How to Write a Personal Statement

Updated: November 1, 2022
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How to Write a Good Personal Statement

A personal statement is integral to an application to college or university. Usually, all students are required to provide this document alongside other documents. And most applicants need help writing personal statements, as it can be challenging to create a paper that will stand out.

So, is there a secret to how to create a unique personal statement? Could you keep reading to find it out? In this article, we will discuss personal statement writing, its structure, and its characteristics and share some writing tips and tricks.

What Is a Personal Statement: Definition and Characteristics

A personal statement is a type of essay that details an applicant’s motivation, goals, achievements, and qualifications for pursuing a chosen degree program. It is a critical document that can significantly impact your school application’s success. So, let’s dive deeper and talk about the significance of this document and how not to confuse it with other types of essays.

The Importance of a Personal Statement

A personal statement is an essay with you as a subject. And its importance lies in the fact that it is the best way to showcase your personality, achievement, and motivation to the admission committee. In addition, a personal statement is a unique essay that can make you stand out from other applicants.

There is no other document that will demonstrate your best sides better than a personal statement. While in a resume, admission officers can see only basic information about you, a personal statement is a chance to highlight not only your achievement but also tell about the significant life events that built your personality, made you choose a particular path in life, and formed your aspirations.

Thus, writing a personal statement is critical for successful enrollment, as it is a way to ensure admission officers that you are qualified enough to pursue a chosen degree program and can contribute to a selected university or college.

Personal Statement vs. Personal Letter: What Is the Difference?

Frequently, applicants, who have never written a personal statement, confuse it with a personal letter. Although the names of these papers are similar, their purpose is entirely different. And it is enough to look at the definition of a personal letter to understand the difference.

A personal letter is a type of letter used to communicate with people you know well, like friends or relatives. Such essays are usually informal and contain a discussion of personal matters.

As you can see, a personal letter has almost nothing in common with a personal statement. Although private information can be creative, it is more formal and used for communicating your strengths, achievements, and background in the context of your qualification for a particular course or degree program. Thus, it is far different from a personal letter.

How to Structure a Personal Statement

A good structure is essential for a personal statement, as it will improve the logical sequence of paragraphs and thus improve its readability. So, let’s find out the correct structure for a private message.

Usually, a university or college personal statement is a one-page document with several paragraphs. All paragraphs can be divided into three sections:

  • Introduction
  • Body paragraphs
  • Conclusion

An introduction and conclusion should take 15-20% of the document. This structure is similar to many academic essays, but what is more important than knowing a system is to know what to include in each section. And we will tell you in detail about it in this guide.

Also, if you feel confused and need help with how to outline your statement, you can always order our writing service. An expert writer will create a good structure for your account or even help write the whole paper.

How to Start a Personal Statement

To grab admission officers’ attention, you need to create a catchy introduction. And there is no better than starting your paper with a hook sentence. A hook sentence can be a quote, an interesting statement, or something else, that will catch the attention and make a reader continue reading your personal information.

It is your choice what sentence to use as a hook, but we recommend connecting it with your life experience. Why? Because the next thing you should describe in the introduction is your background.

A unique story or a personal experience can help the admission officers better understand your personality, goals, and qualifications. However, it is critical to remember that you’re supposed to write only part of your biography in a personal statement. What you need to do instead is to tell about some significant events or a unique experience that has led you to the point where you are now or contributed to forming your interests and aspirations.

The introduction should take at most one paragraph. Make it short, concise, and catchy.

How to Write the Main Body of a Personal Statement

After creating an introduction, it’s time to work on the central part of a personal statement. This part usually includes several paragraphs about your achievements, strengths, so-called soft skills, and future goals, both professional and academic.

What is the best way to tell all this information without ruining a logical sequence and making your statement too complex? We recommend following this order:

  • Write about 1-2 main achievements in your life. Remember that all your academic achievements are seen in other application documents, like academic transcripts. So, try to focus on other achievements, for example, related to your extracurricular activities.
  • Write about some of the best qualities necessary for academic and professional success. For example, you can talk about your critical thinking or communication skills.
  • Finish the main body of a personal statement with a few sentences about your future goal and how a chosen degree program can be helpful for you. For example, you can mention some research topics you’re interested in

Remember that you need to connect the main body with the introduction, creating a flow between sentences and paragraphs.

How to End a Personal Statement

A firm conclusion is equally important as the introduction and the body of a personal statement. A concluding paragraph is the last chance to impress the admission committee. And there are two critical points you need to communicate in this section:

  • You are qualified enough to pursue a chosen course or degree program.
  • You can contribute to a selected university or college better than other applicants.

To deliver these two messages, you need to step back, look at everything you said in the body of your statement and briefly summarize it. It will give admission officers a complete picture of your strengths, goals, and interests and help decide if you belong to a chosen program or not.

Personal Statement for University vs. College: Is There a Difference?

The question that concerns a lot of applicants is, “What is the difference between a personal statement for college and one for university?”. Universities and colleges usually provide specific instructions on what should be included in the applicants’ statements.

The instruction may vary from institution to institution, but it is possible to see specific patterns in what colleges and universities require. So, let’s look at the main differences between personal statements for college and university.

Personal Statement for College

A personal statement for college is usually at most 2-4 paragraphs. It is a small essay that gives an applicant a chance to convince the admission committee that they deserve to be admitted to the chosen school.

In a personal statement for college, applicants mostly describe their interests, motivation, and unique background. Sometimes, colleges also require applicants to answer some specific questions related to a chosen program.

University Personal Statement

The main difference between a university personal statement and a college personal statement is its length. Only personal statements of applicants to undergraduate-level programs can be the same length as college personal statements. But, those who apply to master’s or Ph.D. programs usually write longer personal statements.

The reason is that master’s, and Ph.D. applicants have more academic and professional experience. Also, those who want to earn a postgraduate degree are usually interested in a specific research topic and can mention it in their statements.

How to Improve Your Statement

Knowing how to structure a personal statement and what to write about in it is essential for creating a well-structured paper. But, to make it stand out from others, you need to know some professional tips and tricks.

Do you want to learn valuable tips from people who have already experienced the application process? Professionals from our team know what factors can affect the decision of an admission committee, and we want to share some secrets with you. So, here are our recommendations for creating an excellent personal statement:

  • Be humble. When you describe your strengths or achievements, make it humbly. No one favors arrogant people who praise themselves.
  • Don’t be afraid to use your creativity. Keep in mind that your personal statement should make you stand out, as many other applicants want to enroll in the same degree program as you. Сreativity within limits is an excellent tool to showcase your personality and uniqueness.
  • Be honest about your achievements. Don’t write about skills, qualities, and accomplishments that you don’t have. They are usually easy to check, and you will not enroll in the desired university if someone exposes the lies.

Conclusion

An excellent personal statement can help you to enroll in the desired university or college. That’s why it is vital to know how to write it correctly. In addition, it is a task that requires you to thoroughly think of your experience, skills, and goals to show why you’re the best candidate and deserve to pursue a degree in a chosen educational institution.

We know how challenging it can be to create a great personal statement. And that’s the reason why we offer our help to students. If you need professional assistance with writing personal information, feel free to contact us!

George Lynch
George Lynch
Literature, Psychology, Religion
Experience: 3+ years
I’ve been enjoying academic writing since day one in college. Today, having a full-time job, I’m still looking forward to writing essays and research papers online for others.
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