Best 20 tips on how to write a personal statement

Planning the personal statement writing

A personal statement is a writing intended to convince the admission committee that you are the best candidate for the college or university. It describes your academic interest with the aim of wining admission to an academic institution. Write about why you want to take the course in the institution detailing your academic and other relevant achievements.  When planning for your personal statement, the following should be taken into consideration:

  • Go through the information required by the institution. Every institution has its own standard for submission of personal statement. This is why it is advisable to visit the website of the college and obtain the requirements list. Alternatively, you can visit the institution in person and ask for the requirements as this will also give you a prior introduction to the faculty.
  • Conduct a thorough research on the course you are applying for. Remember that the aim is to convince the faculty that you are knowledgeable about the course to join their institution. You would even need more research when applying for masters or PhD courses as there would be need for a proof that you have prior knowledge of the course.
  • You should be able to explain how taking the course will be of benefit to you. For example, tell the admission committee how this course will help achieve your career goals
  • Consider how the course fit your skill set. When applying for a master’s course presumable you are working and the course matches your skill set. You might want to improve on the already acquired skill set or  to branch into a new field.
  • You should consider telling the committee how you are different from the rest. Obviously there are many people applying for a similar opportunity in the institution and you should aspire to be the best to win the chance.
  • Consider writing about your career aspirations. This will give the faculty a clear picture of your and what drives your passion. Moreover, it will communicate how dedicated you will be to your academic work.
  • Consider telling the committee how you will contribute to the university or society at large. Indicate your research aspirations and how they will contribute to the university’s knowledge base and impact the entire society. For example, indicate how your research will introduce new methods or product that will benefit the society.
  • In case you have decided to change your course or subject from what you studied in undergraduate, consider indicating your reasons for doing so. Tell he team about why you think the new course or subject fit your career goals. Moreover, consider indicating what new you intend to bring to the course and how the change will help in your future career.

How to structure your personal statement

Your personal statement should follow a specific format defined by the institution you are applying to. However, it should generally be structured as follows:

  • An interesting and captivating introduction. Make the introduction interesting enough to captivate attention of the admission committee and encourage them to read the entire statement. The introduction should serve as a framework as the body provides details about  your experience, interests and knowledge.  Ensure that the body of the statement is engaging as well as the conclusion to make the committee want to learn more about your career.
  • The statement should not exceed 500 words and not less than 250.
  • The sentences should be kept short between 25 and 30 words making them easily understandable and digestible.
  • Ensure that your headings are clear enough to break the content
  • You statements should be constructed in a claim and evidence format where you make claim and support it with evidence.
  • Avoid clichés as this will make your application look less unique. Instead start by describing your interest in the course and why you want to study in that institution.

How your personal statement should contain

The content of your personal statement should be generally aimed at selling your academic knowledge, skills, and career aspirations. It should consist of:

  • Relevant studies or experiences that reinforce your claims. Indicate previous studies you have undertaken or papers you have written that are relevant to the course or subject you are applying for.
  • It should include evidence of the main skills and competencies such as communication, research, organization and critical thinking. Indicate how you have exuded these skills at a place of work and how it impacted the organization or institution.  Demonstrate how you will apply these skills in contributing to the institution if given the chance.
  • Describe your main influences. These are people or things that have inspired you towards achieving your goals. You should also give reasons why you decided to have such influences and how they have contributed to your career growth.
  • Explain how previous experiences contribute to your career choices and growth. For example, indicate whether you have won scholarships or prizes and made any publications.

Additional tips for writing a personal statement

Find perfect expressions and words

Personal statement is a formal document to earn you a chance at an institution and thus should sound elegant and professional. Carefully pick the right words that describe you in an elegant manner and professionally communicate your academic aspirations. If applying in a language that is not your native, it is advisable to seek help from online platforms or translation sites. However, it is also important that you avoid using too many fancy terms that may complicate your statement.

Focus on your strengths

As indicated earlier, the aim is to sell yourself to the university or college. Focus on the things that describe your best qualities relevant to the application. Focus on your knowledge, experiences and career aspirations and not what you tried and failed or what you didn’t do or achieve.

Make the personal statement personal

As you prepare to write your personal statement you might be tempted to copy successful statements. However, you should ensure that the personal statement is all about you your interests and achievements. Borrow ideas from other people’s work but write about yourself.

Sample of personal statement

Follow the link to download a sample of personal statement

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