How do you write personal statement?

There are also some samples here.

If you are applying to English speaking universities such as UK, US or Australia, the personal statement is a bit different.

Personal Statement to Universities in UK

You still want to write the same content:

– Why you are strong
– Why you are interested in this university and program – your motivation
– What are your future goals

You also need to:

– Show that you understand the university and course, have done research into it.
– Show that you are going to be successful on the program.

But you will also want to add more style and personality. It needs to be unique to you. You can also try to make it into an engaging story to get more points.

Being succinct is even more important. Don’t be boring.

The beginning is very important and it needs to have a clear structure, with each paragraph matching with a certain point.

It’s a good idea to review George Orwell’s 6 Rules for Writing:

  1. Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
  2. Never use a long word where a short one will do.
  3. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
  4. Never use the passive where you can use the active.
  5. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
  6. Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.

It’s a good idea to think of everything you want to write in it, and make notes covering those points.

The format can be something like this:

  • A clear introduction, explaining why you want to study the course
  • Around 75% can focus on your academic achievements, to prove how you’re qualified to study it
  • Around 25% can be about any extracurricular activity, to show what else makes you suitable
  • A clear conclusion

Rewrite, rewrite, rewrite. Ask people for feedback.

I know that it can be hard to get started, when you have a blank piece of paper, so here is a set of questions that you can answer first.

Questions You Need to Answer In Your Personal Statement

You can get started by answering these questions below.

  1. Why do you want to study this course?

  2. What is the no.1 thing you like most about the course?

  3. Why do you want to study at this university?

  4. What makes you a strong candidate? Why should the university accept you?

  5. How motivated are you? Give examples.

  6. What is your one biggest achievement?

  7. What makes you a well-rounded person? What other interests and achievements do you have outside of studies?

  8. How will you contribute to the university?

  9. What are your future plans after this program?

Examples of Personal Statements to UK and Australian universities

Some examples are here:

Personal Statement to Universities in USA

In the US, the personal statement is different. It is designed as a creative piece, as a story, to show – what makes you different to others. When lots of students have similar scores, they will look at the personal statement.

The important question is:

What makes you different to other students? 

So you can decide based on one of these prompts:

1 – Some students have a background, identity, interest or talent so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. What is yours?

2 – The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback or failure. How did it effect you and what did you learn from the experience?

3 – Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome?

4 – Describe a problem you’ve solved or a problem you’d like to solve. It can be an intellectual challenge, a research query, an ethical dilemma—anything that is of personal importance, no matter the scale. Explain its significance to you and what steps you took or could be taken to identify a solution.

5 – Describe a topic, idea or concept you find so engaging it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more?

6 – Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you’ve already written. One that response to a different prompt or one of your own designs.

7 – What matters to you, and why?

How to write a great personal statement?

  • Make sure it has a clear structure – beginning, middle, and end

What not to include?


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