How to write a personal statement
A personal statement is essential for graduate school applications because it enables applicants to showcase their individuality, explain their fit for the program, show their passion and commitment.
By its most straightforward description, a personal statement is a short essay in which you tell the reader about:
Although it looks like detailed and crafty work, writing a personal statement isn’t that hard. You are good to go as long as you follow our step-by-step guide.
Step 1: Analyze a 5-paragraph personal statement
Before we dive into the steps of writing a great personal statement, let’s first analyze an engaging example. Simply hover over on the sentences to see how they stand in the academic writing context.
5-Paragraph Personal Statement Example
Personal Statement for Harvard MBA
First of all, don’t disregard the fact that the reader isn’t a passionate reader of yours. In other words, you aren’t a famous writer of any bestseller.
That’s why your personal statement should be exact, accurate, and to the point. If you are asked to answer a set of specific questions, try to meet the instructions in your paper.
Let’s now continue with each part, starting from the introduction.
Step 2: Write an attention-grabbing introduction
Personal statement introduction example
As you see from the example, a successful introduction would include the following:
Once again, the introduction paragraph is the part that provides the biggest opportunity to catch the reader’s attention. Don’t forget to stand out among others.
Step 3: Build compelling body paragraphs
Personal statement body paragraphs example
Pro tips for writing body paragraphs
Step 4: Write an effective conclusion
In the conclusion part of your statement, you wrap your ideas, ambitions, and stories up. In this part, you are expected to correlate what you’ve written until this part and remind the most important points to the reader.
Personal statement conclusion example
Pro tips for writing a conclusion
Step 5: Proofread and edit
The last, and maybe the most underestimated, part of a successful statement of purpose is to check your grammar (active and passive, capitalization, headings, etc.) and proofread your paper for common mistakes.
Don’t hesitate to use a simple language. As long as you aren’t applying to a PhD program in literature or linguistics, your main concern should be forming clean and understandable statements.
Lastly, follow these tips to finalize your personal statement essay.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the purpose of a personal statement?
A personal statement serves as almost like an essay, where you highlight your qualifications, experiences, and motivations. It is often used for job or scholarship applications, or college admissions. Its goal is to provide insights into who you are, your accomplishments, and the reasons you make a strong candidate.
How long should a personal statement be?
A personal statement’s length can vary depending on the specific requirements, but it’s generally advised to be focused and concise. Personal statements for graduate or college applications are typically 500-800 words long. It’s important to follow any word or character restrictions listed in the application criteria.
What should I include in a personal statement?
You should include your background, accomplishments, experiences, motivations, and long-term goals in your personal statement. It’s a chance for you to highlight your special skills and how they connect to the program or job you’re applying for. Make sure to explain why you’re a good fit for the position and what makes you stand out from the competition.