Financial Aid and Scholarships
- In observance of Thanksgiving, Financial Aid and Scholarships will be closed Thu-Fri, November 23-34, 2023.
- The 2024-25 Continuing Students Scholarship application is now open through January 10, 2024. Apply today!
- The 2024-25 FAFSA and CADAA applications will open in December 2023. Visit Apply for Financial Aid for details.
- For California Middle Class Scholarship updates, please visit MCS .
- If you have been selected for verification, please complete the requirements as soon as possible. For details, visit Verification .
Writing a Personal Statement
Perhaps the most critical piece of many scholarship applications is the personal statement. It is often the chance for you to make the best case for why you should be given a scholarship. Personal statements allow the reader of your application to gain the strongest feel for who you are as a person, what sets you apart from other applicants, provide evidence of your intellectual and creative achievements, and show your writing ability.
Your personal statement should be treated as the equivalent of a face-to-face interview. A well-written statement adds clarity, richness, and meaning to the information collected in other parts of your application. It is also an opportunity to explain how factors outside of your school environment have enhanced or impeded your ability to maximize available academic and intellectual opportunities.
While there is no one correct way to write a personal statement, here are some tips that are universally applicable:
Start on your personal statement early.
Give yourself time to think about your topics, and carefully consider the rationale behind each question.
Be clear. Be focused. Be organized.
Make sure your personal statement follows a logical structure. Try to think about how it may sound to an audience who doesn’t know you. Getting input from people you trust—teachers, friends, relatives—can help you get different perspectives on how your personal statement affects those who are reading it. Avoiding long, drawn-out essay responses will not only help keep your reader’s attention but will also show that you were thoughtful about your writing.
The readers want to get a sense of who you are, and the only way to do this is to share a bit about who you are. After all, it is called a Personal Statement. This is your chance to share with the reader what you feel they should know about you to make an informed decision.
Make it authentic.
A personal statement should showcase who you are and what you care about, not what you believe the readers want to hear. Remember that those reading your application will be reading many other applications as well and will be able to tell right away if what you are writing is honest and authentic. It is also worth keeping in mind that some programs require an interview for finalists where it will be easy to spot those who have not been genuine in their personal statements.
Be careful with humor and clichés.
What might seem funny or bitingly ironic to you might not seem that way to someone who doesn’t know you. Remember that the personal statement is an opportunity for you to give a complete picture of yourself. Don’t allow clichés to speak for you.
A personal statement isn’t effective simply because it chronicles difficult circumstances. Strong personal statements should show that the writer has reflected upon and learned from their past experiences and achievements. Ideally, the writer will be able to show progression towards a clear perspective of how he or she sees the world, and what direction he or she is headed towards in the future. An effective personal statement gives a clear sense of your personal qualities and how you have used and developed them in response to your opportunities and challenges.
Use specific examples to illustrate your ideas.
Being too vague or writing too generally will not make your personal statement memorable. Thousands upon thousands of personal statements discuss initiative, but only hundreds show initiative using concrete examples of demonstrated motivation and leadership. But examples are only one part of the equation. You also need to show how you have assigned meaning to your experiences and how you have grown from them. Prove that you have a sense of who you are, where you are going, and how you are going to use your education and your experiences to accomplish your goals. Although some events have long-term or even lifetime ramifications, it is usually better to focus on recent events because they shed more light on who you are right now.
Finally, give yourself plenty of time for revisions.
Personal statements should go through several drafts before submission. Read your writing to others, and revise for clarity in content and in style. Pay attention to rules of correct grammar and punctuation, and don’t forget to spell-check. It is also recommended that you make use of campus resources (such as professor, teaching assistant, advisor, Student Academic Success Center, classmates, or friends) to gain valuable insight into how to improve your personal statement. If you are applying for prestigious scholarships, make sure to submit all personal statements to the Prestigious Scholarship Advisor for editing and guidance on re-writes.
We hope these tips will help you get organized and will inspire you. Your personal statement is the best tool you have to show us the individual gifts you have to offer.
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How to Write a Personal Statement for a Scholarship + Examples
What’s covered:, what is the purpose of the scholarship personal statement, what to include in your personal statement, personal statement example: breakdown + analysis, how to make sure your writing is effective.
Either before or after you’ve gotten into your dream school, you’ll have to figure out how to pay for it. For most students, this involves a combination of financial aid, parent contributions, self-contributions, student loans, and scholarships/grants. Because scholarships are money out of someone else’s pocket that you never have to pay back, they are a great place to start!
Scholarships come in two forms: merit-based and need-based. Need-based scholarships are also often called grants. These designations tell you whether an organization looks at your financial situation when deciding about your scholarship.
Additionally, different scholarships fall under different categories based on the mission of the organization or person providing the scholarship’s financing. These missions typically emphasize different things like academic achievement, specific career goals, community service, leadership, family background, skill in the arts, or having overcome hardship. As you select scholarships to apply for and complete your applications, you should keep these missions in mind.
No matter what type of scholarship you are applying for, you will be asked to provide the review committee with standard materials. This includes your transcript, GPA, and resume/extracurriculars, but also, importantly, your personal statement. A scholarship personal statement is a bit different from your normal college essay, so we’ve put together this guide and some examples to help you get started!
The purpose of your personal statement is to help a review committee learn more about your personality, values, goals, and what makes you special. Ultimately, like with your college essays, you are trying to humanize your profile beyond your transcript, GPA, and test scores.
College essays all have one goal in mind (which is why you can apply to multiple schools at once through applications like the Common App or Coalition App): convince admissions officers that you would be a valuable addition to the university environment. The goal of your scholarship personal statement is different and differs more from one scholarship to the next. Rather than convincing various review committees that you are a generally good candidate for extra funding for college, you need to convince each review committee that your values have historically aligned with their organization’s mission and will continue to align with their organization’s mission.
Common missions amongst those who give scholarships include:
- Providing opportunities for students with career ambitions in a particular field
- Helping students who have experienced unexpected hardship
- Supporting students who show outstanding academic achievement
- Funding the arts through investing in young artists with strong technical skill
- Supporting the development of civic-minded community service leaders of the future
- Providing opportunities for historically underrepresented ethnic communities
If a specific mission like this is outlined on an organization’s website or in the promotional material for its scholarship, the purpose of your personal statement is to show how you exemplify that mission.
Some scholarships ask for your personal statement to be guided by a prompt, while others leave things open for interpretation. When you are provided a prompt, it is obvious what you must do: answer the prompt. When you are not provided a prompt, you want to write a personal statement that is essentially a small-scale autobiography where you position yourself as a good investment. In either case, you should identify a focus or theme for what you are trying to say about yourself so that your application does not get lost in the shuffle.
Prompts include questions like:
- Why do you deserve this scholarship?
- How have you shown your commitment to (leadership/community service/diversity) in your community?
- When did you overcome adversity?
- Why is attending college important to you?
If you are provided a prompt, develop a theme for your response that showcases both your values and your achievements. This will help your essay feel focused and will subsequently help the review committee to remember which candidate you were as they deliberate.
Themes include things like:
- I deserve this community service scholarship because my compassion for intergenerational trauma has inspired me to volunteer with a local after-school program. I didn’t just sympathize. I did something about my sympathy because that’s the type of person I am. Within the program, I have identified avenues for improvement and worked alongside full-time staff to develop new strategies for increasing attendance.
- I overcame adversity when my mother had to have a major surgery two months after giving birth to my younger brother. I was just a kid but was thrown into a situation where I had to raise another kid. It was hard, but I’m the kind of person who tries to grow from hard times and, through my experience taking care of a baby, I learned the importance of listening to body language and nonverbal cues to understand the needs of others (baby and nonbaby, alike).
Without a prompt, clarity can be harder to achieve. That said, it is of the utmost importance that you find a focus. First, think about both your goals and your values.
Types of goals include:
- Career goals
- Goals for personal growth
- The type of friend you want to be
- The change you want to make in the world
Values could include:
- And many more!
After you write out your goals/values, write out your achievements to see what goals/values you have “proof” of your commitment to. Your essay will ultimately be an exploration of your goal/value, what you have done about your goal/value in the past, and what you aspire to in the future.
You might be tempted to reflect on areas for improvement, but scholarships care about you living out your values. It is not enough to aspire to be exemplary in leadership, community service, or your academic field. For scholarships, you have to already be exemplary.
Finally, keep in mind that the review committee likely already has a copy of your extracurricular activities and involvement. Pick one or two accomplishments, then strive for depth, not breadth as you explore them.
My interest in the field of neuroscience began at a young age. When I was twelve years old, my sister developed a condition called Pseudotumor Cerebri following multiple concussions during a basketball game. It took the doctors over six months to make a proper diagnosis, followed by three years of treatment before she recovered. During this time, my love for neuroscience was sparked as I began to research her condition and, then, other neurocognitive conditions. Later, my love of neuroscience was amplified when my mother began to suffer from brain-related health issues. My mother had been a practicing attorney in Dallas for over twenty years. She was a determined litigator who relentlessly tried difficult cases that changed people’s lives. Now, she suffers from a cognitive impairment and is no longer able to practice law. Oftentimes, she has headaches, she gets “cloudy,” her executive functioning slows down, she feels overwhelmed, and she forgets things. My mother has gone from being the strong, confident, emotional and financial caretaker of our family to needing significant help on a daily basis. Once again, with this illness came a lot of research on my part — research that encouraged me to pursue my dreams of exploring neuroscience.
Due to my experiences with my mother and sister when I was in middle school, I knew that I wanted to make a difference in the field of neuroscience. I also knew that, to obtain this goal, I needed to maintain superior grades in school while also pursuing opportunities outside of school to further my education. In school, I was able to maintain superior grades to the point where I am currently valedictorian in a class of 567 students. In addition, in school, I challenged myself by taking 16 Advanced Placement classes and 19 Honors classes. Two of the most beneficial classes were AP Capstone Seminar and AP Capstone Research. AP Capstone Seminar and AP Capstone Research are research-oriented classes where students are given the opportunity to pursue whatever track their research takes them down. As a junior in AP Capstone Seminar, I researched the effects of harmful pesticide use on the prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in children. This year, as a senior in AP Capstone Research, I am learning about the effects of medical marijuana on the treatment of Multiple Sclerosis (MS).
Outside of school, I furthered my education through taking advantage of the Duke TiP summer program. Duke TiP is a summer program run by Duke University where students who score extremely well on the SAT as middle schoolers are able to take college classes at different universities throughout the summers of their middle school and high school years. I took advantage of this opportunity twice. First, I went to Trinity University in San Antonio to expand my horizons and learn more about debate. However, once I was done exploring, I decided I wanted to go into neuroscience. This led me to take an Abnormal Psychology class at Duke University’s West Campus. This class opened my eyes to the interaction between neuroscience and mental health, mental illness, and personality. Years later, I am currently continuing my education outside of school as an intern at the University of Texas Dallas Center for Brain Health. Through this internship, I have been able to see different aspects of neuroscience including brain pattern testing, virtual reality therapy, and longitudinal research studies. With this background, I have positioned myself to be accepted by top neuroscience programs throughout the nation. So far, I have been accepted to the neuroscience department of University of Southern California, the University of Virginia, the University of Texas, and Southern Methodist University, as well as the chemistry department at University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill.
It is with this passion for neuroscience driven by my family and passion for education driven by internal motivation that I will set out to conquer my career objectives. My educational aspirations consist of acquiring a bachelor’s degree in a biological or health science that would assist me in pursuing a medical career as a neuroscience researcher. I decided to attain a career as a researcher since my passion has always been assisting others and trying to improve their quality of life. After obtaining my Masters and my PhD, I plan to become a professor at a prestigious university and continue performing lab research on cognitive disorders. I am particularly interested in disorders such as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). In the lab, I hope to find different therapies and medications to help treat the 3.5 million people around the world suffering from ASD. Furthermore, I want to contribute back to underserved populations that struggle because they do not have as much access to medical assistance as other privileged groups. As such, I hope to do a part of my research in less developed or developing Spanish-speaking countries. This will also allow me to pursue my love of Spanish while pursuing my love of neuroscience. I think that following such a career path will provide me the opportunity to learn about the medical needs of the autistic community and improve their quality of health. Furthermore, I hope to train a new generation of students to strive to research and make comparable discoveries. Whether it be through virtual reality labs or new drug discoveries, I believe that research leads to innovation which leads to a brighter future.
This student does a great job of making themself appear competent and dedicated to the field of neuroscience. This is primarily because they provided tangible evidence of how they have pursued their dedication in the past—through their AP Capstone courses, their Abnormal Psychology class at Duke TiP, and their internship at UTD. There is no doubt in the mind of a reader that this student is high-achieving.
This student also engages successfully with a past-future trajectory, where they end with a vision of how they will continue to use neuroscience in the future. This helps the review committee see what they are investing in and the ways that their money will go to good use.
This student has two major areas for improvement. As we have said, the purpose of a personal statement is for a student to humanize themself to a review committee. This student struggles to depict themself separately from their academic achievements. A solution to this would be for the student to establish a theme towards the beginning of their essay that relates to both their values as a human and their achievements.
At the beginning of the essay, the student explores how their interest in neuroscience began. They explain their interest through the following sentences: “During this time, my love for neuroscience was sparked as I began to research her condition and, then, other neurocognitive conditions” and “Once again, with this illness came a lot of research on my part — research that encouraged me to pursue my dreams of exploring neuroscience.” The student made the great decision to tell the backstory of their interest, but they described their research in very mundane and redundant terms. Instead, they could have focused on their value of intellectual curiosity as a magnetic force that encouraged them to research their mother and sister’s ailments. Curiosity, then, could serve as a value-related thematic throughline to taking AP Capstone classes, taking college courses during the summer that weren’t required, and interning before even graduating high school.
A second area for improvement would be avoiding statistics. As the student identifies their valedictorian status and the number of AP classes they have taken, they might turn away certain personalities on a review committee by appearing braggy. Even further, these statistics are a waste of space. The review committee already has access to this information. These words distract from the major theme of the essay and would have been better used to humanize the student.
Throughout my academic career, I have been an avid scholar, constantly pushing myself towards ambitious goals. I held and continue to hold myself to a high standard, enrolling myself in rigorous curriculum, including Honors and Advanced Placement courses to stretch my mental potential. During my junior year of high school, I took four AP tests, two on the same day, and earned the AP Scholar with Honor Award. Additionally, I received the Letter of Commendation for the PSAT/NMSQT, and qualified for Rotary Top 100 Students both my freshman and senior year, a sign of my commitment to my studies. However, school has not been all about having the best GPA for me; beyond the numbers, I have a deep drive to learn which motivates me to do well academically. I truly enjoy learning new things, whether it be a new essay style or a math theorem. I always give each class my best effort and try my hardest on every assignment. My teachers have noticed this as well, and I have received school Lancer Awards and Student of the Month recognitions as a result. It is a major goal of mine to continue to aspire towards a high level of achievement regarding future educational and occupational endeavors; I plan on continuing this level of dedication throughout my educational career and implementing the skills I have learned and will learn into my college experience and beyond.
This fall, I will begin attending the University of California Los Angeles as an English major. I chose this major because I am fascinated by written language, especially its ability to convey powerful messages and emotions. I also enjoy delving into the works of other authors to analyze specific components of their writing to discover the meaning behind their words. In particular, I cannot wait to begin in-depth literary criticism and learn new stylistic techniques to add more depth to my writing. Furthermore, I recently went to UCLA’s Bruin Day, an event for incoming freshmen, where I was exposed to many different extracurriculars, some of which really piqued my interest. I plan on joining the Writing Success Program, where I can help students receive free writing help, and Mock Trial, where I can debate issues with peers in front of a real judge. The latter, combined with a strong writing background from my undergraduate English studies will be extremely beneficial because I plan to apply to law school after my undergraduate degree. As of now, my career goal is to become a civil rights lawyer, to stand up for those who are discriminated against and protect minority groups to proliferate equality.
As a lawyer, I wish to utilize legislation to ameliorate the plight of the millions of Americans who feel prejudice and help them receive equity in the workplace, society, and so on. Though this seems a daunting task, I feel that my work ethic and past experience will give me the jumpstart I need to establish myself as a successful lawyer and give a voice to those who are often unheard in today’s legal system. I have been a Girl Scout for over a decade and continually participate in community service for the homeless, elderly, veterans, and more. My most recent project was the Gold Award, which I conducted in the Fullerton School District. I facilitated over ten workshops where junior high students taught elementary pupils STEM principles such as density and aerodynamics via creative activities like building aluminum boats and paper airplanes. I also work at Kumon, a tutoring center, where I teach students to advance their academic success. I love my job, and helping students from local schools reach their potential fills me with much pride.
Both being a Girl Scout and working at Kumon have inspired me to help those in need, contributing significantly to my desire to become a lawyer and aid others. My extracurriculars have allowed me to gain a new perspective on both learning and teaching, and have solidified my will to help the less fortunate. In college, I hope to continue to gain knowledge and further develop my leadership skills, amassing qualities that will help me assist others. I plan to join multiple community service clubs, such as UCLA’s local outreach programs that directly aid residents of Los Angeles. I want to help my fellow pupils as well, and plan on volunteering at peer tutoring and peer editing programs on campus. After college, during my career, I want to use legal tactics to assist the underdog and take a chance on those who are often overlooked for opportunities. I wish to represent those that are scared to seek out help or cannot afford it. Rather than battling conflict with additional conflict, I want to implement peaceful but strong, efficient tactics that will help make my state, country, and eventually the world more welcoming to people of all ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds. These goals are close to my heart and therefore I will be as diligent as I am passionate about them. My perseverance and love for learning and community service drive my ambition in both education and life as a whole, and the drive to make the world a better place is one that I will carry with me for my entire life.
This student emphasizes two values in this essay: hard work and community service. These are values that go together nicely, and definitely make sense with this student’s end goal of becoming a civil rights lawyer! That said, some changes could be made to the way the student presents their values that would make their personal statement more convincing and engaging.
Structurally, instead of using a past-future trajectory, this student starts by explaining their academic achievements, then explains their career goals, then explains their history of community service, then explains their future desires for community service. This structure loses the reader. Instead, the student should have started with either the past or the future.
This could look like 1) identifying their career goals, 2) explaining that hard work and a commitment to community service are necessary to get there, and 3) explaining that they aren’t worried because of their past commitment to hard work and community service. Or it could look like 1) providing examples of their hard work and community service in the past, then 2) explaining how those values will help them achieve their career goals.
Additionally, like with our other example, this student shows a heavy investment in statistics and spouting off accomplishments. This can be unappealing. Unfortunately, even when the student recognizes that they are doing this, writing “beyond the numbers, I have a deep drive to learn which motivates me to do well academically. I truly enjoy learning new things, whether it be a new essay style or a math theorem,” they continue on to cite their achievements, writing “My teachers have noticed this as well, and I have received school Lancer Awards and Student of the Month recognitions as a result.” They say they are going beyond the numbers, but they don’t go beyond the awards. They don’t look inward. One way to fix this would be to make community service the theme around which the essay operates, supplementing with statistics in ways that advance the image of the student as dedicated to community service.
Finally, this student would be more successful if they varied their sentence structure. While a small-scale autobiography can be good, if organized, every sentence should not begin with ‘I.’ The essay still needs to be engaging or the review committee might stop reading.
Feedback is ultimately any writer’s best source of improvement! To get your personal statement edited for free, use our Peer Review Essay Tool . With this tool, other students can tell you if your scholarship essay is effective and help you improve your essay so that you can have the best chances of gaining those extra funds!
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How to Write a Winning Scholarship Personal Statement With Examples
In this article, we’ll talk you through why a scholarship personal statement is important and questions to brainstorm before you get started.
We have great tips for how to adapt your statement depending on what the prompt question is, what to include and three examples of winning scholarship personal statements.
Our favourite statements use life experiences as a metaphor for success. One makes a connection between high jumping and medical school!
We also loved hearing about an aspiring party planner who spotted a niche in the market which led to a scholarship and a computer science star helping his local community online.
Table of Contents
What is a scholarship personal statement.
- Tips for writing an Effective Scholarship Personal Statement – what should you include?
Scholarship Personal Statement Example #1
How to adapt your scholarship personal statement.
- Scholarship Personal Statement Example #2
- Scholarship Personal Statement Example #3
Brainstorming questions for your personal statement
Why is writing a winning scholarship personal statement important.
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
It’s a short essay or paragraph about yourself, written for the purpose of applying for scholarships.
It should focus on your strengths and explain why you deserve the money being offered by the scholarship provider.
Remember that a scholarship might be money that can pay for school fees, accommodation or living expenses, or take the form of a portion of your school fees being paid for you so you should be clear about what you are applying for and make sure your statement mentions this.
A personal statement should sound honest and genuine in order to stand out from the competition.
Show them what makes you unique, such as your interests and achievements, and explain you deserve financial support from the scholarship provider.
A good way to do this is by sharing stories that showcase your passion for certain causes or topics related to your field of study or career goals.
Additionally, make sure that your language is appropriate; avoid using slang words or phrases that may not be understood by those reading your application materials.
Finally, keep in mind that shorter sentences tend to be more effective than longer ones when it comes to writing personal statements and stick to the word count!
Tips for writing an Effective Scholarship Personal Statement- what should you include?
1. identify your motivation for seeking a scholarship.
Explain the reasons why you need a scholarship.
Commonly, these can include financial hardship in your family, not having any close family support, coming from a single-parent or foster-parent home, parents who are disabled or out of work, coming from a low-income family or neighbourhood, and receiving government assistance like food stamps and housing aid.
List all of these reasons in your scholarship personal statement along with any other relevant information that might help the committee understand why you need their help paying for college tuition fees.
Make it clear that these challenges have made you stronger!
Explain why you deserve the scholarship by listing all of your achievements and successes that have led up to this point in time – be sure to emphasize anything that shows off your intellectual abilities as well as any awards or recognition related to these achievements such as being an honour roll student or National Merit Scholar designation.
Talk about your future goals and make it clear how obtaining a degree will help further those goals – this could include anything from pursuing an advanced degree in medicine to becoming an entrepreneur who needs business knowledge to create jobs in your hometown.
2. Write about a challenge you have faced and how you overcame it
Writing about a challenge you have faced and how you overcame it can make a great personal statement for scholarships.
You will show potential scholarship providers that you have the determination, perseverance, and resilience to overcome obstacles in order to achieve success – in other words, the challenge is a metaphor.
Additionally, sharing what lessons you learned from the experience will demonstrate your maturity, flexibility and ability to learn from difficult situations.
Colleges and scholarship awarding bodies are looking for positive people who are hard workers.
Explaining how this challenge helped make you stronger will make your application stand out from others in a positive way.
3. Talk about an interest or passion of yours
Talking about an interest or passion can help you write an effective personal statement for scholarships because it gives you the opportunity to share your motivation, achievement, leadership, and commitment.
By discussing these topics in your statement, you will be able to showcase why this particular field is important to you and how it has impacted your life.
This will help scholarship selection committees understand why they should award you with a scholarship and recognize your potential contributions as a future leader in the field.
In example #2 above, Sara wrote a fantastic personal statement about her passion for making parties affordable and personalised for ordinary people.
Volunteering at a retirement community, I was able to use my party planning skills for completely unique parties – ‘grandma’ baby showers!
So many of the residents were excited about becoming grandparents or great-parents but were far from family.
I created personalised party kits with cakes, balloons and banners for a relatively low cost and it was a wonderful way for residents to share baby photos and feel that they were included in the celebrations.
In the future, I intend to use my degree in event planning to set up my career as a party planner, specialising in events for seniors.
She went on to explain that she had made enough money from this unique service to put herself through 2 years of community college and intended to continue on a smaller scale while studying full-time.
4. Explain how a scholarship will help you achieve your goals
Your statement needs to give the awarding committee a clear understanding of what the scholarship will provide and how it will help you achieve your goals.
• ‘I would like to study X because it will help me achieve my career goals’ doesn’t really give enough information.
• ‘ I plan on transferring to School X after receiving my Associate degree from College Y in order to pursue my Bachelor’s degree in Z field of study’ is better – but it doesn’t really make your application stand out.
• ‘My long-term career goal is to become an ABC practitioner/specialist with a Master’s Degree in XYZ field of study from University ABC by 2025, in order to help disadvantaged youth in the region reach their full potential.’ tells them how helping you to achieve your goals might help other people.
5. Provide details about your education so far
There’s no need to talk in too much detail, but remember that the committee will have a huge stack of applications to look at and it’s helpful for them not to have to keep flipping between your CV/resume and your personal statement.
Mentioning that you graduated High School with a 3.8 GPA and have been accepted to XYZ university to study Social Sciences with the aim of becoming a social worker will help them stay focused on the big picture.
6. Add any other information that will strengthen your application
When writing a personal statement for scholarships, it is essential to include information that can’t be found in your resume or transcript. This includes
- painting a picture of who you are
- sharing something about yourself that isn’t already known
- showcasing your strengths.
Additionally, it should complement the other parts of your application and relate to the scholarship provider’s goals.
Finally, it can acknowledge any weaknesses but focus primarily on positive aspects and how any setbacks have made you stronger and more resilient.
7. Conclude with a statement of determination
A statement of determination reinforces your strengths and shows the granting committee that you are determined to succeed.
By ending with a brief summary of why you are the best candidate, right after stating how this scholarship will fund your degree, it will impress the readers and make them more likely to award you with the scholarship.
8. Proofread and revise your work carefully
- Take a break from the computer: Give yourself at least a 12-hour break before you start editing your work to give your brain and eyes time to relax.
- Read your essay from top to bottom: Read your essay several times from beginning to end, paying extra close attention to spelling, grammar, punctuation, capital letters and sentence structure.
- Have someone else read it over for a fresh perspective and help catch anything you missed during the reading process.
9. Include a relevant essay title
Why is this point 9 and not point 1? You never know how the direction of your essay might change during the writing process!
A relevant essay title can help provide a clear focus and direction for an effective personal statement for scholarship but be prepared to be flexible. Jessie’s essay, which we looked at earlier, ended up having the title ‘Setting the bar high’ which was a great play on words and referred both to high-jumping and the goal of achieving a medical degree.
By including a relevant essay title, you are able to write an opening paragraph that is both engaging and persuasive, thus increasing your chances of winning a scholarship.
10. Follow the instructions given by the scholarship provider
Research the scholarship you are applying for and familiarize yourself with its requirements and criteria.
Make sure that all documents required by the scholarship provider (including transcripts, letters of recommendation, etc.) are included with your application package when submitting it.
Then proofread again!
When writing a personal statement for a scholarship, it is important to focus on why you deserve the award and how it will benefit your future.
The statement should be concise and interesting, while still providing enough information about yourself to demonstrate why you are deserving of the scholarship.
It is also important to include relevant details such as volunteer work, academic achievements, or extracurricular activities that have helped shape who you are today.
A good example of a scholarship personal statement can be found below:
(Free topic) – Setting the bar high
Every Saturday morning I spend three hours throwing myself backwards over a high jump bar in a feat that seems impossible. If you flinch or hesitate, you will crash into the bar and be out of the competition. When I was younger, and dreaming of being a doctor, some teachers thought I was setting the bar too high and advised me to aim lower. I approached my academic studies with the same determination as the high jump and have been offered a place at medical school.
I grew up in a very conservative small town in the south, where there are a lot of team sports for boys but few for girls past the age of 12. I came to high jumping quite late compared to other sports, when I was 13. I came 4 th in the under-14 state championship the following year and took 3 rd in the under-15s. What was interesting was that several of my teachers were very encouraging about me going to college and playing sports but nobody took me seriously when I told them I wanted to study medicine.
As I got stronger and started attempting higher and higher jumps in competition, my grades went up too. The confidence I got from winning medals and being a role model to other young athletes was reflected in my success in the classroom. The motto of the college I will attend is Vim Promovet Insitam, or ‘learning promotes one’s innate power’. The more I learn, in class and on the sports field, the stronger I feel, and more able to achieve my dreams and help others.
My family have always encouraged me to be the best I can be. My parents have raised me and my 4 siblings with good values, to rise to a challenge and to understand the importance of teamwork and supporting our community. I hope that one day I can come back here to practice medicine at the local hospital – and coach high jump at the weekends!
If you have written a good statement for a free topic (meaning you choose what to write about) it’s possible to adapt that essay and use it to answer other questions, so you can apply for several scholarships at the same time!
Common topics to prepare essays for:
1. A challenge you overcame
2. an important life event.
3. An important community issue
4. How you want to change the world
5. how you are from an under-represented group in this program, 6. what values are important to you.
Look again at the essay above and you can see how with some small changes, particularly in the introduction and conclusion, the essay could be adapted to suit all these questions.
Jessie is talking about not being considered ‘smart’ enough to be a future medical student in the context of the challenge of high jumping.
Using the word challenge, with synonyms such as ‘difficulty’, also changing the form of the word and using common collocations (challenging, challenged, rise to the challenge, greatest challenge) really ties the statement to the question.
Jessie could focus more on how being selected for the regional team and winning 1 st place in the regional competition showed her that she was capable of academic excellence and succeeding at anything she put her mind to.
3. An important community issue to you
This would be a challenging angle for this essay, but we would suggest focusing on the lack of female role models encouraging young women to join sports teams in her neighbourhood.
There are usually many more sports teams for boys but girls are under-represented. Perhaps Jessie could also talk about the privilege of mentoring younger teammates and encouraging academic excellence as well.
Jessie might talk more about the importance of affordable, accessible health care to all and make the link between children being healthy and being able to attend school.
Not all students will be from an under-represented group. However, if you are, there are different ways to approach this question.
If Jessie felt comfortable discussing identifying as queer, then writing about the challenges of being an LGBTQ+ student in her small, conservative town would be appropriate.
Jessie could also talk about her racial or cultural heritage as a child of minority parents who immigrated to the USA when she was young.
If she had a physical disability, that would also be an appropriate topic to discuss. What’s important in this type of question is honesty and candour.
Jessie could focus on the importance of focus and determination.
Remembering the motto of the school she was accepted to, she can talk about the importance of helping empower young people to believe in themselves and their potential for success.
She could also talk about the importance of compassion – trying to move past being hurt by the lack of encouragement from her teachers in the early stages of her education.
Even better she could talk about gratitude for their help later on when she blew past all their expectations for her, as a role model for other young women.
Scholarship Personal Statement: Example #2
‘A creative way to solve a problem’
Volunteering at a retirement community, I thought of the perfect way to help pay my way through Junior College. I was able to use my party planning skills for completely unique parties – ‘grandma’ baby showers!
Growing up, I was raised by a single mom my who always encouraged me to study hard and aim for college. I got babysitting jobs as soon as I could and started earning a little extra money helping some of the parents throw birthday parties for their children. This was the beginning of a love of helping plan unique and special events and working towards my dream job of becoming an events coordinator. I needed to find a way to put myself through school to get an event management degree.
As well as babysitting and a few waitressing shifts that fit with my classes, I volunteered once a week to run a crafts class for local seniors. I realized that many of the residents were excited about becoming grandparents or great-parents but were often far from family or couldn’t travel easily. With the support of the care workers, I threw a ‘grandma baby shower’ for one of my favourite ladies there and was inundated with requests for more.
I created personalised party kits with cakes, balloons and banners for a relatively low cost and it was a wonderful way for residents to share baby photos and feel that they were included in the celebrations. The money I earned was enough to pay my share of the rent and bills at home and I am starting to save for state college. A scholarship to help pay tuition costs will mean I can continue my party business at the weekends to pay my other expenses and otherwise focus on my studies.
In the future, I intend to use my degree in event planning and my love of creative problem solving to set up my own business as a party planner, hire community college students to work part-time for me and specialise in events for seniors.
Scholarship Personal Statement: Example #3
Prompt – Why do you deserve this scholarship?
My name is John Abrams and by helping me, you’ll be indirectly helping many other students in the future. I am a student, a leader, a tutor and a future employer.
I am currently pursuing my undergraduate degree in Computer Science at XYZ State College. I maintain a 4.0 GPA and am an active member of several student organizations on campus including the Coding Club and the local Big Brother/Big Sister volunteer team.
I have tutored classmates in IT, science and math throughout my own high school years and now coordinate a group tutoring middle school and Junior High school students online. I’ve been able to procure tutoring jobs for several of my fellow students in this way, thanks to parents recommending me to their friends and asking me to introduce them to reliable tutors for their children. It made me realize that I am good at finding the right people for the right jobs and will put this skill to excellent use in the future.
During the pandemic, I volunteered with the ABC online Coding Club, helping kids from lower-income families learn to code, interact with other students online in a safe environment and encourage them to consider studying computer science in the future. As well as working on coding through popular games, we worked on some community projects as well, with the kids designing some interactive features for our local animal shelter’s website. Everybody loved it and the shelter got a lot of extra traffic on social media leading to increased adoptions. I believe that volunteering is the best way to appreciate what we already have and a few hours a week can make all the difference in the community.
My goal is to one day use my skills to set up an outstanding online tutoring business with a focus on IT and coding for kids and teens, doing projects to learn new skills that can also benefit worthy causes in the students’ own communities.
Before you start – use these questions to brainstorm ideas then go through the tips step by step to make sure you have covered all the important information.
- What do you want to do professionally when you graduate? Why do you want to do it?
- What kinds of things do you need to learn in order to get where you want to go? How will the things you need to learn help you?
- Does the school have a reputable program? (How did you hear about it?)
- Does it have a well-known faculty? • Does it have state-of-the art facilities ? • Does it have a great network of graduates who could be mentors?
- Emotional barriers or challenges you have faced and how they have helped shape you into the person you are today.
- Key events or key people from your life that have influenced and inspired you.
- Accomplishments, events, and realizations that sparked periods of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.
- Volunteer work or community service activities that have shaped who you are today and what they have taught you.
- What is your best quality?
- What makes you unique?
- How could winning this scholarship benefit other people?
1. It gives you the opportunity to showcase your strengths and qualifications
You are giving the reader an in-depth look at who you are as a person as well as your qualifications.
A well-written personal statement adds meaning to the information collected in other parts of your application and gives readers an opportunity to get a better sense of who you are as an individual.
Additionally, it shows how factors outside of your school environment have enhanced or impeded your ability to maximize available academic opportunities.
A strong personal statement can help ensure that you receive the scholarship or program that best fits your needs while showcasing the qualities that make you worthy of financial support.
2. Helps the awarding body understand why you are deserving of their scholarship
Writing a winning scholarship personal statement helps the awarding body understand why you are deserving of their scholarship by providing them with the necessary information to make an informed decision.
By including anecdotes, examples, and personal stories in your essay, you can highlight your strengths and accomplishments while also showing them why you need the money.
Additionally, providing specific reasons as to why you deserve the scholarship will help them see that you are truly deserving of their support.
Ultimately, writing a stand-out essay will help win over their hearts and minds so that they know they’re giving it to someone who truly needs it and deserves it.
If the scholarship is for a small amount (every little helps) such as $500, make it clear what you will spend it on – books, or software – and it’s a great idea to say how you could share these or pass them on to other students later.
3. Allows you to focus on your own personal story and goals
Writing a winning scholarship personal statement helps you focus on your own personal story and goals by giving you the opportunity to tell your story in a unique way that highlights the lessons you have learned, the changes you have made, and the goals you are working towards.
If possible, make your experiences a metaphor for success.
For example, we were very impressed by the story of Jessie, who received a scholarship to help pay for medical school following her success as a high school regional high-jumping champion. She wrote,
‘Every Saturday morning I spend three hours throwing myself backwards over a high-jump bar in a feat that seems impossible. If you flinch, or hesitate, you will crash into the bar and be out of the competition. When I was younger, and dreaming of being a doctor, some teachers thought I was setting the bar too high and advised me to aim lower. I approached my academic studies with the same determination as the high-jump bar and have been offered a place at medical school. ‘
The motto of the university she would attend is Vim Promovet Insitam, or ‘learning promotes one’s innate power’. Later in her statement, she used this motto to make the point that the more success she had academically, the more confidence she gained in high-jumping, and vice-versa. This a great way to connect her chosen school and her suitability for both the course and a scholarship!’
4. Allows you to showcase your writing skills
Writing a winning scholarship personal statement requires you to be concise, authentic, and grammatically correct.
You need varied sentence structure and a logical movement from point to point.
Avoiding clichés such as “from a young age” or inspirational quotes will help make your statement feel unique without sounding like everyone else’s.
You will be able to impress scholarship committees with an impressive, unique piece of work that stands out from the rest.
5. Helps you prepare for other scholarship applications
Writing a scholarship personal statement helps you prepare for other scholarship applications by giving you practice in crafting a compelling narrative that showcases your potential.
You will ‘tweak’ every statement to make it fit the application but you won’t need to start from the beginning every time, so it’s important to keep all your applications organised.
Each one you write gives you valuable experience in presenting yourself as an attractive candidate while also gaining insight into what types of narratives are most effective in winning over judges.
This knowledge can then be applied when preparing for other scholarship applications.
6. Provides you with an opportunity to reflect and be proud of your accomplishments
As Jessie said, the more we learn the more inner power we have. Sometimes we can get caught up in academic work and can forget our goals or motivation.
Writing scholarship personal statements helps you reflect on your past experiences and achievements and learn from them.
It gives you the opportunity to showcase your strengths, such as resilience, determination, leadership skills, teamwork ability and more.
It also allows you to show progress from where you are and where you are headed in the future.
7. Helps you connect with the awarding body
Scholarship personal statements can help you connect with the awarding body by providing an insight into your background, experiences, and achievements that is not available by just looking at your GPA or letters of recommendation.
By sharing your story and highlighting what makes you special, you can create a connection with the awarding body that will make them more likely to choose you over other candidates.
It’s so important to research the awarding body – do any of them work on non-profit or community projects that connect to your experience and what you want to study?
Sara’s experience, detailed below, is a great example of an innovative idea tailored to an application, that helped her get both a place at a prestigious college and a substantial scholarship.
8. Could lead to a valuable monetary prize
The value of writing a winning scholarship personal statement is immense.
Writing a strong personal statement can help you stand out from the competition and give you the opportunity to earn multiple scholarships that could potentially cover all or part of your college expenses.
The more you practice, the better you get.
Keep and organise all your applications to save time in the future.
FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
What is the purpose of a scholarship personal statement.
It’s to provide an opportunity for applicants to humanize their profile beyond their transcript, GPA, and test scores by highlighting their personality, values, goals, and what makes them special.
The specific goal of the personal statement depends on the scholarship on offer. For example, for scholarships that aim to provide opportunities for students with career ambitions in the non-profit field may be looking for applicants with strong technical skills or civic-minded community service leaders of the future.
By reading your personal statement along with your academic record and other application materials such as the achievements/activities list, scholarship review committees can make decisions about who they think are the best candidates to receive a scholarship.
What should the format of a scholarship personal statement look like?
If there are no specific instructions regarding font and layout, we recommend that you have one-inch margins on all sides, double-spaced lines, no additional line spaces between paragraphs, and 12-point Times New Roman font.
Write out an outline for your essay, making sure it flows smoothly from topic to topic and makes sense as written.
How can I make sure my scholarship personal statement stands out?
- Be organized and gather all necessary materials correctly, including correct grammar, professional writing style and any necessary documents such as letters of recommendation and transcripts.
- Ensure that your personal statement honestly depicts who you are by using anecdotes to illustrate your unique personality and portraying who you really are overall. People remember stories so choose your best story!
- Make sure that your personal statement follows a logical structure and is well organized; think about how it may sound to an audience who doesn’t know you and revise for clarity in content and style accordingly.
- Read over your writing with others for feedback on grammar rules, punctuation use/mistakes and clarity in content/style before submitting it to prestigious scholarship advisors if applicable for editing help with rewrites if necessary
How can I ensure that my scholarship personal statement is really original?
- Stay away from cliches! Brainstorm and outline your personal statement using the questions above. This will help ensure that your statement is organized, concise, and free of clichés.
- Use correct grammar and language skills: Make sure that you have excellent grammar and language skills when writing your personal statement; this will make it easier for the scholarship committee to understand what you are trying to say without getting distracted by mistakes.
- Ensure variety in sentence structure. The shortest sentences can be used for making the most important point for added impact.
How can I incorporate my experiences in my scholarship personal statement?
- As above – Brainstorm: Think about your life story thus far, including notable personality traits, skills, accomplishments, passions, difficulties and obstacles, goals, extracurricular activities and inspirational people.
- Be authentic: Make sure that every personal statement for scholarship applications talks honestly and truthfully about your experiences.
- Choose examples: Select between three or four examples that demonstrate your preparedness for future studies, your determination to succeed and your flexibility in the face of challenges.
- Try to mention an experience or quality that is important to the awarding body. For example, the Lions Club Scholarships are awarded by a group that values good citizenship and community involvement above all else. Make sure there is a clear link between your story, your qualities, your financial needs and the organisation to which you are applying.
- Guide to Writing a Winning Personal Statement for University
- Personal Statement versus Statement of Purpose
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How to Write A Personal Statement
by Kevin Avery, BRITISH COUNCIL TEACHER
It’s that time of year again! A lot of people are applying for scholarships, and Masters courses in Europe, the USA and Australasia.
This month we will be looking at writing great personal statement for your scholarship or Masters application.
What is a Personal Statement?
Personal statements are commonly requested when applying for scholarships and graduate / professional schools.
It is a sample of writing (often around 2 pages) describing you at your best, your reasons for choosing the course you have chosen, your research interests, your objectives, and the unique ways you can contribute to the program to which you are applying.
A great personal statement shows five things:
- Your writing abilities – grammar, punctuation, organization, creativity, expression, etc.
- The connections between your past education / experiences and future goals.
- Your philosophy of the field and why you are pursuing an opportunity in that area.
- What makes you unique and how you can add to the diversity of the program.
- How you can be an asset to the University, now and in the future.
What makes a good personal statement?
Good personal statements tell stories that demonstrate your strengths.
Know your strengths – How can you be of value or how can you contribute? Begin by looking at your good experiences for evidence of your strengths and then ask those who know you best for their thoughts. Many people find they have hidden strengths that are only obvious to their close friends and family.
Know your audience – Research the program(s) and organisation(s) you are applying to through online searches, program descriptions, and emailing for more information. Talk with professors, graduate students, and advisers.
Show the university that there is a good match between you and the program you are applying for.
Tell a story that shows your strengths with examples. Avoid just writing a first-person essay where each paragraph is a direct response to the points you are being asked to address. Avoid starting every sentence with “I” or “I want.”
How do I get started?
- Set a timetable for yourself. Ideally, you should work on your essay for at least a month.
- Ask yourself some hard questions:
- Intellectual influences : Who were your favourite professors (and why)? Identify the best paper you ever wrote, the most influential book you have read, and the single most important concept you have learned.
- Encouragement : Recall and write out the actual words of a professor, teacher, or someone else in your life who encouraged you to go in this direction.
- Turning points : Where were you and what were you doing when you first thought of going in this particular direction? How have your interests developed?
- Experiences : List volunteer, travel, family, and life experiences that have inspired you to go in this career direction.
- Academic Studdy : How have you prepared yourself to succeed?
- Skills : What skills have you developed through your career and education?
- Personal attributes : What personal attributes make you particularly likely to succeed?
3. Make sure you match your statement to each scholarship or course you are applying for.
4. Create an outline for each paragraph before you write it, making sure that all components of the question being asked are addressed.
Some more tips
- Write in the active voice.
- Be yourself – don’t use words or styles you wouldn’t normally use
- Be clear, concise, and direct. Make each word meaningful.
- Try not to repeat an idea too many times.
- Don’t write an autobiography. You are marketing yourself, not telling your life story.
- Follow directions regarding length. If no limit is given, aim for 1.5 to 2 pages of singlespaced text.
- Link your paragraphs with transitions.
- End your essay with a conclusion that refers to the introduction, relates to your theme, or summarizes your main points.
- Revise your essay at least three times.
- Ask someone to critique your personal statement and then proofread!
- Learn more about our English courses.
- Personal statements for postgraduate applications - Prospects UK
- Personal statement - Fulbright,org
12 Tips to Write a Winning Personal Statement for Scholarships
By Khachik Gevorgyan
Writing the personal statement is among the most formidable of all the tasks you face when applying to graduate or professional school, from choosing universities to preparing for and choosing standardized tests, from soliciting recommendations to having transcripts sent out. Let’s face it: the admission process for graduate and professional schools is more competitive today than ever. The increase in application has been especially dramatic in recent years. Admissions officials recognize that “the numbers,” (GPAs and test scores) don’t tell the whole story about the candidate. A personal statement for scholarships is the only way an admission committee can strip away numbers to uncover the human candidate.
A personal statement provides an account of who you are, what you have accomplished within your own experiences and opportunities, and what you intend to accomplish during graduate school and beyond. As such, writing a compelling personal statement is an essential step in the journey toward securing educational funding. Crafting this document involves more than just showcasing academic achievements. It requires a deep introspection of one’s experiences, aspirations, and the unique qualities that set the applicant apart.
Knowing how to write a personal statement for scholarships effectively can unlock numerous opportunities for aspiring students. This piece of writing should reflect the student’s academic and professional goals and convey their passion, drive, and the impact they aspire to make in their field or community. If you must prepare one, note that crafting a personal statement that resonates with the scholarship committee requires a blend of honesty, clarity, and creativity. It’s a chance to tell a compelling story, one that highlights resilience, dedication, and the vision for one’s future.
This guide examines 12 essential tips to help you create a personal statement that stands out, engages the readers, and significantly enhances their chances of winning a scholarship.
Things to Consider When Writing a Personal Statement
As hard as it’s to write in general, it’s even more difficult to write about oneself. But don’t be discouraged. We have advised many applicants and assure you that everyone has problems composing these statements. If you know anyone who cranks one out in two hours without agonizing over what he or she is writing, chances are they’ve learned the tricks and tips of writing a personal statement. Good ones take time. Bad ones can sabotage your chances of securing that scholarship.
A well-crafted personal statement can open doors to educational and professional opportunities, which makes it an invaluable component of any application. In order to write a winning personal statement, there are several key factors to consider:
- Understand the purpose of the statement
- Reflect on your unique identity
- Balance professionalism and personality
- Have a clear structure
- Be authentic and honest
12 Tips to Write a Personal Statement for Scholarships
Good personal statements are tough to write. A compelling personal statement is more than just an academic summary; it’s a narrative that weaves your experiences, aspirations, and personality together. Here are 12 tips to help you write a good personal statement for scholarships and keep the task in perspective:
- Understand the scholarship criteria : Before you begin, you must understand what the scholarship committee is looking for. Tailor your personal statement to align with the mission and values of the scholarship. Doing so shows that you’re a suitable candidate genuinely interested in what the scholarship stands for.
- Be specific : Admissions representatives have seen it all. There’s no new concept to them. However, you can still make your statement stand out by illustrating your assertions with examples. It is important to avoid generalized statements, such as “I would be a great doctor because I have an excellent work ethic.”
- Show, don’t just tell : Use specific examples to illustrate your points. Instead of simply stating that you’re a hard worker, describe a situation where you demonstrated hard work. This approach makes your personal statement essay for scholarships more engaging and convincing.
- Avoid clichés : For instance, medical schools do not want to hear that you want to “help people.” This statement is overused and not a strong enough reason to admit you into the school. Remember, the personal statement aims to set you apart from other candidates.
- Reflect on your experiences : many applicants fail to remember or include facts (experiences, events, and achievements) that are extremely relevant, either to their career choice or application, in terms of explaining what makes them tick. Discuss experiences that have shaped your goals and character.
- Clearly highlight your accomplishments : While humility is important, don’t hesitate to talk about your achievements. You should mention awards, recognitions, and significant accomplishments and explain their relevance to the scholarship.
- Find an angle : If you’re like most people, your life story might lack significant drama. So, finding a way to make the statement interesting is a big challenge. Find a “hook” for your essay, a controlling idea that ties it together. It could be a story or an interesting characteristic.
- Discuss your career goals : Clearly articulate your career aspirations and how the college scholarship will help you achieve them. This shows that you have a plan and are committed to using the scholarship for its intended purpose.
- Use professional writing services : If you’re struggling with writing, consider getting help from professional personal statement writers on CustomWritings, for example. They provide guidance, editing, or drafting assistance to ensure your personal statement is polished and effective. They can also provide you with examples and samples of successful personal statements.
- Tell a story : A personal statement is (in many cases) just that: a sort of story. By this, I don’t mean you should fabricate or invent anything. Be truthful and stick to the facts. Just think in terms of telling a story. If your statement is fresh, lively, different – not to mention articulate – you’ll be putting yourself way ahead of the pack.
- Keep it concise : Be sure to stick to the word limit and ensure your personal statement is concise and to the point. Long-winded essays can lose the reader’s interest. Ensure that every sentence adds value to your statement.
- Proofread and edit : Errors in your personal statement writing can detract from its impact. The first thing you should do is click on the spell check button. Once that is complete, read your statement aloud. This ensures that your paper makes sense and flows correctly. Next, take the time to review your writing with a fine-tooth comb and correct any spelling/grammatical errors. Top of Form
Personal Statement Format for Scholarships
It’s important to adhere to a format that showcases your experiences and aspirations clearly and compellingly when crafting a personal statement for college scholarships. The format of your personal statement plays a significant role in how the scholarship committee perceives your narrative. Typically, a personal statement should be short and concise. It should not exceed one or two pages. It’s advisable to use a standard font and size, with clear paragraph breaks and margins that make the text easy to read. Start with a title that encapsulates the essence of your personal statement to immediately engage the reader. Whether you’re a high school student or a post-grad applicant, the format is largely the same. It must emphasize clarity and coherence.
The general structure of the personal statement has three parts:
- Part I: Introduction
The Hook : This could be a story, quote, surprising statement, etc., that sets the stage for the rest of your statement.
Thesis Statement : The hook should transition into a thesis statement, which describes the overall theme of the personal statement. It is important to stick to one theme.
- Part II: Body
This section is the bulk of your statement. It should address the thesis statement and answer the question posed on the application. Using your theme, you should address why you would be a good candidate for the college scholarship and how you know you will succeed. Address your strengths, experiences, and accomplishments. It is important to use specific examples from your experiences to support your statements. Avoid making assumptions, using clichés, or stating the obvious.
- Part III: Conclusion
Conclude the statement by summarizing everything that was previously addressed. The last sentence or two should relate to the hook. Make sure that the reader is not left hanging.
Take the Next Step!
Personal statements are a challenging genre of writing, but the rewards for writing yours well are certain to be worth it. Don’t undersell yourself, don’t be afraid to stand out, and don’t worry about sounding “too braggy.” Remember, the effort and thought you put into your personal statement can significantly impact your pursuit of educational funding.
Published on Nov 20, 2023
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How to Write a Personal Statement
In this guest blog, we will explore hints on what to include and how to write a Personal Statement for Early Entry & Scholarship applications.
What is a Personal Statement?
A personal statement is sometimes called an application essay or a statement of purpose. You often need to write personal statements when you are applying for a university or college course, accommodation, a training program, a scholarship, or even a job.
Personal statements are a way of communicating to the person assessing our application a little more about who we are. It’s an opportunity for us to show off our strengths and share a little bit about our interests and aspirations for the future. Your personal statement should be a summary or a snapshot of who you are in the context of what you have applied for.
What does a Personal Statement include?
- Academic Achievements
- Leadership Experience/Qualities
- Communication/Teamwork Qualities
- Personal Attributes/Favourable Qualities
- Sporting Involvement/Achievements
- Community Participation/Involvement
Structuring a Personal Statement
Opening Paragraph: Explain why you are applying for the course, scholarship, position, etc.
Paragraphs: 3 to 4 paragraphs on how your qualities, attributes, qualifications, and experience make you the perfect applicant.
A Closing Paragraph: A brief paragraph describing your aspirations for the future and how they relate to this application.
Be concise – Every word matters, so you want to say what you need to say in as few words as necessary; don’t waste your own or the assessor’s time by being too long winded.
Structure – appropriately i.e. the above guidelines
Avoid cliché – The key word here is ‘personal’! Using clichéd language smacks of laziness and does nothing to help your application stand out from the masses.
Avoid overused words and phrases – such as ‘my passion’, ‘from a young age’, etc.
Include suitable activities – Mention activities that allow you to display helpful personality traits such as leadership, problem solving ability, commitment, creativity, etc.
Draft and redraft – Time invested in crafting your personal statement will help ensure your application is successful.
Ask for feedback – This can be from parents, teachers, or even friends to help you craft the perfect statement.
Proofread everything – Be sure you don’t let poor grammar and spelling mistakes create a bad impression; run through your statement multiple times to proofread effectively.
Be enthusiastic – Your job here is to convince the person reading your statement that you are a perfect choice for the course, position, etc.
Link outside interests and activities – This will help tailor your statement to what you’re applying for.
Avoid exaggeration – Honesty is the best policy! Don’t set yourself up for a very uncomfortable interview by ‘overegging’ the cake – let the facts speak for themselves.
Don’t leave it to the last minute – Your personal statement is important; give it the attention it deserves by preparing it well in advance.
Thanks to Kim Morris, careers advisor at Aurora College, for sharing this great article with us.
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Personal Statement for Scholarship 250 Words Sample
Please provide a personal statement regarding how your academic achievements, personal interests, and life experiences have helped prepare you to succeed academically and to be an active member of the __ community.
"The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams."
As a member of my generation, it is my responsibility to become active in changing the world for the better. Enrolling, and excelling, in many extra-curricular programs has enhanced my ability to engage in an active role in improving the school as well as the community. Becoming active in reaching out and providing aid for those who seek it has reinforced my inspiration to take time out of my life to benefit others. Selecting advanced subjects has successfully challenged my work-ethic and time management skills.
Academics are my highest priority, but I maintain a well-balanced lifestyle by pursuing the pleasures in life: spending time with friends and family, working hard at my job and gaining a dependable income, and exercising by playing in a recreational basketball league.
I am so grateful for the opportunities that have been given to me, and I do not regret the choices I have made in my life through those opportunities. I have lived a very unique and special life, learning a vast number of lessons along the way. In my life, I have travelled abroad, exposing me to new cultures and have adapted in a way that was accepted by those cultures. I have traveled to a different state with my father to attend a program that taught me the importance of enthusiasm and positive reinforcement. Due to the opportunities given to me, and the lessons I have learned throughout my life, I am confident in saying that I am well-adapted and prepared to succeed and achieve at the University of ____________.
Original Source: College Confidential