhere on the internet, but they aren’t all of equal quality.

Most of examples are posted as part of writing guides published online by educational institutions. We’ve rounded up some of the best ones here if you are looking for more personal statement examples for graduate school.

Penn State Personal Statement Examples for Graduate School

This selection of ten short personal statements for graduate school and fellowship programs offers an interesting mix of approaches. Some focus more on personal adversity while others focus more closely on professional work within the field.

The writing in some of these statements is a little dry, and most deploy at least a few cliches. However, these are generally strong, serviceable statements that communicate clearly why the student is interested in the field, their skills and competencies, and what about the specific program appeals to them.

Cal State Sample Graduate School Personal Statements

These are good examples of personal statements for graduate school where students deploy lots of very vivid imagery and illustrative anecdotes of life experiences. There are also helpful comments about what works in each of these essays.

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However, all of these statements are definitely pushing the boundaries of acceptable length, as all are above 1000 and one is almost 1500 words! Many programs limit you to 500 words; if you don’t have a limit, you should try to keep it to two single-spaced pages at most (which is about 1000 words).

University of Chicago Personal Statement for Graduate School Examples

These examples of successful essays to the University of Chicago law school cover a wide range of life experiences and topics. The writing in all is very vivid, and all communicate clear messages about the students’ strengths and competencies.

Note, however, that these are all essays that specifically worked for University of Chicago law school. That does not mean that they would work everywhere. In fact, one major thing to note is that many of these responses, while well-written and vivid, barely address the students’ interest in law school at all! This is something that might not work well for most graduate programs.

Wheaton College Personal Statement for Graduate School Sample 10

This successful essay for law school from a Wheaton College undergraduate does a great job tracking the student’s interest in the law in a compelling and personal way. Wheaton offers other graduate school personal statement examples, but this one offers the most persuasive case for the students’ competencies. The student accomplishes this by using clear, well-elaborated examples, showing strong and vivid writing, and highlighting positive qualities like an interest in justice and empathy without seeming grandiose or out of touch.

Wheaton College Personal Statement for Graduate School Sample 1

Based on the background information provided at the bottom of the essay, this essay was apparently successful for this applicant. However, I’ve actually included this essay because it demonstrates an extremely risky approach. While this personal statement is strikingly written and the story is very memorable, it could definitely communicate the wrong message to some admissions committees. The student’s decision not to report the drill sergeant may read incredibly poorly to some admissions committees. They may wonder if the student’s failure to report the sergeant’s violence will ultimately expose more soldiers-in-training to the same kinds of abuses. This incident perhaps reads especially poorly in light of the fact that the military has such a notable problem with violence against women being covered up and otherwise mishandled

It’s actually hard to get a complete picture of the student’s true motivations from this essay, and what we have might raise real questions about the student’s character to some admissions committees. This student took a risk and it paid off, but it could have just as easily backfired spectacularly.

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Key Takeaways: Graduate School Personal Statement Examples

In this guide, we discussed why you need a personal statement and how it differs from a statement of purpose. (It’s more personal!)

We also discussed what you’ll find in a strong sample personal statement for graduate school:

  • A clear narrative about the applicant and why they are qualified for graduate study.
  • Specific examples to support that narrative.
  • Compelling reasons why the applicant and the program are a good fit for each other.
  • Strong writing, including clear organization and error-free, cliche-free language.
  • Appropriate boundaries—sharing without over-sharing.

Then, we provided three strong graduate school personal statement examples for different fields, along with analysis. We did a deep-dive on the third statement.

Finally, we provided a list of other sample grad school personal statements online.

What’s Next?

Want more advice on writing a personal statement ? See our guide.

Writing a graduate school statement of purpose? See our statement of purpose samples  and a nine-step process for writing the best statement of purpose possible .

If you’re writing a graduate school CV or resume, see our how-to guide to writing a CV , a how-to guide to writing a resume , our list of sample resumes and CVs , resume and CV templates , and a special guide for writing resume objectives .

Need stellar graduate school recommendation letters ? See our guide.

See our 29 tips for successfully applying to graduate school .

Ready to improve your GRE score by 7 points?

a personal statement template

Author: Ellen McCammon

Ellen is a public health graduate student and education expert. She has extensive experience mentoring students of all ages to reach their goals and in-depth knowledge on a variety of health topics. View all posts by Ellen McCammon

a personal statement template

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Writing Your Personal Statements

Your personal statement must demonstrate to the admissions committee that you have considered graduate school and their specific program seriously. It’s your opportunity to summarize your academic and research experiences. You must also communicate how your experiences are relevant to preparing you for the graduate degree that you will be pursuing and explain why a given program is the right one for you.

The personal statement is where you highlight your strengths. Make your strengths absolutely clear to the reviewers, because they will often be reading many other statements. Your self-assessments and honest conversations with peers and advisors should have also revealed your strengths. But you must also address (not blame others for) weaknesses or unusual aspects of your application or academic background.

Your personal statement should focus on two main aspects: your competence and commitment.

1. Identify your strengths in terms of competence that indicate that you will succeed in the grad program and provide examples to support your claims. Start your statement by describing your strengths immediately. Because faculty will be reading many statements, it’s important to start off with your strengths and not “bury your lede.” Consider traits of successful graduate students from your informational interviews, and identify which of these traits you have. These traits could involve research skills and experiences, expertise in working with techniques or instruments, familiarity with professional networks and resources in your field, etc.

  • Check your responses from the exercises in the self-assessment section. You may wish to consult notes from your informational interviews and your Seven Stories . Write concise summaries and stories that demonstrate your strengths, e.g. how your strengths helped you to achieve certain goals or overcome obstacles.
  • Summarize your research experience(s). What were the main project goals and the “big picture” questions? What was your role in this project? What did you accomplish? What did you learn, and how did you grow as a result of the experience(s)?

Vannessa Velez's portrait

My research examines the interplay between U.S. domestic politics and foreign policy during the Cold War. As a native New Yorker, I saw firsthand how dramatically my city changed after 9/11, which prompted my early interest in U.S. policy at home and abroad. As an undergraduate at the City College of New York, I planned to study international relations with a focus on U.S. foreign affairs. I also quickly became involved in student activist groups that focused on raising awareness about a wide range of human rights issues, from the Syrian refugee crisis to asylum seekers from Central America.

The more I learned about the crises in the present, the more I realized that I needed a deeper understanding of the past to fully grasp them. I decided to pursue a PhD in history in order to gain a clearer understanding of human rights issues in the present and to empower young student-activists like myself.

— Vannessa Velez, PhD candidate in History

Addressing weaknesses or unusual aspects

  • Identify weaknesses or unusual aspects in your application—e.g., a significant drop in your GPA during a term; weak GRE scores; changes in your academic trajectory, etc. Don’t ignore them, because ignoring them might be interpreted as blind spots for you. If you’re unsure if a particular issue is significant enough to address, seek advice from faculty mentors.
  • Explain how you’ll improve and strengthen those areas or work around your weakness. Determine how you will address them in a positive light, e.g., by discussing how you overcame obstacles through persistence, what you learned from challenges, and how you grew from failures. Focusing on a growth mindset  or grit  and this blog on weaknesses might also help.
  • Deal with any significant unusual aspects later in the statement to allow a positive impression to develop first.
  • Explain, rather than provide excuses—i.e., address the issue directly and don’t blame others (even if you believe someone else is responsible). Draft it and get feedback from others to see if the explanation is working as you want it to.
  • Provide supporting empirical evidence if possible. For example, “Adjusting to college was a major step for me, coming from a small high school and as a first-generation college student. My freshman GPA was not up to par with my typical achievements, as demonstrated by my improved  GPA of 3.8 during my second and third years in college."
  • Be concise (don’t dwell on the issues), but also be complete (don’t lead to other potentially unanswered questions). For example, if a drop in grades during a term was due to a health issue, explain whether the health issue is recurring, managed now with medication, resolved, etc.

2. Explain your commitment to research and their graduate program, including your motivation for why you are applying to this graduate program at this university. Be as specific as possible. Identify several faculty members with whom you are interested in working, and explain why their research interests you.

  • Descriptions of your commitment should explain why you’re passionate about this particular academic field and provide demonstrations of your commitment with stories (e.g., working long hours to solve a problem, overcoming challenges in research, resilience in pursuing problems). Don’t merely assert your commitment.
  • Explain why you are applying to graduate school, as opposed to seeking a professional degree or a job. Discuss your interest and motivation for grad school, along with your future career aspirations.

Jaime Fine's portrait

I am definitely not your traditional graduate student. As a biracial (Native American and white), first-generation PhD student from a military family, I had very limited guidance on how best to pursue my education, especially when I decided that graduate school was a good idea. I ended up coming to this PhD in a very circuitous manner, stopping first to get a JD and, later, an MFA in Young Adult Literature. With each degree, I took time to work and apply what I’d learned, as a lawyer and as an educator. Each time, I realized that I was circling around questions that I couldn’t let go of—not just because I found them to be fascinating, but because I did (and still do!) feel that my research could help to bridge a gap that desperately needs bridging. Because my work is quite interdisciplinary, I strongly feel that I wouldn’t have been able to pursue this line of research without the degrees and life experience I gained before coming to this program.

— Jamie Fine, PhD candidate in Modern Thought and Literature

Statement of Purpose: subtle aspects

  • Think in terms of engaging faculty in a conversation rather than pleading with them that you should be admitted. Ask reviewers to read drafts with this concern in mind.
  • With later drafts, try developing an overall narrative theme. See if one emerges as you work.
  • Write at least 10 drafts and expect your thinking and the essay to change quite a bit over time.
  • Read drafts out loud to help you catch errors.
  • Expect the "you' that emerges in your essay to be incomplete. . . that’s OK.
  • You’re sharing a professional/scholarly slice of "you."
  • Avoid humor (do you really know what senior academics find funny?) and flashy openings and closings. Think of pitching the essay to an educated person in the field, but not necessarily in your specialty. Avoid emotionally laden words (such as "love" or "passion"). Remember, your audience is a group of professors! Overly emotional appeals might make them uncomfortable. They are looking for scholarly colleagues.

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Writing a Personal Statement for Law School

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a personal statement template

Writing a Personal Statement for Law School was originally published on College Recruiter .

In order to gain entrance into law school, prospective students are required to write an essay detailing the reasons why they want to become lawyers. Unlike the college entrance application, personal statements for law school are essays that have an open format. Successful lawyers are high achievers long before they enter law school. They exude confidence and accomplish their goals. When you write your law school statement, you need to write in a way that shows your skills, competence, and achievements. Think of the person reading your essay as you write. He or she will want to know what you have to offer society as a lawyer. That person also has an interest in your motivations for wanting to be a lawyer and what it is that makes you a better prospect than other law school applicants. Remember that admissions officers review hundreds of applications. Tell them the true story of the things in your life that made you decide to become an attorney. Do not embellish or say anything false because they will see through it. Do not use cliches that you have heard from someone else or tell them what you think they want to hear. For instance, if you really enjoy helping the homeless, write it down in such a way that it shows your reasons rather than telling them. What qualifies you to be a lawyer? What character traits, skills, and talents do you have that would make you a good lawyer? Describe everything you know about yourself that you feel qualifies you above other people. Don’t be disingenuous by exaggerating your skills and accomplishments. If you have any weaknesses that you feel may potentially disqualify you from law school, how do you get around them in your personal statement? That is a tough question. If you have a period of time where you had below average grades, using excuses is not the solution to your dilemma. Try to find something positive that you learned that helps you overcome the flaw. In the case of grades, you could tell how you improved them. One writer’s technique that works effectively on essays and personal statements is active voice. Use active verbs in your senses. Passive voice sounds weak and that is not the way you want to come across to the admissions board. That however does not mean that you should try to impress anyone with your knowledge of legal terminology. A personal statement does not mean writing your complete personal life memoirs. In other words, don’t write a book. Instead, write a 1 to 2 page statement using the tips contained here. When you’re finished, ask people you know to read your statement. Take their suggestions seriously. This is perhaps the most important step of all in writing your personal statement. Revise once. Set it down for a day. Revise twice. Set it down for another day. Read it again and revise and edit once more. Let someone read it again and get their opinion of your statement. Writing our personal statement for law school is not rocket science. When you put the time and effort into writing it, you will likely end up with a personal statement that will effectively get the notice of the Board of Admissions. Tip: Get a head start on writing your own personal statement by starting with a sample personal statement . Your writing will be faster, easier, and more professional as a result. Jason Kay is a professional writer offering advice in a number of areas including resume writing and personal statement writing. You can learn more useful tips at his resume writing blog .

Process Street

Google Sheets Personal Financial Statement Template

Create a new google sheets document, design the layout of the personal financial statement template, input categories needed for the financial statement: assets, liabilities, equity, divide the 'assets' category into: current assets, fixed assets, other assets, divide the 'liabilities' category into: current liabilities, long term liabilities, input details for each division under 'assets' category, input details for each division under 'liabilities' category, calculate the total assets value, calculate the total liabilities value, calculate 'equity' by subtracting total liabilities from total assets, columns formatting and styling, put in the owners' equity, recognition of income and expenses, determine the net income/loss, review the financial statement for any errors or miscalculations, approval: financial analyst.

  • Review the financial statement for any errors or miscalculations Will be submitted

Share the Google Sheets document with relevant parties

Secure the document with a password if necessary, document the process for future reference, take control of your workflows today., more templates like this.

Judge fines Donald Trump more than $350 million, bars him from running businesses in N.Y. for three years

The judge who presided over a civil business fraud trial against Donald Trump on Friday ordered the former president, his sons, business associates and company to pay more than $350 million in damages and temporarily limited their ability to do business in New York.

Judge Arthur Engoron ordered the former president and the Trump Organization to pay over $354 million in damages , and barred Trump “from serving as an officer or director of any New York corporation or other legal entity in New York for a period of three years,” including his namesake company.

New York Attorney General Letitia James, whose office brought the case, said that with pre-judgment interest, the judgment totals over $450 million, an amount “which will continue to increase every single day” until the judgment is paid.

“Donald Trump is finally facing accountability for his lying, cheating, and staggering fraud. Because no matter how big, rich, or powerful you think you are, no one is above the law,” James said in a statement, calling the ruling “a tremendous victory for this state, this nation, and for everyone who believes that we all must play by the same rules — even former presidents.”

The ruling also bars Trump and his company from applying for any bank loans for three years.

In his first public remarks after the ruling, Trump said, “We’ll appeal and we’ll be successful.”

Speaking to reporters at Mar-a-Lago on Friday night, Trump bashed the ruling as “a fine of 350 million for a doing a perfect job.” He also repeated previous attacks by calling the judge “crooked” and the attorney general “corrupt.”

Trump did not take any questions from reporters after speaking for about six minutes.

The judge’s decision is a potential blow to both Trump’s finances and persona — having built his brand on being a successful businessman that he leveraged in his first run for president. Trump is currently running for the White House for a third time. This case is just one of many he is currently facing, including four separate pending criminal trials, the first of which is scheduled to begin on March 25.

Engoron also ordered the continued “appointment of an Independent Monitor” and the “the installation of an Independent Director of Compliance” for the company.

In posts on his social media platform Truth Social, Trump called the ruling “an illegal, unAmerican judgment against me, my family, and my tremendous business.”

“This ‘decision’ is a complete and total sham,” he wrote.

During the trial, Trump and executives at his company, including his sons Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, attempted to blame exaggerated financial statements that were the heart of New York Attorney General Letitia James’ fraud case on the accountants who compiled them. Engoron disagreed.

“There is overwhelming evidence from both interested and non-interested witnesses, corroborated by documentary evidence, that the buck for being truthful in the supporting data valuations stopped with the Trump Organization, not the accountants,” he wrote.

In explaining the need for a monitor, the judge cited the lack of remorse by Trump and his executives after the fraud was discovered.

“Their complete lack of contrition and remorse borders on pathological. They are accused only of inflating asset values to make more money. The documents prove this over and over again. This is a venial sin, not a mortal sin. Defendants did not commit murder or arson. They did not rob a bank at gunpoint. Donald Trump is not Bernard Madoff. Yet, defendants are incapable of admitting the error of their ways,” Engoron wrote.

“Defendants’ refusal to admit error — indeed, to continue it, according to the Independent Monitor — constrains this Court to conclude that they will engage in it going forward unless judicially restrained,” he added.

The ruling also bars the Trump sons — who’ve been running the company since their father went to the White House — “from serving as an officer or director of any New York corporation or other legal entity in New York for a period of two years.” Both were fined over $4 million, plus interest, for their roles in the scheme.

Donald Trump Jr. posted on the social media site X that “We’ve reached the point where your political beliefs combined with what venue your case is heard are the primary determinants of the outcome; not the facts of the case! It’s truly sad what’s happened to our country.”

In a statement, Eric Trump called the judge “a cruel man.”

“He knows that every single witness testified to that fact that I had absolutely NOTHING to do with this case (as INSANE as the case truly is),” Eric Trump said.

He also attacked the ruling as “political vengeance by a judge out to get my father.”

 Trump attorney Alina Habba called the verdict “a manifest injustice — plain and simple.”

“Given the grave stakes, we trust that the Appellate Division will overturn this egregious verdict and end this relentless persecution against my clients,” she said in a statement.

A spokesperson for Trump Organization called the ruling “a gross miscarriage of justice. The Trump Organization has never missed any loan payment or been in default on any loan.”

High legal costs

An appeal in the case would likely take years, but Trump could have to post a bond for the full amount if he does so.

Read more: Trump faces about $400 million in legal penalties. Can he afford it?

The judgment is the second this year against Trump after he was hit last month with an $83.3 million verdict in writer E. Jean Carroll’s defamation case against him. Trump has said he plans to appeal that verdict as well, but would have to post a bond for that amount as well.

James had been seeking $370 million from Trump, his company and its top executives, alleging “repeated and persistent fraud ” that included falsifying business records and financial statements. James had argued those financial statements were at times exaggerated by as much as $2.2 billion.

James contended the defendants used the inflated financial statements to obtain bank loans and insurance policies at rates he otherwise wouldn’t have been entitled to and “reaped hundreds of millions of dollars in ill-gotten gains.”

Trump had maintained his financial statements were conservative, and has called the AG’s allegations politically motivated and a “fraud on me.”

“This is a case that should have never been brought, and I think we should be entitled to damages,” Trump told reporters when he attended closing arguments in the case on Jan. 11.

Trump testimony knocked

The monthslong civil trial included testimony from Trump and his oldest children . The former president was combative in his day on the stand, blasting James as a “hack” and calling the judge “extremely hostile.”

Trump repeatedly complained about Engoron before and throughout the trial, and the judge slapped him with a partial gag order after he started blasting the judge’s law clerk as well. Trump’s complaints led to a flood of death threats against the clerk, as well as Engoron, court officials said, and Trump was fined $15,000 for twice violating the order.

Among the examples cited as fraud by the attorney general’s office during the trial was Trump valuing his triplex home in Trump Tower in New York City at three times its actual size and value, as well as including a brand value to increase the valuation of his golf courses on the financial statements, which explicitly said brand values were not included.

Another example pointed to by the attorney general clearly got under his skin — a dispute over the value of Mar-a-Lago, his social club and residence in Florida. Trump’s financial statements from 2011 to 2021 valued Mar-a-Lago at $426 million to $612 million, while the Palm Beach County assessor appraised the property’s market value to be $18 million to $27 million during the same time frame. Trump had also fraudulently puffed up the value of the property by saying it was a private residence, despite having signed an agreement that it could only be used as a social club to lower his tax burden.

Trump maintained during the trial the property was worth much, much more .

“The judge had it at $18 million, and it is worth, say, I say from 50 to 100 times more than that. So I don’t know how you got those numbers,” Trump testified, adding later that he thinks it’s actually worth “between a billion and a billion five.”

In his ruling Friday, Engoron said he didn’t find Trump to be a credible witness.

“Overall, Donald Trump rarely responded to the questions asked, and he frequently interjected long, irrelevant speeches on issues far beyond the scope of the trial. His refusal to answer the questions directly, or in some cases, at all, severely compromised his credibility,” the judge wrote.

Michael Cohen testimony ‘credible’

James’ investigation into the former president’s business began in 2019 as a result of congressional testimony from his former personal lawyer Michael Cohen , who told the House Oversight Committee that Trump would improperly expand and shrink values to fit whatever his business needs were.

Cohen testified during the trial about his role in the scheme, and said while Trump didn’t explicitly tell him and then-Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg to inflate the numbers in the financial statement, he was like a “mob boss” who tells you what he wants without directly telling you.

Trump claimed Cohen’s testimony exonerated him while also painting him as an untrustworthy liar because he admitted having previously lied under oath.

In his ruling, Engoron called Cohen an “important witness” and said he found his testimony “credible.” “This factfinder does not believe that pleading guilty to perjury means that you can never tell the truth. Michael Cohen told the truth,” the judge wrote.

Former CFO ‘evasive’

Engoron was less forgiving about former Trump CFO Weisselberg, who previously pleaded guilty to carrying out tax fraud at the company.

Weisselberg’s “testimony in this trial was intentionally evasive, with large gaps of ‘I don’t remember.’”

“There is overwhelming evidence that Allen Weisselberg intentionally falsified hundreds of business records during his tenure” at the company, the judge wrote. “Weisselberg understood that his assignment from Donald Trump was to have his reported assets increase every year irrespective of their actual values. The examples of Weisselberg’s intent to falsify business records are too numerous to itemize,” he added.

The judge permanently barred Weisselberg “from serving in the financial control function of any New York corporation or similar business entity operating in New York State,” and ordered him to pay the $1 million he’s already received from his $2 million separation agreement from the company as “ill-gotten gains.”

AG initially sought less

James filed her suit seeking $250 million in damages from Trump in 2022, and the judge appointed a monitor to oversee the company’s finances that November.

In a summary judgment  ruling the week before the trial started, Engoron found Trump and his executives had repeatedly engaged in fraud. The “documents here clearly contain fraudulent valuations that defendants used in business, satisfying [the attorney general’s] burden to establish liability as a matter of law against defendants,” the judge wrote, while denying Trump’s bid to dismiss the case.

Engoron summarized the Trump defense as “the documents do not say what they say; that there is no such thing as ‘objective’ value; and that, essentially, the Court should not believe its own eyes.”

The order, which Trump appealed, held that Trump’s business certificates in New York should be canceled, which could have wreaked havoc on Trump’s company and forced the sell-off of some assets.

Engoron backed off of that decision in his ruling Friday, saying the addition of the “two-tiered oversight” of the monitor and the compliance director makes that move “no longer necessary.”

Trump had complained about the summary judgment ruling while he was on the witness stand. “He said I was a fraud before he knew anything about me, nothing about me,” Trump said. “It’s a terrible thing you did.”

a personal statement template

Adam Reiss is a reporter and producer for NBC and MSNBC.

a personal statement template

Dareh Gregorian is a politics reporter for NBC News.

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COMMENTS

  1. 16 Winning Personal Statement Examples (And Why They Work)

    Jennifer Herrity Updated July 31, 2023 A personal statement, also sometimes known as a professional statement or resume summary, is one of the most important documents you will write when applying to schools or jobs. An exceptional personal statement can increase your chances of admission or getting a job offer.

  2. How To Write a Good Personal Statement (With Examples)

    Jennifer Herrity Updated March 10, 2023 Show Transcript Video: How To Write a Standout Personal Statement Jenn, a certified career coach, shares her key steps for crafting a personal statement that is authentic, impressive and helps you stand out from the crowd.

  3. The Personal Statement

    1. The general, comprehensive personal statement: This allows you maximum freedom in terms of what you write and is the type of statement often prepared for standard medical or law school application forms. 2. The response to very specific questions:

  4. 12 Outstanding Personal Statement Examples + Why They Work 2023

    What is a personal statement? It's the main essay required by the Common Application as well as most other application systems. They basically require you to answer some version of the question "Who are you, and what do you value?"

  5. How to Write a Personal Statement (Tips + Essay Examples)

    A personal statement is an essay in which you demonstrate aspects of who you are by sharing some of the qualities, skills, and values you'll bring to college.

  6. 9 winning personal statement examples for a job

    In this article, we show you how to write an engaging personal statement, provide nine examples of winning personal statements and offer a university template. Explore jobs on Indeed Part-time jobs Full-time jobs Remote jobs Urgently needed jobs View more jobs on Indeed Learning from personal statement examples

  7. Examples

    Below are samples of personal statements. You may also select "Sample Statement" in the Media Box above for a PDF sample. Statement #1. My interest in science dates back to my years in high school, where I excelled in physics, chemistry, and math.

  8. 500+ Personal Statement Examples

    Personal Statement Tips Read Article See hundreds of personal statement examples that will guide you when you write yours. Every courses subject is available for FREE as part of our library.

  9. How to Write a Personal Statement

    A personal statement—sometimes known as a college essay —is a brief written essay you submit with other materials when applying to college or university. Personal statements tend to be most common for undergraduate applications, and they're a great opportunity for an admissions committee to hear your voice directly.

  10. How to Write Your Personal Statement

    There's no universal template for a personal statement; it's your chance to be creative and let your own voice shine through. But there are strategies you can use to build a compelling, well-structured story. The introduction: Start with an attention-grabbing opening

  11. 5 Powerful Personal Statement Examples (Template Included)

    1. Personal anecdotes Adding a touch of character to your personal statement can give the admissions committee insight into your personality beyond your transcripts. By including specific experiences and anecdotes, you can make your personal statement more engaging and informative.

  12. How to Write a Strong Personal Statement

    Address the elephant in the room (if there is one). Maybe your grades weren't great in core courses, or perhaps you've never worked in the field you're applying to. Make sure to address the ...

  13. How To Write Your Undergraduate Personal Statement

    Just start by showing your enthusiasm for the subject, showcasing your knowledge and understanding, and sharing your ambitions of what you want to achieve. Avoid cliches! Remember, this opening part is simply about introducing yourself, so let the admissions tutor reading your personal statement get to know you. Keep it relevant and simple.

  14. PDF Personal Statement Worksheet

    person reading your statement. > Do be enthusiastic - if you show your interest in the course, it may help you get a place. > Do expect to produce several drafts of your personal statement before being totally happy with it. > Do ask people you trust for their feedback. Don'ts when writing your personal statement

  15. Personal statement examples

    Free CV Template University personal statement First things first: personal statements aren't just for your CV. They're also a key part of the UCAS application process, and a way to sell yourself to prospective universities. However, they will be much more detailed - and longer - than the one you write for a job application.

  16. AI Personal Statement Generator

    Get Grammarly It's free A Better Way to Get Ideas for Your Personal Statement Crafting a quality personal statement doesn't have to feel daunting. Grammarly's AI writing assistance makes it easy to get ideas for a standout personal statement in seconds. Share some basic details and quickly get ideas suited to your needs.

  17. How to write an excellent personal statement in 10 steps

    In summary, here are the ten steps you should follow to create the perfect personal statement. 1. Start with a plan. List all the things you want to cover. 2. Focus on your experience and your interests, and explain why it's relevant to the course. 3. Blow your own trumpet; don't understate your achievements. 4.

  18. 2000+ Personal Statement Examples

    The first rule with opening your personal statement is to avoid using any cliches or over-used phrases or sentences that the admissions tutors have seen a million times before.. These include: "ever since I was young/a child", "I have always wanted to be..." and "for as long as I can remember". If you want the reader to go to sleep or immediately put your UCAS form in the rejection pile, then ...

  19. How to Write a UCAS Personal Statement [With Examples]

    The character limit which UCAS sets for the personal statement is very strict - up to 4,000 characters of text. This means that students have to express themselves in a clear and concise way; it's also important that they don't feel the need to fill the available space needlessly. Planning and redrafting of a personal statement is essential.

  20. PDF Personal Statement Template

    Use this template to guide you next time you write a personal statement. Follow the steps and review the prompts, checking off each one as you go. Before you start writing, make sure you understand what you're being asked to demonstrate in the personal statement. Make sure you read all the information about the written application process ...

  21. 3 Successful Graduate School Personal Statement Examples • Pr

    Sample Personal Statement for Graduate School 3. PDF of Sample Graduate School Personal Statement 3 - Public Health. This is my successful personal statement for Columbia's Master's program in Public Health. We'll do a deep dive on this statement paragraph-by-paragraph in the next section, but I'll highlight a couple of things that ...

  22. Writing Your Personal Statements

    Your personal statement should focus on two main aspects: your competence and commitment. 1. Identify your strengths in terms of competence that indicate that you will succeed in the grad program and provide examples to support your claims. Start your statement by describing your strengths immediately. Because faculty will be reading many ...

  23. Writing a Personal Statement for Law School

    Writing our personal statement for law school is not rocket science. When you put the time and effort into writing it, you will likely end up with a personal statement that will effectively get the notice of the Board of Admissions. Tip: Get a head start on writing your own personal statement by starting with a sample personal statement. Your ...

  24. Google Sheets Personal Financial Statement Template

    Create a new Google Sheets document Start by creating a new Google Sheets document to serve as the template for the Personal Financial Statement. This document will be used to input and organize all the necessary financial information. Make sure to name the document appropriately. Design the layout of the Personal Financial Statement Template Design

  25. How to start a personal statement: The attention grabber

    Start by making some notes. The personal statement allows admissions tutors to form a picture of who you are. So, for the opener, think about writing down things, such as: why you're a good candidate. your motivations. what brings you to this course. If you're applying for multiple courses, think about how your skills, academic interests ...

  26. Judge Engoron fines Trump more than $350M, bars him from running

    Trump's financial statements from 2011 to 2021 valued Mar-a-Lago at $426 million to $612 million, while the Palm Beach County assessor appraised the property's market value to be $18 million ...