Personal Statement as a Step towards Your Future
Probably you have already met the term ‘personal statement’, when reading college requirements for an application form. Together with a statement of purpose, it is a compulsory part of your application, which makes it very important and should be taken seriously.
We understand how tempted students are to complete the form as soon as possible, but it is important to focus on every stage, avoiding the most common mistakes, which students do day after day. Once you understand what to write about, it will be much easier to write your personal statement.
Definition of a personal statement
Personal statement greatly differs from other papers you need to submit when entering a college. That is why it may greatly puzzle you at first, even if you are an experienced student.
Personal statement is a paper, where you need to explain why you can become a valuable member of the college’s community and to tell about your personality.
Personal statement also has other names, which include a personal essay, admission essay, reflective essay and sometimes even a narrative essay. Despite the chosen term, your main goal is to describe your potential, goals, hopes and dreams, which make you the best candidate for the chosen college.
When you work on a personal statement, you need to prove that your values, academic background and non-educational aspects impact your academic success.
There are no common rules for a personal statement, so you can show your creativity and ideas when working on the paper. However, you should always stick to the rules and requirements, provided by the college or university.
College statement types
When it comes to writing, you won’t find a single form for all types of assignments. Personal statement is not an exception and has two main types to offer:
- Comprehensive/ general personal statement. It gives the applicant maximum freedom concerning the things you are willing to discuss. It is also called an open-topic essay and doesn’t have any requirements other than formatting peculiarities, indicated by the college. Basically, through this type of a personal statement you need to represent yourself in the best way;
- Answer on a certain question. When you are asked to deliver such type of a personal statement, you will also be given a question to answer. It will reflect your skills, knowledge, experience, future plans, etc.
In addition, personal statements can be divided into college, undergraduate and programs ones.
Personal statement for college
Such personal statements are usually delivered through an essay. This admission essay type is more complicated and advanced. In most of the cases, you will have to answer a certain question, because a graduate should already possess independent thinking and have an opinion on the most complicated issues.
By the time you graduate, you are expected to think critically and have life experience. This means that you possess a clear understanding of what you are willing to study and how a particular program can help you in achieving your goals.
Don’t forget that most programs provide financial assistance if a student returns to the institution for researching or teaching. This explains why most personal statements of graduates contain interests of the applicant in a professional and academic field, rather in a personal one.
Undergraduate personal statement
When undergraduate students are asked to write application essays they usually need to deliver general statements. This means that you can write about anything and pick a topic, which will reflect your personality and motivation in the best light.
So why undergraduate students usually write open-topic essays and not an answer to a specific question? The reason is simple: high school graduates still lack experience and don’t have a clear picture of what they want to do after college. They are open to new skills and knowledge, so giving a response on a particular topic may not be the most suitable option.
For an undergraduate personal statement, the best option will be to show how the student is exploring own personality and the world around. Students need to describe what makes them passionate, how they interact with others and whether they are willing to contribute to society.
Personal statement writing
Every day thousands of thoughts run through our minds, but when it comes to writing we can feel a lack of ideas and inspiration. Everything becomes even more complicated when you know that your future college admission depends on the quality of your writing.
However, you shouldn’t feel desperate, because there are tips and advice, which will make it much easier to write a personal statement even if you are out of ideas!
Personal statement is not a regular high school or college assignment, which you complete just to get a grade and move on. It requires lots of devotion, analysis and critical thinking. You need to understand your own dreams, hopes, passions and background in order to deliver a great essay.
To simplify the process just follow our guidelines:
- Take enough time to understand what information you want to render or how to give an answer to the required question;
- Start working on the first draft without thinking about possible mistakes and length of the essay. Just write down everything that comes to your mind;
- Don’t be in a hurry. Make sure you have enough time to complete every stage step-by-step without a necessity to write your personal statement in a day;
- Make sure you have a dictionary nearby. It will help you to choose the most proper words and show how good your vocabulary skills are;
- Always concentrate on your strong sides but provide clear examples instead of simply talking about how good you are;
- Never compare your statement to those of others. Every student has own perception of the world, experience and skills;
- Read the statement aloud to detect its weak points.
Personal statement structure
It is not a secret that at least half of your statement’s success lays in proper formatting. That is why you need to follow the common outline really carefully.
You should always start your admission essay with an introduction, which gives brief information about your motivations and interests. Introduction is a paragraph, which aims to catch the attention of readers, motivate them to learn more about your personality.
In a personal statement, introduction acts as a hook.
Achievements and academic interests
It doesn’t matter whether you are an undergraduate or a graduate: you already have an academic experience to share. Always focus on facts without exaggerating anything. Write about your achievements, interests and plans for your future education and career.
If you are a graduate student, you can briefly describe interesting classes you have taken and professors you have had.
If you are asked to write an essay on a free topic, you should devote a paragraph to your background experience, which had a solid impact on your education and life. However, it shouldn’t be related to your school or college life.
You may think that this section is about your hobbies, but actually it must focus on activities, which are still associated with the chosen field. You can include information about your volunteering projects, activities outside of school and other fields, which contributed to choosing a particular program or college.
Publications and other accomplishments
In case you have any publications, here is a section to mention them. However, this paragraph is mostly created for graduates, who already have researched to discuss.
Why you have chosen a particular program or college
It is always a good idea to tell the board why you decided to stop your search on the particular program and college if you didn’t add such information to the introductory section.
Finish your statement with a paragraph, which summarizes your strong sides and explains why you are a perfect fit for the chosen college or program. Your conclusion should be strong and make a great impression on the committee!
What makes a great personal statement
Now, when you know the key requirements to the format and content of your personal statement, it is the right time to get familiar with general tips:
- Remain natural and enthusiastic, remembering about your personal style;
- Make sure your humor is appropriate. The board may not have a similar sense of humor, so you may only harm yourself;
- Decide what message you are willing to render and work on it;
- Always include examples;
- Try not to be general;
- If possible, avoid controversial subjects and comments, because you don’t know who will be reading your statement;
- Once your first draft is ready, you need to proofread and edit it to make sure it meets all of the requirements and the necessary word count.
Elements of a personal statement
If you want your statement to grab the attention of the committee, it should contain the following elements:
- Explanation of why you are willing to take the chosen course;
- Evidence, which demonstrates that you meet all of the necessary criteria and have researched the profession and course;
- Details on how you have grown your interest in a subject outside the class;
- Explanation why you have chosen their college to continue education;
- Tell about your experience, explaining what you have learned and how it helped to grow your interest in the chosen field;
- Demonstration of transferable skills;
- Acknowledgment of your critical thinking;
- Brief enumeration of your goals.
Apart from knowing what to include to your personal statement, don’t forget about the things you shouldn’t do:
- Never copy-paste parts of your older personal statements;
- Don’t include irrelevant data or too personal details;
- Avoid clichés;
- Meaningless lists;
- Complicated expressions;
- Negative excuses and comments;
- Claims without any proofs.
Examples of a personal statement
Success of your personal statement always depends on a careful topic selection and in lots of practice. The more time you devote to writing such an essay, the simpler it will be for you to write your personal statement in future. Below you will find examples of statements for graduate and undergraduate levels.
Examples of college personal statements topics
- Why are you willing to enter a graduate program? How it interlinks with your career aspirations?
- What are your admission qualifications?
- Picture your career in a five years time;
- What events or experiences grew your interest in the chosen program?
- The biggest professional challenges you are facing at the moment and how the chosen program can help in overcoming them?
When we see a teenager, carrying a journal we usually think that he or she has things to hide. For me, a journal means much more and helps to put all of the emotions into words.
I remember one day at school when I experienced hundreds of emotions at once. In a moment I was bored and then angry, filled with hopes and despair at the same time. That is when I decided to start a journal. For less than an hour, I wrote five poems. I read them carefully over and over again and felt proud that I was able to turn negative emotions into creativity.
Starting from that day I carried my journal with me anywhere I went. It gave me a feeling of security and peace, and I knew that even if I didn’t have the inspiration to write, I could reread my stories and poems.
In some way my journal helped me to overcome emotions and curb them. However, any time I took it out, my classmates were trying to see what was inside. At first, I was hiding the journal in my bag, but as I grew more confident, I started offering them to read my poems or write their own if they wanted to.
I changed my thoughts about owning such a journal, when I saw how much happier people became, when I was giving them my journal. Very soon my book became a common possession and contained emotions of different people.
My classmates trusted me and expressed themselves through poems, songs, drawings and stories. Many of them were so inspired that decided to start their own journals. That is when I realized that owning a journal could have a therapeutic effect.
Having that book gave me a feeling that I was capable of everything, I could achieve anything I wanted to and that made me feel great!
Journalism had a great influence on my life, so I want to major Media and Communication to make my own thoughts and thoughts of people to be heard worldwide. I am ready to be the person, who transmits others’ emotions, shares them with the society and helps to transform negativism into something bright and positive.
That is why I love journalism so much! Any time I feel like there are too many emotions and thoughts in my head, I put them on paper and express myself in any way I want. I never thought that such a simple experience may change my whole life. For some people, journalism can be a cliché, but for me, it is a whole new world, which helps me to remain focused, sane and open to the world.
Examples of undergraduate personal statements topics
- Tell about the event or achievement that lead to your personal growth and understanding of your personality;
- Discuss the time, when you had to face a certain challenge. What impact it had on you and what lessons you have learned from it?
- Tell about a problem you are solving or would want to solve;
- Who inspires you the most?
- What things do you want to achieve in life?
We are living in the times when media and internet have occupied firm positions in every person’s life. It will be fair to say that the media has the most solid impact on society. Education is very important because it helps us to share personal views on various things and helps us get ready for the future carrier.
I want to combine both education and media because I dream of becoming a journalist. While media is powerful and has a positive impact on millions of people, there are also many dishonest journalists, who only care about how many clicks their reports and posts will gain. That is why I want to contribute to society and use Internet platforms to give people information on important problems and issues.
Even though I don’t have many years of experience working as a journalist, I still have a solid education with knowledge on how to build my future career. During my high school years I have been working as an editor of the website and school paper. I reported on the latest events and covered problems of students, stirring debates and discussions.
Due to my work ethics and aspirations, I always meet deadlines and move myself forward to learn more about every topic. I want to become part of the program for many reasons. A thorough research made me realize that your program is perfect for achieving all of my aspirations in the chosen field. With its help I will greatly improve my writing skills, sharpen my knowledge and grow on both professional and a personal level.
Once you have written a personal statement you may think that it is time to breathe out. However, if you want to be accepted, you can’t deliver your paper without editing it. Unfortunately, we are not objective when it comes to evaluating our own works. We see the paper as we imagine it, not as it really is.
That is when our editors and proofreaders can be of great help! Our professional specialists have many years of experience and can improve your paper with ease.
They will polish your personal statement and give valuable tips on how to achieve the best results. In case you don’t have enough time to write your personal statement or want to entrust it to professionals, you can contact us or leave a request through the order form.
Writing a personal statement will improve the following aspects:
- Your writing skills;
- Chances of being accepted;
- Your tranquility.