Personal Statements

Writing your personal statement marks an opportunity to connect your background and interests to your planned field of study.  Make sure your personal statement is unique for each school.  This is your chance to sell your skills and abilities and to communicate how you are a good “fit” for their program and institution.  Some additional tips:

  • Answer the entire question; do not focus on what you believe to be the most important piece of the admission question.
  • Watch for word requirements and page length.  Often, this is a way for the admissions committee to see how well you follow directions.
  • Develop an interesting opening for your personal statement. The admissions committee reads hundreds of essays during each application period, so it is important to stand out. You want to leave a positive impression on the committee member who is reading your personal statement.
  • Start early and spend time writing your personal statement.  Remember, this essay is a reflection of you.  If you do not put time and a quality effort into writing your personal statement, the admissions committee will know.
  • Write many drafts.  Do not be satisfied with your first personal statement.  Have others, such as professors, parents, peers, or supervisors, proof-read your statement. The perspective of others will help you understand how your personal statement may portray you to the committee members.
  • Rewrite, proof, rewrite, proof…Use the services of the Writing Center and/or the Career Development Center.  Your personal statement must be free of spelling, grammatical or other errors, so having others review it is important.
  • Research faculty members who teach and conduct research at the programs to which you are applying.  You may learn that a faculty member is conducting research that you are interested in.  Include in your personal statement the reasons you want to study with that particular faculty member.  The more you can connect yourself with the institution, the better the impression you will leave on the committee members reading your application.
  • Utilize resources; there is an abundance of information that will help you write a strong personal statement.  Take advantage of the free services and resources offered to you as students by the Career Development Center.  The Career Development Center has books with sample personal statements that will help you brainstorm ideas.