What is a personal statement?
A personal statement is an essay about you! A successful essay reflects on your achievements, opportunities, and obstacles in life. A personal statement is typically required when applying to universities as an undergraduate, a transfer student, and a graduate student. Sometimes a personal statement is required for scholarships, jobs, internships, fellowships, and research programs.
Your personal statement addresses your past, present, and future by explaining who you are, how you got to this point, and where you are headed. On average, the essay is around a page long, which means that you have a limited space to creatively illustrate your achievements, your goals, and your influences. The essay also allows you to explain your academic record and any inconsistencies.
How should I begin?
What is expected of your essay?
Know what the committee is looking for. In general, those who read your personal statement are specifically looking for:
How you explain achievements that are not in the other parts of your application
How and why those achievements or events shaped your interests, goals, etc.
What should I write about?
You are the focus. The essay should be about you. Questions to think about when reflecting:
Why are you a strong applicant?
What makes you special?
What is impressive about your experiences or life?
What influenced your goals?
Did you experience any personal or family problems that shaped your character?
How did you become interested in this field?
How have you already learned about this field that prepares you for the next step?
What are your future goals?
What skills/characteristics of yours will contribute to your success in the field?
Know your reader
Who is reading your essay? Your personal statement will sound more authentic and sincere if the reader can connect with you through your essay. Often, the application will mention who will be reading your materials and you should keep that...