Writing the Personal Statement
This handout provides information about writing personal statements for academic and other
Source: Purdue OWL https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/642/01/
Contributors:Jo Doran, Allen Brizee
Last Edited: 2012-05-08 09:59:04
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:
ï‚· What’s special, unique, distinctive, and/or impressive about you or your life story?
ï‚· 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?
ï‚· 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?
ï‚· How have you learned about this fieldâ€”through classes, readings, seminars, work or
other experiences, or conversations with people already in the field?
ï‚· 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?
ï‚· What are your career goals?
ï‚· 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)?
ï‚· Have you had to overcome any unusual obstacles or hardships (for example, economic,
familial, or physical) in your life?
ï‚· 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?
ï‚· What skills (for example, leadership, communicative, analytical) do you possess?
ï‚· Why might you be a stronger candidate for graduate schoolâ€”and more successful and
effective in the profession or field than other applicants?
ï‚· What are the most compelling reasons you can give for the admissions committee to be
interested in you?
Answer the questions that are asked
ï‚· If you are applying to several schools, you may find questions in each application that are
ï‚· 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
ï‚· 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.
ï‚· 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
ï‚· 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
ï‚· 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
Tell what you know
ï‚· 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
ï‚· 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
Do some research, if needed
ï‚· 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
ï‚· 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.
ï‚· 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
For more information on writing a personal statement, see the personal statement vidcast.
Are you busy and do not have time to handle your assignment? Are you scared that your paper will not make the grade? Do you have responsibilities that may hinder you from turning in your assignment on time? Are you tired and can barely handle your assignment? Are your grades inconsistent?
Whichever your reason is, it is valid! You can get professional academic help from our service at affordable rates. We have a team of professional academic writers who can handle all your assignments.
Students barely have time to read. We got you! Have your literature essay or book review written without having the hassle of reading the book. You can get your literature paper custom-written for you by our literature specialists.
Do you struggle with finance? No need to torture yourself if finance is not your cup of tea. You can order your finance paper from our academic writing service and get 100% original work from competent finance experts.
While psychology may be an interesting subject, you may lack sufficient time to handle your assignments. Don’t despair; by using our academic writing service, you can be assured of perfect grades. Moreover, your grades will be consistent.
Engineering is quite a demanding subject. Students face a lot of pressure and barely have enough time to do what they love to do. Our academic writing service got you covered! Our engineering specialists follow the paper instructions and ensure timely delivery of the paper.
In the nursing course, you may have difficulties with literature reviews, annotated bibliographies, critical essays, and other assignments. Our nursing assignment writers will offer you professional nursing paper help at low prices.
Truth be told, sociology papers can be quite exhausting. Our academic writing service relieves you of fatigue, pressure, and stress. You can relax and have peace of mind as our academic writers handle your sociology assignment.
We take pride in having some of the best business writers in the industry. Our business writers have a lot of experience in the field. They are reliable, and you can be assured of a high-grade paper. They are able to handle business papers of any subject, length, deadline, and difficulty!
We boast of having some of the most experienced statistics experts in the industry. Our statistics experts have diverse skills, expertise, and knowledge to handle any kind of assignment. They have access to all kinds of software to get your assignment done.
Writing a law essay may prove to be an insurmountable obstacle, especially when you need to know the peculiarities of the legislative framework. Take advantage of our top-notch law specialists and get superb grades and 100% satisfaction.
We have highlighted some of the most popular subjects we handle above. Those are just a tip of the iceberg. We deal in all academic disciplines since our writers are as diverse. They have been drawn from across all disciplines, and orders are assigned to those writers believed to be the best in the field. In a nutshell, there is no task we cannot handle; all you need to do is place your order with us. As long as your instructions are clear, just trust we shall deliver irrespective of the discipline.
Our essay writers are graduates with bachelor's, masters, Ph.D., and doctorate degrees in various subjects. The minimum requirement to be an essay writer with our essay writing service is to have a college degree. All our academic writers have a minimum of two years of academic writing. We have a stringent recruitment process to ensure that we get only the most competent essay writers in the industry. We also ensure that the writers are handsomely compensated for their value. The majority of our writers are native English speakers. As such, the fluency of language and grammar is impeccable.
There is a very low likelihood that you won’t like the paper.
Not at all. All papers are written from scratch. There is no way your tutor or instructor will realize that you did not write the paper yourself. In fact, we recommend using our assignment help services for consistent results.
We check all papers for plagiarism before we submit them. We use powerful plagiarism checking software such as SafeAssign, LopesWrite, and Turnitin. We also upload the plagiarism report so that you can review it. We understand that plagiarism is academic suicide. We would not take the risk of submitting plagiarized work and jeopardize your academic journey. Furthermore, we do not sell or use prewritten papers, and each paper is written from scratch.
You determine when you get the paper by setting the deadline when placing the order. All papers are delivered within the deadline. We are well aware that we operate in a time-sensitive industry. As such, we have laid out strategies to ensure that the client receives the paper on time and they never miss the deadline. We understand that papers that are submitted late have some points deducted. We do not want you to miss any points due to late submission. We work on beating deadlines by huge margins in order to ensure that you have ample time to review the paper before you submit it.
We have a privacy and confidentiality policy that guides our work. We NEVER share any customer information with third parties. Noone will ever know that you used our assignment help services. It’s only between you and us. We are bound by our policies to protect the customer’s identity and information. All your information, such as your names, phone number, email, order information, and so on, are protected. We have robust security systems that ensure that your data is protected. Hacking our systems is close to impossible, and it has never happened.
You fill all the paper instructions in the order form. Make sure you include all the helpful materials so that our academic writers can deliver the perfect paper. It will also help to eliminate unnecessary revisions.
Proceed to pay for the paper so that it can be assigned to one of our expert academic writers. The paper subject is matched with the writer’s area of specialization.
You communicate with the writer and know about the progress of the paper. The client can ask the writer for drafts of the paper. The client can upload extra material and include additional instructions from the lecturer. Receive a paper.
The paper is sent to your email and uploaded to your personal account. You also get a plagiarism report attached to your paper.
Delivering a high-quality product at a reasonable price is not enough anymore.
That’s why we have developed 5 beneficial guarantees that will make your experience with our service enjoyable, easy, and safe.
You have to be 100% sure of the quality of your product to give a money-back guarantee. This describes us perfectly. Make sure that this guarantee is totally transparent.Read more
Each paper is composed from scratch, according to your instructions. It is then checked by our plagiarism-detection software. There is no gap where plagiarism could squeeze in.Read more
Thanks to our free revisions, there is no way for you to be unsatisfied. We will work on your paper until you are completely happy with the result.Read more
Your email is safe, as we store it according to international data protection rules. Your bank details are secure, as we use only reliable payment systems.Read more
By sending us your money, you buy the service we provide. Check out our terms and conditions if you prefer business talks to be laid out in official language.Read more