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Looking for grad school personal statement examples? Look no further! In this total guide to graduate school personal statement examples, we’ll discuss why you need a personal statement for grad school and what makes a good one. Then we’ll provide three graduate school personal statement samples from our grad school experts. After that, we’ll do a deep dive on one of our personal statement for graduate school examples. Finally, we’ll wrap up with a list of other grad school personal statements you can find online.
Why Do You Need a Personal Statement?
A personal statement is a chance for admissions committees to get to know you: your goals and passions, what you’ll bring to the program, and what you’re hoping to get out of the program. You need to sell the admissions committee on what makes you a worthwhile applicant. The personal statement is a good chance to highlight significant things about you that don’t appear elsewhere on your application.
A personal statement is slightly different from a statement of purpose (also known as a letter of intent). A statement of purpose/letter of intent tends to be more tightly focused on your academic or professional credentials and your future research and/or professional interests.
While a personal statement also addresses your academic experiences and goals, you have more leeway to be a little more, well, personal. In a personal statement, it’s often appropriate to include information on significant life experiences or challenges that aren’t necessarily directly relevant to your field of interest.
Some programs ask for both a personal statement and a statement of purpose/letter of intent. In this case, the personal statement is likely to be much more tightly focused on your life experience and personality assets while the statement of purpose will focus in much more on your academic/research experiences and goals.
However, there’s not always a hard-and-fast demarcation between a personal statement and a statement of purpose. The two statement types should address a lot of the same themes, especially as relates to your future goals and the valuable assets you bring to the program. Some programs will ask for a personal statement but the prompt will be focused primarily on your research and professional experiences and interests. Some will ask for a statement of purpose but the prompt will be more focused on your general life experiences.
When in doubt, give the program what they are asking for in the prompt and don’t get too hung up on whether they call it a personal statement or statement of purpose. You can always call the admissions office to get more clarification on what they want you to address in your admissions essay.
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What Makes a Good Grad School Personal Statement?
A great graduate school personal statement can come in many forms and styles. However, strong grad school personal statement examples all share the same following elements:
A Clear Narrative
Above all, a good personal statement communicates clear messages about what makes you a strong applicant who is likely to have success in graduate school. So to that extent, think about a couple of key points that you want to communicate about yourself and then drill down on how you can best communicate those points. (Your key points should of course be related to what you can bring to the field and to the program specifically).
You can also decide whether to address things like setbacks or gaps in your application as part of your narrative. Have a low GPA for a couple semesters due to a health issue? Been out of a job for a while taking care of a family member? If you do decide to explain an issue like this, make sure that the overall arc is more about demonstrating positive qualities like resilience and diligence than about providing excuses.
A great statement of purpose uses specific examples to illustrate its key messages. This can include anecdotes that demonstrate particular traits or even references to scholars and works that have influenced your academic trajectory to show that you are familiar and insightful about the relevant literature in your field.
Just saying “I love plants,” is pretty vague. Describing how you worked in a plant lab during undergrad and then went home and carefully cultivated your own greenhouse where you cross-bred new flower colors by hand is much more specific and vivid, which makes for better evidence.
A strong personal statement will describe why you are a good fit for the program, and why the program is a good fit for you. It’s important to identify specific things about the program that appeal to you, and how you’ll take advantage of those opportunities. It’s also a good idea to talk about specific professors you might be interested in working with. This shows that you are informed about and genuinely invested in the program.
Even quantitative and science disciplines typically require some writing, so it’s important that your personal statement shows strong writing skills. Make sure that you are communicating clearly and that you don’t have any grammar and spelling errors. It’s helpful to get other people to read your statement and provide feedback. Plan on going through multiple drafts.
Another important thing here is to avoid cliches and gimmicks. Don’t deploy overused phrases and openings like “ever since I was a child.” Don’t structure your statement in a gimmicky way (i.e., writing a faux legal brief about yourself for a law school statement of purpose). The first will make your writing banal; the second is likely to make you stand out in a bad way.
While you can be more personal in a personal statement than in a statement of purpose, it’s important to maintain appropriate boundaries in your writing. Don’t overshare anything too personal about relationships, bodily functions, or illegal activities. Similarly, don’t share anything that makes it seem like you may be out of control, unstable, or an otherwise risky investment. The personal statement is not a confessional booth. If you share inappropriately, you may seem like you have bad judgment, which is a huge red flag to admissions committees.
You should also be careful with how you deploy humor and jokes. Your statement doesn’t have to be totally joyless and serious, but bear in mind that the person reading the statement may not have the same sense of humor as you do. When in doubt, err towards the side of being as inoffensive as possible.
Just as being too intimate in your statement can hurt you, it’s also important not to be overly formal or staid. You should be professional, but conversational.
Graduate School Personal Statement Examples
Our graduate school experts have been kind enough to provide some successful grad school personal statement examples. We’ll provide three examples here, along with brief analysis of what makes each one successful.
Sample Personal Statement for Graduate School 1
PDF of Sample Personal Statement 1 – Japanese Studies
For this Japanese Studies master’s degree, the applicant had to provide a statement of purpose outlining her academic goals and experience with Japanese and a separate personal statement describing her personal relationship with Japanese Studies and what led her to pursue a master’s degree.
Here’s what’s successful about this personal statement:
- An attention-grabbing beginning: The applicant begins with the statement that Japanese has never come easily to her and that it’s a brutal language to learn. Seeing as how this is an application for a Japanese Studies program, this is an intriguing beginning that makes the reader want to keep going.
- A compelling narrative: From this attention-grabbing beginning, the applicant builds a well-structured and dramatic narrative tracking her engagement with the Japanese language over time. The clear turning point is her experience studying abroad, leading to a resolution in which she has clarity about her plans. Seeing as how the applicant wants to be a translator of Japanese literature, the tight narrative structure here is a great way to show her writing skills.
- Specific examples that show important traits: The applicant clearly communicates both a deep passion for Japanese through examples of her continued engagement with Japanese and her determination and work ethic by highlighting the challenges she’s faced (and overcome) in her study of the language. This gives the impression that she is an engaged and dedicated student.
Overall, this is a very strong statement both in terms of style and content. It flows well, is memorable, and communicates that the applicant would make the most of the graduate school experience.
Sample Personal Statement for Graduate School 2
PDF of Sample Graduate School Personal Statement 2 – Musical Composition
This personal statement for a Music Composition master’s degree discusses the factors that motivate the applicant to pursue graduate study.
Here’s what works well in this statement:
- The applicant provides two clear reasons motivating the student to pursue graduate study: her experiences with music growing up, and her family’s musical history. She then supports those two reasons with examples and analysis.
- The description of her ancestors’ engagement with music is very compelling and memorable. The applicant paints her own involvement with music as almost inevitable based on her family’s long history with musical pursuits.
- The applicant gives thoughtful analysis of the advantages she has been afforded that have allowed her to study music so extensively. We get the sense that she is insightful and empathetic—qualities that would add greatly to any academic community.
This is a strong, serviceable personal statement. And in truth, given that this for a masters in music composition, other elements of the application (like work samples) are probably the most important. However, here are two small changes I would make to improve it:
- I would probably to split the massive second paragraph into 2-3 separate paragraphs. I might use one paragraph to orient the reader to the family’s musical history, one paragraph to discuss Giacomo and Antonio, and one paragraph to discuss how the family has influenced the applicant. As it stands, it’s a little unwieldy and the second paragraph doesn’t have a super-clear focus even though it’s all loosely related to the applicant’s family history with music.
- I would also slightly shorten the anecdote about the applicant’s ancestors and expand more on how this family history has motivated the applicant’s interest in music. In what specific ways has her ancestors’ perseverance inspired her? Did she think about them during hard practice sessions? Is she interested in composing music in a style they might have played? More specific examples here would lend greater depth and clarity to the statement.
Sample Personal Statement for Graduate School 3
PDF of Sample Graduate School Personal Statement 3 – Public Health
This is my successful personal statement for Columbia’s Master’s program in Public Health. We’ll do a deep dive on this statement paragraph-by-paragraph in the next section, but I’ll highlight a couple of things that work in this statement here:
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- This statement is clearly organized. Almost every paragraph has a distinct focus and message, and when I move on to a new idea, I move on to a new paragraph with a logical transitions.
- This statement covers a lot of ground in a pretty short space. I discuss my family history, my goals, my educational background, and my professional background. But because the paragraphs are organized and I use specific examples, it doesn’t feel too vague or scattered.
- In addition to including information about my personal motivations, like my family, I also include some analysis about tailoring health interventions with my example of the Zande. This is a good way to show off what kinds of insights I might bring to the program based on my academic background.
Grad School Personal Statement Example: Deep Dive
Now let’s do a deep dive, paragraph-by-paragraph, on one of these sample graduate school personal statements. We’ll use my personal statement that I used when I applied to Columbia’s public health program.
Paragraph One: For twenty-three years, my grandmother (a Veterinarian and an Epidemiologist) ran the Communicable Disease Department of a mid-sized urban public health department. The stories of Grandma Betty doggedly tracking down the named sexual partners of the infected are part of our family lore. Grandma Betty would persuade people to be tested for sexually transmitted diseases, encourage safer sexual practices, document the spread of infection and strive to contain and prevent it. Indeed, due to the large gay population in the city where she worked, Grandma Betty was at the forefront of the AIDS crises, and her analysis contributed greatly towards understanding how the disease was contracted and spread. My grandmother has always been a huge inspiration to me, and the reason why a career in public health was always on my radar.
This is an attention-grabbing opening anecdote that avoids most of the usual cliches about childhood dreams and proclivities. This story also subtly shows that I have a sense of public health history, given the significance of the AIDs crisis for public health as a field.
It’s good that I connect this family history to my own interests. However, if I were to revise this paragraph again, I might cut down on some of the detail because when it comes down to it, this story isn’t really about me. It’s important that even (sparingly used) anecdotes about other people ultimately reveal something about you in a personal statement.
Paragraph Two: Recent years have cemented that interest. In January 2012, my parents adopted my little brother Fred from China. Doctors in America subsequently diagnosed Fred with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD). My parents were told that if Fred’s condition had been discovered in China, the (very poor) orphanage in which he spent the first 8+ years of his life would have recognized his DMD as a death sentence and denied him sustenance to hasten his demise.
Here’s another compelling anecdote to help explain my interest in public health. This is an appropriately personal detail for a personal statement—it’s a serious thing about my immediate family, but it doesn’t disclose anything that the admissions committee might find concerning or inappropriate.
If I were to take another pass through this paragraph, the main thing I would change is the last phrase. “Denied him sustenance to hasten his demise” is a little flowery. “Denied him food to hasten his death” is actually more powerful because it’s clearer and more direct.
Paragraph Three: It is not right that some people have access to the best doctors and treatment while others have no medical care. I want to pursue an MPH in Sociomedical Sciences at Columbia because studying social factors in health, with a particular focus on socio-health inequities, will prepare me to address these inequities. The interdisciplinary approach of the program appeals to me greatly as I believe interdisciplinary approaches are the most effective way to develop meaningful solutions to complex problems.
In this paragraph I make a neat and clear transition from discussing what sparked my interest in public health and health equity to what I am interested in about Columbia specifically: the interdisciplinary focus of the program, and how that focus will prepare me to solve complex health problems. This paragraph also serves as a good pivot point to start discussing my academic and professional background.
Paragraph Four: My undergraduate education has prepared me well for my chosen career. Understanding the underlying structure of a group’s culture is essential to successfully communicating with the group. In studying folklore and mythology, I’ve learned how to parse the unspoken structures of folk groups, and how those structures can be used to build bridges of understanding. For example, in a culture where most illnesses are believed to be caused by witchcraft, as is the case for the Zande people of central Africa, any successful health intervention or education program would of necessity take into account their very real belief in witchcraft.
In this paragraph, I link my undergraduate education and the skills I learned there to public health. The (very brief) analysis of tailoring health interventions to the Zande is a good way to show insight and show off the competencies I would bring to the program.
Paragraph Five: I now work in the healthcare industry for one of the largest providers of health benefits in the world. In addition to reigniting my passion for data and quantitative analytics, working for this company has immersed me in the business side of healthcare, a critical component of public health.
This brief paragraph highlights my relevant work experience in the healthcare industry. It also allows me to mention my work with data and quantitative analytics, which isn’t necessarily obvious from my academic background, which was primarily based in the social sciences.
Paragraph Six: I intend to pursue a PhD in order to become an expert in how social factors affect health, particularly as related to gender and sexuality. I intend to pursue a certificate in Sexuality, Sexual Health, and Reproduction. Working together with other experts to create effective interventions across cultures and societies, I want to help transform health landscapes both in America and abroad.
This final paragraph is about my future plans and intentions. Unfortunately, it’s a little disjointed, primarily because I discuss goals of pursuing a PhD before I talk about what certificate I want to pursue within the MPH program! Switching those two sentences and discussing my certificate goals within the MPH and then mentioning my PhD plans would make a lot more sense.
I also start two sentences in a row with “I intend,” which is repetitive.
The final sentence is a little bit generic; I might tailor it to specifically discuss a gender and sexual health issue, since that is the primary area of interest I’ve identified.
This was a successful personal statement; I got into (and attended!) the program. It has strong examples, clear organization, and outlines what interests me about the program (its interdisciplinary focus) and what competencies I would bring (a background in cultural analysis and experience with the business side of healthcare). However, a few slight tweaks would elevate this statement to the next level.
Graduate School Personal Statement Examples You Can Find Online
So you need more samples for your personal statement for graduate school? Examples are everywhere on the internet, but they aren’t all of equal quality.
Most of examples are posted as part of writing guides published online by educational institutions. We’ve rounded up some of the best ones here if you are looking for more personal statement examples for graduate school.
Penn State Personal Statement Examples for Graduate School
This selection of ten short personal statements for graduate school and fellowship programs offers an interesting mix of approaches. Some focus more on personal adversity while others focus more closely on professional work within the field.
The writing in some of these statements is a little dry, and most deploy at least a few cliches. However, these are generally strong, serviceable statements that communicate clearly why the student is interested in the field, their skills and competencies, and what about the specific program appeals to them.
Cal State Sample Graduate School Personal Statements
These are good examples of personal statements for graduate school where students deploy lots of very vivid imagery and illustrative anecdotes of life experiences. There are also helpful comments about what works in each of these essays.
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However, all of these statements are definitely pushing the boundaries of acceptable length, as all are above 1000 and one is almost 1500 words! Many programs limit you to 500 words; if you don’t have a limit, you should try to keep it to two single-spaced pages at most (which is about 1000 words).
University of Chicago Personal Statement for Graduate School Examples
These examples of successful essays to the University of Chicago law school cover a wide range of life experiences and topics. The writing in all is very vivid, and all communicate clear messages about the students’ strengths and competencies.
Note, however, that these are all essays that specifically worked for University of Chicago law school. That does not mean that they would work everywhere. In fact, one major thing to note is that many of these responses, while well-written and vivid, barely address the students’ interest in law school at all! This is something that might not work well for most graduate programs.
Wheaton College Personal Statement for Graduate School Sample 10
This successful essay for law school from a Wheaton College undergraduate does a great job tracking the student’s interest in the law in a compelling and personal way. Wheaton offers other graduate school personal statement examples, but this one offers the most persuasive case for the students’ competencies. The student accomplishes this by using clear, well-elaborated examples, showing strong and vivid writing, and highlighting positive qualities like an interest in justice and empathy without seeming grandiose or out of touch.
Wheaton College Personal Statement for Graduate School Sample 1
Based on the background information provided at the bottom of the essay, this essay was apparently successful for this applicant. However, I’ve actually included this essay because it demonstrates an extremely risky approach. While this personal statement is strikingly written and the story is very memorable, it could definitely communicate the wrong message to some admissions committees. The student’s decision not to report the drill sergeant may read incredibly poorly to some admissions committees. They may wonder if the student’s failure to report the sergeant’s violence will ultimately expose more soldiers-in-training to the same kinds of abuses. This incident perhaps reads especially poorly in light of the fact that the military has such a notable problem with violence against women being covered up and otherwise mishandled
It’s actually hard to get a complete picture of the student’s true motivations from this essay, and what we have might raise real questions about the student’s character to some admissions committees. This student took a risk and it paid off, but it could have just as easily backfired spectacularly.
Key Takeaways: Graduate School Personal Statement Examples
In this guide, we discussed why you need a personal statement and how it differs from a statement of purpose. (It’s more personal!)
We also discussed what you’ll find in a strong sample personal statement for graduate school:
- A clear narrative about the applicant and why they are qualified for graduate study.
- Specific examples to support that narrative.
- Compelling reasons why the applicant and the program are a good fit for each other.
- Strong writing, including clear organization and error-free, cliche-free language.
- Appropriate boundaries—sharing without over-sharing.
Then, we provided three strong graduate school personal statement examples for different fields, along with analysis. We did a deep-dive on the third statement.
Finally, we provided a list of other sample grad school personal statements online.
Want more advice on writing a personal statement ? See our guide.
Writing a graduate school statement of purpose? See our statement of purpose samples and a nine-step process for writing the best statement of purpose possible .
If you’re writing a graduate school CV or resume, see our how-to guide to writing a CV , a how-to guide to writing a resume , our list of sample resumes and CVs , resume and CV templates , and a special guide for writing resume objectives .
Need stellar graduate school recommendation letters ? See our guide.
See our 29 tips for successfully applying to graduate school .
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Author: Ellen McCammon
Ellen is a public health graduate student and education expert. She has extensive experience mentoring students of all ages to reach their goals and in-depth knowledge on a variety of health topics. View all posts by Ellen McCammon
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- How to Write Your Personal Statement | Strategies & Examples
How to Write Your Personal Statement | Strategies & Examples
Published on February 12, 2019 by Shona McCombes . Revised on November 28, 2022.
A personal statement is a short essay of around 500–1,000 words, in which you tell a compelling story about who you are, what drives you, and why you’re applying.
To write a successful personal statement for a graduate school application , don’t just summarize your experience; instead, craft a focused narrative in your own voice. Aim to demonstrate three things:
- Your personality: what are your interests, values, and motivations?
- Your talents: what can you bring to the program?
- Your goals: what do you hope the program will do for you?
This article guides you through some winning strategies to build a strong, well-structured personal statement for a master’s or PhD application. You can download the full examples below.
Urban Planning Psychology History
Attend one of our upcoming livestreams and have your draft reviewed by an admissions essay coach. We’ll tell you if you’re on the right track and explain how you can strengthen your case.
Want some extra inspiration? Watch recordings of past grad school essay livestreams.
Table of contents
Getting started with your personal statement, the introduction: start with an attention-grabbing opening, the main body: craft your narrative, the conclusion: look ahead, revising, editing, and proofreading your personal statement, frequently asked questions, want some extra inspiration.
Before you start writing, the first step is to understand exactly what’s expected of you. If the application gives you a question or prompt for your personal statement, the most important thing is to respond to it directly.
For example, you might be asked to focus on the development of your personal identity; challenges you have faced in your life; or your career motivations. This will shape your focus and emphasis—but you still need to find your own unique approach to answering it.
There’s no universal template for a personal statement; it’s your chance to be creative and let your own voice shine through. But there are strategies you can use to build a compelling, well-structured story.
The first paragraph of your personal statement should set the tone and lead smoothly into the story you want to tell.
Strategy 1: Open with a concrete scene
An effective way to catch the reader’s attention is to set up a scene that illustrates something about your character and interests. If you’re stuck, try thinking about:
- A personal experience that changed your perspective
- A story from your family’s history
- A memorable teacher or learning experience
- An unusual or unexpected encounter
To write an effective scene, try to go beyond straightforward description; start with an intriguing sentence that pulls the reader in, and give concrete details to create a convincing atmosphere.
Strategy 2: Open with your motivations
To emphasize your enthusiasm and commitment, you can start by explaining your interest in the subject you want to study or the career path you want to follow.
Just stating that it interests you isn’t enough: first, you need to figure out why you’re interested in this field:
- Is it a longstanding passion or a recent discovery?
- Does it come naturally or have you had to work hard at it?
- How does it fit into the rest of your life?
- What do you think it contributes to society?
Tips for the introduction
- Don’t start on a cliche: avoid phrases like “Ever since I was a child…” or “For as long as I can remember…”
- Do save the introduction for last. If you’re struggling to come up with a strong opening, leave it aside, and note down any interesting ideas that occur to you as you write the rest of the personal statement.
Once you’ve set up the main themes of your personal statement, you’ll delve into more detail about your experiences and motivations.
To structure the body of your personal statement, there are various strategies you can use.
Strategy 1: Describe your development over time
One of the simplest strategies is to give a chronological overview of key experiences that have led you to apply for graduate school.
- What first sparked your interest in the field?
- Which classes, assignments, classmates, internships, or other activities helped you develop your knowledge and skills?
- Where do you want to go next? How does this program fit into your future plans?
Don’t try to include absolutely everything you’ve done—pick out highlights that are relevant to your application. Aim to craft a compelling narrative that shows how you’ve changed and actively developed yourself.
My interest in psychology was first sparked early in my high school career. Though somewhat scientifically inclined, I found that what interested me most was not the equations we learned about in physics and chemistry, but the motivations and perceptions of my fellow students, and the subtle social dynamics that I observed inside and outside the classroom. I wanted to learn how our identities, beliefs, and behaviours are shaped through our interactions with others, so I decided to major in Social Psychology. My undergraduate studies deepened my understanding of, and fascination with, the interplay between an individual mind and its social context.During my studies, I acquired a solid foundation of knowledge about concepts like social influence and group dynamics, but I also took classes on various topics not strictly related to my major. I was particularly interested in how other fields intersect with psychology—the classes I took on media studies, biology, and literature all enhanced my understanding of psychological concepts by providing different lenses through which to look at the issues involved.
Strategy 2: Own your challenges and obstacles
If your path to graduate school hasn’t been easy or straightforward, you can turn this into a strength, and structure your personal statement as a story of overcoming obstacles.
- Is your social, cultural or economic background underrepresented in the field? Show how your experiences will contribute a unique perspective.
- Do you have gaps in your resume or lower-than-ideal grades? Explain the challenges you faced and how you dealt with them.
Don’t focus too heavily on negatives, but use them to highlight your positive qualities. Resilience, resourcefulness and perseverance make you a promising graduate school candidate.
Growing up working class, urban decay becomes depressingly familiar. The sight of a row of abandoned houses does not surprise me, but it continues to bother me. Since high school, I have been determined to pursue a career in urban planning. While people of my background experience the consequences of urban planning decisions first-hand, we are underrepresented in the field itself. Ironically, given my motivation, my economic background has made my studies challenging. I was fortunate enough to be awarded a scholarship for my undergraduate studies, but after graduation I took jobs in unrelated fields to help support my parents. In the three years since, I have not lost my ambition. Now I am keen to resume my studies, and I believe I can bring an invaluable perspective to the table: that of the people most impacted by the decisions of urban planners.
Strategy 3: Demonstrate your knowledge of the field
Especially if you’re applying for a PhD or another research-focused program, it’s a good idea to show your familiarity with the subject and the department. Your personal statement can focus on the area you want to specialize in and reflect on why it matters to you.
- Reflect on the topics or themes that you’ve focused on in your studies. What draws you to them?
- Discuss any academic achievements, influential teachers, or other highlights of your education.
- Talk about the questions you’d like to explore in your research and why you think they’re important.
The personal statement isn’t a research proposal , so don’t go overboard on detail—but it’s a great opportunity to show your enthusiasm for the field and your capacity for original thinking.
In applying for this research program, my intention is to build on the multidisciplinary approach I have taken in my studies so far, combining knowledge from disparate fields of study to better understand psychological concepts and issues. The Media Psychology program stands out to me as the perfect environment for this kind of research, given its researchers’ openness to collaboration across diverse fields. I am impressed by the department’s innovative interdisciplinary projects that focus on the shifting landscape of media and technology, and I hope that my own work can follow a similarly trailblazing approach. More specifically, I want to develop my understanding of the intersection of psychology and media studies, and explore how media psychology theories and methods might be applied to neurodivergent minds. I am interested not only in media psychology but also in psychological disorders, and how the two interact. This is something I touched on during my undergraduate studies and that I’m excited to delve into further.
Strategy 4: Discuss your professional ambitions
Especially if you’re applying for a more professionally-oriented program (such as an MBA), it’s a good idea to focus on concrete goals and how the program will help you achieve them.
- If your career is just getting started, show how your character is suited to the field, and explain how graduate school will help you develop your talents.
- If you have already worked in the profession, show what you’ve achieved so far, and explain how the program will allow you to take the next step.
- If you are planning a career change, explain what has driven this decision and how your existing experience will help you succeed.
Don’t just state the position you want to achieve. You should demonstrate that you’ve put plenty of thought into your career plans and show why you’re well-suited to this profession.
One thing that fascinated me about the field during my undergraduate studies was the sheer number of different elements whose interactions constitute a person’s experience of an urban environment. Any number of factors could transform the scene I described at the beginning: What if there were no bus route? Better community outreach in the neighborhood? Worse law enforcement? More or fewer jobs available in the area? Some of these factors are out of the hands of an urban planner, but without taking them all into consideration, the planner has an incomplete picture of their task. Through further study I hope to develop my understanding of how these disparate elements combine and interact to create the urban environment. I am interested in the social, psychological and political effects our surroundings have on our lives. My studies will allow me to work on projects directly affecting the kinds of working-class urban communities I know well. I believe I can bring my own experiences, as well as my education, to bear upon the problem of improving infrastructure and quality of life in these communities.
Tips for the main body
- Don’t rehash your resume by trying to summarize everything you’ve done so far; the personal statement isn’t about listing your academic or professional experience, but about reflecting, evaluating, and relating it to broader themes.
- Do make your statements into stories: Instead of saying you’re hard-working and self-motivated, write about your internship where you took the initiative to start a new project. Instead of saying you’ve always loved reading, reflect on a novel or poem that changed your perspective.
Your conclusion should bring the focus back to the program and what you hope to get out of it, whether that’s developing practical skills, exploring intellectual questions, or both.
Emphasize the fit with your specific interests, showing why this program would be the best way to achieve your aims.
Strategy 1: What do you want to know?
If you’re applying for a more academic or research-focused program, end on a note of curiosity: what do you hope to learn, and why do you think this is the best place to learn it?
If there are specific classes or faculty members that you’re excited to learn from, this is the place to express your enthusiasm.
Strategy 2: What do you want to do?
If you’re applying for a program that focuses more on professional training, your conclusion can look to your career aspirations: what role do you want to play in society, and why is this program the best choice to help you get there?
Tips for the conclusion
- Don’t summarize what you’ve already said. You have limited space in a personal statement, so use it wisely!
- Do think bigger than yourself: try to express how your individual aspirations relate to your local community, your academic field, or society more broadly. It’s not just about what you’ll get out of graduate school, but about what you’ll be able to give back.
You’ll be expected to do a lot of writing in graduate school, so make a good first impression: leave yourself plenty of time to revise and polish the text.
Your style doesn’t have to be as formal as other kinds of academic writing, but it should be clear, direct and coherent. Make sure that each paragraph flows smoothly from the last, using topic sentences and transitions to create clear connections between each part.
Don’t be afraid to rewrite and restructure as much as necessary. Since you have a lot of freedom in the structure of a personal statement, you can experiment and move information around to see what works best.
Finally, it’s essential to carefully proofread your personal statement and fix any language errors. Before you submit your application, consider investing in professional personal statement editing . For $150, you have the peace of mind that your personal statement is grammatically correct, strong in term of your arguments, and free of awkward mistakes.
A statement of purpose is usually more formal, focusing on your academic or professional goals. It shouldn’t include anything that isn’t directly relevant to the application.
A personal statement can often be more creative. It might tell a story that isn’t directly related to the application, but that shows something about your personality, values, and motivations.
However, both types of document have the same overall goal: to demonstrate your potential as a graduate student and s how why you’re a great match for the program.
The typical length of a personal statement for graduate school applications is between 500 and 1,000 words.
Different programs have different requirements, so always check if there’s a minimum or maximum length and stick to the guidelines. If there is no recommended word count, aim for no more than 1-2 pages.
If you’re applying to multiple graduate school programs, you should tailor your personal statement to each application.
Some applications provide a prompt or question. In this case, you might have to write a new personal statement from scratch: the most important task is to respond to what you have been asked.
If there’s no prompt or guidelines, you can re-use the same idea for your personal statement – but change the details wherever relevant, making sure to emphasize why you’re applying to this specific program.
If the application also includes other essays, such as a statement of purpose , you might have to revise your personal statement to avoid repeating the same information.
During our livestream sessions, we invite students to submit their personal statement drafts and receive live feedback from our essay coaches. Check out recordings of our past sessions:
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Writing Personal Statements for Graduate School
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Preparing a well-written and effective personal statement (sometimes referred to as statements of purpose or personal essays) that clearly articulates your preparation, goals, and motivation for pursuing that specific graduate degree is critically important. You will need to spend a considerable amount of time and effort in crafting these statements. The focus, structure, and length of personal statements vary from program to program. Some will have prompts or questions you need to answer, while others will leave the topic open-ended. The length varies widely as well. Read instructions carefully and make sure to adhere to all parameters laid out in the application guidelines.
Clear writing is the result of clear thinking. The first and most important task is to decide on a message. Consider carefully which two or three points you wish to impress upon the reader, remembering that your audience is composed of academics who are experts in their fields. Your statement should show that you are able to think logically and express your thoughts in a clear and concise manner. Remember that the reader already has a record of your activities and your transcript; avoid simply restating your resume and transcript. Writing your statement will take time; start early and give yourself more than enough time for revisions. If no prompts are given, you can use the questions below to begin brainstorming content to include in your statement; for more information, see our Writing Personal Statement presentation Prezi and our three-minute video on Writing Personal Statements .
- What experiences and academic preparation do you have that are relevant to the degree you’re seeking?
- Why are you choosing to pursue a graduate degree at this time?
- Why do you want to pursue this particular degree and how will this degree and the specific program fit into your career plans and your long-term goals?
- What specific topics are you aiming to explore and what does the current literature say about those topics?
After you’ve written a first draft, start the work of editing, refining, simplifying, and polishing. Provide specific examples that will help illustrate your points and convey your interests, intentions, and motivations. Is any section, sentence, or word superfluous, ambiguous, apologetic, or awkward? Are your verbs strong and active? Have you removed most of the qualifiers? Are you sure that each activity or interest you mention supports one of your main ideas? Spelling and grammatical errors are inexcusable. Don’t rely on spell-check to catch all errors; read your statement aloud and have it reviewed by multiple people whose opinion you trust. If possible, have your statement reviewed by a writing tutor. For individual assistance with writing your personal statement, consult with the writing tutor in your residential college or the Writing Center within the Yale Center for Teaching and Learning .
Office of Career Strategy
Writing the Personal Statement
Helpful tips and advice for drafting a compelling personal statement when applying for graduate admission.
Make sure to check the appropriate departmental website to find out if your statement should include additional or specific information.
What does this statement need to accomplish?
The personal statement should give concrete evidence of your promise as a member of the academic community, giving the committee an image of you as a person.
This is also where you represent your potential to bring to your academic career a critical perspective rooted in a non-traditional educational background, or your understanding of the experiences of groups historically under-represented in higher education and your commitment to increase participation by a diverse population in higher education.
What kinds of content belongs here?
Anything that can give reviewers a sense of you as a person belongs here; you can repeat information about your experiences in your research statement, but any experiences that show your promise, initiative, and ability to persevere despite obstacles belongs here. This is also a good place to display your communication skills and discuss your ability to maximize effective collaboration with a diverse cross-section of the academic community. If you have faced any obstacles or barriers in your education, sharing those experiences serves both for the selection process, and for your nomination for fellowships. If one part of your academic record is not ideal, due to challenges you faced in that particular area, this is where you can explain that, and direct reviewers’ attention to the evidence of your promise for higher education.
The basic message: your academic achievement despite challenges
It is especially helpful for admissions committees considering nominating you for fellowships for diversity if you discuss any or all of the following:
- Demonstrated significant academic achievement by overcoming barriers such as economic, social, or educational disadvantage;
- attendance at a minority serving institution;
- ability to articulate the barriers facing women and minorities in science and engineering fields;
- participation in higher education pipeline programs such as, UC Leads, or McNair Scholars;
- Academic service advancing equitable access to higher education for women and racial minorities in fields where they are underrepresented;
- Leadership experience among students from groups that have been historically underrepresented in higher education;
- research that addresses issues such as race, gender, diversity, and inclusion;
- research that addresses health disparities, educational access and achievement, political engagement, economic justice, social mobility, civil and human rights, and other questions of interest to historically underrepresented groups;
- artistic expression and cultural production that reflects culturally diverse communities or voices not well represented in the arts and humanities.
- Get Informed
Personal Statement Examples for Graduate School
How to Write a Personal Statement for Graduate School Examples?
Writing a personal statement example for graduate school may at first seem like an overwhelming task. It sets the tone for your grad school application after all. While every examples of personal statements for graduate school should be different, these examples can help you brainstorm ideas and give you a place to start.
Can you get your personal statement grad school example professionally edited? Absolutely! Having an effective personal statement that reflects your abilities and personality may assist you in the graduate school admissions process!
6 Tips for Graduate School Personal Statement Examples
- Make sure your personal statement is unique
- Find out what the requirements are before you start writing
- Be sure to answer your prompt entirely (if you received one)
- If no prompt, select a central idea and stick to it
- Incorporate why you would be the perfect candidate and showcase your skills and/or qualities
- Proofread and edit
Are there Grad Schools that do not require Personal Statements? Absolutely! One way of dealing with the headache of personal statements is to avoid them completely! Below, find some of the most popularly applied-to graduate schools that may not require personal statements:
Graduate Personal Statement Examples Below:
Below are two personal statement examples grad school. Read these to get an idea of what to expect when writing yours.
Keep in mind that every school may have specific requirements. Use a prompt to write your personal statement. Be sure to answer it fully. Focus your personal statement around a central idea or message even if you do not have a prompt. The goal here is to show why you are a good candidate for admission to a certain program, be it business, communications , engineering, or other programs, and demonstrate your qualities. These include your writing capability, goals and reasons for applying, and your personality and background. Also, be sure to follow all other guidelines, including length, and copy edit carefully.
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Personal Statement Examples for Grad School
Personal statement graduate school examples lead #1.
While I will never make the grandiose statement of knowing the nitty-gritty of my life’s plan at an early age, I can state – with a degree of certainty – that it would undoubtedly involve books.
Personal Statement Main Body #1
In that much, I was accurate. All the more so when I began to attend ABC College for my undergraduate studies. Entering the college as a Theater and English double major, I soon became consumed with the latter. It’s important to note that my diploma lists a B.A. in English, and not the aforementioned. I became intrigued with critical theory, a trend that my professors highly indulged in. With their encouragement, I would be able to explore the analysis of non-canon works such as fan-authored fiction, romance novels, and graphic novels. Albeit, the classics were always present (I cap my Jane Eyre reading count at a wholesome 7), it was refreshing to take a stab at new works. The course load kept me insanely busy and my brain constantly turning.
The following year, post-graduation, would be the finalizing stroke. I was fortunate enough to work a slew of odd jobs: bartender, cast member at Walt Disney world, and facilities assistant to a financial investment banking firm. Out of these, a few stood out: my blogging experiences for a non-profit theater, my editing position with a marketing firm, and the freelance gigs friends would throw my way.
Personal Statement Conclusion #1
Why did these standout to me, though? All of them dealt with what was near and dear to my heart – dissecting text and getting to the meat of things. Frankly, it wasn’t enough – I missed the chunk of myself that got left in undergrad. The part that was encouraged to dissemble text and put it out into the world as something new and unexplored. It took me a year of doing these odd bits of work to confirm that graduate school was the best option for me. It is a chance to hone my skills and dive right back into the deep end of literature.
I had stated that I previously had little inkling to where my adult life would take me. I’ve experienced a little bit more of life since then. It is my sincere hope that a graduate education at GradSchools.com University can set me on a path towards future academic pursuits. At this point in time, my studies would be geared in three possible directions: future application into a PHD program, a professional teaching career, or a career in book publishing (which places a high emphasis on graduate studies). In addition, it would be a personal goal to exhibit current and future work in conferences to become part of the national – or even international – literary discussion.
I’m certain that GradSchools.com University’s English department can not only best address my current needs and professional aspirations, but also my academic curiosity.
Personal Statement for Grad School Examples
Sample personal statement for graduate school lead in #2.
Ever since I was a teenager, it has been my goal to increase access to assistive technology in underserved communities. Specifically, I want to work toward developing inexpensive and accessible adaptive technology for special needs children in educational settings. The XYZ Engineering program has historically been and continues to be a leader in the field of innovation. Additionally, your focus on the diverse needs of disadvantaged communities, and on using technology to help improve the lives of those in need aligns with my passion for using my skills to help others thrive.
Personal Statement Main Body #2
While I’ve been gifted in mathematics, science and technology since I was young, it wasn’t until I reached high school that I dedicated myself to developing and improving assistive technology. I have always been lucky enough to thrive both at home and in school. Though my school and community lacked money and resources, the support of my teachers and mentors helped me to succeed. But that wasn’t the case for everybody.
When I turned 14, my younger brother entered elementary school. It quickly became evident that he needed the robust support of a special education program to succeed in a regular classroom, not to mention throughout life. And while his teachers and the administration at his school were dedicated to supporting him as much as possible, the lack of funding in our district made it extraordinarily difficult to access the technology my brother needed. My parents attempted to do some of this on their own outside the school system, but quickly realized how much of it was financially out of reach.
My brother was lucky. With the dedicated support of his school and our parents’ determination, he eventually was able to get the help and resources he needed. But how many other children aren’t so lucky? Innovation is, in many ways, an expensive thing. But should that be the case for the people who need it most? When the cost of developing crucial technology is passed down to families in need, kids go without help. With my flair for creativity, dedication to helping others, and technical expertise, that’s something I can change. By making essential assistive technology affordable for all, more schools could provide their students with the services they really need, and families can rest easy that their children are able to thrive.
Personal Statement Conclusion #2
That’s why I spent my undergraduate years studying engineering with ABC University. Not only did I graduate near the top of my class, but I was lucky enough to assist the head of my Engineering department, in conjunction with several other departments, in a research project on increasing physical mobility for individuals with functional movement disorders. The results of this project are soon to be published in a peer-reviewed Medical Engineering journal.
I also completed an undergraduate internship experience in a major medical device engineering corporation headquartered in my home town. There, I was directly mentored by experienced industry professionals. I continue to rely on their guidance, both personally and professionally, to this day.
Because of our shared passion for using engineering to help real families and communities advance, I am requesting admission to the XYZ Engineering master’s program this upcoming semester. I intend to pursue study of assistive technology development. My overall objective is to make strides in the cost-effectiveness of and broader access too necessary technology in classrooms across the country. Together with your rigorous academic program and support, I believe I can do that as a member of the XYZ Engineering school community.
Feel free to refer back to these personal statement for graduate school sample throughout the writing process. Or check out our How to Write a Personal Statement article for more advice. You can also find a sample letter of intent here. Good luck!
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Writing the Personal Statement
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This handout provides information about writing personal statements for academic and other positions.
The personal statement, your opportunity to sell yourself in the application process, generally falls into one of two categories:
1. The general, comprehensive personal statement:
This allows you maximum freedom in terms of what you write and is the type of statement often prepared for standard medical or law school application forms.
2. The response to very specific questions:
Often, business and graduate school applications ask specific questions, and your statement should respond specifically to the question being asked. Some business school applications favor multiple essays, typically asking for responses to three or more questions.
Questions to ask yourself before you write:
- What's special, unique, distinctive, and/or impressive about you or your life story?
- What details of your life (personal or family problems, history, people or events that have shaped you or influenced your goals) might help the committee better understand you or help set you apart from other applicants?
- When did you become interested in this field and what have you learned about it (and about yourself) that has further stimulated your interest and reinforced your conviction that you are well suited to this field? What insights have you gained?
- How have you learned about this field—through classes, readings, seminars, work or other experiences, or conversations with people already in the field?
- If you have worked a lot during your college years, what have you learned (leadership or managerial skills, for example), and how has that work contributed to your growth?
- What are your career goals?
- Are there any gaps or discrepancies in your academic record that you should explain (great grades but mediocre LSAT or GRE scores, for example, or a distinct upward pattern to your GPA if it was only average in the beginning)?
- Have you had to overcome any unusual obstacles or hardships (for example, economic, familial, or physical) in your life?
- What personal characteristics (for example, integrity, compassion, and/or persistence) do you possess that would improve your prospects for success in the field or profession? Is there a way to demonstrate or document that you have these characteristics?
- What skills (for example, leadership, communicative, analytical) do you possess?
- Why might you be a stronger candidate for graduate school—and more successful and effective in the profession or field than other applicants?
- What are the most compelling reasons you can give for the admissions committee to be interested in you?
Answer the questions that are asked
- If you are applying to several schools, you may find questions in each application that are somewhat similar.
- Don't be tempted to use the same statement for all applications. It is important to answer each question being asked, and if slightly different answers are needed, you should write separate statements. In every case, be sure your answer fits the question being asked.
Tell a story
- Think in terms of showing or demonstrating through concrete experience. One of the worst things you can do is to bore the admissions committee. If your statement is fresh, lively, and different, you'll be putting yourself ahead of the pack. If you distinguish yourself through your story, you will make yourself memorable.
- Don't, for example, state that you would make an excellent doctor unless you can back it up with specific reasons. Your desire to become a lawyer, engineer, or whatever should be logical, the result of specific experience that is described in your statement. Your application should emerge as the logical conclusion to your story.
Find an angle
- If you're like most people, your life story lacks drama, so figuring out a way to make it interesting becomes the big challenge. Finding an angle or a "hook" is vital.
Concentrate on your opening paragraph
- The lead or opening paragraph is generally the most important. It is here that you grab the reader's attention or lose it. This paragraph becomes the framework for the rest of the statement.
Tell what you know
- The middle section of your essay might detail your interest and experience in your particular field, as well as some of your knowledge of the field. Too many people graduate with little or no knowledge of the nuts and bolts of the profession or field they hope to enter. Be as specific as you can in relating what you know about the field and use the language professionals use in conveying this information. Refer to experiences (work, research, etc.), classes, conversations with people in the field, books you've read, seminars you've attended, or any other source of specific information about the career you want and why you're suited to it. Since you will have to select what you include in your statement, the choices you make are often an indication of your judgment.
Don't include some subjects
- There are certain things best left out of personal statements. For example, references to experiences or accomplishments in high school or earlier are generally not a good idea. Don't mention potentially controversial subjects (for example, controversial religious or political issues).
Do some research, if needed
- If a school wants to know why you're applying to it rather than another school, do some research to find out what sets your choice apart from other universities or programs. If the school setting would provide an important geographical or cultural change for you, this might be a factor to mention.
Write well and correctly
- Be meticulous. Type and proofread your essay very carefully. Many admissions officers say that good written skills and command of correct use of language are important to them as they read these statements. Express yourself clearly and concisely. Adhere to stated word limits.
- A medical school applicant who writes that he is good at science and wants to help other people is not exactly expressing an original thought. Stay away from often-repeated or tired statements.
For more information on writing a personal statement, see the personal statement vidcast .
How to Write a Stand-Out Personal Statement for Your Graduate School Application
While deciding to embark on the path to graduate school is an exciting first step toward advancing your career, the application process can sometimes feel daunting and confusing.
One major part of the application that most schools require is a personal statement. Writing a personal statement can be an arduous task: After all, most people don’t necessarily enjoy writing about themselves, let alone at length.
A compelling personal statement, however, can help bring your application to the top of the admissions pile. Below, we’ve outlined what you need to know about crafting a personal statement to make your application shine.
What Is a Personal Statement?
The point of a personal statement is for the admissions board to gain a deeper understanding of who you are apart from your education and work experience. It explains why you’re the right fit for the program and a worthwhile applicant. It’s also an opportunity to highlight important factors that may not be readily available in the rest of your application.
A personal statement is different from a statement of purpose (if you’re asked for that as well). A statement of purpose will touch on your academic and career goals, as well as your past credentials. While those should also be discussed in your personal statement, it’s more about your life experiences and how they’ve shaped you and your journey to graduate school.
Questions to Ask Yourself Before Writing a Personal Statement
Before you start crafting your essay, there are a few prompts you can ask yourself to help clarify what you want to accomplish.
- What are the key points you want to communicate about yourself?
- What personal characteristics or skills do you have that make you a strong candidate for this field?
- What exactly are your career goals, and how does graduate school play into them?
- What have you learned about this field already? When did you first choose to follow this path, and what do you enjoy about it?
- What do you think is important for the admissions board to know specifically about you?
- Are there any discrepancies or causes for concern in your application you need to address? For example, is there a career and schooling gap, or a low GPA at one point? This is the time to discuss whether a personal hardship may have affected your academics or career.
- Have you dealt with any unusual obstacles or difficulties in your life? How have they affected and shaped you?
- What sets you apart and makes you unique from other graduate school applicants?
- What factors in your life have brought you to where you are today?
Top Tips for Writing a Graduate School Personal Statement
Pick a few points to emphasize about yourself . Introduce yourself to the admissions board. Select key factors about your background that you want the university to know — elements that reveal what kind of person you are and demonstrate why you’re a strong candidate for the school and field of study.
Be very specific . Again, a personal statement is all about communicating what distinguishes you from other applicants. To accomplish that, you need to share specific anecdotes that underscore your statements. If you say you’re a strong leader, present an example of a time you’ve proven that skill through work, school or your personal life. These specific, personal stories provide a deeper understanding of who you are and prove your intentions.
Do your research . Demonstrate what attracted you to the program. If there is a specific faculty member or class that caught your attention, or another aspect of the program that greatly interests you, convey it. This shows you’ve truly researched the school and have a passion for the program.
“Whatever the topic may be, I would recommend writing in a manner that reflects or parallels the institution’s and/or department’s missions, goals and values,” said Moises Cortés, a graduate/international credentials analyst for the Office of Graduate Admission at USC .
Address any gaps or discrepancies . Explain any factors that may have impacted your academic career. If you had an illness or any other personal hardships that affected your grades or work, discuss them. If there is a discrepancy between your grades and your test scores, you can also take the time to go over any extenuating circumstances.
Strike the right tone . While it’s important to give readers a glimpse of your personality, avoid oversharing or revealing intimate details of your life experiences. You should also avoid making jokes or using humorous cliches. Maintain a professional tone throughout your writing.
Start strong and finish strong . As with any piece of writing, you want to draw in your readers immediately. Make sure to start off with an interesting and captivating introduction. Similarly, your conclusion should be a well-written, engaging finish to the essay that highlights any important points.
“ For a personal statement, I think the first and last paragraphs are most important and should always relate the program they are applying to their own experiences and ideas,” Hoon H. Kang, a graduate/international credential analyst with the Office of Graduate Admission, told USC Online.
Proofread, proofread and proofread again . We can’t emphasize enough the importance of rereading your work. Your personal statement is also an analysis of your writing skills, so ensure you have proper grammar and spelling throughout. In addition, we recommend having multiple people look over your statement before submission. They can help with the proofreading (a second person always catches a mistake the writer may miss), give advice about the statement’s structure and content, and confirm it’s the proper recommended length.
Once you’ve considered all of the above and reviewed and edited your personal statement to perfection, it’s time to submit and check off any remaining application requirements, including your resume and letters of recommendation .
Personal statements are arguably one of the most challenging aspects of applying to graduate school, so make sure to revel in this accomplishment and acknowledge your successes.
For more information, visit the Office of Graduate Admission at USC and explore USC Online ’s master’s degrees, doctoral programs and graduate certificates.
- 3 Successful Graduate School Personal Statement Examples
As part of your application for graduate school , you will be required to write a personal statement to accompany your application.
For most students, this can be quite a challenge. To make matters worse, the personal statement plays a significant role in determining whether you will be admitted into graduate school, and therefore, getting it wrong could mess up your entire career path .
If you are in the process of applying for graduate school and are wondering how to go about writing your personal statement, this article will teach you everything you need to know about creating a high quality personal statement.
We will also show you three examples of successful graduate school personal statements so that you will have an idea of the kind of personal statement you should be aiming for.
Before that, however, let’s start by understanding what exactly the personal statement is.
WHAT IS A PERSONAL STATEMENT?
If you have ever applied for graduate school, you have probably come across the personal statement. A personal statement on a grad school application is basically a short essay that allows you to introduce yourself to the grad school and explain why you are interested in pursuing a particular program in that school.
When applying for grad school, you also provide your test scores and your GPA. So, why does the university still need a personal statement to determine if you are a good fit for the program you are applying for?
While your test scores and GPA show your qualifications and your mental aptitude , they don’t give a complete picture of who you are as a person.
The personal statement gives you a chance to express yourself to the university and make a case for yourself on why you are a good fit for the program you are interested in, as well as the value you will add to the crop of first year students joining university that year.
On top of your test scores and GPA, the personal statement gives you a chance to tell the admissions committee what your goals are, what you are passionate about, what you intend or hope to gain by taking the program you are applying for, as well as what favorable thing you are bringing to the program.
In other words, you are being asked to make a case for why that opportunity should be given to you instead of another candidate. Since this is an open-ended document, this is your chance to highlight important facts about yourself and personal strengths that you might be unable to highlight anywhere else in your application.
IS A PERSONAL STATEMENT THE SAME AS A STATEMENT OF PURPOSE?
Sometimes, grad school applicants confuse between the personal statement and the statement of purpose , which is sometimes referred to as a letter of intent. However, the two are different documents, even though both play a role in getting you admitted to grad school.
The statement of purpose has a great focus on your credentials, both academic and professional, as well as your future professional intentions. In other words, the statement of purpose is a bit formal and rigid. It doesn’t really take into account who you are as a person.
While the personal statement can also talk about your academic and professional qualifications, you have the freedom to talk about matters that are a bit more personal, such as life experiences that made you into the person you are today, as well as any experiences that might have shaped your interest in the field you are applying for.
This is what helps the personal statement to give the admissions committee a better picture of who you are.
Unfortunately, the freedom you have when it comes to writing the personal statement can sometimes make it even more challenging to write, because you don’t have any set of instructions to guide you.
It’s good to note that, depending on the university you are applying to, you might be asked to write both the personal statement and the letter of intent.
TIPS ON HOW TO WRITE AN AMAZING PERSONAL STATEMENT FOR YOUR GRAD SCHOOL APPLICATION
Considering personal statements don’t come with any set of instructions to guide grad school applicants, there is no one size fits all approach to writing the personal statement.
That said, there are still qualities that contribute to a great personal statement, regardless of whatever form or style you choose for your personal statement.
Below, let’s look at some tips that will help you come up with an amazing personal statement and increase your chances of having your grad school application approved.
Make Sure Your Personal Statement Has A Clear Narrative
One of the downsides of having the freedom to write whatever you want in your personal statement is that you might be tempted to tell the admissions committee everything about yourself.
Everyone has multiple things that make them the person they are, and you might feel that to give the admissions committee a complete picture of who you are, you need to tell them about everything you have done in life and all the significant highlights in your life.
The problem with this is that it leaves the admissions committee overwhelmed. At the end of the day, a personal statement that tries to tell everything doesn’t accomplish anything.
So, what should you do?
Before you start writing your personal statement, sit down and think about the message you want your personal statement to communicate. Of course, this message needs to be one that will make you come across as a strong applicant.
For instance, you might want to focus on your passion for the program or field, experiences that made you interested in the field, something big you want to achieve in that field, and so on. You might also decide to address some aspect of your application that might raise questions in the minds of the admissions committee.
For instance, if you have some setbacks in your application (such as low GPA in a certain semester because you dealing with an illness), you can use the personal statement to address such issues and put the admissions committee at ease.
Once you have figured out the message you want to communicate, you can now think about the best way to pass this message.
The point here is to get the admissions committee interested in your narrative enough to grant you an interview , where you can share more about yourself and convince them to give you the opportunity to pursue the program you are applying for.
Use Specific Examples
If you want your personal statement to be effective, don’t just mention your strengths, your passions, and so on. Instead, you want to include specific examples and anecdotes that demonstrate these strengths and passions.
The idea is to show rather than tell. For instance, don’t just say you love architecture. Instead, describe how you used to build miniature versions of some of the most magnificent buildings in your city using various materials and sell them. Such a description is more powerful.
It shows that your love for architecture is not just a baseless claim, but something that you are actually passionate about.
Show That You Are A Good For The Program
The reason you are writing the personal statement is to show that you are a good fit for the program you are applying for, so don’t forget to show that in your personal statement. Are there things about the program that you find appealing?
Talk about them. Do you have certain strengths and skills that boost your chances of performing well in that program? Talk about them. Do you admire certain individuals in that field? Talk about them.
The aim is to show the admissions committee that by approving your application, they won’t have wasted an opportunity that would have been better given to someone else.
Showcase Your Writing Skills
Regardless of the program you are applying for, you will need to do some kind of writing, and therefore, you can treat your personal statement as a chance to showcase your strong writing skills .
Make sure that your personal statement passes your message in a clear way, avoid using tired clichés, and make sure that your personal statement is free of spelling and grammatical errors.
Once you are done writing your personal statement, go through it a couple times to make sure that it looks professional.
You can even have a trusted friend look it over for you. They are more likely to catch errors and mistakes that you might have missed.
Keep Your Audience In Mind
When writing your personal statement, don’t get carried away too much and forget that you are not writing for yourself, but for the admissions committee.
This means that when writing the personal statement, you should put yourself in the shoes of someone who is part of the admissions committee and think of the kind of content you would want to read if you were in that position.
Some opinions and perspectives that might seem okay to you as a student might not sound so good to someone else.
Therefore, take a moment to think about how your audience will perceive whatever you are writing down, otherwise you might end up sabotaging yourself.
Maintain Appropriate Boundaries
Just because the personal statement puts more focus on who you are as a person doesn’t mean that you are free to share each and everything about yourself.
Ultimately, the personal statement is still a professional document, and therefore, you should maintain appropriate boundaries as you write.
For instance, you might want to avoid talking about illegal or inappropriate activities you might have engaged in, things that are too personal for you, such as your relationships, or information that might end up presenting you as a risky investment.
If you decide to use jokes and humor in your writing, you should be careful to ensure that your humor might not be perceived as offensive by whoever is going to read your personal statement.
Try as much as possible to keep your writing as appropriate as possible, and if you find yourself in doubt, err towards the side of caution.
EXAMPLES OF SUCCESSFUL PERSONAL STATEMENTS
Now that you know the important things to keep in mind when writing your personal statements, let us take a look at 3 examples of successful graduate school personal statements. You can use these examples as inspiration to come up with your own personal statement.
Personal Statement Example 1
It would be grandiose for me to claim that I had a clear plan for what I was going to do in life from an early age. However, I was certain of one thing – whatever I was going to do, it would definitely revolve around books. My love for books began early. As a young boy, I remember spending hours in my father’s library, lost into the endless worlds conjured by the words of various authors. This love for books and words was cemented when I joined college for my undergraduate studies. While I majored in both English and Theater, I quickly realized that my greatest focus was on the former. One of my professors was heavily indulged in critical theory, and as a result of my relationship with this professor, I gradually found myself intrigued with critical theory as well. With encourage from this professor, I started exploring the analysis of non-canon works such as graphic novels, romance novels, and fan-authored fiction. While I certainly was a fan of classical works, exploring and analyzing new works felt quite refreshing. Following my graduation, I was fortunate enough to hold a variety of odd jobs here and there. While I worked a couple of these jobs, there are a few that stood out to me, and as you might have guessed, they had something to do with my passion for the written word. The jobs that stood out for me include working as an editor for a marketing firm, working as a blogger for a civil society organization, and working as a freelance ghostwriter for clients I found on Upwork. While I enjoyed these three jobs, because they involved doing something that was dear to me, I noticed that I still missed the part of me that I left in undergrad. The part that involved dissembling a piece of writing and putting it back out into the universe as something new. After a few years of soul searching and introspection, I finally came to the conclusion that the best option for me was to proceed to graduate school. This would allow me to get back to what I loved most and hone my skills. I mentioned that early in life, I didn’t have a pretty concrete idea of what I was going to do with my adult life. Since then, however, I have had a chance to experience life, and I now know what I want with my life. I believe that graduate education at XYZ University will set me on the right path towards what I want to do with my life. Following my graduate education at XYZ University, my life will go in one of three directions: pursuing a PHD in English literature, pursuing a career as a teacher, or pursuing a career in book publishing. Graduate studies will lay a foundation for all three options. As such, I am certain that pursuing a graduate education at XYZ University presents the best path towards the achievement of my professional aspirations.
Personal Statement Example 2
I remember the first time the fire of my interest in law was sparked. I was attending a careers fair, and I ended up talking to a solicitor from one of the law firms from downtown. As he spoke to me about his experiences in various cases, I was fascinated by the fact that his work involved using logical arguments to protect vulnerable people from difficult and unfair situations. So fascinated was I by this that I requested him to allow me to shadow him for a day or two and experience what it was like working as a solicitor. Fortunately, he allowed me to do this for two weeks. Over the course of this period, I attended client meetings with him, sat in court, and provided assistance with office tasks. By the end of the two weeks, I was sold – I was definitely going to pursue a career in law. This is what led me to pursue a degree in law, which I will be completing in a few months’ time. While pursuing my law degree, I have also had the opportunity of interning for two different law firms in downtown Manhattan. During these internships, I got to experience many different sides of a law career. Ultimately, however, I realized that my strongest interest lies in criminology. Not only am I interested in the laws that determine whether a person’s actions amount to a criminal offense or not, but also in the factors that lead to people committing criminal offenses. I am applying for this course because I believe that graduate studies in criminal law are crucial in helping me attain my dream of setting up an organization whose objective will be to alleviate the factors that lead most people into a life of crime, and in so doing, make a change in society.
Personal Statement Example 3
When I was 14, I happened to take a trip to rural Brazil with a certain environmental conservation group. Two things have remained stuck in my mind from that trip. The first one is the burning of forests in order to clear land for farming. The second one is the preservation of trees alongside major roads in rural Brazil, not because of the ecological value of the trees, but because the trees act as hedges, protecting the ranches and farms alongside the highways from disturbance. These two things acted to me as a real-life representation of the clash between environmental and economic concerns and got me interested in taking action to preserve the environment. My interest in environmental conservation was cemented when I took a geography class and further understood the relationship between economics and the environment. In this course, I saw numerous examples of cases where people favored economic growth over environmental preservation, even though this almost always led to the destruction of huge ecosystems. From this, I felt that it was my obligation to do something, and I vowed that I would spend my life championing for environmental conservation. Driven by this conviction, I pursued a degree in environmental management, which has been crucial in helping me understand the economic and social factors that influence the formation of environmental policy. I also registered a non-profit organization whose objective is to champion for environmental conservation. Since its registration, this organization has been able to raise over $100,000, which we have channeled into an environmental conservation project in Kenya. The project is aimed at bringing local farmers on board in environmental conservation efforts by rewarding them for engaging in various environmentally beneficial activities. My aim is to become an advisor to governments on matters concerning environmental conservation. I believe a graduate education in environmental studies will be critical in helping me achieve this, which is why I am applying for this program. This program will help me to understand the clash between economic growth and environmental conservation even better, which will be helpful in coming up with more sustainable solutions to ensure that the environment and ecological systems are preserved, while at the same time ensuring that people are able to continue deriving an income from natural resources.
The personal statement is an important essay that allows you to give the admissions committee a better picture of who you are as a person and make a case for why you deserve a spot in the program you are applying for.
If you want to write an effective personal statement, make sure your personal statement has a clear narrative, use specific examples and anecdotes to make your statement more powerful, show why you are a good fit for the program, keep your audience in mind, showcase your strong writing skills, and maintain appropriate boundaries when writing.
You can use the three examples provided above as sources of inspiration to help you come up with your own personal statement.
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Writing Your Personal Statements
Your personal statement must demonstrate to the admissions committee that you have considered graduate school and their specific program seriously. It’s your opportunity to summarize your academic and research experiences. You must also communicate how your experiences are relevant to preparing you for the graduate degree that you will be pursuing and explain why a given program is the right one for you.
The personal statement is where you highlight your strengths. Make your strengths absolutely clear to the reviewers, because they will often be reading many other statements. Your self-assessments and honest conversations with peers and advisors should have also revealed your strengths. But you must also address (not blame others for) weaknesses or unusual aspects of your application or academic background.
Your personal statement should focus on two main aspects: your competence and commitment.
1. Identify your strengths in terms of competence that indicate that you will succeed in the grad program and provide examples to support your claims. Start your statement by describing your strengths immediately. Because faculty will be reading many statements, it’s important to start off with your strengths and not “bury your lede.” Consider traits of successful graduate students from your informational interviews, and identify which of these traits you have. These traits could involve research skills and experiences, expertise in working with techniques or instruments, familiarity with professional networks and resources in your field, etc.
- Check your responses from the exercises in the self-assessment section. You may wish to consult notes from your informational interviews and your Seven Stories . Write concise summaries and stories that demonstrate your strengths, e.g. how your strengths helped you to achieve certain goals or overcome obstacles.
- Summarize your research experience(s). What were the main project goals and the “big picture” questions? What was your role in this project? What did you accomplish? What did you learn, and how did you grow as a result of the experience(s)?
My research examines the interplay between U.S. domestic politics and foreign policy during the Cold War. As a native New Yorker, I saw firsthand how dramatically my city changed after 9/11, which prompted my early interest in U.S. policy at home and abroad. As an undergraduate at the City College of New York, I planned to study international relations with a focus on U.S. foreign affairs. I also quickly became involved in student activist groups that focused on raising awareness about a wide range of human rights issues, from the Syrian refugee crisis to asylum seekers from Central America.
The more I learned about the crises in the present, the more I realized that I needed a deeper understanding of the past to fully grasp them. I decided to pursue a PhD in history in order to gain a clearer understanding of human rights issues in the present and to empower young student-activists like myself.
— Vannessa Velez, PhD candidate in History
Addressing weaknesses or unusual aspects
- Identify weaknesses or unusual aspects in your application—e.g., a significant drop in your GPA during a term; weak GRE scores; changes in your academic trajectory, etc. Don’t ignore them, because ignoring them might be interpreted as blind spots for you. If you’re unsure if a particular issue is significant enough to address, seek advice from faculty mentors.
- Explain how you’ll improve and strengthen those areas or work around your weakness. Determine how you will address them in a positive light, e.g., by discussing how you overcame obstacles through persistence, what you learned from challenges, and how you grew from failures. Focusing on a growth mindset or grit and this blog on weaknesses might also help.
- Deal with any significant unusual aspects later in the statement to allow a positive impression to develop first.
- Explain, rather than provide excuses—i.e., address the issue directly and don’t blame others (even if you believe someone else is responsible). Draft it and get feedback from others to see if the explanation is working as you want it to.
- Provide supporting empirical evidence if possible. For example, “Adjusting to college was a major step for me, coming from a small high school and as a first-generation college student. My freshman GPA was not up to par with my typical achievements, as demonstrated by my improved GPA of 3.8 during my second and third years in college."
- Be concise (don’t dwell on the issues), but also be complete (don’t lead to other potentially unanswered questions). For example, if a drop in grades during a term was due to a health issue, explain whether the health issue is recurring, managed now with medication, resolved, etc.
2. Explain your commitment to research and their graduate program, including your motivation for why you are applying to this graduate program at this university. Be as specific as possible. Identify several faculty members with whom you are interested in working, and explain why their research interests you.
- Descriptions of your commitment should explain why you’re passionate about this particular academic field and provide demonstrations of your commitment with stories (e.g., working long hours to solve a problem, overcoming challenges in research, resilience in pursuing problems). Don’t merely assert your commitment.
- Explain why you are applying to graduate school, as opposed to seeking a professional degree or a job. Discuss your interest and motivation for grad school, along with your future career aspirations.
I am definitely not your traditional graduate student. As a biracial (Native American and white), first-generation PhD student from a military family, I had very limited guidance on how best to pursue my education, especially when I decided that graduate school was a good idea. I ended up coming to this PhD in a very circuitous manner, stopping first to get a JD and, later, an MFA in Young Adult Literature. With each degree, I took time to work and apply what I’d learned, as a lawyer and as an educator. Each time, I realized that I was circling around questions that I couldn’t let go of—not just because I found them to be fascinating, but because I did (and still do!) feel that my research could help to bridge a gap that desperately needs bridging. Because my work is quite interdisciplinary, I strongly feel that I wouldn’t have been able to pursue this line of research without the degrees and life experience I gained before coming to this program.
— Jamie Fine, PhD candidate in Modern Thought and Literature
WRITING YOUR DIVERSITY STATEMENT
- Read the instructions for statements related to diversity carefully. Many universities have subtle and yet significantly different approaches to asking similar questions.
- Review online statements related to diversity, inclusion, and equity from the university’s leadership.
- Being aware of different approaches to diversity may help you to communicate your own perspectives. Marc Nivet’s brief paper on Diversity 3.0 might be a helpful introduction.
- Review how the graduate program or university classifies diversity categories, e.g., in terms of race/ethnicity, gender identity, first-generation students, LGBQT+ communities, undocumented and DACA students, veterans, former foster youth, religion, etc.
- If you identify as a URM (under-represented minority) in your discipline, consider how aspects of your identity have shaped your academic journey and informed your research and career interests. Be sincere and genuine and avoid superficial or hyperbolic "overcoming all barriers" and "I’m the little engine that could" appeals.
- Whether or not you identify as a URM in your field, you can share how you participated or led activities that broadened participation in your field and promoted diversity and inclusive practices, e.g. mentorship or outreach programs, community-building events, professional development activities for underprivileged students, etc.
- Deciding whether or not to disclose aspects of your personal identity can be difficult, especially when dealing with less visible aspects of identity. Consider talking with close friends who have navigated similar paths. It might also help to observe if the graduate program (from websites and your personal interactions with contacts at the university) appears to operate from a “deficit model” or superficial “checkbox” approach to diversity, or has developed a more sophisticated framework in diversity (e.g. Diversity 3.0).
Statement of Purpose: subtle aspects
- Think in terms of engaging faculty in a conversation rather than pleading with them that you should be admitted. Ask reviewers to read drafts with this concern in mind.
- With later drafts, try developing an overall narrative theme. See if one emerges as you work.
- Write at least 10 drafts and expect your thinking and the essay to change quite a bit over time.
- Read drafts out loud to help you catch errors.
- Expect the "you' that emerges in your essay to be incomplete. . . that’s OK.
- You’re sharing a professional/scholarly slice of "you."
- Avoid humor (do you really know what senior academics find funny?) and flashy openings and closings. Think of pitching the essay to an educated person in the field, but not necessarily in your specialty. Avoid emotionally laden words (such as "love" or "passion"). Remember, your audience is a group of professors! Overly emotional appeals might make them uncomfortable. They are looking for scholarly colleagues.
© Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305
How to Write a Strong Personal Statement for Graduate School
- by Heidi Kerr and Paul David Terry
- November 10, 2020
You’ve made the exciting decision to pursue a graduate degree. Congratulations! There are a wide range of graduate programs to explore , and once you’ve selected the right program for you, it’s time to begin the graduate application process.
The statement of purpose and personal history statement are key components of the UC Davis graduate school application . With fewer than 4,000 characters allowed for each essay, these statements can seem particularly daunting. However, each one has a specific purpose for showcasing your academic journey and creating a holistic application.
Below, we’ve analyzed the differences between the statement of purpose and personal history statement and provided tips for writing these graduate school admissions essays.
Statement of Purpose and Personal History: What’s the Difference?
The statement of purpose shares your academic objectives with the admissions committee and explains why you want to obtain a graduate degree. The personal history statement provides background about who you are and how your experiences have shaped your interests and ability to overcome challenges. Each essay has specific goals to showcase your experience, passion and story.
How to Write a Strong Statement of Purpose
The statement of purpose should highlight your academic preparation , motivation and interests, along with any specializations and career goals that contribute to your program of study. As you write your statement of purpose, it should encompass some of the following:
- Academic and research experiences - Include any relevant academic studies or research pursuits, internships or employment, presentations, publications, teaching, and travel or study abroad experiences that prepare you for this graduate program. Explain your motivation or passion for these experiences and how they can enrich your graduate study.
- Interests, specializations, and career goals - Highlight your research interests, disciplinary subfields, area(s) of specialization, and professional objectives.
- Fit - Explain how your preparation, experiences, and interests match the specific resources and characteristics of your graduate program at UC Davis. Identify specific faculty within your desired graduate program with whom you would like to work and how their interests match your own.
The statement of purpose should also address why you want to pursue the particular graduate degree program at the university and what your goals are in pursuing a degree. Remember, the statement of purpose should explain exactly that, your purpose for becoming a graduate student. This is the primary way it stands apart from your personal history statement.
What to Include in Your Personal History Statement
The personal history statement helps the reader learn more about you as an individual and potential graduate student. Use this opportunity to describe how your personal background informs your decision to pursue a graduate degree. Tell a story that includes any experiences, challenges or opportunities relevant to your academic journey. Consider how your life experiences contribute to the social, intellectual, or cultural diversity within a campus community and your chosen field.
A strong personal history statement begins with an authentic voice and personal narrative. This can reflect your journey to graduate school, any obstacles you’ve encountered, and how you've overcome challenges. Talk about your personal goals and dreams. Explain what motivates and drives you toward this degree. The more your personal statement tells your school about you as an individual, the more it will stand out. Don't write something to impress someone else. This includes language, style and tone. Authenticity is important and resonates well. Tell the truth, in your voice, from your perspective. Use your story to connect.
More Tips and Resources for Applying to Graduate School
Applying to graduate school may be daunting to some, but UC Davis has a variety of resources to help you create a strong graduate school application. Check out the Applying to Graduate School: A Guide and Handbook for ideas and worksheets on how to construct your essays. Or visit our Office of Educational Opportunity and Enrichment Services website for more graduate school prep resources.
Paul David Terry is the assistant director of special interest and affinity networks and alumni diversity lead at the Cal Aggie Alumni Association. He oversees the UC Davis Health Improving OUTcomes blog and enjoys cycling and brewing ginger beer.
Heidi Kerr works as the content and media manager at UC Davis’ Graduate Studies. She has worked as a communications professional at multiple higher education institutions and is passionate about promoting student success.
The authors acknowledge current and former leaders from Pre-Graduate/Law Advising in Office of Educational Opportunity and Enrichment Services, especially Annalisa Teixeira, Ph.D. and Cloe Le Gall-Scoville, Ph.D., who granted us permission to reference Applying to Graduate School: A Guide and Workbook .
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Personal Statement Guide
Personal Statement Examples
Last updated on: Feb 9, 2023
15+ Good Personal Statement Examples for Students
By: John K.
Reviewed By: Rylee W.
Published on: Jul 14, 2020
Writing a personal statement for college or university admission is not a simple task. Many students procrastinate their admission applications just to avoid writing admission essays.
However, this task is something you can never avoid. It is an essential part of the admission application. It should reveal your real personality and present everything that can’t be found in other parts of your application.
You might have written several college essays, but this assignment is an entirely different thing. It gives the reader a glimpse into your life and shows them your potential to be a successful candidate. Therefore, you need to pay your full attention and give your 100% to write a unique personal essay.
In this blog, you will get some amazing personal statement examples. We have carefully collected all of these examples just to help you understand the genre.
On this Page
How to Write a Personal Statement - Example
Before you begin writing your admission essay, the first thing you need is to learn how to write it effectively. It is not a simple task if you are not aware of the writing process. Therefore, it is important to know the basic steps and then write your essay.
HOW TO WRITE A PERSONAL STATEMENT - EXAMPLE
Personal Statement Examples for College Students
When you apply to a college, you need to be sure if you’ve something extraordinary to offer. Every high school student follows the same ritual of doing part-time jobs, some community services, etc. All students end up writing similar essays showing the same test scores and activities.
PERSONAL STATEMENT EXAMPLES FOR COLLEGE
SAMPLE PERSONAL STATEMENT FOR COLLEGE
Personal Statement Examples for University Students
Applying to a university and having anxiety because you need to write an essay for an admission application?
Even after graduating from college, most students cannot write a good admission essay. Either they do not have essential writing skills or do not have something interesting to tell. Whatever the reason is, they cannot come up with an interesting idea that lets them win university admission.
PERSONAL STATEMENT EXAMPLES FOR UNIVERSITY
SAMPLE PERSONAL STATEMENT FOR UNIVERSITY
Personal Statement Examples for Graduate School
Choosing the right personal statement prompt is the most important part of the whole writing process. The common app provides many prompts that you can choose for writing your essay. These prompts will give you an idea of what topics work best.
PERSONAL STATEMENT EXAMPLE FOR GRADUATE SCHOOL
SAMPLE PERSONAL STATEMENT FOR GRADUATE SCHOOL
Personal Statement Examples for Business
Writing an admission essay for a specific subject group can create problems. But if you are passionate about your field, then this daunting task will become a piece of cake for you.
PERSONAL STATEMENT EXAMPLE FOR BUSINESS MANAGEMENT
MBA PERSONAL STATEMENT EXAMPLE
Personal Statement Examples for CV
It is very difficult to get a job in the beginning of your career because you do not have any experience. Employers are looking for sufficiently experienced candidates who could handle their job with perfection. Surely, they believe a fresh graduate cannot do that.
Here, your statement can greatly impact your reader’s mind if it has something compelling to offer. It can convince the employer that you have the potential to fulfill their requirement.
PERSONAL STATEMENT EXAMPLE FOR CV WITH NO EXPERIENCE
NO WORK EXPERIENCE PERSONAL STATEMENT EXAMPLE FOR CV
Personal Statement Examples for Scholarship
A personal statement for a scholarship is slightly different from a college application essay. Here you have to show why you need the financial help and why you are the most deserving candidate. You need to convince your reader that you are the most suitable candidate for the scholarship.
HOW TO WRITE A PERSONAL STATEMENT FOR SCHOLARSHIP - EXAMPLE
PERSONAL STATEMENT EXAMPLES FOR SCHOLARSHIP
400 Words Personal Statement Examples
The word limit is one of the instructions that are defined by the college committee. Students are supposed to follow all the instructions and meet the deadline. The most important instruction that students need to fulfill is to write their essay within a given word limit.
The word limit might bound you to write your essay within 400 to 650 words. Or it might exceed up to 1000 words. However, the purpose is to check whether you can share your story within the word limit or not.
400 WORDS PERSONAL STATEMENT EXAMPLES
Law School Personal Statement Examples
Applying to a law school and need to write a personal statement?
LAW SCHOOL PERSONAL STATEMENT EXAMPLE
LAW AND CRIMINOLOGY PERSONAL STATEMENT EXAMPLE
Medical School Personal Statement Examples
If you are not sure about what goes into a medical-related admission essay, get help from these examples.
MEDICAL SCHOOL PERSONAL STATEMENT FORMAT
MEDICAL SCHOOL PERSONAL STATEMENT EXAMPLE
PHARMACY PERSONAL STATEMENT EXAMPLE
Personal Statement Writing Tips
Students usually struggle with writing college application essays because they are unaware of the basics. They do not have good writing skills and understanding of what is required for writing a good essay. Here are the tips provided by essay experts to guide you to write an impressive personal statement.
- Choose an interesting prompt that you can easily relate to. An essay prompt is the most crucial part, which can either make or break the impression of your essay. Therefore, go with something that interests you the most, and you have something relevant to share in response to the prompt.
- It is your opportunity to sell yourself in the application process. So make sure you make the most of it.
- It gives you the freedom to write anything about yourself, so you can share whatever is important to share. You can discuss all the things that are missing in other parts of the application.
- When you start writing, grab the reader’s attention in the beginning and hook them with your essay. Open paragraphs with a scene or arouse the reader’s curiosity or intrigue them with an interesting story.
- Show your reader that you have problem-solving capabilities. It will help you impress your reader and increase your chances of getting admission.
- Share something distinctive, impressive, unique, and special about you and your life.
- Start writing a rough draft without a word counter and write everything that you want to share. Don’t worry; this is just a rough draft; you can make it perfect later.
- Take your time, stick to the plan, and concentrate on your thoughts. Find perfect words, phrases, sentences, and expressions to share your thoughts.
- You can use quotes, relevant examples, and facts from literature to make an impact. But it is better to make it your own voice, ideas, and work.
- Do not lie in your essay. Be honest and tell your true story. The admission officers have read hundreds and thousands of essays so far. They can easily recognize who is lying and who is telling the truth.
- Let someone proofread your essay. It will help you check the flow and catch mistakes.
We hope that these tips and examples will help you write your personal statement. However, if you feel the need to get help from a professional writer, we are here for you.
5StarEssays.com is a legitimate write my essay for me service that offers help with academic writing. You can come to us to write any type of academic essay or paper. Our writers will thoroughly read the assignment instructions and carefully incorporate them into your essay.
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Frequently Asked Questions
How do you write a powerful personal statement.
The only way to make your personal statement is to write in your own and distinct voice.
Do you write your name in a personal statement?
In case there are no instructions against it, you should add your full name along with the name of the document and the university and college you are writing the statement for.
What is the minimum amount of words for a personal statement?
The word count is usually between 150 and 250.
Can you lie in a personal statement?
No, you MUST not lie in your personal statement ever. The admission officers can sense the lie and it will not go in your favor.
Analytics, PhD Essay
John K. is a professional writer and author with many publications to his name. He has a Ph.D. in the field of management sciences, making him an expert on the subject matter. John is highly sought after for his insights and knowledge, and he regularly delivers keynote speeches and conducts workshops on various topics related to writing and publishing. He is also a regular contributor to various online publications.
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- Personal Statement Writing - A Complete Guide With Examples
- Personal Statement Format - Detailed Guide & Expert Examples
- Common Personal Statement Prompts for Students
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8+ SAMPLE Graduate Personal Statement in PDF
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Personal Statement for Graduate School
A Personal Statement for Graduate School is one of the requirements for admission to a Graduate Program. Most universities ask students to submit a Personal Statement along with the application kit. In addition to and going beyond your Transcripts and Academic Scores, Admission Panels like to scratch the surface and see a deeper ‘you’ – who you are and what you are. Personal Statements are subjective and a form of art. While there are basic ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts,’ there are no distinct guidelines that universities set, and you can use your imagination and writing skills as you see fit.
It should be noted that a Personal Statement is not about Academics; it is about presenting your true nature that would otherwise go unnoticed in daily life. This is, of course, if a university is not specific about what you are required to write. In certain cases, Personal Statements can be academic and experience-oriented. Therefore, it is always advisable to read your university’s instructions and look for specific questions being asked or points to cover. This resource guide will walk you through all aspects of a Personal Statement for grad school, including how to write, a template, an example, and FAQs.
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What is a Personal Statement for Graduate School
A simple yet often asked question is, “what is a Personal Statement for Graduate School”? The answer, in a sense, is rather self-descriptive. Just like how your unique signature, a grad school Personal Statement can be thought of as a signature of your inner and true self. It is a written form of who you are, what you value, how you think, and your identity stamp. Beyond a name you have and a signature you scribble, a Personal Statement expounds your true nature – not one that is dictated by and dedicated to people around you. To apply to graduate schools, a Personal Statement presents an opportunity for you to allow others into your mind and try and understand you beyond a Curriculum Vitae or Biodata and, and of course, an Application Form. Increasingly, grad schools have made Personal Statements an important part of the decision-making process (for admissions) because standardized test scores can only show your academic prowess and precious little else. Consequently, if you want to leave your mark and offer something that goes beyond Transcripts, a Personal Statement is the way to go about doing so. In general terms, Personal Statements can be categorized into two categories – one being Academic and Technical and the other being Character-based and Personal. The former would require your focus and emphasize your academics, goals, research, and experience; the latter warrants a personal insight into everything that is quite the opposite.
Personal Statement for Graduate School Template
A good Personal Statement for Graduate School Template must demonstrate what you have learned throughout life – skills, values, morals, ethics, and qualities – and how these have prepared you for attending college. To do so, it is always best to prepare a custom Template of your own, as there is no set graduate school Personal Statement Format or Template cast in stone. Note down your Topic, Theme, Key Points, Highlights, and Keywords before you start writing your Personal Statement. Unless surefooted, try not to rush it out the door in a few hours or a day. Also, it is important to review what you have written, checking for mistakes and points you may have overlooked.
Sections of a Personal Statement
Technically, there are three major sections you must cover when writing your Personal Statement. While this is just a thumb-rule, you are at liberty to structure your Personal Statement as you wish, provided the intent and purpose is served. Remember to write with sincerity and maturity.
The three typical sections of a Personal Statement for Graduate School are:
- (A) The Introduction This is where you can start with a narrative – a story, tale, anecdote, etc. How you begin will set the tone for the rest of your Personal Statement. Try and connect your passion with the field of choice and provide a glimpse of your intellect as well.
- (B) The Mid-Section Bring in the details of your narrative and fill your content in this middle section, conveying as much as possible about the topic you have chosen while bringing out your true self in the bargain.
- (C) The Conclusion Conclude with a strong bottom-line and closure. End your essay with a convincing interpretation of who you are, relating to why you are here to study further.
In addition to the three major sections of a Personal Statement for Graduate School, it is important to include points that illustrate your attributes and traits. Draw upon events and experiences that inspired you to reach where you are and eventually apply for the Program you are writing for. Showcase your ability to work under duress or in strenuous situations and the values you have picked up along your life journey.
Do make a note that some Universities have a specific requirement for Personal Statements. You may be asked to write about:
- What specific lines of inquiry and research interest you and why
- How your past studies, research the experience reflects on your future scholarly interests
- Why you think you will excel in the Program and the particular college to which you are applying.
It is, therefore, necessary to read the instructions given to you carefully.
How to write a Personal Statement for Grad School
How to write a Personal Statement for grad school is a question of targeting what is expected out of you. Before you start, understand what kind of Personal Statement you are to prepare by taking note of specific questions that may have been asked. In general, writing a Personal Statement becomes easier when you know certain basic rules and have a topic you actually can write about. You should factor in a few tips and best practices before you get down to writing your Personal Statement. Here are a few that serve as guidelines; not all of them need to make their way into your Personal Statement:
- Pick an uncommon topic with uncommon connections Topics that are about or relate to “telling the truth,” “not cheating others,” and such are best written by School Students. While applying for college, you should think of a topic that is hard to come by or has not been written about often. Avoid typical ‘morals’ that your parents would have spoken to you about in your pre-teen years. Search your life to date and choose a topic that you found most interesting, unusual, and evocative, something that left its mark on your life and brought about some change in you. Then, make connections to this topic or event – again, connections rarely made and not so evident at first sight.
- Make a plot, write a story A story is always intriguing and exciting to read over a usually boring traditional essay of yourself. Try and write a series or sequence of events around your topic. Introduce a plot if there’s a chance of doing so. This will provide you with ample room to stretch your imagination and create a piece that will be easier to write all the way.
- Speak and be spoken to Writing a narrative as paragraph text is standard practice, no doubt. But turning that narrative into a perceivable incident by throwing in all the people involved will stir the reader’s imagination. For example, replace could replace a mundane “I was scared of the dark” with: “What’s stopping you, Tim?” asked Susan with a hint of irritation. “Nothing,” said I, as if to say it was a stupid question to ask. “Go on then,” she said, tugging at my sleeve. But how could I tell her that I was scared of the dark? In this example, the author’s simple fact of being scared of the dark was enucleated by some simple dialogues. Granted, the incident may not have taken place as explained, but try and recollect what took place and introduce a second or third person to spice it all up a bit.
- Don’t lose sight of the theme Throughout your essay, always keep your eye on the ball; that is to say, never lose sight of what you are trying to convey. The theme of your piece should run like a scarlet thread from start to finish. Of course, you can step out of track when there is reason to do so, but don’t get carried away and end up with another theme or topic altogether!
- Laughter – the best medicine Remember the age-old saying “laughter is the best medicine”? Even if your topic or connections are ‘deep’ and insightful, explore ways of lightening the mood or see how you could sprinkle some light humor across your essay. However, a Personal Statement is not meant to be humorous from any conceivable angle, so do not dilute it and sully it with off-hand jokes and cheap one-liners. They won’t help one bit!
- Go easy with the intellect If it is not you, don’t attempt to sound over intellectual or profound. Making a pretense of thinking and acting like a hermit or sage may convince only cursory readers, not serious ones. Be who you are and true to yourself. Don’t cause the reader to believe that you are far less than you claim to be. Experienced readers can spot your pretense and set aside the rest of your essay to be read as entertainment on unusually boring evenings by the fireplace.
- Portray independence and resilience Through your essay, try and show your strengths, your individuality, your independence, and resilience. Convey how you may or may not have stood your ground in a certain situation; how you were unshakable in your suppositions, or otherwise; how you did what you thought best at the time…and so on.
- Create a twist to the tale Catching the reader off-guard is an excellent way to make your essay even more interesting than it may already be. Without losing sight of the theme and going astray too very far, try and introduce a twist in your ‘story’ if an opportunity presents itself. An unexpected turn in events in your narrative will add intrigue and stimulate the reader’s interest further.
- The devil is in the detail It is always a good idea to enucleate key points in your essay. As the saying goes – “the devil is in the detail,” so make sure you have not left the reader hanging for want of understanding what you were trying to convey in the first place. Try and be precise with the time, people involved, the situation, the circumstances, factual data (if any) to add legitimacy to your article and help the reader paint the entire canvas in his or her mind.
- Present the right context When you have to clarify certain points in your Personal Statement, refrain from going off-topic and out of context. Be careful to make contextual swerves when adrift from exacting points. The context keeps the reader engaged with the topic, rather than going astray and even disconnecting when off-context.
- Pose a dilemma Depending on what you are writing about, try and introduce a dilemma you faced and expound how you dealt with this dilemma. The point here is not whether what you did was right or wrong; the point is to show your decision-making abilities despite the odds or adverse situations.
- Be specific – it’s about you! A Personal Statement’s whole objective is to reveal your true self to the reader beyond the information you provide in an Application Form. Therefore, you need to link up any situation, event, or anecdote you may write about to you and your life. The reader needs to know how you were impacted and what the outcomes were.
- Turn a perceived weakness into a critical strength Turning a perceived weakness into a critical strength is one of the best ways to persuade the reader to see and understand your pliancy when your back is to the wall. Making this point lends heft to the idea that you can turn a difficult situation around to your advantage.
- Fill it up, but cut it short Writing endless pages does not get you anywhere. Strike a fair balance between what you want to convey, how much you want to convey and how long it would take to do so. Please don’t make the Personal Statement long enough to make it overkill or boring. Stick to your topic, relay your points and leave the reader with something to take home.
- Get to the bottom-line It is always good to conclude your entire essay in a nutshell, if possible. The end of the Personal Statement should ideally rehash your article’s essence and give the reader some ‘take-away’ point or points that highlight your true self and spirit. Avoid vague and loose endings that leave much to discern. Last but not the least, in your essay, it should be evident that you have attained ample growth and insight and grown in stature over time. Make the content visceral and evocative to convince the reader that it is palpable, revealing what you think and how you think. On the other hand, if your university has asked for a more technically inclined Statement, see that your writing is more academic-oriented, answers specific questions asked, and targets your future at the college.
Important: While the question of how to write a Personal Statement has been addressed, an integral part of making it a compelling read lies in reviewing your essay. Consider this flow: First, write a rough copy of your Personal Statement as your thoughts flow and then turn this copy into the first draft. Revise this draft several times, making changes as you do, and prepare a second draft ensuring you have covered everything. Continue to revise the second draft and get a friend, family member, teacher/professor/mentor, or colleague to read it and provide you with feedback and suggestions. Once you have made changes to this second draft (if needed), write a final draft and review it at least a couple of times before you are ready to submit it. While reviewing, check your grammar, style, sentence structure, and spelling mistakes and typos.
What to Avoid When Writing a Personal Statement for Graduate School
It is very easy to get carried away when writing a Personal Statement for a Graduate School. One must always bear in mind the intent of a Personal Statement – it is not written for entertainment or amusement, neither is it a work of fiction or a novel. There are a few points and clichés you must try and avoid:
- Overcoming Injury This topic or point is far too common and does not necessarily convey to the reader who you are. Superficially, it only gives the impression that you possess a strong physique.
- Death of Tragedy One does not necessarily have to learn from a sad event such as death or a tragedy. While explaining death can set a sad tone to your article, tragedy is often hard to quantify and therefore best avoided. In a similar vein, abstain from detailing divorce, disease, and untold misery.
- Losing a battle, but winning a war Do not write about your little battles and triumphs, for if you do, you may be perceived as shallow, and there may be other students with bigger battles and triumphs than yours! Moreover, the reader may surmise that you are applying for college to win and not to learn.
- Why you chose the college for which you are writing your Personal Statement If such a question were important to a College, you would have been asked to write an answer for it specifically and in detail. Colleges do not want to know why you are applying; they want to KNOW YOU! They want YOU to tell them what kind of a person you are. But yes, if the question asked is academic-related, by all means, do answer it in that light.
- Assertions, Convictions, and Beliefs Refrain from making strong assertions and convictions on controversial subjects and not explaining your personal, political, or religious beliefs until the university has asked questions in that direction.
Personal Statement Examples for Graduate School
There are plenty of Personal Statement examples for graduate school you can find on the internet. Writing one that focuses on your academic or professional credentials is comparatively easier than a more personal one. Here is a sample Personal Statement for graduate school that can make for a compelling and memorable read:
“Growing up the small town of Grand Junction, Colorado, had its ups and downs. As a child, I always aspired to be a musician, but musicians of fame were hard to come by in this rather quaint town, for me to awe and marvel. Quite naturally, my exposure to music and its stars was restricted to the few hours I was allowed to gape, complete with an open mouth, at the television. My excitement for music used to lead me to the bathroom often. I used to croon long and loud, and I was rather relieved to have found an audience in my neighbors. After all, they did not complain as my sister did, and I did not make much of our dog seeking shelter under the bed each time I broke into song. In the two elementary schools I attended, there were very gifted kids. Some aced their studies, some could brush replicas of our beautiful mountains on canvas, a few could shake a leg to racy tunes with form and enthusiasm, and then some took to athletics and sports, as fish would take to the water. Unfortunately for me, most of this brigade could not carry a tune in a bucket! I felt isolated and alone, with hardly anyone who shared my passion and love for music. A few years on, my voice broke, and I was elated, thinking that I had come closer to becoming the next Elvis Presley. My bathroom singing grew longer and louder than yore, but gradually, the neighbors seemed to have had enough of it and soon enough resorted to snide remarks at every opportunity. I, of course, made light of it and put it down to their envy. What I did not fathom is that my voice had changed completely but horridly. Years later, I was tactfully told that I had sounded akin to a frog crying out for help. But when we moved to Denver, all that changed. Let loose in a big city, and with a few more years added to my age, I devoured all the Jazz, Blues, Pop, Soft Rock, Country, Hip Hop, and of course, Classical Music I possibly could. For me, it was a dream come true; heavenly, I surmised. With overflowing levels of enthusiasm, I wasted no time signing up for the school band. In time, I gradually became obsessed with personal success on the stage – the key to social acceptance and ‘fitting-in’ at a new school. Consequently, I was compelled to make my mark and be the celebrated hero on stage, as some were in the sports arena. It was now that my academics took a back seat. I practiced singing long and hard, often in open parks and places that were peaceful and tranquil. Within weeks, however, my world came crashing down. At a talent show, I was booed off stage and had to live with the shame of featuring at the bottom of the winner’s list. Dejected and rejected, I decided to hang in the horn. My academics, who had suffered a beating due to my foolhardiness, became a priority once again. But this time, it too had lost its zing; I treated it more like a job than a joy. No matter what I did from thereon, I always looked at myself as a failure because I couldn’t sing. That view held ground for a whole term until one day, and I was told something that turned my life around. After an event that had just concluded at school, in which the school band had played, I stepped up to Mark, the lead vocalist, and said, “you know what? I would trade places with you any day!”. Astonished, he said, “if I were as talented as you, I would have stood out and achieved something by now.” At that moment, I was incredulous. What was he talking about, I wondered? But then I realized that others around me had recognized my talent, not as a vocalist, but as a musician. Their confidence in my talent prompted me to realize I could still be a musician, still end up on stage, but not sing! Instead of singing, I espied I should teach vocals and music to others. Being fairly gifted in academics allowed me to cradle the theory of music and vocals quickly. I listened to world-renowned singers, concentrated on guitar riffs and techniques, paid attention to percussion instruments in various genres of the subject, and compiled my arsenal of lessons. I signed up at local music clubs and registered with the Denver Musicians Association. I began teaching the school band a thing or two, polished their gig, and composed a few tunes, catapulting them to fame. During school breaks, I casually taught kids who had angelic voices but precious little guidance on what to do with them. I had now acquired flexibility, adaptability, discipline, and drive – all of which determined my success. It is this understanding and intellect that has made me a better student, friend, and of course, singer. I have now grown in stature and become a far rounded person than I thought I was. Instead of aiming for fame, perfection, and social acceptance, I am now at liberty to concentrate on the things I love. All of this change has re-inspired me to express myself better and turn a weakness into a strength. After all, a gift is still a gift – and we must cherish every gift we are blessed with. While I secretly continue to harbor a desire to be the world’s best singer, I am more than happy to settle for making the world’s best singers.”
FAQs about Personal Statement for Graduate School
Additional Resources for writing Personal Statement for Graduate School
While you should compose and write your own Personal Statement for graduate school from scratch, there are some resources you could look into for ideas and suggestions to give you an easier start. But having said that, be warned that reading more samples of Personal Statements can leave you confused and frustrated. Make sure you know how much to look for and where and when to stop.
- Purdue Online Writing Lab : Purdue Online Writing Lab offers a host of writing tips, tricks, and examples and is a wealth of information for documents other than Personal Statements as well.
- Personal Statement Services : Personal Statement Services by Dr. Robert Edinger offers ready-to-edit samples of Personal Statements and other documents that may be required for admission to a College.
- University of Nevada, Reno – University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) provides many great writing and speaking resources. Go through the UNR’s link to understand citation styles, plan and organize documents, and research proper writing.
- Grammarly is a free plugin for Microsoft Word documents that helps writers perform spell checks, grammar, formal writing suggestions, and a robust review of the written content.
- ProWritingAid – ProWritingAid is a grammar checker, style editor, and writing mentor that many students use to write papers. This tool can also be used to write personal statements for graduate school.
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5+ Graduate School Personal Statement Examples in PDF
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What Is a Graduate School Personal Statement?
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How to Write a Personal Statement
- Know the purpose of your statement. Why are you writing it in the first place?
- Plan what to write. You might want to create an outline of things to include and avoid writing in your personal statement.
- Just write. Talk about yourself, your achievements, qualities, experiences and everything that makes you qualified for the program. Write everything that matters. But try not to make it sound like a diary entry.
- Be sincere. You want them to acknowledge your potential as a candidate for that program, tell them about it. Be honest about your thoughts and everything you write.
- Be direct to the point. Your readers may not have the luxury of time to read everything so keep it short.
- Always proofread . Reread and revise until you feel it’s spotless. It is best to have a personal reader to point out errors you cannot see.
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/images/cornell/logo35pt_cornell_white.svg" alt="personal statement graduate sample"> Cornell University --> Graduate School
Personal statements, overview .
There are two types of statements included in the Graduate School’s online application; the Academic Statement of Purpose and the Personal Statement. The Academic Statement of Purpose is required of ALL applicants to the Graduate School. The Personal Statement may be required or optional depending on the program you are applying to.
Optional Vs. Required
Graduate fields have the option of requiring a Personal Statement as part of the application package for their program. If the graduate program you are applying to requires a Personal Statement, all applicants will submit the Personal Statement as part of their regular online Graduate School application package. The Personal Statement will be used to evaluate the applicant for admission as well as our Fellowships in Support of Diversity (dependent on eligibility ).
If the program you are applying to does not require the Personal Statement, it is optional for domestic, research-degree applicants who wish to be considered for Fellowships in Support of Diversity . The Personal Statement will be uploaded as part of the online Graduate School application as a supplemental application document. The Personal Statement will not be used to evaluate applicants for admission, rather, once the applicant is deemed admissible, it will be used to evaluate the applicant for Fellowships in Support of Diversity nomination.
What Should the Personal Statement Include?
Regardless of whether or not the personal statement is required or optional, your Personal Statement should provide the admissions committee with a sense of you as a whole person, and you should use it to describe how your personal background and experiences influenced your decision to pursue a graduate degree. Additionally, it should provide insight on your potential to contribute to a community of inclusion, belonging, and respect where scholars representing diverse backgrounds, perspectives, abilities, and experiences can learn and innovate productively and positively together.
Your Personal Statement provides you with an opportunity to share experiences that provide insights on how your personal, academic, and/or professional experiences demonstrate your ability to be both persistent and resilient, especially when navigating challenging circumstances. It also gives you an opportunity to provide examples of how you engage with others and have facilitated and/or participated in productive collaborative endeavors. Additionally, it provides you with an opportunity to provide context around any perceived gaps or weaknesses in your academic record.
Content in the Personal Statement should complement rather than duplicate the content contained within the Academic Statement of Purpose, which should focus explicitly on your academic interests, previous research experience, and intended area of research during your graduate studies.
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How to Make/Create a Personal Statement for Grad School [Templates + Examples] 2023
A personal statement for grad school or graduate school personal statement is your go-to document as you begin your journey to graduate school programs and further develop a master-degree knowledge or advance your next career goal. Like how a job application works, it is through grad school personal statements that the admissions team would check your professional background, skills, and qualifications.
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Build a personal statement for grad school template – step-by-step instructions, personal statement for a grad school templates & examples, law school personal statement template, medical school personal statement template, university personal statement template, statement of purpose template, statement of purpose template in doc, business graduate school personal statement example, nursing graduate school personal statement example, science graduate school personal statement example, occupational therapy graduate school personal statement example, psychology graduate school personal statement example, stanford graduate school personal statement example, harvard graduate school personal statement example, computer science graduate school personal statement example, engineering graduate school personal statement example, step 1: look for a graduate school personal statement template (option 1), step 2: search for a personal statement for grad school template (option 2), step 3: choose any graduate school personal statement template, step 4: navigate inside the editor tool, step 5: insert a decent header, step 6: customize the text, step 7: incorporate logos or pictures, step 8: download the file.
What are some tips to write a personal statement for grad school?
How many pages should a graduate school personal statement be, what is the standard format for personal statements, more in statement templates.
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Personal statement examples for graduate school: what is the prompt?
When doing something that can completely determine your future, people don’t neglect to use all the possible prompts and clues that are even available. One of those is personal statement examples for graduate school.
Entering grad school is a tough process that demands concentration, attention, and effort. To complete this task successfully, you have to be aware of the conditions provided for the admissions process. As a rule, an integral part of the application submission process is providing the admissions committee with several essays. They are supposed to uncover the deepest corners of your personality and make or break your admissions. With the help of essays submission, the admissions committee determines the applicants who can become the perfect match for the grad school community further. And here, we can start our conversation about the importance of graduate school personal statement examples.
You may wonder about the aim of these samples. What are they intended to change in your application, or what profit can you receive after perusing them? The thing is that samples are crucial papers in the context of any essay creation. First of all, with the help of samples, you can understand the pattern of the work that must be done and create your own essay more quickly and more effectively. However, these are not the only advantages you can get after using the samples. Using them allows you to note some useful features that can be used in your essay. For instance, it can be a trick related to the structure of your own paper, or it can be a grammar construction that can make your thoughts more clear and add some context to what you have already written. These all things would be impossible without personal statement examples for graduate school.
Reading samples isn’t always about noticing some specific and useful features for your essay. It is also about the inspiration you can receive from reading some stories about someone’s success. When having such examples in front of your eyes, you can fully immerse yourself in the reading part and recollect some achievements you had but didn’t pay attention to their value. People usually mention their best experiences and situations in their essays. You can also do the same after reading the samples and realizing that you are also the person whose experiences are worth becoming the successful sample personal statement for graduate school.
Also, when applying for a place in a particular grad school and having admission to it set as a goal, you can understand the approximate experience and life outlook of the people who have already graduated or entered this graduate program. Each of the grad schools has its own environment, values, curricular and extracurricular activities. Therefore, they have the challenging task of choosing the perfect candidates to join the community around all the willing applicants. They may all be excellent people with great experiences, but with the help of samples, you can understand the average personality type that is a perfect fit for grad school. Also, you can estimate whether you can match the community or not. And that all can be possible with the help of graduate school personal statement examples.
Personal statement for graduate school examples: how to use them?
We have already described the aim of personal statement for graduate school examples. It is pretty clear and understandable. However, many people wonder how to use these samples to get every crumb of advantages. Therefore, we have prepared several ways to make the process of using personal statement samples better, and you can spend time reading them with the full advantage.
- Simply read them!
Yes, the first and the most obvious way to use samples is simply to read them. The more samples you read, the more information you notice and, therefore, keep in mind. So, it is obvious that with this knowledge base, it will be easier for you to complete the task of creating your own essay. You will have the approximate pattern in your mind, and while writing your personal statement, some of the features you noticed in that personal statement for graduate school examples may arise. Therefore, the workflow will go faster and easier as you will have enough background knowledge for writing the essay.
- Take notes!
Note down everything you find interesting or meaningful. Samples are the unique knowledge bases by themselves. Many different people have created a great deal of different essays. Various mindsets, outlooks on life, and background experiences are put into words in those essays. Try to write down everything that catches your attention and what you find interesting. In this way, you can get a list of clues that will help you write your own paper. Personal statement for graduate school examples is a huge base of ideas you can transfer to your paper.
- Compare experiences!
Find examples of personal statements that are related to your target field of education and the graduate school you want to enter. In this way, you can find some examples of experiences that are similar to yours. Therefore, you can understand a pattern and the way in which people represented their life in the essay. Also, you can realize how to present your background. However, be careful with such examples and remember that it is prohibited to copy any information from those samples. Personal statement for graduate school examples can put an idea in your mind, but they shouldn`t become your own essays. Remember that admissions committees can check everything. Therefore, use these essays as examples but not as ready-to-submit essays.
Why is it a great idea to use sample graduate school personal statement from EssayEdge?
When searching for a great sample graduate school personal statement, it is important to know that this essay is checked and undoubtedly successful. Nobody wants to use a bad example and look up to it as it can lead to the bad outcome of your own essay. As a result, you can even have a failed application. Therefore, to avoid such troubles, we recommend using the samples that are available on our website. We do care about the quality of your essay; thus, we pay huge attention to the things we provide for our customers.
Therefore, when referring to the samples we have, you can be sure that they all are checked and reviewed by our professional essay editor. If you want your own essay to be as sample graduate school personal statement you found anywhere; you can refer to our highly proficient essay editing service. We know how to make your essay unique and unforgettable.
The advantages of using our sample essays are uncountable, but we have highlighted several ones that we find the most important.
- The samples are completely and comprehensively checked! Our professional editors with more than twenty years of experience have checked all samples, so you can be confident that their quality is on the highest level possible. Therefore, you can be aware of the basics of structure, lexis usage, and transitions that are particularly important and usually used when writing the perfect personal statement. Sample graduate school personal statement at EssayEdge is a great example of a successful essay that can be useful for every applicant.
- They can help you develop or even invent your own writing style! Unfortunately, writing essays or other papers isn’t an assignment that is assigned regularly for many applicants. Thus, many of them struggle to complete this task correctly. We understand how crucial it is to write the perfect essay and develop thoughts correctly. Especially when admissions officers are looking for people who are unique and their writing style that is supposed to reflect the applicant’s personality is also considered to be unique. Reading, or simply looking through the sample essays, is the thing that can help develop the unique writing style. Sample graduate school personal statement can give the general idea of writing styles and their specific and unique features on the whole. Therefore, the samples at EssayEdge are what you need.
- Our samples are completely free! Yes, we do care about your convenience and effort when preparing for the admissions process. Therefore, our sample essays are free to download. All you need to do is to fill in sing in your personal profile at our site or create your own new one. After these easy and quick steps, you can feel free to download any essay you need from our samples page. Also, if you want to enhance your future essay, you will be able to use your profile to order the services available at our site, and you won’t have to worry about creating a new account. Just sign in, and be ready to discover the new opportunities with our essay editing service.
Sample personal statement for graduate school: what do they can clarify?
- Understanding the features of essay structure! Each essay is a unique document with a specific aim, and every type of those essay has its structural peculiarities. Sample personal statement for graduate school can provide you with the pattern that is suitable for a certain essay. For instance, you can understand what information should be included in each paragraph and how to structure your thoughts correctly to make the narrative engaging and readable. Understanding the appropriate structure for every essay can help you state your thoughts in an outstanding way.
- Understanding the flow of the information! It is kind of related to the structure issue. However, in this case, we are talking about the sequence of a presentation. Sample personal statement for graduate school can provide you with a clue on presenting the data you want to include in your essay to engage and catch the readers. You can understand what facts are usually included and the sequence of them in the text, so it becomes an interesting and kind of a worthy essay.
- Understanding the writing style that suits your needs the best! Every essay that you may have written has had different writing styles. For some essays, it is appropriate to stick to strict guidelines and follow each provided rule. However, there are some essays that can only become better if you deviate from the standard. Sample personal statement for graduate school is the chance to understand how the accepted students behaved in that situation.
What mistakes to avoid when using sample of personal statement for graduate school?
The mistakes related to sample of personal statement for graduate school can be divided into two groups. First, the most common is plagiarism and violation of personal rights, which usually occurs in institutions where students buy papers online. The second group includes the following errors that frequently occur because of lack of knowledge or ignorance: lack of clarity, unnecessary words/phrases or sentences, meaningless statements that students try to copy and use in their own essays.
It is important to remember that it is not easy writing good content all by yourself without any help from professionals. So if you need sample of personal statement for graduate school for your application with high quality, do not hesitate to use our examples! They are checked and error-free, so you can be certain that no mistakes may arise during the creation of your essay.
We have gathered the most common mistakes that can happen to students when using samples.
- Unnecessary words, phrases, or sentences that are provided in the sample essay;
- Lack of clear goals and purposes that a student mentioned and presented in the sample essay;
- The lack of specific information about the education process and reasons why you want to study graduate school;
- Missing thesis statement (purpose) and vagueness in the topic selection if the topic isn’t provided;
- Vague expressions that mean nothing for the reader, such as “to succeed,” “to be successful,” etc. These words happen too often in the essays, and, as a rule, students use them without clear examples. Therefore, if you see such a phrase in sample of personal statement for graduate school, try to avoid such phrases;
- Sentences that start with conjunctions such as ‘and, ‘but’ etc.;
- The same examples are used multiple times throughout your essay. If you want to use a story to illustrate a certain situation, do not tell it again as a different example. It is also important to avoid recurrence of some words and phrases that you have used before;
- Using overcomplicated lexis that you can’t explain in your own words. There are cases when people see some words in the samples and think that they are appropriate to use in their own essays. However, when the admissions committee asks an applicant about the definition of this word at the interview, people can get lost and fail the interview. Therefore, if you see the word in sample of personal statement for graduate school, and you want to take it over to your essay, be certain that you can explain everything.
- The use of incorrect verbs or prepositions;
- Using passive voice instead of active one;
- Verbosity – wordiness and excessiveness in wording/phrasing/sentences, etc. In this case, try referring to a professional essay editor who can help you enhance your writing and make it outstanding.
To use samples for the whole, we have prepared some tips that you can use. If you need more personal assistance, you can always refer to our editor, who knows how to make your essay better. Therefore, here are some tips on taking the full advantage of sample of personal statement for graduate school.
- Don’t begin with “I want to study graduate school because…” Always think of the things that you really care about and how this decision is beneficial for you, and why pursuing your academic dreams is important for you personally. This will help demonstrate both passion and ambition, which are very important in writing personal statements. Write a clear thesis statement that will highlight your future plans and goals, providing readers with an insight into what you want to achieve as well as enthusiasm on the part of admission committee members to find out more about such an ambitious person as you are. Use sample of personal statement for graduate school that kind of related to this pattern to achieve success in your admissions. It should include education information (type of institution/field/program etc.) as well as reasons why this path is so significant for you.
- Focus on your personal qualities, experiences, and achievements that make you stand out from the crowd. Those can be related to academic or extracurricular (sports, volunteer work, etc.) activities. Try giving examples that will help demonstrate your skills and what value they will bring to the educational environment of your future school/college/university etc. Look for the sample of personal statement for graduate school that was submitted to your target grad school. In this way, you can get to know what to include in your essay and how to write it.
- Use precise and concise wording and wording that you feel comfortable with. If it feels unnatural, try rewriting sentences or parts of them without changing the meaning, though. To cope with this challenging task correctly, you can refer to our professional editors, who are ready to help you at any moment you feel you need more guidance and personal assistance.
- Don’t hesitate to use personal statements samples if you feel that you can’t cope with the task of writing on your own as they are to guide you towards successful writing! It is not plagiarism but simply a tool for your paper improvement. You can always use our service if you need sample of personal statement for graduate school for free.
EssayEdge is ready to help at any stage of the process: from figuring out how to write one in the first place, through getting inspiration from essay examples, and checking grammar and style afterward. We provide editing and proofreading services for your successful admissions as we do care about the results of your application. If you decide to use our services, you can be assured that your essay will be the one that is worth noticing and standing out among other applicants’ essays.
The graduate personal statement tells the admission committee about you as a prospective applicant, your strength, and experiences that have made you. It is one of the most important documents, as by providing information about yourself, stating your skills, goals, and interests you will connect them with the prospective studying in the preferred graduate school, thus earning a spot at the university.
Graduate Personal Statement Samples
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Personal Statement and Writing Sample
In your statement of purpose, please discuss the following in one to two single-spaced pages:
- Your professional, academic, and community experiences
- The area of research you wish to potentially pursue as a student in the program, the name of at least one member of the Epidemiology PhD Program Faculty or Participating Faculty who shares this research interest, A brief statement regarding your proposed research area interests with the research of the identified faculty member(s),
- Your specific interest in UNC Charlotte’s program
- Your career and personal goals including how the program aligns with your career plans
- How you plan to actively participate in UNC Charlotte’s mission to advance health equity and well-being in an urbanizing world
In addition to the statement of purpose, a writing sample is required for all applications to the PhD program in Epidemiology. Your writing sample should:
- Demonstrate aptitude for scholarly writing e.g., a literature review, a report of a needs assessment or evaluation project, a master’s thesis, or a published original research article on a public health or an epidemiologic topic where the applicant is the sole or first author.
- Demonstrate conceptual and analytic skills
- Use appropriate and consistent citation and reference formatting
- Applicants without existing examples of academic or scholarly writing should develop a 10-20 page paper on an epidemiology topic of interest that demonstrates conceptual skills and writing ability, use appropriate and consistent citation and reference formatting
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Graduate School Personal Statement Examples
Below is a set of US graduate school personal statement examples, covering different subject areas, to help your write your own.
Please use these as inspiration only for your own statement, and do not plagiarise whole sections, phrases or sentences, or your application may be rejected if you are found out to have copied your admissions statement from another source.
Example 1 : My father was born in Tehran, Iran. He and his side of the family migrated to America as political refugees. My grandfather worked for the government at the time of the revolution, and when the political situation in the country changed, my father was added to a list of dissidents. My father understood what this meant for the safety of his family, so he made provisions to leave. Read more >>
Example 2: Everyone wants to be inspired by their leaders. History provides us with multiple examples of leaders who—for better (i.e., Martin Luther King Jr., Steve Jobs) or for worse (Adolph Hitler)—inspired people to action and promoted change on such a major scale that the globe was forever changed. Although sources of inspiration are diverse, leadership remains a central factor in the extent to which individuals, especially on teams, are inspired to success or driven to failure. Read more >>
Example 3: James Broughton said, “The only limits are, as always, those of vision”. Truer words have never been spoken, for I believe that vision is the foundation upon which the impossible is built. Leadman University School of Business’ mission is centered on vision because, like me, the leadership of the institution believes that with a strong vision, students can go out and achieve the impossible. Read more >>
Example 4: My father was born in Holguin, Cuba. He and his side of the family migrated to America as political refugees. My grandfather worked for Castro at the time of the revolution, and when Castro became communist, he vowed to kill all his associates, necessitating my family’s departure. After starting and failing multiple businesses in the early 60s, they started the Esperanza Corporation in 1994. Read more >>
Example 1: I come from a family of healers. I remember spending nights with my grandmother as a little girl when my mother had to work late shifts as a nurse. Nanna was a doula and raw foodist who studied homeopathy and the healing arts before these things were cool. She did yoga on the shag rug in the living room, and when I got sick, she’d boil a batch of garlic or ginger tea or sersi (which would smell up the whole kitchen) from the bush she kept in the backyard. Read more >>
Example 2: It is with great excitement that I submit my application for consideration for inclusion in the 2021 graduating class from Wellmann Medical College. My parents met at Wellman, so the institution, its values, and all that it means to be an alum of the college have been a part of my identity my entire life. Though I was never forced to choose medicine as my path, the fact that both of my parents are physicians (my father is a pediatric oncologist and my mother is an internist) meant that medicine was always the example I had laid before me growing up. Read more >>
Example 3: I grew up poor on the Southside of Chicago in a neighborhood called Roseland. I was raised by my single mother along with my two brothers in a community comprised mostly of low income black and Hispanic households. I am the oldest, so I always felt a special sense of responsibility to blaze a trail for my siblings. I wanted them to know that they could know more and be more and have more than our parents and those that we saw in the course of our daily lives did. Read more >>
Example 1: When my mother, a native of Michoacan, Mexico, was 28 weeks pregnant with me, she took a trip to visit relatives in Carpinteria, California and stayed long enough to give birth so that I would be a US citizen. I didn’t even know I was a US citizen until I was 10 years old when my parents announced we were moving to the US where my father had secured a job working with a cousin of his in construction. My mother assured me that my two sisters and I would be ok because “we had our papers” and that life in California would be much better for us all. Life had been tough in Mexico, but it was home. Read more >>
Example 2: Both of my parents are attorneys and alumni of Lawman University. I always joke that “I grew up in law school”. Lawman was where I would come and do my homework after school on nights when my father, a professor of Intellectual Property at Lawman, had to teach a late class. I remember eating in the cafeteria and exploring the grounds for hours with my brother in the summertime, playing hide and go seek in the court room, and attending holiday receptions in the Great Hall. Read more >>
For more tips and advice on applying to graduate school, please see:
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- Personal statement writing
- Personal statement tips
- Admissions tests
- Grad school interviews
Our graduate school experts have been kind enough to provide some successful grad school personal statement examples. We'll provide three examples here, along with brief analysis of what makes each one successful. Sample Personal Statement for Graduate School 1 PDF of Sample Personal Statement 1 - Japanese Studies
A personal statement is a short essay of around 500-1,000 words, in which you tell a compelling story about who you are, what drives you, and why you're applying. To write a successful personal statement for a graduate school application, don't just summarize your experience; instead, craft a focused narrative in your own voice. Aim to ...
Here is an example of a personal statement written for graduate school admission: Jean Smith Personal statement for master's program in educational policy and analysis Columbia College of Education "I held my first college textbook when I was a 23-year-old college freshman.
Personal Statements Preparing a well-written and effective personal statement (sometimes referred to as statements of purpose or personal essays) that clearly articulates your preparation, goals, and motivation for pursuing that specific graduate degree is critically important.
Statement #1 My interest in science dates back to my years in high school, where I excelled in physics, chemistry, and math. When I was a senior, I took a first-year calculus course at a local college (such an advanced-level class was not available in high school) and earned an A.
The basic message: your academic achievement despite challenges It is especially helpful for admissions committees considering nominating you for fellowships for diversity if you discuss any or all of the following: Demonstrated significant academic achievement by overcoming barriers such as economic, social, or educational disadvantage;
Sample Personal Statement for Graduate School Lead in #2 Ever since I was a teenager, it has been my goal to increase access to assistive technology in underserved communities. Specifically, I want to work toward developing inexpensive and accessible adaptive technology for special needs children in educational settings.
The personal statement, your opportunity to sell yourself in the application process, generally falls into one of two categories: 1. The general, comprehensive personal statement: This allows you maximum freedom in terms of what you write and is the type of statement often prepared for standard medical or law school application forms. 2.
Personal statements are arguably one of the most challenging aspects of applying to graduate school, so make sure to revel in this accomplishment and acknowledge your successes. For more information, visit the Office of Graduate Admission at USC and explore USC Online's master's degrees, doctoral programs and graduate certificates.
A personal statement on a grad school application is basically a short essay that allows you to introduce yourself to the grad school and explain why you are interested in pursuing a particular program in that school. When applying for grad school, you also provide your test scores and your GPA.
Your personal statement should focus on two main aspects: your competence and commitment. 1. Identify your strengths in terms of competence that indicate that you will succeed in the grad program and provide examples to support your claims. Start your statement by describing your strengths immediately.
Personal Statements for Graduate School Writing a personal statement can be one of the most important, and challenging, papers you've ever written. It can be awkward and unusual for you to talk about yourself in a way that persuades someone to offer you a spot in graduate school. But this is also a chance for you to
Here are some graduate school personal statement examples you can use to help inspire your own writing: Example 1. Here's a sample essay for an application for a master's program in educational policy: The first new textbook I held in my hands was when I was 19 years old and a college freshman. I still remember the smell of the pages, the clean ...
A strong personal history statement begins with an authentic voice and personal narrative. This can reflect your journey to graduate school, any obstacles you've encountered, and how you've overcome challenges. Talk about your personal goals and dreams. Explain what motivates and drives you toward this degree.
Personal Statement Examples for CV It is very difficult to get a job in the beginning of your career because you do not have any experience. Employers are looking for sufficiently experienced candidates who could handle their job with perfection. Surely, they believe a fresh graduate cannot do that.
A graduate personal statement is a simple yet descriptive piece of essay writing which comprises the major ideas or goals of a graduate student while applying for an admission to his or her preferred graduate school in order to acquire a PhD or Masters degree.
Personal Statement Examples For Graduate School Example 1 While I will never make the grandiose statement of knowing the nitty-gritty of my life's plan at an early age, I can state - with a degree of certainty - that it would undoubtedly involve books. In that much, I was accurate. All the more so when I began to attend ABC College for my
Here is a sample Personal Statement for graduate school that can make for a compelling and memorable read: "Growing up the small town of Grand Junction, Colorado, had its ups and downs. As a child, I always aspired to be a musician, but musicians of fame were hard to come by in this rather quaint town, for me to awe and marvel. Quite ...
These statement examples in PDF format will be able to guide you if you're still confused on how to start. Harvard Graduate School Personal cdn1.sph.harvard.edu Details File Format PDF Size: 141 KB Download Engineering Graduate School Statement excel.rice.edu Details File Format PDF Size: 60 KB Download How to Write a Personal Statement
There are two types of statements included in the Graduate School's online application; the Academic Statement of Purpose and the Personal Statement. The Academic Statement of Purpose is required of ALL applicants to the Graduate School. The Personal Statement may be required or optional depending on the program you are applying to. Optional Vs.
Step 1: Look for a Graduate School Personal Statement Template (Option 1) Head to Template.net and view the landing page of personal statement templates. You have many options to pick and your only goal is to choose from the list of templates on which one appeals best to a proper graduate school personal statement.
Sample personal statement for graduate school can provide you with a clue on presenting the data you want to include in your essay to engage and catch the readers. You can understand what facts are usually included and the sequence of them in the text, so it becomes an interesting and kind of a worthy essay.
The area of research you wish to potentially pursue as a student in the program, the name of at least one member of the Epidemiology PhD Program Faculty or Participating Faculty who shares this research interest, A brief statement regarding your proposed research area interests with the research of the identified faculty member(s),
Example 1: My father was born in Tehran, Iran. He and his side of the family migrated to America as political refugees. My grandfather worked for the government at the time of the revolution, and when the political situation in the country changed, my father was added to a list of dissidents.