A personal essay should introduce you, explain why you chose this university and specialty, and prove that the choice matches your interests and skill set.
For example, if you are applying for the
programming faculty, explain the following:
- What attracts you in this specialty;
- What programming languages you know;
- What programs you have developed
(even if they seem insignificant to you);
- What courses you attended;
- What your achievements are.
How to start a personal statement?
The best way to start your writing is by introducing yourself and talking about your strongest traits or achievements. You can write about which courses you attended, where you worked part-time, what competitions you took part in. The admissions committee expects to know more about:
- What kind of person are you;
- Your education and work experience;
- Your motivation;
- Writing skills;
- Ability to follow instructions.
Find the most interesting fact describing your personality or the biggest achievement of yours and use it as the anchor point for the introduction. Thus, you will catch the attention of the reader and will ensure your writing is read in full.
Putting your personal statement together
A personal essay shouldn’t just provide bare facts about you; it should be interesting to read, concise, and written in plain language. To ensure a proper structure of your text, develop a paper outline first and then color-in it with details:
- Check the requirements of the university to the contents;
- Write down a list of questions you would like to answer;
- Think about your greatest achievements/ relevant experience/ volunteer works that positively characterize you and write down these on a sheet of paper (every achievement should be listed as a separate entry in a list);
- Once the list is ready, decide on the best order of the key points you would like to cover in your writing;
- Add more details per each fact about you.
Your paper should be properly structured - contain an introduction, body, and conclusion. To make the text easy to read, divide the body part into paragraphs - each addressing one idea.
Revising your personal statement
A single mistake in your essay can spoil the impression of the reader about you and decrease your chances of getting a “yes” from the admission committee. Revise the paper draft version in order to eliminate mistakes and fix content inconsistencies if any. Here is what to pay attention to when revising a draft:
- Text structure;
- Flow of thoughts;
- Writing tone;
- Sentence structure;
- Vocabulary used;
- Writing quality (grammar and punctuation);
- Compliance with university requirements;
- Data credibility.
Your goal is to ensure good text readability, the absence of any mistakes, and its content compliance with university requirements. Also, you should pay special attention to how to end a personal statement. Reinforce your writing with the strongest argument why you are the best candidate and how the educational establishment will benefit from accepting you.
Depending on the type of application you are sending, there are different types of papers. You may need to write a personal statement for a graduate school; a college admission committee may ask you to provide a personal essay along with other application documents. A personal essay is a must for those taking part in scholarship programs or applying for residency.
Each of these has its distinctive features. You cannot write a personal essay for a medical school and then submit it upon admission to the law school. Your application will simply be rejected. For this not to happen, follow the tips below.
Writing a personal statement for graduate school
The fundamental question you should answer in your writing for a graduate school is “why should you accept me into your program”. It is quite a broad concept and can be broken down into 3 sub-questions:
- Why me - Explain why you are an excellent candidate;
- Why you - Illustrate why you apply to that specific grad school;
- Why now - Clarify why you are applying to grad school now, as opposed to three years from now or three years ago.
This essay is your opportunity to prove what you might become a professional within your discipline in the future. It is your chance to articulate your passion that will make you a motivated scholar and teacher with expertise within the field and potential research interests.
Writing a personal statement for medical school
A personal essay for a medical school offers a lot of topics to consider. For example, you could write about:
- An experience that challenged or changed your perspective about medicine;
- A relationship with a mentor;
- A challenging experience;
- Unique challenges or obstacles that may have influenced your educational pursuits;
- How do your interests relate to your goals in medical school and as a doctor;
- Your motivation to seek a career in medicine.
Also, if you have any achievements in the field of medicine (certificates, accomplished trainings, volunteer work, etc.), include them in your writing as well.
Writing a personal statement for college
Your writing should convince the admissions officer that you have the right skills to do the course and that you are really enthusiastic about it. Here are some ideas to inspire you:
- Look at the course description and identify the skills, expertise, and experience it requires; this information will guide you on what to write about;
- Explain why you are applying, talk more about your ambitions, interest in the subject, and future aspirations;
- Think about what makes you a perfect-match candidate – this could be relevant experience, skills, or achievements you have gained from your previous education, work, or other activities;
- Include information about any clubs, communities, or societies you belong to, whether these are sporting, creative, or musical;
- Write about any relevant employment experience or volunteering work you have done, for example, vInspired Awards, Step Together, or Project Trust.
The above will help you sell yourself better and will increase your chances of being remembered by the admission committee.
Writing a personal statement for law school
Each law school has its own requirements. Some schools ask for specific information about every candidate - academic background, professional experiences, identity. Others may ask for a general essay on any topic. Regardless of any school-specific requirements, your essay must demonstrate exceptional writing abilities. The admissions officer will check your ability to state on paper and present information effectively. In addition, your essay should address your interest in law and illustrate the qualities that would make you a good lawyer.
Writing a personal statement for a scholarship
A personal essay for a scholarship is a great way to set yourself apart. Use these questions to guide you in crafting the perfect text:
- Why are you applying for your chosen course/ why does it interest you?
- What skills and expertise make you a perfect-match candidate?
- What hobbies and interests do you have?
- What achievements are you most proud of?
- Why do you think you would fit the course/ what skills and experiences will help you succeed in the course?
- What work experience is related to this course?
- What goal do you pursue after the course completion?
- How do you aim to use the knowledge in your future?
Writing a personal statement for residency
The following are the topics that should be covered in your residency essay:
- Specific reasons for choosing the specialty along with reflections on the selection criteria;
- Experiences in the specialty you are applying to;
- Learning goals and future career plans;
- Personal strengths that you can contribute to the program;
- Significant research achievements.
Writing a personal statement for internship
When writing a personal essay for internship, tell a story about yourself and your future inspirations. Storytelling is always a way to engage the reader. Think of a story that relates to your chosen career path, that has inspired or taught you something.
A few ideas to get you thinking:
- A teacher or coach at school who taught you the value of hard work or pushing through;
- A close one that taught you a specific skill;
- A movie that made you decide to follow your path;
- A situation that impacted you;
- A famous person who inspired you to pursue your career.
Personal statement format
The format for this type of writing should include an introductory paragraph, a few paragraphs that describe your experiences and how they relate to the career field or the internship for which you're applying. There should also be a paragraph that wraps it all up and ties the beginning to the end. You can also find some other guidelines, such as limiting you to fonts such as Times New Roman or Arial, using only 10- or 12-point size font, and limiting the statement to 500 or 800 words, for example. If you don't get any guidelines, use a common font of 10- or 12-point size, and limit the paper to one or two pages.