If you are a student applying to a graduate school, you must submit a personal statement. It is a main part of your application, and your selection will depend on how well you have written your statement. You can also call it a personal essay.
Ideally, the grad school where you apply will check this document before anything else about you. Thus, without an effective and appealing personal statement, the chances of getting clearance in the basic selection stage are meager for you.
This article will provide guidelines, definitions, and tips to write a personal statement effectively and get admission to your preferred college.
What Is a Personal Statement?
A personal statement is well-aligned and meaningful information to introduce yourself to the grad schools where you apply. It has to be submitted through the UCAS, which stands for Universities and Colleges Admissions Service.
Your statement must describe your achievements, ambitions, and skills that make you suitable for the program and your readiness to study it. The admission officers of the grad schools generally look for those applicants who are motivated, passionate, and prepared for the program. That is why they look at your statement to know if you are one of those matching the criteria.
The writing method and the theme are much similar to the personal statement of purpose or intent. However, these two can’t be used interchangeably. There is a slight difference between the two. Therefore, many programs require both of these personal statements about yourself.
Why Do You Need a Personal Statement?
The admission officers or the committees of the grad schools will check your statement to understand you, know your goals, whether they match the program objectives or not, what value you will add to the program, and what you can get from this program.
It’s all about you, so you must express yourself best and present yourself as the best applicant. You have to do this by highlighting your strengths and significant achievements that they wouldn’t find in your academic certificates. Since this is your only chance to impress the admission officers, you would want to prepare a strong and effective personal statement presenting yourself. You have to write something eye-catching: not just a convincing pitch but a reflection of your suitability for that particular program.
A personal statement concerns your interests, goals, and academic experiences. On the other hand, it aims to tell you about your academic and professional credentials, plans, and interests. You can mention your life experiences and those events that have helped you become more determined and stronger. It may not be directly related to the program you are interested in, but you can show how the change in your personality has enabled you for it. You can recall how your experiences and achievements have motivated you for that field of study. Also, show how you can contribute to the field if you get a chance to study in that program.
Step-by-step writing guide to flawless personal statement
Writing a personal statement can be challenging, especially if this is your first time doing it. Fortunately, it is much easier to complete the assignment when you understand the rules and tasks you may face with this text.
Step 1. Preparation
To write everything you intend to, you should think: “what to include in a personal statement?”. Write a list of it before you start writing:
- Your goals and ambitions.
- What do you want from the desirable program?
- How can you contribute to the field that you are aspiring to choose?
- Your skills and experiences attained in the previous study.
- The research, internships, and any other activities relevant to the program.
- Your thoughts and ideas about the field you want to go for.
- Your intention and plans for the study.
- What resources will you acquire to perform the required activities during the program successfully?
- The benefits and advantages to help you study a particular program efficiently.
- Your eagerness and readiness to do the hard work you may have to do during the study.
This list and layout should be enough for you to get started writing your actual personal statement and make it close to your personality.
Ideally, it should not be longer than 600 words. Thus, whatever you write should be long enough to explain what you want, but you shouldn’t be taking too much space to include important points within the number of characters limits.
Step 2. Make a plan and the personal statement structure
When you have all the background data you want to write about, it’s time to write a plan. Think about the sequence in which you will discuss your achievements, skills, interests, and goals. Make this text enjoyable while being consistent.
By the way, if you want to avoid getting lost in the mass of other personal statements, it’s best to read a few examples. Because you can accidentally repeat the style of other authors, there is a risk that the selection committee will not notice your statement.
Step 3. Write the first paragraph of the personal statement
You may have a question about “how to start a personal statement?”.
The staff of the admission committees of grad schools has to go through the stacks of applications for each program. So they will not be reading each of them in detail, and poorly written college application personal statements will get rejected instantly.
They will be checking them quickly; therefore, you must be eye-catching from the first paragraph of your statement. Avoid using words like “I am passionate about…” or “I love to do…” because these are too common. The person checking the statements would not want to read any such words.
Present you in straight lines! At the same time, be polite as well as familiar. You may begin with the strongest point about you. For example, clarify why you are a good fit for the program in the first paragraph.
The admission officer will have clear ideas about what they want you to write a personal statement essay about. Thus, you have to present exactly what they are looking for in the quickest possible way. For this, you must understand the study program you are applying to and its requirements. Thus, you will successfully display yourself as a suitable applicant.
Step 4. Write the personal statement
Once you’ve written the outline and the first strong paragraph, create the rest of the personal statement. Write it in your style; don’t be afraid to sound too boastful.
Take an A4 size paper and write your statement in around 500 words. A personal statement for university should reflect your knowledge about the program you are applying for. So whatever you write should be specific to it and precise.
Uniqueness and plagiarism-free content are necessary for any content, be it an article, research paper, or dissertation. Your statement is not an exception. Therefore, you should never try copying from other students. You can refer to the examples and templates online, but don’t duplicate them. Create your unique personal statement!
If you don’t know how to end a personal statement, write why the commission must take you on a course.
Step 5. Proofread and edit
This personal statement will play a key role in your admission process, so you should make it perfect in quality and personal statement format. Once you have a personal statement written, proofread it thoroughly. While reading your statement, look if it consists of extra words or information, spelling mistakes, and grammatical errors.
Apart from this, you should also make sure that whatever you have written is not having too long sentences. The reader deciding your selection would want to read and understand quickly so write your sentences as short as possible. Also, divide the content into short paragraphs to make it look less boring. If you take care of these things, there will be a higher chance that the admission staff will read the personal statement carefully. Also, ask the commission how you need to format a personal statement.
You should read your statement several times. You can also get your friends, previous classmates, or teachers to read and give feedback. It will help you find the potential weak points in your statement. The complete personal statement should be a polished and perfect document to ensure your selection for the program you want to attend in your preferred grad school.
How to Write a Good Personal Statement?
The admission office staff of the universities and colleges expect each personal statement to be unique from person to person. They want you to be unique in your writing, not just a copy-and-paste style description of who you are and what you can do. So you need to write a strong personal statement. Here are some guidelines for writing a strong personal statement while applying to grad school.
- There are fair chances that two or more applicants will have the same characteristics. So, in this case, the person reading the text considers some of them plagiarized. You wouldn’t want this to happen with a personal statement, as it will reduce your chances of admission. To avoid this situation and stand out from the crowd, you have to focus on your style rather than just what you are about to write in your statement. Consider how you would explain certain things if asked in front of your friend.
- Don’t forget to conclude a personal statement. You will have your touch in your style of speaking and selection of words. You can find a good sample online, but don’t copy them; use them as a guide to prepare your statement in your own words.
- The way you speak and express your thoughts should be reflected in your statement. This will significantly differentiate your statement from those with similar goals, experiences, thoughts, and plans. To have a high chance of getting selected for your preferred grad school, you have to be unique and outstanding in writing a personal statement.
As mentioned above, many applicants will have similar things in their statements. But only those who will have the chance to get a call for an interview have efficiently written it. In this case, efficiency means convincing the selection committee about your unprecedented suitability for the program.
Example of Personal Statement
If you don’t know what to write in a personal statement for college, we have prepared a short example.
From an early age, I admired Coca-Cola. At first, it was a drink for a holiday, and its appearance in the oma meant that soon we would celebrate something, and there would be gifts. Then I just loved the taste and bought it with my pocket money while running from school.
Over time, I realized that the Coca-Cola brand had a special place in my life due to its strong marketing. Thanks to advertising, this drink has become associated with joyful moments and holidays in many families.
I admire this level of professionalism, so I want to learn how to do the same. I like your university’s approach to studying marketing and the results that graduates show. I believe that I can realize my creative ideas and gain knowledge to create legendary projects here. I would be glad to be among the lucky ones accepted to the course.
We hope this article will help you write a solid personal essay statement you can confidently submit.
Best of luck!