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What to include in a Personal Statement
Personal Statement Tips
Nail your uni application with our personal statement examples.
Discover personal statements by subject, from A to Z. Find inspiration for your own application with these successful personal statement examples from real students.
A-Z of Personal Statements
Learn from previous student personal statements here. We have collated over 700 personal statement examples to help you on your university journey and to help you with how to write a personal statement.
These personal statement examples will show you the kind of thing that universities are looking for from their applicants. See how to structure your personal statement, what kind of format your personal statement should be in, what to write in a personal statement and the key areas to touch on in your statement.
A personal statement is a chance to tell your university all about you - a good personal statement is one that showcases your passion for the subject, what inspired you to apply for the course you’re applying for and why you think you would be an asset to the university.
Our collection includes personal statement examples in Mathematics, Anthropology, Accounting, Computer Science, Zoology and more.
Writing a personal statement has never been easier with our vast collection of personal statement examples.
15 Accounting statements have been submitted.
2 Aerospace Engineering statements have been submitted.
1 American Studies statements have been submitted.
2 Anthropology statements have been submitted.
4 Architecture statements have been submitted.
3 Biochemistry statements have been submitted.
26 Biology statements have been submitted.
7 Biomedical Science statements have been submitted.
1 Biotechnology statements have been submitted.
6 Business Management statements have been submitted.
23 Business Studies statements have been submitted.
3 Chemistry statements have been submitted.
2 Civil Engineering statements have been submitted.
4 Classics statements have been submitted.
14 Computer Science statements have been submitted.
5 Criminology statements have been submitted.
2 Dentistry statements have been submitted.
6 Design statements have been submitted.
1 Dietics statements have been submitted.
3 Drama statements have been submitted.
17 Economics statements have been submitted.
9 Engineering statements have been submitted.
5 English Language statements have been submitted.
13 English Literature statements have been submitted.
1 Environment statements have been submitted.
1 Event Management statements have been submitted.
1 Fashion statements have been submitted.
4 Film statements have been submitted.
1 Finance statements have been submitted.
2 Forensic Science statements have been submitted.
6 Geography statements have been submitted.
1 Geology statements have been submitted.
1 Health Sciences statements have been submitted.
9 History statements have been submitted.
2 International Studies statements have been submitted.
3 Languages statements have been submitted.
50 Law statements have been submitted.
2 Management statements have been submitted.
7 Marketing statements have been submitted.
7 Maths statements have been submitted.
5 Media statements have been submitted.
10 Medicine statements have been submitted.
1 Midwifery statements have been submitted.
10 Nursing statements have been submitted.
9 Pharmacology statements have been submitted.
3 Pharmacy statements have been submitted.
5 Philosophy statements have been submitted.
1 Physical Education statements have been submitted.
3 Physics statements have been submitted.
5 Physiotherapy statements have been submitted.
14 Politics statements have been submitted.
23 Psychology statements have been submitted.
2 Religious Studies statements have been submitted.
1 Social Policy statements have been submitted.
3 Social Work statements have been submitted.
6 Sociology statements have been submitted.
1 Sports Science statements have been submitted.
8 Teacher Training statements have been submitted.
2 Veterinary statements have been submitted.
1 Zoology statements have been submitted.
Personal Statement Help
What is a personal statement.
A personal statement is an essay written by a student applying to either a college or university. A personal statement is written and then uploaded to UCAS and is then attached to any university applications that the student may then make.
If you need more information check out our personal statement advice articles .
How to write a personal statement
There isn't a clearly defined personal statement template for you to use as each person's statement is different.
When it comes to writing a personal statement for universities, your personal statement should touch on your passions, your interest in the course, why you're applying for the course and why you would be an asset to the university you're applying to.
Talk about the clubs and societies that you belong to, any work experience you may have and any awards you might have won.
If you're still looking for information check out our article on how to write a personal statement .
How to start a personal statement
When it comes to starting your personal statement, the best thing to do is to be succinct and to have enough tantalising information to keep the reader informed and eager for more.
Your introduction should touch on your personal qualities and why you are applying for the subject you're applying for. Keeping things short and sweet means that it also allows you to break your personal statement up, which makes it easier for the reader.
We have plenty of advice for students that are wondering about what to include in a personal statement .
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Personal Statement Examples
Learn how to write a good personal statement from our hundreds of examples below, sorted by subject. These will help you craft your own unique statement, by showing you what universities are looking for, how to structure your statement and how you can stand out from the crowd. This is your opportunity to showcase yourself, including your skills, knowledge and ambitions for the future, as well as why you want to study this particular course at your chosen universities and why you would be an asset to their department.
With subjects including Economics, Mathematics, Biology, Accounting, Computer Science, Engineering and more, our vast collection of personal statement examples will help you create a personal statement for university in no time.
Accounting and Finance
These two subjects lie at the heart of any business, and a degree in at least one of these will equip you with essential skills for life.
View 47 Accounting and Finance Personal Statements
To become a successful actuary you will need to use both mathematical and business skills to solve problems concerning financial risk and uncertainty.
View 13 Actuarial Science Personal Statements
Learn more about American culture, society, history and politics with this specialised degree
View 4 American Studies Personal Statements
Study the evolution and history of humanity around the world.
View 24 Anthropology Personal Statements
Dig into the history of human activity.
View 23 Archaeology Personal Statements
Understand the processes involved in the planning, designing and constructing of buildings and other structures.
View 35 Architecture Personal Statements
Art and Design
Pursue painting, pottery, textiles, sculpture and any other discipline that interests you in the world of art.
View 56 Art and Design Personal Statements
Investigate biological processes at the molecular level.
View 19 Biochemistry Personal Statements
Use traditional engineering techniques and apply them to real-world problems.
View 6 Bioengineering Personal Statements
Study a wide range of biological topics, and choose to specialise in microbiology, ecology, zoology, anatomy or any number of other areas.
View 84 Biology Personal Statements
Study and explore medically related subjects such as genetics, physiology, pharmacology and neuroscience.
View 65 Biomedical Science Personal Statements
Learn how to apply biological organisms, processes and systems to industrial tasks.
View 6 Biotechnology Personal Statements
Learn about economics, accounting, management and more.
View 85 Business Management Personal Statements
Learn all the skills you need to be successful in the world of business.
View 112 Business Personal Statements
Gain a solid theoretical foundation and practical training in this fascinating arm of science.
View 35 Chemistry Personal Statements
Delve into the literature, history, philosophy and archaeology of the Greeks and Romans.
View 9 Classics Personal Statements
Combine analytical knowledge and technical skills to ready yourself for an in-demand career.
View 108 Computer Science Personal Statements
Computing and IT
Get ahead in IT by becoming an accomplished programmer, learning how computers work and expanding your Mathematics skills.
View 120 Computing and IT Personal Statements
Study the science behind criminal behaviour, laws and justice.
View 39 Criminology Personal Statements
Explore the practice of dance and develop your performance, choreography and teaching skills
View 1 Dance Personal Statement
Study the latest approaches in dentistry, combined with practical clinical experience that will prepare you for your career.
View 14 Dentistry Personal Statements
Apply your artistic skills in a commercial environment.
View 24 Design Personal Statements
Qualify as a dietician in the UK with this degree that explores the science of nutrition and how to communicate it to the wider world.
View 3 Dietetics Personal Statements
Combine theatre theory and practice to help you on your way to centre stage.
View 19 Drama Personal Statements
Learning the fundamentals of this subject will pave the way to many career options, including a data analyst, stockbroker, forensic accountant and external auditor.
View 156 Economics Personal Statements
Explore how people develop and learn in their social and cultural contexts.
View 25 Education Personal Statements
Browse our engineering personal statement examples to help you write your own, unique statement.
View 185 Engineering Personal Statements
Improve your reading, creative writing and critical thinking with an English degree.
View 157 English Personal Statements
Explore different habitats, climates, formations and societies and how we can reduce the human impact on nature.
View 10 Environment Personal Statements
Learn more about the science of the environment through collaborative research, expeditions and teaching partnerships.
View 12 Environmental Science Personal Statements
This varied and exciting field will prepare you for a number of careers, including a hotel manager, charity fundraiser and a tourism officer.
View 4 Event Management Personal Statements
Find out more about the fundamentals of fashion and find out more about how to research, design and develop clothing.
View 16 Fashion Personal Statements
Discover the core skills required to become a screenwriter, director or critic.
View 23 Film Personal Statements
Equip yourself with the basic skills and techniques needed for a successful financial career.
View 57 Finance Personal Statements
Food Science and Catering
Discover more about travel, tourism, event management and food science in this exciting subject.
View 3 Food Science and Catering Personal Statements
Study a wide range of subjects from chemistry and biology, to criminalistics and toxicology.
View 10 Forensic Science Personal Statements
Personal statements written by students taking a year out before university.
View 6 Gap Year Personal Statements
Study the earth’s physical structures and scientific processes to prepare yourself for a career in urban planning, environmental consultancy, conservation and many more.
View 62 Geography Personal Statements
Understand the evolution of the earth, how our planet works and what the future holds for us through both laboratory and field work.
View 14 Geology Personal Statements
This subject provides a broad base of scientific knowledge and skills applicable to many occupations and potential career opportunities.
View 22 Health Sciences Personal Statements
History of Art
Increase your understanding of ancient and modern society and culture.
View 5 History of Art Personal Statements
Study the events and people from the past to better understand what our future could be like.
View 143 History Personal Statements
Give yourself a solid foundation for many different career options in this exciting and thriving sector.
View 6 Hotel Management Personal Statements
Understand how politics, history, geography, economics and law all require international co-operation to resolve global problems.
View 96 International Relations Personal Statements
Read personal statement examples written by international students.
View 23 International Student Personal Statements
A subject that is applicable to a wide range of professions in the private and public sectors, including international agencies and government bodies.
View 10 International Studies Personal Statements
Study the foundation and development of Islamic knowledge from a broad and multidisciplinary perspective.
View 4 Islamic Studies Personal Statements
Explore Japan’s society, culture and language, with some universities offering the opportunity to spend a year abroad.
View 10 Japanese Studies Personal Statements
Develop the full set of skills required for a career in journalism.
View 14 Journalism Personal Statements
This multi-disciplinary social science course focuses on the study of economics, business and law and their relationship to the environment around us.
View 1 Land Economy Personal Statement
Set yourself on the path to an international career with a languages degree.
View 87 Language Personal Statements
Develop a critical awareness of the common law legal tradition and apply problem-solving skills to a range of legal and non-legal settings.
View 166 Law Personal Statements
Learn the science behind languages, and how to understand and interpret language on a global scale.
View 19 Linguistics Personal Statements
Gain a broad foundation in topics relating to business, finance, economics and marketing.
View 45 Management Personal Statements
Give yourself the knowledge and skills you need to excel as a professional marketer.
View 24 Marketing Personal Statements
Take your understanding of the theories and concepts of mathematics to a higher level.
View 106 Mathematics Personal Statements
Read personal statement examples written by mature UCAS students.
View 15 Mature Student Personal Statements
This degree is ideal if you want to pursue a career in PR, journalism, film, advertising or broadcasting.
View 45 Media Personal Statements
Browse our collection of medicine personal statement examples to help you write your own.
View 103 Medicine Perso Personal Statements
Gain the necessary skills and clinical experience to become a qualified midwife.
View 9 Midwifery Personal Statements
Develop your ability to create new music by studying topics such as composition, performance and music theory.
View 24 Music Personal Statements
Prepare yourself for a career in the music and audio industry.
View 7 Music Technology Personal Statements
Focus on various perspectives of the natural world, including chemical, physical, mathematical and geological.
View 18 Natural Sciences Personal Statements
Explore the workings of the human brain, from molecules to neural systems.
View 12 Neuroscience Personal Statements
Qualify for a rewarding career as an adult, children’s or mental health nurse.
View 36 Nursing Personal Statements
Learn the knowledge and skills to treat people with psychological, physical or social disabilities.
View 8 Occupational Therapy Personal Statements
Learn the knowledge, skills, and experience you need to become a registered osteopath.
View 1 Osteopathy Personal Statement
Personal statements by those applying to study at Oxbridge.
View 150 Oxbridge Personal Statements
Apply for this course to successfully qualify as a registered pharmacist in the UK.
View 20 Pharmacy Personal Statements
Find out how to form and voice your own opinions, and how to analyse and communicate ideas clearly and logically.
View 86 Philosophy Personal Statements
A course combining academic study and hands-on practice to help you become a skilled photographer.
View 8 Photography Personal Statements
Learn about the fundamental building blocks and forces of nature and how physics helps us understand the world around us.
View 55 Physics Personal Statements
Choose from a medical, human or general physiological science course.
View 3 Physiology Personal Statements
Learn the theoretical disciplines and gain the practical experience required to become a qualified physiotherapist.
View 6 Physiotherapy Personal Statements
Study how governments work, how public policies are made, international relations and other topics to open the door to a wide range of careers.
View 194 Politics Personal Statements
Read example personal statements written by postgraduate students for their chosen universities.
View 44 Postgraduate Personal Statements
Explore how our minds work and why we behave the way we do.
View 154 Psychology Personal Statements
Help diagnose and treat illness by producing and interpreting medical images, or learn how to treat cancer patients with therapeutic radiography.
View 5 Radiography Personal Statements
A creative discipline, vital to contemporary understandings of economy, art, politics, media culture and globalisation.
View 4 Religious Studies Personal Statements
A popular degree course, with a practical focus, that allows you to develop your professional skills and knowledge as you study to become a qualified social worker.
View 26 Social Work Personal Statements
Gain the knowledge and skills required to critically engage with issues facing society today.
View 66 Sociology Personal Statements
Sports & Leisure
Understand the value and purpose of sport in society, as well as the social, cultural and economic importance of sport and contemporary issues in sport and leisure.
View 13 Sports & Leisure Personal Statements
Learn about sports performance and the factors that affect behaviour in sport.
View 14 Sports Science Personal Statements
Discover how to manage buildings by exploring topics such as project management, legal and technical advice, building reports, defect diagnosis and conservation.
View 2 Surveying Personal Statements
Become a qualified teacher with this popular training course.
View 13 Teacher Training Personal Statements
Understand the different religious and spiritual perspectives in the contemporary world.
View 9 Theology Personal Statements
Travel and Tourism
Prepare for a career in one of the fastest growing industries with this vocational degree.
View 3 Travel and Tourism Personal Statements
Gather the skills required to help you shape and design the world around us.
View 3 Urban Planning Personal Statements
Study the basic veterinary sciences first before learning to apply that knowledge to veterinary practice as a clinical student.
View 5 Veterinary Science Personal Statements
Learn about all kinds of animals, including their anatomy, physiology, genetics, and their adaptations for survival and reproduction in different environments.
View 7 Zoology Personal Statements
How To Write A Bad Personal Statement
Find out more
Personal Statement Mistakes To Avoid
What is a personal statement?
The UCAS personal statement is an important piece of writing you need to put together for your UCAS application .
It is where students should sell themselves in order to try and secure a place at their chosen universities . This includes your strengths, achievements, interests and ambitions, and you need to convey why the university should choose you over other candidates.
How do I write a personal statement?
We recommend you start by making some notes about what you want to study at university and why, as well as a list of skills and interests, and your gap year plans (if you have any).
We then suggest reading some example personal statements for inspiration, and to see how previous students have successfully applied for courses at university.
This should give you an idea of how to put your own statement together, starting with an attention-grabbing opening that explains what aspects of your subject you enjoy and why.
The next few paragraphs need to cover your relevant work experience and activities outside of school, as well as your interests or hobbies, and anything else you’ve done related to your subject that isn’t already on your UCAS form.
The final paragraph should round off your statement succinctly and talk about your future plans after university, and how a degree can help you achieve these.
Our personal statement template can help you structure your statement correctly.
Remember that the language you use and the way it is laid out will be judged too, so it’s important to get all aspects of your statement right.
Once you’ve written your personal statement, ask family, friends and tutors to read it and give you some feedback. Look through their comments and amend your statement accordingly (if you feel they improve it).
Try to ask for several rounds of feedback to make sure it's as good as it can be before sending it off.
For more advice, please see our in-depth personal statement writing guide .
How do I start a personal statement?
The first rule with opening your personal statement is to avoid using any cliches or over-used phrases or sentences that the admissions tutors have seen a million times before.
These include: "ever since I was young/a child", "I have always wanted to be..." and "for as long as I can remember".
If you want the reader to go to sleep or immediately put your UCAS form in the rejection pile, then this is a sure way to go about it.
Instead, try to put together an eye opening sentence or two that will grab their attention and make them want to read on.
Our example personal statements above will help you with this, by showing you how students have constructed successful statements in the past.
Many students choose to start their statement by talking about a specific aspect of the subject they enjoy most and why they are interested in it. Others choose to relate a life experience (avoiding cliches) from their younger days, while some decide to begin their statement in another way.
There's no right or wrong answer - just make sure it doesn't read like hundreds of other statements the tutors have already seen before!
How do I end a personal statement?
You should conclude your personal statement with a concise summary of why you are an ideal candidate for this course, your career plans, and any other ambitions you have for the future.
Try to keep it to no more than three or four lines, but make sure the content sells you as a person and has a positive tone that will encourage admissions tutors to offer you a place.
Take a look at your initial notes to help you - remember, it doesn't have to be perfect at this point, as you will have time to redraft it later.
Again, our example personal statements above will provide you with some inspiration for this part of your personal statement (but please don't copy any of them, or UCAS will penalise your application!).
How do I structure my personal statement?
Your personal statement should have a clear beginning , middle and end.
Structure is important if your statement is to be a coherent creative piece of writing, so all the paragraphs should flow nicely together.
At Studential, we recommend the following approach as a guideline:
- Paragraph 1: Introduction to your subject, the aspects you’re interested in and why
- Paragraph 2: What you have done related to the subject that isn’t already on your UCAS form
- Paragraphs 3 and 4: Work experience placements and relevant extracurricular activities at school
- Paragraph 5: Your interests and hobbies outside of school, particularly those that show you are a responsible and reliable person
- Paragraph 6: Your goal of attending university and a memorable closing comment.
Of course, you may wish to structure yours differently and it's entirely up to you at the end of the day - just remember to make sure it's coherent and flows together well.
For additional help on piecing it together, use our personal statement template , which will give you an idea of how a successful statement should look.
What makes a great personal statement?
Tell the reader why you're applying to this particular course and university – include your ambitions, as well as what interests you about the subject, the course provider, and higher education.
Think about what makes you suitable – this could be relevant experience, skills, or achievements you've gained from education, work, or other activities.
You need to show the admissions tutors why you make a perfect candidate for your chosen course, and what value you can bring to their department.
What should you not write in a personal statement?
Avoid these common mistakes if you want your personal statement to be successful:
- Listing your skills, experience etc. Use full sentences and examples to back everything up.
- Any form of negativity - be positive!
- Omitting any relevant skills or achievements
- Embellishing the truth or lying outright
- Not checking for spelling and grammar issues - this sort of sloppiness just tells the admissions tutors you don't care very much
- Not asking for feedback from friends, family and teachers - this is a great way of receiving objective advice
- Stating the obvious or repeating what is already mentioned on your UCAS form elsewhere
- Including over-used words, phrases and sentences, such as "ever since I was a child..." and "I have always wanted to be...".
- Using jokes or humour - this isn't the time or place, and the admissions tutors probably won't appreciate it!
How long should my personal statement be?
For undergraduate courses, UCAS allows students up to 4,000 characters for their personal statement.
This isn't a huge amount of space, so you need to make sure every word counts and you sell yourself in the best possible light at all times!
Once you have put together an initial draft, you can check if it's too long or short with our personal statement length checker .
When should I start writing my personal statement?
We recommend you begin writing some notes during the school summer holidays, and maybe even have your first draft written before going back in September (especially if you're applying to Oxbridge ).
The sooner you start writing, the sooner you can get your final draft in place ready for your UCAS form. This also helps to take the pressure off, and means you won't be rushing to get it done at the last minute.
Use our handy UCAS personal statement template to help you structure your statement, and make sure you have included everything you need to.
Personal statement tips
For a successful personal statement, we recommend following these top tips:
- This is your opportunity to sell yourself - so use it! Talk about your strengths, abilities, achievements, personal traits, hobbies, extracurricular activities and anything else relevant that makes you an amazing candidate for this course.
- Start writing your personal statement early - ideally over the summer holidays, which give you plenty of time to get a perfect statement in place by the autumn (this advice especially applies if you are applying to Oxbridge , or for medicine , veterinary science , or dentistry ).
- Make sure you back up everything you say with solid examples, using your initial notes to help you.
- Talk about your motivations for choosing this particular course, and showcase all strengths using your own voice.
- Don’t embellish the truth or lie outright (you’ll get caught out at the interview!), and don’t use humour or tell jokes (this isn’t the time or place).
- Use positive language and let your enthusiasm shine through - tutors only want students on their course that are passionate about their subject!
- Don't get someone else to write your statement for you, or buy/plagiarise a statement online. UCAS check statements for similarity, and your chances of being offered a place at university could be affected if they find you have cheated on your statement.
- Ask those you know and trust to provide you with feedback, and incorporate their comments and suggestions accordingly.
- Go through at least several rounds of feedback before polishing your statement into a final draft.
- Don't just rely on a Spellchecker to check your statement for errors - read it through carefully three or four times to make sure there are no spelling or grammar mistakes.
- Use an reputable personal statement editing service if you're struggling with your final draft, or just want to try and give it some extra shine!
These tips and advice apply to all personal statements, whether you’re applying for an undergraduate or postgraduate course. If you follow them, you will have a better chance of securing a place at your chosen universities.
Best of luck with your UCAS application!
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UCAS personal statement examples
Having managed successfully to navigate through the 370,000 courses at over 370 providers across the UK, it is now time to make a start at drafting your personal statement.
Students often find this the most daunting of tasks within the application process. This guide will help you through putting together the statement that is going to help get you a place on your ideal course.
Knowing where to start and what to say to when setting out your reasons for applying and convincing the admissions tutor to offer you a place can be a challenge. Looking at examples of how other students have approached this can sometimes be helpful.
Things to consider when reading this example.
- Consider the structure – what are your thoughts around this?
- Think about spelling, grammar, and punctuation– how does this fare?
- What course do you think this personal statement may have been for?
“The best way to find yourself, is to lose yourself in the service of others.” Mahatma Ghandi
From a young age this quote has inspired my chosen career path to become a children’s nurse. Being one of many siblings I have the role of supporting my nieces and nephews when they become ill and providing comfort. Working with children in my family has motivated along this career path as it has taught me to take responsibility in life, become more organised and mature.
I am currently undertaking a health and social care course. This course has given me insight into the different aspects of health care and its overarching infra structure. Caring for children and young people helped me gain an understanding of the risk that children and young people may be put in and the exploitative and abusive behaviour that they may encounter. We focused on the tragic case of Victoria Climbie. This brought home the significance of multi agency working.
I am committed to ensuring that children and young people in my care are safe,healthy, enjoying and achieving, economic well being and putting in a positive contribution. A core element of the course has been work placement, working with children. This came in very useful for me because it taught me how to deal with children at different ages and what I need to do in order to meet their needs. During this work experience I was responsible for supporting and maintaining the children’s hygiene needs and encouraging them with their speech. I learnt different approaches to meeting the needs of children; for example I was taught to talk the children in a calm, but stern tone of voice when they misbehaved and to use very positive gestures and praise when children listened and kept to task.
I consider myself as having very good communications skills I am able to reassure people positively in any circumstance, I am the committed to ensuring that children and young people in my care are safe and healthy and I am confident when dealing with both children and parents, For example when a child injured herself in the nursery I shadowed one of the senior staff while they administered first aid, it was then my responsibility to explain to the caregiver exactly what had occurred.
I take part in many activities which are helping me to become independent ad preparing me for my course that I want to take part in, in university; I presently volunteer in a nursery. I take part in planning and creating activities and I have a duty to observe the children throughout the day and then give feedback to the parents and carers.
I have many qualities which will be ideal for my future career path I am honest, patient and a reflective individual, this is something that I feel is most important when dealing with children and adolescents.
I have many hobbies that I carry out in my spare time. I have taken part in being a team leader to raise money for a charity that supports children who have been abused because I believe strongly in the cause. We raised awareness, held a campaign, fundraising and protest.
I also enjoy travel, I have visited countries such as Egypt, Eritrea, Holland, Germany and Italy - this has allowed me to explore the outside world and has given me a taste of different cultures and traditions; and ultimately giving me a better understanding of diversity.
I would like to be given the opportunity to study at university because I believe it will be the perfect platform to launch my career. Having the chance to study Paediatric Nursing at university will allow me to fulfil my career path and make a change to my life as I will feel that I am achieving new things on a day to day basis with what I am able to offer children and young people when it comes to having a positive impact on their health.
Being given the opportunity of Working in an environment with children daily would be my dream goal in life that I wish to achieve.
- Thinking about the experiences gained from a gap year, how has this applicant drawn on these transferrable skills?
- How does experience both in and outside the classroom environment relate to the chosen subject area?
I am a hardworking, talented and motivated young woman looking forward to studying at degree level and taking an active part in university life.
I have a keen interest in the world around me, and enjoy taking part in a variety of activities for example: volunteering at my local brownies, volunteer marshal at Brighton Marathon; textile and weaving classes; completion of the Trinity Guildhall award at both Bronze and Silver level; and a Stand Up Paddle board instructor. These activities, coupled with part time work whilst at sixth form college, have not only been enjoyable but have also helped me to develop skills in communication, organisational, leadership and interpersonal skills.
Although having been accepted to start university in 2014 (Primary Education) I realised that I was not ready to fully commit to the course and took the decision to gain some real life experience and reflect on what I really want from university and my future career.
Since leaving sixth-form college I have been working full time as a waitress/ bar assistant at a local hotel, which has been hard but interesting work demanding stamina, patience and an open mind. I have also secured 3 weeks work at a trade exhibition in New York, where I will have the chance to attend networking dinner and I plan to go inter-railing across Europe in Summer 2015. As a result of these experiences I am more self-assured and resilient. I am ready to commit to full time study and have much to contribute to university life.
I realise that I am most interested in people, what makes them the people they are and how this manifests in their behaviour and opinions.
I enjoyed studying sociology at A level and gaining an insight into how the study of sociology helps us to understand how society works. This coupled with my recent experience in the hospitality world and observation of the behaviour of those who use and manage the service, has fuelled my desire to study Sociology in depth at degree level. I am completely fascinated by the behaviour of others and why we act the way we do. I believe that studying sociology at degree level will allow me to begin to explore and understand aspects of human social behaviour, including the social dynamics of small groups of people, large organisations, communities, institutions and entire societies.
I believe that the skills and knowledge that I will accrue whilst studying will be applicable to a wide variety of careers and that is why I have chosen to study the topic at degree level.
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College Personal Statement Examples and Writing Tips
So, you have started your college application process and are hitting a wall. You got your high school transcripts and letters of recommendation in order. Your SAT scores are on the way. But your college personal statement is sitting there unfinished, and the deadline is coming fast!
But have no fear!
Because Wordvice edits thousands of essays every admissions season, we have seen some of the best (and worst) college application essays out there. This guide will tell you how to write the best personal statement for college possible for your college application. Included are examples of successful college personal statements and analyses.
What we will learn here about writing a personal statement for college:
- What is a college personal statement?
- How important is the personal statement for college admissions?
- Why do colleges require a personal statement?
- Read examples of successful personal statements
- Successful personal statement example & analysis
- Essay editing services can improve your personal statement
Personal Statements and Other College Admissions Essays
Even knowing what specific terms regarding college admissions documents means can be a bit confusing. To clear up any questions, here is a brief rundown of some main college application terms that are often used:
- Personal statement for college — an essay you write to show a college admissions committee who you are and why you deserve to be admitted to their school. It’s worth noting that, unlike “college essay,” this term is used for application essays for graduate school as well.
- College admissions essay— this is essentially the same as a college personal statement. (I’ll be using the terms interchangeably.) It can also include supplemental essays or widely-used essays such as the Common App Essay .
- Essay prompt— a question or statement that your college essay is meant to respond to.
- Supplemental essay— an additional school or program-specific essay beyond the basic personal statement. Some schools require both a supplemental essay and a personal statement. Check your college’s application guidelines to determine which specific admissions essays are necessary for submission.
What is the personal statement for college?
The college personal statement is a key part of the college application and a key factor among admissions committees. It is the one opportunity for high school students applying to college to sell themselves on their own terms and using their own words.
Personal statements for college differ from SAT scores and academic transcripts, which are more standardized. Further, while letters of recommendation touch on many of the same issues as personal statements, they are not written by you but by a recommender.
A focused and effective personal statement for college serves three major functions:
1. Personal statements give broad, comprehensive insights into your personal and academic background.
Ultimately, your academic, personal, and even professional background can be the determining factor in your admission to any college program. But there’s a big difference between a personal statement and resume or CV.
2. It provides college admissions counselors with an accurate overview of your academic goals.
A good college personal statement must explain how your background relates to your university’s program and your goals. It must put in context the tools, resources, and background you bring to the table and how they are aligned with your school’s profile. In the business world, this is called “ vertical alignment .”
In other words, how you write about your background should make you stand out from other college applicants as well as connect with what you want to accomplish. Your background empowers you to succeed!
In admissions essays, small steps can yield big results.
3. Personal statements answer very specific questions.
Often, your college application will require you to apply to a specific program and will ask very specific questions. For example, applying to your university’s business college will require answering different application essay questions than applying to a performing arts program.
So be sure to research not only your target university’s profile but also your specific college major and professors in that department.
We illustrate this exact idea in the two successful personal statement examples below!
How Important is the personal statement for college to admissions officials?
Covid-19 has made the sat/act less important.
Common App announced that it will include a dedicated essay prompt on COVID-19 for the 2020-2021 admissions cycle. As a result, students are scrambling to figure out how to write about COVID-19 in their college admissions essays .
There’s even more evidence that the college personal essay is becoming the most important part of the application process. As CBS News reports :
A growing number of U.S. colleges and universities are abandoning ACT and SAT scores as part of their admissions process. The so-called test-blind movement has gathered steam this year amid widespread cancellations of standardized tests because of COVID-19.
Moreover, a court recently ruled that the University of California public school system can no longer consider SAT/ACT scores in the admissions process . The days of the standardized test may be numbered.
This means that the application essay just got a lot more important.
How to Write a Personal Statement for College to Impress Admissions Officers
Why do college admissions committees rely on college application essays so much? The answer is that a college personal statement sets you apart from your high school peers by explaining three ideas:
Show your personality in your personal statement
College admissions committees rely on your transcripts and GPA as a measure of your academic prowess. Letters of recommendation focus more on how others view you and how you interact.
On the other hand, your college personal statement application essay gives admissions counselors a sense of your personality. It demonstrates how you will fit in as well as contribute to the university community.
Are you hyper-focused and ambitious with a lot of professional experience and projects to back it up? Or are you more curious, with a wide range of interests? Are your motivations related to achieving concrete objectives, or are they more personal or emotional in nature? The lens through which you interact with the world is exactly what your personal statement essay should show.
On paper, your SAT score, GPA, and extracurricular activities may be the same as other applicants. You may end up in the same college classes. College counselors know no two applicants are the same. What matters is that both fit in with what the university wants for its students.
Describe any extenuating circumstances
Are your grades a bit below average? Did you fail a class in high school? Those things jump out when it comes to numbers on paper. Universities want to know the context for abnormal records, and most importantly, how you view them.
As the world continues to become more global and aware of social disparities, the definition of “traditional success” is becoming increasingly irrelevant. It has become standard for U.S. universities to have action plans for the diversity and inclusion of underprivileged students.
Most importantly, colleges want to understand how you struggled and overcame a difficult situation. Those are the exact students they want!
Explain why you are applying to this school
Besides selling your personality and explaining any drawbacks or holes in your record, a great college personal statement should provide insights into why you are applying to university. This may seem obvious, but unfortunately, many students get caught up in proving themselves like a job application. They totally forget to explain why they are applying to college.
How to write about reasons for applying to college:
- Define what part(s) of the university appeal to you. Explain how they align with your personal goals and personality.
- Pick out a couple of unique characteristics of the school. These can be professors, programs of study, or facilities.
Successful College Personal Statement Examples
Now that we know how important a college personal statement is and what it does, what’s the first step?
Success imitates success
At Wordvice, we encourage college applicants to look at successful personal statement examples to really absorb and gain insights into what an engaging personal college essay is. Read as many as you can, as no two students are the same. But you will see many of the themes discussed above again and again in successful college personal statements.
College Personal Statement Examples and Sample Essays
To start, Wordvice is including a couple of successful personal statement essay examples, including comments and feedback provided by our editors to the students. Both of these essays were edited by Wordvice’s professional editors , with both students gaining admission!
Personal Statement Essay #1: The “Holistic Profile” Essay
Dear Sir or Madam, I am writing to express my interest in studying at the University of ________ as a Supply Chain Management student. Thank you in advance for taking the time to read my letter. I am currently studying for a bachelor’s degree in Public Finance and Supply Chain Management at ________ University. I have decided to apply to your Supply Chain Management programme because I am sure it would strongly enrich my future studies and help me in my prospective career. Moreover, I consider this programme as a great opportunity to get to know ________ culture and its well-developed logistic background. I am also very curious about the different approaches taken in this field at a prominent university. I have chosen to apply to the University of________ because it examines all types of supply chain management perspectives, from production to services. During my previous studies, I discovered that simply working on procurement is far from enough. My fellow students and I had the opportunity to create an e-commerce project. At the time, the only thing in our control was the procurement decision, but I soon realized I had the capacity and drive to learn more about solutions and innovations. Another reason I am applying for this programme at ________ is its close relationship with relevant companies in my desired field. I learned on the university’s website that there is a specific resource that helps to connect students with these companies. Since I am interested in working in the Netherlands after I graduate, this resource will definitely be useful for my career. In addition, the fact that this programme offers an option to participate in an apprenticeship is very appealing to me. This could not only broaden my horizons through practical experience but also provide a chance for me to expand my connections in the industry. My current undergraduate studies make me highly suitable for this programme. I have learned the basic foundations of supply chain management through courses such as operations management, strategic purchasing, and inventory management. I have also taken mathematics and statistics to help me understand data problems. In addition to my academic interests, I have a full and interesting life off-campus. I was a member of our school volleyball team, which won several championships; this led to me graduating as an honour’s student. Those times spent on the court have strengthened my team spirit and my ability to work under pressure. During summer vacations, I spend time travelling around Europe and the United States. My first experience in Amsterdam was unforgettable, and it made me consider coming back in the future. Planning the trip carefully, and living alone in an unfamiliar area, have turned me into a more independent young woman. Professionally, I have done internships in international companies such as Red Bull and ASUS. These experiences gave me the chance to work in a global context with people from different countries, which has encouraged me to have a more flexible and adaptive mindset. Because of these wonderful experiences, I am certain I will conquer all future challenges and make the most out of them. In conclusion, I am very eager to study Supply Chain Management at the University of ________, as it would give me a chance to deepen my skills and knowledge in one of the field’s top universities. I am confident I excel in this programme due to my solid educational foundation in business and personality strengths. Thank you again for reading my personal statement. I look forward to hearing from you.
Why was this personal statement for college successful?
The essay is well-organized and directly answers key questions.
The applicant clearly lays out her educational and professional background as well as her skills. She also includes two solid paragraphs about why she has chosen her program of study and later explains why she is both qualified and a perfect fit.
This essay displays excellent organization and has a natural flow of ideas indicative of a native English speaker who can write exceptionally well.
The essay is personal and does not feel like a resume or CV
This college applicant came with a very strong academic and professional background. A solid handle on supply chain management (not the most exciting major) with internships to back it up. But notice how she doesn’t dwell on just that? She is able to connect things like her academic math experience with personal motivation. She even includes her extracurricular activities to show she’s more than a number cruncher.
First, she shows that she is a well-rounded person , not just a student that studies for grades. Second, she conveys her well-developed personal identity that has chosen this course of study at this particular college in this particular country. Make sure your college essay communicates this!
The essay specifically targets the school
Every major university has a business school, and every business school has a supply chain management program. How do the college admissions counselors reading her personal statement know she’s motivated to apply there?
This applicant clearly explains how she personally wants to attend this particular university in The Netherlands. She lists her personal travel experience and mentions a specific mentorship program.
Personal Statement Essay #2: The “Enthusiastic Achiever” Essay
I am passionate about computers because technology will continue to play a fundamental role in our lives. Based on this fact, I researched colleges that have both a strong computer science program and co-op program, and this is when I found Hofstra. I visited the campus for a tour and was really impressed with what I saw. Not only are the campus facilities top-notch, but the advanced computer science labs are world-class. This shows Hofstra’s focus to be able to provide the best intellectual and technical resources for students. I asked my tour guide about the class sizes and curriculum style. I was thrilled when he told me that average class sizes are in the 20s and that the curriculum emphasizes experiential learning. I am looking for more than just academic excellence; extracurricular activities, including community service opportunities, are also very important to me. In researching schools that would provide students with the most well-rounded lifestyles, I was amazed to see the number of philanthropic events that the school hosts and supports. Philanthropy seems ingrained in the school’s culture. I also saw hundreds of clubs that can cater to everyone’s unique interests. Students are also welcome to start new clubs if no existing clubs can foster their interests. The energy on campus is something that I noticed right away. Both the students and staff show a lot of pride for Hofstra, and it’s truly memorable how enthusiastic the school spirit is among students. Leaving home to attend college is a big change for everyone, and I think school pride and a strong sense of community will help me make a smooth transition. I was very happy to hear that students get two tickets to events on campus. This is especially great because I am a sports fan and would love to experience the electric game-day atmosphere of a division one basketball game and cheer on the Lions! Hofstra’s location is also ideal because it has the advantages of being in a smaller town but also being very close to New York City. I do not want to attend college in a big city, but the fact that New York City is so close opens up a lot of opportunities. First off, there are numerous internships at top companies in the city. In addition, it would be great to visit the city from time to time and see a show or sports game. Being able to do that with friends would give me great experiences and memories. Hofstra is my top choice because it fulfills my most important criteria: esteemed faculty members, a strong computer science program, a strong sense of belonging, amazing internship and community service opportunities, and a diverse campus. I cannot wait to be a Hofstra Lion!
This personal statement is brief and under the word count
This essay is 461 words, which is perfectly under the 500-word limit on many college admissions essays. Although content is the main focus, your personal statement needs to abide by all rules laid out in the essay brief. That includes mundane but essential stipulations such as word count.
It is multi-faceted and hits major selling points
The student talks about Hofstra’s location, academics, sports, extracurriculars, and even philanthropy. The student doesn’t just list these as a marketing brochure would; each selling point is connected to the student personally and emotionally. Excitement is something that every student tries to portray in their admissions essay, so be sure you emulate something like this.
Improve Personal Statements with College Essay Editing Services
It’s an understatement that college is one of the most important factors, affecting your social and professional future. Unfortunately, college personal statements and admissions essays sometimes come a bit disorganized and unfocused, just like the students who write them. That’s where essay editing services like Wordvice come in. They are beneficial for a number of reasons.
Why Use an Admissions Essay Editing Service?
1. they help fix errors that you miss.
College admissions committees have to reject a certain number of applicants every year. You can be sure that your application essay will go straight into the reject pile if it has any grammar or spelling errors.
It definitely takes a bit of self-awareness and experience to realize when it’s best to let someone help you. No one person has a monopoly on knowledge or perspective, no matter how strong their background is. Ever played the “what’s the difference between these two pictures” game?
Our brains are hard-wired to lock in our own biases. That’s a major problem when it comes to writing a personal statement where the entire point is convincing someone else.
2. They save students time
College consulting services have stated that the average number of applications is about 5.9 per college applicant. Of course, students will try to maximize their chances of getting into a good college. The downside is lack of time, which no one can buy more of.
English editing services like Wordvice help free up time so you can do what you need to do: apply to college.
3. Editors help improve your ability to communicate
Whether you are an ESL student or a native English speaker, everyone can improve their writing. In the case of a college application essay, this can mean the difference between getting into your dream college and attending your second-choice school. In addition to fixing grammar and basic errors, editing services go above and beyond to match the flow and readability of your writing with your goal – academic or admissions.
If you are writing a personal statement or college essay, you want editors with first-hand college and university admissions experience reviewing and editing your essay.
Additional College Personal Statement Tips
We hope you learned a lot from these examples of successful college personal statements. So what’s next?
I want to learn more about the college admissions process
Interested in learning more tips from experts about the college admissions process, personal statements, or letters of recommendation? Check out the Wordvice Admissions Resources blog.
I am interested in professional editing for my personal statement
We also got you covered! Whether you choose personal statement editing , recommendation letter editing , resume editing , or any of our other essay editing services , you can find the help you need to improve your college essay.
I want to improve my college personal statement for college right now
Check out our turnaround times and conditions on our editing FAQ page. Or you can jump straight in and use our Editing Price Calculator to start the ordering process.
How to Write a UCAS Personal Statement [With Examples]
James is senior content marketing manager at BridgeU. He writes and directs content for BridgeU's university partners and our community of international schools
What are the big challenges students should be aware of before writing their UCAS Personal Statement?
- The essential ingredients for writing a great Personal Statement
- How to write the UCAS Personal Statement [with examples]
Final hints & tips to help your students
Join 10,000 other counsellors & educators & get exclusive resources delivered straight to your inbox.
The UCAS Personal Statement can sometimes be a student’s only chance to impress a UK university. Read our in-depth guide to helping your students plan & write a winning application.
There are hundreds of articles out there on how to write a UCAS Personal Statement that will grab the attention of a UK university admissions officer.
But if you’re working with students to help them perfect their Personal Statement in time for the relevant UCAS deadlines , we can sum up the secret to success in three words.
Planning, structure and story.
The UCAS Personal Statement is a student’s chance to talk about why they want to study for a particular degree, course or subject discipline at a UK university.
As they set about writing a personal statement, students need to demonstrate the drive, ambition, relevant skills and notable achievements that make them a suitable candidate for the universities they have chosen to apply to .
But the UCAS Personal Statement requires students to write a lot about themselves in a relatively short space of time. That’s why lots of planning, a tight structure and a compelling story are essential if a student’s Personal Statement is to truly excel.
As important deadlines for UK university applications grow closer, we at BridgeU have put together a guide, outlining some of the strategies and techniques to help your students to write a personal statement which is both engaging and truly individual.
Handpicked Related Content
Discover the simple steps that will boost the confidence of your native English speaking & ESL students alike in University Application Essays: The 5 Secrets of Successful Writing .
As they begin to plan their Personal Statement, students may feel intimidated. It’s not easy to summarise your academic interests and personal ambitions, especially when you’re competing for a place on a course which is popular or has demanding entry requirements. In particular, students will likely come up against the following challenges.
Unfortunately, the Personal Statement (and other aspects of university preparation) comes during the busiest year of the student’s academic life so far.
Students, and indeed teachers and counsellors, must undertake the planning and writing of the personal statement whilst juggling other commitments, classes and deadlines, not to mention revision and open day visits!
Because there is already a lot of academic pressure on students in their final year of secondary school, finding the time and headspace for the personal statement can be hard, and can mean it gets pushed to the last minute. The risks of leaving it to the last minute are fairly obvious – the application will seem rushed and the necessary thought and planning won’t go into making the personal statement the best it can be .
Sticking closely to the Personal Statement format
The character limit which UCAS sets for the personal statement is very strict – up to 4,000 characters of text. This means that students have to express themselves in a clear and concise way; it’s also important that they don’t feel the need to fill the available space needlessly. Planning and redrafting of a personal statement is essential .
Making it stand out
This is arguably the greatest challenge facing students – making sure that their statement sets them apart from everyone else who is competing for a place on any given course; in 2022 alone, UCAS received applications from 683,650 applicants (+1.6k on 2021) students. In addition, UCAS uses its own dedicated team and purpose built software to check every application for plagiarism, so it’s crucial that students craft a truly original personal statement which is entirely their own work .
The essential ingredients for writing a great UCAS Personal Statement
We’ve already mentioned our three watch words for writing a high quality Personal Statement.
Planning. Structure. Story.
Let’s dig deeper into these three essential components in more detail.
Watch: How to Write a UCAS Personal Statement with University of Essex
Planning a ucas personal statement.
It might sound like a no-brainer, but it’s vital that students plan their Personal Statement before they start writing it. Specifically, the planning phase could include:
- Students thoroughly researching the UK university courses they plan on applying to.
- Deciding on what relevant material to include in their Personal Statement (we’ll cover this in more detail later on).
- Writing an unedited first draft where they just get their thoughts and ideas down on paper.
Structuring a UCAS Personal Statement
As we’ve discussed, the UCAS Personal Statement requires students to be extremely disciplined – they will be required to condense a lot of information into a relatively short written statement. This means that, after they’ve written a rough first draft, they need to think carefully about how they structure the final statement.
A stand out Personal Statement will need a tight structure, with an introduction and a conclusion that make an impact and really help to tell a story about who your student is, and why they are drawn to studying this particular degree.
This brings us nicely to our third and final ingredient…
Telling a story with a Personal Statement
The UCAS Personal Statement is a student’s opportunity to show a university who they are and how their life experiences have shaped their academic interests and goals.
So a good Personal Statement needs to offer a compelling narrative, and that means making sure that a student’s writing is well-structured, and that every sentence and paragraph is serving the statement’s ultimate purpose – to convince a university that your student deserves a place on their subject of choice.
How to help your students start their UCAS Personal Statement
In order to ensure that a personal statement is delivered on time and to an appropriate standard, it’s essential to plan thoroughly before writing it. Here are some questions you can ask your students before they start writing:
How can you demonstrate a formative interest in your subject?
It may sound obvious but, in order for any UCAS personal statement to have the necessary structure and clarity, students need to think hard about why they want to study their chosen subject. Ask them to think about their responses to the following questions:
What inspired you to study your chosen subject?
Example answer: My desire to understand the nature of reality has inspired me to apply for Physics and Philosophy
Was there a formative moment when your perspective on this subject changed, or when you decided you wanted to study this subject in more detail?
Example answer: My interest in philosophy was awakened when I questioned my childhood religious beliefs; reading Blackburn’s “Think”, convinced me to scrutinise my assumptions about the world, and to ensure I could justify my beliefs.
Can you point to any role models, leading thinkers, or notable literature which has in turn affected your thinking and/or inspired you?
Example answer : The search for a theory of everything currently being conducted by physicists is of particular interest to me and in “The Grand Design” Hawking proposes a collection of string theories, dubbed M-theory, as the explanation of why the universe is the way it is.
Asking your students to think about the “why” behind their chosen subject discipline is a useful first step in helping them to organise their overall statement. Next, they need to be able to demonstrate evidence of their suitability for a course or degree.
How have you demonstrated the skills and aptitudes necessary for your chosen course?
Encourage students to think about times where they have demonstrated the necessary skills to really stand out. It’s helpful to think about times when they have utilised these skills both inside and outside the classroom. Ask students to consider their responses to the following questions.
Can you demonstrate critical and independent thinking around your chosen subject discipline?
Example answer : Currently I am studying Maths and Economics in addition to Geography. Economics has been a valuable tool, providing the nuts and bolts to economic processes, and my geography has provided a spatial and temporal element.
Are you able to demonstrate skills and competencies which will be necessary for university study?
These include qualities such as teamwork, time management and the ability to organise workload responsibly.
Example answer: This year I was selected to be captain of the 1st XV rugby team and Captain of Swimming which will allow me to further develop my leadership, teamwork and organisational skills.
How have your extracurricular activities helped prepare you for university?
Students may believe that their interests outside the classroom aren’t relevant to their university application. So encourage them to think about how their other interests can demonstrate the subject-related skills that universities are looking for in an application. Ask students to think about any of the following activities, and how they might be related back to the subject they are applying for.
- Clubs/societies, or volunteering work which they can use to illustrate attributes such as teamwork, an interest in community service and the ability to manage their time proactively.
- Have they been elected/nominated as a team captain, or the head of a particular club or society, which highlights leadership skills and an ability to project manage?
- Can they point to any awards or prizes they may have won, whether it’s taking up a musical instrument, playing a sport, or participating in theatre/performing arts?
- Have they achieved grades or qualifications as part of their extracurricular activities? These can only help to demonstrate aptitude and hard work.
How to write the UCAS Personal Statement [with examples]
If sufficient planning has gone into the personal statement, then your students should be ready to go!
In this next section, we’ll break down the individual components of the UCAS Personal Statement and share some useful examples.
These examples come from a Personal Statement in support of an application to study Environmental Science at a UK university.
Watch: King’s College London explain what they’re looking for in a UCAS Personal Statement
This is the chance for an applying student to really grab an admission tutor’s attention. Students need to demonstrate both a personal passion for their subject, and explain why they have an aptitude for it . This section is where students should begin to discuss any major influences or inspirations that have led them to this subject choice.
Example : My passion for the environment has perhaps come from the fact that I have lived in five different countries: France, England, Spain, Sweden and Costa Rica. Moving at the age of 15 from Sweden, a calm and organized country, to Costa Rica, a more diverse and slightly chaotic country, was a shock for me at first and took me out of my comfort zone […] Also, living in Costa Rica, one of the most biodiverse countries in the world, definitely helped me realize how vulnerable the world is and how we need to take care of it in a sustainable manner.
This opening paragraph immediately grabs the reader’s attention by giving the reader an insight into this student’s background and links their academic interests with something specific from the student’s personal backstory.
Discussing Academic Achievements
The next paragraph in this Personal Statement discusses the student’s academic achievements. Because this student has had an international education, they frame their academic achievements in the context of their personal background. They also cite useful examples of other curricula they have studied and the grades they have achieved.
Throughout my academic life I have shown myself to be a responsible student as well as a hard working one, despite the fact that I have had to move around a lot. I have achieved several other accomplishments such as a high A (286/300) in AS Spanish at age 15, and also completed a Spanish course of secondary studies for ‘MEP’(Ministerio de Educacion Publica), which is a system from Costa Rica.
You’ll notice that this student doesn’t just list their achievements – their strong academic performance is always linked back to a wider discussion of their personal experiences.
Showcasing Extracurricular Activities
As well as discussing academic achievements, a good Personal Statement should also discuss the student’s extracurricular activities, and how they relate back to the student’s overall university aspirations.
By the third/fourth paragraph of the Personal Statement, students should think about incorporating their extracurricular experiences,
Another valuable experience was when my class spent a week at a beach called ‘Pacuare’ in order to help prevent the eggs of the endangered leatherback turtle from being stolen by poachers who go on to sell them like chicken eggs. We all gained teamwork experience, which was needed in order to hide the eggs silently without scaring the mother turtles, as well as making it more difficult for the poachers to find them.
When the poachers set fire to one of the sustainable huts where we were staying, not only did I gain self-awareness about the critical situation of the world and its ecosystems, I also matured and became even more motivated to study environmental sciences at university.
This is a particularly striking example of using extracurricular activities to showcase a student’s wider passion for the degree subject they want to study.
Not only does this Personal Statement have a story about volunteering to save an endangered species, it also illustrates this applicants’ wider worldview, and helps to explain their motivation for wanting to study Environmental Science.
Concluding the UCAS Personal Statement
The conclusion to a UCAS Personal Statement will have to be concise, and will need to tie all of a student’s academic and extracurricular achievements. After all, a compelling story will need a great ending.
Remember that students need to be mindful of the character limit of a Personal Statement, so a conclusion need only be the length of a small paragraph, or even a couple of sentences.
“ After having many varied experiences, I truly think I can contribute to university in a positive way, and would love to study in England where I believe I would gain more skills and education doing a first degree than in any other country. “
A good Personal Statement conclusion will end with an affirmation of how the student thinks they can contribute to university life, and why they believe the institution in question should accept them. Because the student in this example has a such a rich and varied international background, they also discuss the appeal of studying at university in England.
It’s worth taking a quick look at a few other examples of how other students have chosen to conclude their Personal Statement.
Medicine (Imperial College, London)
Interest in Medicine aside, other enthusiasms of mine include languages, philosophy, and mythology. It is curiously fitting that in ancient Greek lore, healing was but one of the many arts Apollo presided over, alongside archery and music. I firmly believe that a doctor should explore the world outside the field of Medicine, and it is with such experiences that I hope to better empathise and connect with the patients I will care for in my medical career.
You’ll notice that this example very specifically ties the students’ academic and extracurricular activities together, and ties the Personal Statement back to their values and beliefs.
Economic History with Economics (London School of Economics)
The highlight of my extra-curricular activities has been my visit to Shanghai with the Lord Mayor’s trade delegation in September 2012. I was selected to give a speech at this world trade conference due to my interest in economic and social history. […] I particularly enjoyed the seminar format, and look forward to experiencing more of this at university. My keen interest and desire to further my knowledge of history and economics, I believe, would make the course ideal for me.
By contrast, this conclusion ties a memorable experience back to the specifics of how the student will be taught at the London School of Economics – specifically, the appeal of learning in seminar format!
There’s no magic formula for concluding a Personal Statement. But you’ll see that what all of these examples have in common is that they tie a student’s personal and academic experiences together – and tell a university something about their aspirations for the future.
Watch: Bournemouth University explain how to structure a UCAS Personal Statement
Know the audience
It can be easy for students to forget that the person reading a personal statement is invariably an expert in their field. This is why an ability to convey passion and think critically about their chosen subject is essential for a personal statement to stand out. Admissions tutors will also look for students who can structure their writing (more on this below).
Students should be themselves
Remember that many students are competing for places on a university degree against fierce competition. And don’t forget that UCAS has the means to spot plagiarism. So students need to create a truly honest and individual account of who they are, what they have achieved and, perhaps most importantly, why they are driven to study this particular subject.
Proof-read (then proof-read again!)
Time pressures mean that students can easily make mistakes with their Personal Statements. As the deadline grows closer, it’s vital that they are constantly checking and rechecking their writing and to ensure that shows them in the best possible light.
Meanwhile, when it comes to giving feedback to students writing their Personal Statements, make sure you’re as honest and positive as possible in the days and weeks leading up to submission day.
And make sure they remember the three key ingredients of writing a successful Personal Statement.
Planning, structure and story!
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Last updated October 3, 2023
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Blog > Common App , Essay Examples , Personal Statement > 15 Amazing Personal Statement Examples (2023 Update)
15 Amazing Personal Statement Examples (2023 Update)
Admissions officer reviewed by Ben Bousquet, M.Ed Former Vanderbilt University
Written by Kylie Kistner, MA Former Willamette University Admissions
What’s that old saying? “The best way to learn is by doing.” Well, we believe that, in personal statements and in life, cliches like this should be avoided. For some people, the best way to start writing a personal statement is indeed just to start.
But for most writers, jumping right into the writing process is a daunting task. If you’ve never written a personal statement before, then how do you know where to begin?
That’s where example essays come in. There are millions of opinions in the college admissions world about whether or not students should read example essays. But here’s ours:
You absolutely should be reading example personal statements.
Let’s get into it.
Why you should read example personal statements
Reading example personal statements helps you understand why they work (or don’t work) in the admissions process.
Now, the point of reading them isn’t to copy them. It’s not even necessarily to be inspired by them.
Instead, the point of reading examples is to know what personal statements look like. Think about it: if you’d never seen a children’s book before, would you know how to write one? Probably not! Same goes for personal statements.
In this post, we show you some exceptional, solid, and need-to-be-improved personal statements.
And to help you understand how these essays function as personal statements, we’ve also gotten our team of former admissions officers to grade and provide feedback on each.
What does an admissions officer look for in a personal statement?
Before we get to the essays, let’s briefly walk through what goes through an admissions officer’s head when they open an application.
Admissions officers (AOs) read hundreds to thousands of applications in a single year. Different institutions require admissions officers to use different criteria when evaluating applications, so the specifics will vary by school. Your entire application should cohere to form a seamless narrative . You'll be crafting that narrative across the following categories:
- Transcripts and course rigor : AOs look at the classes you’ve taken to assess how much you’ve challenged yourself based on the classes your school offers. They’re also looking at how well you've done in these classes each term.
- Extracurricular activities : When reading through your activities list, AOs look at the activities you’ve done, how many years you’ve participated in them, and how many hours a week you devote to them. They’re assessing your activities for the levels of magnitude, impact, and reach that they demonstrate. (Want to know more about these terms? Check out our extracurricular impact post .)
- Background information : This background information briefly tells admissions officers about demographic and family information, your school context, and any honors or awards you’ve received.
- Letters of recommendation : Letters of recommendation give AOs insight into who you are in the classroom.
- Essays : And, finally, the essays. Whether you’re writing a personal statement or a supplemental essay, essays are the main place AOs get to hear your voice and learn more about you. Your personal statement in particular is the place where you get to lay out your overall application narrative and say something meaningful about your personal strengths.
So, with all that in mind, what does an admissions officer actually look for when reading your personal statement?
A few traits tend to surface across the best personal statements, no matter the topic or format. There are four primary areas you should focus on as you craft your personal statement.
- Strengths: AOs want to know about your strengths. That doesn’t mean bragging about your accomplishments, but it does mean writing about a topic that lets you showcase something positive about yourself.
- Personal meaning: Personal statements shouldn’t be fluff. They shouldn’t be history essays. They should be personal essays that ooze meaning. The topic you choose should show something significant about yourself that the admissions officers won’t get from any other part of your application.
- Authenticity and vulnerability: These characteristics can be the most difficult to achieve. Being “vulnerable” doesn’t mean airing all your dirty laundry. It means revealing something authentic and meaningful about who you are. To be vulnerable means to go beyond the surface level to put yourself out there, even to admissions officers who you’ve never met.
- Clear organization and writing: And lastly, admissions officers also want your essay to be organized clearly so it’s easy to follow along. Remember that admissions officers are reading lots of applications, even in one sitting. So you want to make your reader’s job as easy as possible. Thoughtful and skillful writing can also help take your personal statement to the next level.
If you want to know more about how to incorporate these traits into your own essay, we have a whole guide about how to write the perfect personal statement .
But for now, let’s get into the examples.
We’ve broken up the example personal statements into three categories: best personal statement examples, good personal statement examples, and “bad” personal statement examples. These categories show you that there is a spectrum of what personal statements can look like. The best examples are the gold standard. They meet or exceed all four of the main criteria admissions officers are looking for. The good examples are just that: good. They’re solid examples that may be lacking in a specific area but are still effective personal statements. The “bad” examples are those that don’t yet stack up to the expectations of a personal statement. They’re not objectively bad, but they need some specific improvements to align with what admissions officers are looking for.
Here we go!
The Best Personal Statement Examples
Writing an exceptional personal statement takes a lot of time and effort. Even the best writers can find the genre challenging. But when you strike the perfect chord and get it right, it’s almost like magic. Your essay jumps off the page and captures an admissions officer’s attention. They feel like you’re right there with them, telling them everything they need to know to vote “yes” on your admission.
The following essays are some of our favorites. They cover a range of topics, styles, and student backgrounds. But they all tell meaningful stories about the writers’ lives. They are well-organized, use vivid language, and speak to the writers’ strengths.
For each essay, our team of former admissions officers have offered comments about what makes the essay exceptional. Take a look through the annotations and feedback to see what lessons you can apply to your own personal statement.
Personal Statement Example #1: Thankful
My family has always been broke. Saturday mornings and Thursday evenings, always the same drill: the kids (my brothers and me) would be loaded in the car with my parents and off we’d all go to the food pantry. New clothes were few and far between, and going on vacation was something that we could only dream of. Despite our financial struggles, one year, my parents decided to surprise us with a trip to Disney Land. It was a complete shock to me and my siblings. We were over the moon. In fact, the screams of excitement that emanated from my younger brother’s mouth still ring in my ears.
But as the trip drew close, my excitement tempered and I began to worry. Being poor when you’re young doesn’t just affect you materially. It also affects how you see the world and loads you up with a whole range of anxieties that, in an ideal world, no child should have to face. How were my parents going to afford this, I wondered? Would an expense like this push us over the brink?(( The beginning of this essay, and especially this sentence, show the writer’s empathy. They are not selfish; they understand their broader family context and take that into consideration.)) I didn't want to ruin the surprise by asking, but I couldn't shake the feeling of dread building inside of me.
The day of our trip arrived and we set off for the airport. In the car, my dad made an off-the-cuff comment about a new video game that he’d wanted to play but didn’t buy, and everything clicked—my parents had made the trip possible by saving for months, cutting back on expenses and sacrificing their own comforts to make the trip happen.
As we boarded the plane, I was filled with a mix of emotions. I was grateful beyond words for my parents' sacrifice, but I was also overwhelmed by the guilt of knowing that they had given up so much for us. I didn't know how to express my gratitude; when we deplaned in LAX, I gave my mom and dad a rib-crushing hug.
The trip itself was everything that I had dreamed of and more. We spent four magical days at Disney Land(( Nice use of vivid details here. The reader can picture the sights and smells of Disney—and the ensuing hunger when passing a churro stand.)) , speed running the roller coasters and campy boat rides from the 70s. Sure, we packed our own food and walked right by the churro stands with a hungry look in our eyes. But I will never forget the feeling of unmitigated joy that my family shared on that trip, the smiles that painted my parents’ faces.
But the trip itself was nothing compared to the gratitude I felt for my parents(( Here, the writer transitions to reintroducing the theme of gratitude.)) . They had given us the gift of a lifetime, and I knew that I would never be able to repay them for their sacrifice.
In the years since that trip, I have carried that feeling of gratitude with me. It has motivated me to work hard and to always strive to be the best person that I can be. I want to make my parents proud and to show them that their sacrifice was worth it(( Finally, the writer sums things up with an eye to the future. It’s helpful for an admission officer to picture what the essay’s lessons might mean for the student as a future community member.)) .
I will never be able to fully express my gratitude for what my parents did for us, but I will always remember their selflessness and their willingness to put their own needs aside for the sake of our happiness. It was a truly surprising and incredible act of love, and one that I will always be thankful for.
AO Notes on Thankful
This essay accomplishes a few things even though it essentially tells one story and offers a quick reflection. It gives some important context regarding the challenges of being from a lower-income family. It does that in a way that is authentic, rather than problem-focused. It also shows that the writer is empathetic, family-oriented, and reflective.
Why this essay stands out:
- Vulnerability : This essay is upfront about a challenging topic: financial insecurity. While you don’t have to tell your most difficult challenge in an essay, this writer chose to write about a circumstance that gives additional context that may be helpful as admissions considers their application.
- Personal : The writer gets into some family dynamics and paints a picture of how their family treats and takes care of each other.
- Values: We clearly see some values the writer has and that they don’t take their parents’ sacrifices for granted. As an admission officer, I can picture this student using their education to give back—to their family or to others.
Personal Statement Example #2: Pickleball
I’ve always been one to have a good attitude no matter the circumstances. Except when it comes to exercise. From dodgeball in PE class to family Turkey Trots, I’m always the first one out and the last one across the finish line. These realities aren’t from a lack of skill—I’m actually quite coordinated and fast. They are from a lack of effort(( This is a quick hit of… either humor or vulnerability. I chuckled at the blunt honesty, and am intrigued to learn more.)) . Despite my best intentions, I can never get myself to care about sports or competitions. So when my dad first asked me to be his pickleball partner last summer, I did nothing but laugh.
But soon, I realized that he was serious. My dad started playing pickleball two years ago as a fun way to exercise. He’d become a star in our city’s recreation league, and I always enjoyed cheering him on from the sidelines. When his doubles partner got relocated for work, my dad decided that the disruption was a good opportunity for us bond through pickleball. Even though I was mortified by the thought of running back and forth to hit a bouncing ball, I reluctantly agreed.
The next Saturday morning, we went to the court for our first practice. I was wearing sweatpants, an old sweatshirt, and a grimace. My dad showed me how to hold the paddle, serve, and return the ball to our opponents. He told me about staying out of the kitchen—an endearing pickleball term that references the “kitchen,” or the middle part of the court—trying to make me laugh. Instead, I sighed impatiently and walked to my end of the court, ready to get it over with.
My dad remained patient in spite of my bad attitude. He gently served me the ball, and I gave a lackluster attempt to return it. The ball bounced into the net. I hadn’t even made it to his side of the court. Trying his best to encourage me, my dad gave me the ball so I could serve it to him instead. I tossed the ball up and hit it underhand toward my dad. It hit the net again. I tried again and again, each attempt with less care than the last. I grew frustrated and threw my paddle down in anger(( Okay, this paragraph gives a good dose of openness to the emotions of the writer. They’ve served up an opportunity to learn a lesson soon…)) .
After seeing my mini-meltdown, my dad crossed the kitchen to talk to me. During our conversation, I began to ask myself why I got so frustrated when I wasn’t trying very hard in the first place. I thought pickleball was a miserable sport, but I realized that it wasn’t pickleball that I cared about. I cared about my dad. I wanted to make him proud(( Ah, and there it is! A realization. As the admission officer I’m thinking, “Go on…”)) . Playing pickleball with him was the least I could do to thank him for everything he’d done for me. I dusted off my bad attitude alongside my paddle, and I got up to try another serve.
That serve hit the net again. But more determined now, I kept trying until my serves went over the net and through my dad’s weak side. I couldn’t believe it. My attitude adjustment helped me see the game for what it was: a game. It wasn’t supposed to be agonizing or cruel. It was supposed to be fun.
I learned that my attitude towards sports was unacceptable. This experience taught me that it’s okay to have preferences about what you enjoy, but it’s important to always maintain a positive attitude(( And the lesson learned! )) . You may just enjoy it after all.
Now my dad and I are both stars in our recreation league. Soon, we will make our way to our league’s semi-finals. We’ve worked our way through the bracket and are close to the championship. What I appreciate more about this experience, however, is how close it’s brought my dad and I together. His patience, positivity, and persistence have and will always inspire me. I want to be more like him every day, especially on the pickleball court.
AO Notes on Pickleball
This is a strong “attitude adjustment” essay, a bit of a remix of a challenge essay. The challenge, in this case, was a fixed mindset about sports that needed to be adjusted. The writer takes us on a witty journey through their own attitude towards organized athletic activities and their father.
- Self-aware : Similar to the vulnerability of other essays, this writer is willing to criticize themselves by recognizing that they need an attitude adjustment. Even before they changed their attitude, we get the sense that they are at least aware of their own lack of effort.
- Strong conclusion : We see a nice lesson at the end that relates both to having an open mind and caring for others. They even make a point about simply enjoying things because they are fun.
- Life lesson : Beyond the stated lesson, as an admission officer with a few more years on this Earth than the writer, I can tell this lesson will apply beyond sports. In fact, I can easily picture this student trying a new class, club, or group of friends in college because they are now more open to novel experiences.
Personal Statement Example #3: The Bird Watcher
I’m an avid walker and bird watcher(( Okay, the writer gets right into it! I think this simple introduction of the topic works well because they are writing about a less common hobby among teenagers. If they had said “I am an avid baseball player”, I would have been less eager to learn more.)) . Growing up, I’d clear my head by walking along the trail in the woods behind my house. By the time I was immersed in the chaos of high school, these walks became an afternoon routine. Now, every day at three o’clock, I don my jacket and hiking shoes and set off. As I walk, I note the flora and fauna around me. The wind whispering through the trees, the quiet rustling of a chipmunk underfoot, and the high-pitched call of robins perched atop branches, all of it brings me back to life after a difficult day.
And recently, the days have been more difficult than not. My grandparents passing, parents divorcing, and doctor diagnosing me with ADHD have presented me with more challenges than I’ve ever experienced before. But no matter what’s going on in my life, the wildlife on my walks brings me peace. As an aspiring ornithologist, the birds are my favorite(( This paragraph accomplishes a lot: a montage of difficult circumstances, context for their application, and declares their future career.)) .
I became interested in ornithology during long childhood afternoons spent at my grandparents’ house. They would watch me while my parents finished up work. I’d listen to the old bird clock that hung on the wall in the kitchen. Each number on the clock corresponded with a different bird. Every hour, the clock would chirp rather than chime. When the cardinal sang, I knew my parents would be arriving soon. Those chirps are all seared into my memory.
Twelve o’clock: robin. The short, fast, almost laugh-like sound of the robin always makes me hungry. All those Saturday afternoons filled with laughter and good food have resulted in a Pavlovian response. I’d cook meatballs with my grandma, splashing sauce on her floral wall paper. We’d laugh and laugh and enjoy the meal together at her plastic-covered kitchen table. This wasn’t my home, but I felt at home just the same.
Three o’clock: blue jay. It’d chime as soon as we walked in the door after school. The blue jay was my grandpa’s favorite. It was also mine. Why he loved it, I’m not completely sure. But it was my favorite because it marked the beginning of the best parts of my day. Symbolizing strength and confidence, blue jays always remind me of my grandpa.
Six o’clock: cardinal. The sharp whistle and staccato of the cardinal indicated that it was almost time for me to leave. Like the whistle of a closing shift, I’d hear it and start to pack my things. The cardinal has always been my least favorite.
Nine o’clock: house finch. The high, sweet, almost inquisitive call of the house finch was the one my grandma loved most. It was also the one I rarely heard. Either too early or too late in the day, the house finch was reserved for the occasional weekends when I’d spend the night at their house. My grandma would explain that finches symbolize harmony and peace. They are petite but mighty, just like she was(( This is a clever and sweet way of describing summer days with grandparents, while sprinkling in some vivid details to bring the story to life.)) .
This past weekend was the anniversary of my grandpa’s passing. Longing for my grandparents, I went for a walk. Winter is approaching, so the sky was darkening quickly. I walked slowly. As the sun set, I heard the tell-tale squawk of a blue jay, loud and piercing through the chill of the wind. I looked around and saw it sitting on an old stump, a small house finch behind it. I extracted my binoculars from my backpack, hoping to get a better glimpse through the dark. I turned the dial to focus the lenses, just as the birds flew away together. I took a deep breath, binoculars in hand, and continued on, spotting a robin in the distance(( The ending stylistically wraps the essay up without tying a bow on it. It’s a more artful way of concluding, and it works well here.)) .
AO Notes on Birdwatcher
This first two paragraphs are well-written and fairly to-the-point in their language. They do a nice job of setting the scene, but the third paragraph transitions into the writer’s distinctive voice. They detail the birds on the clock to chronicle the hours of their summer days and end, not without concluding, but leaving the reader wanting to read more of their stories.
- Voice: The writer transitions to writing in their own distinct voice, which comes to a crescendo in the final paragraph.
- Interesting approach: Sometimes students use an approach to tell a story that feels overly forced or cleche. This one feels organic and relates nicely to the writer, their family, and the story as a whole.
- Career path : This is far from a “What I want to be when I grow up” essay, but it clearly shows an academic interest grounded in family and childhood memories. This is an artistic and beautiful approach to showing admissions how the writer may use their college education.
Personal Statement Example #4: Chekov’s Wig
At the age of six, I starred in an at-home, one-woman production of Annie. My family watched as I switched between a wig I’d fashioned from maroon yarn, a dog’s tail leftover from Halloween, and a tie I’d stolen from my dad.
When the reveal came that Annie’s parents had actually passed away, I took a creative liberty: they had left Annie a small unicorn farm. The rest of the play proceeded as normal. When the curtain closed, I bowed to the sound of my family’s applause. But one set of hands was missing: my grandmother’s. Instead she sat, arms raised, and jokingly exclaimed, “But what about the unicorns?”(( Wow, an interesting intro! We see creativity and a silly side to the writer. As the admission officer, I’m eager to see where this leads.))
My grandma, an avid thespian, taught me a lot about life. But one of the most important lessons followed this production of Annie . After we laughed about her remark, she introduced me to the concept of Chekov’s gun. For Anton Chekov, brilliant playwright, the theory goes something like this: a writer shouldn’t write about a loaded gun if it’s not going to be fired. In other words, writers shouldn’t include details about something if it won’t serve a purpose in the story later. My unicorn farm had committed this writing faux pas egregiously.
I’m not a natural writer, and I have no goal to become one, but I’ve taken this concept of Chekov’s gun to heart—it forms the foundation of my life philosophy. I don’t believe that everything was meant to be(( This philosophical reflection is a nice introduction to the paragraphs that follow. )) . In fact, I think that sometimes bad things just happen. But I believe that these details will always play a part in our larger story.
The first test of my Chekov’s gun philosophy occurred shortly after Annie when my grandma, my biggest supporter, passed away. My family tried to console me saying that “it was her time to go,” but I disagreed. I couldn’t see how a death could be destined. Instead, I found comfort knowing that her presence, her support, and her death wasn’t for nothing. Like Chekov’s gun, I wasn’t quite sure how or why, but I knew that she would return for me.
As I grew older, my philosophy was tested time and again. Most recently, I fell back on Chekov’s gun as I coped with my parents’ divorce and my subsequent move to a new town. Both events shattered my world. My happy family theatre productions turned into custody hearings and overnight bags. The community I’d found at my old school became a sea of unfamiliar faces at my new one. None of this was meant to be. But as the writer of my own life, I won’t let the details become inconsequential.
I’ve used these events as plot points in my high school experience. Dealing with my parents’ divorce has taught me how to make the best of what’s given to me. I got the chance to decorate two bedrooms, live in both the suburbs and the city, and even have twice the amount of pets. And without the inciting incident of the divorce and move(( We see that the writer is able to make lemonade out of lemons here.)) , I never would have joined a new drama club or landed leading roles in Mama Mia and Twelfth Night. The divorce and move, like Chekov’s gun, have been crucial details in getting me where I’m at today.
I know that Chekov’s gun is more about the details in a story, but this philosophy empowers me to take what happens, the good and the bad, as part of my personal character development. Nothing would be happening if it weren’t important.
This summer, as we cleaned our garage in preparation for yet another move, I found my old Annie wig, yarn tangled from the box. Next to the wig was a note, handwritten in a script I’d recognize anywhere. My darling star, it read. You are going to go on to do great things. Love, Grandma ((And a sweet, or bittersweet, conclusion.)) .
AO Notes on Chekov’s Wig
This essay tells a beautiful story about a foundational philosophy in this young writer’s life. As their admission officer, I can see how grounded and positive they are. I can also imagine them taking this lesson to college: really paying attention to life, reflecting on the past, and understanding the value of even the smallest instances. There is an inherent maturity in this essay.
- Creativity: From the first few sentences, we can see that this student is now, and was as a child, creative. An original thinker.
- Reflective: When challenged by their grandmother, the writer didn’t insist that their way was correct. They took the criticism in stride and absorbed it as a salient life lesson. This shows open-mindedness and an uncommon level of maturity.
- Silver linings: It’s clear that this young writer has had some familial challenges that are likely familiar to some of you. They don’t gloss over them, but instead they learn from them. From having more pets to starring in the school musicals, there are lessons to glean from even life’s more difficult challenges.
Personal Statement Example #5: An Afternoon with Grandmother
The Buddhist temple on the hillside above my home has always possessed a deep power for me. With its towering spires and intricate carvings thousands of years old, it is a place of peace and serenity(( This writer opens with some wonderful imagery. I like how the imagery mirrors the meaning.)) —somewhere I can go to escape the chaos of the world and connect with myself and with my sense of spirituality. When my grandmother called me one January to let me know that she would be coming to visit, I smiled, my mind darting immediately to the temple and to the visit of it we would take together.
My relationship with my grandmother is a special one. After my parents passed away, she and my grandfather raised me for three years before I moved in with my father’s sister. In that time, she was my sole companion; she shared her recipes with me, told me stories, and most importantly, she taught me everything I know about spirituality. We spent countless nights staying up past bed-time, talking about the teachings of the Buddha, and she encouraged me gently to explore my own path to enlightenment(( This topic is accomplishing a lot: we see the writer’s relationship with their grandmother, their personal values, and their ideas about who they want to be in the future.)) .
When my grandmother finally arrived, I felt bathed in a warm glow. After catching up and preparing her favorite meal—red rice with miso soup and hot green tea—I told her about the plans I had for us to visit my special place.
Later that afternoon, as we entered the temple, I felt the calmness and tranquility wash over me. I took my grandmother's hand and led her to the main hall, where we knelt before the altar and began to recite the prayers and mantras that I had learned from her years before.
As we prayed, our voices joined together, echoing throughout the temple. A gentle rain began to fall outside and, as the cold crept around where we knelt, I was engulfed by a deep sense of connection with my grandmother and with the universe. It was as if the barriers between us were falling away, and we were becoming one—with each other, and with our shared connection to the divine.
We finished our prayers and sat in silence, lingering in the serenity of the temple. I could feel my grandmother's hand in mine, and I was filled with a sense of gratitude and love(( A great example of weaving vivid language with explicit reflection!)) .
Spirituality has been essential in my life. It gives me a sense of grounding and purpose, and it teaches me the value of compassion. My spirituality has also given me a way to connect with my grandmother on a deeper level—like a private language that only we speak together. In a world that can often feel chaotic and disconnected, faith and spirituality provide a sense of stability and connection.
As we left the temple, I held my grandmother's hand and felt suffused by a sense of peace and contentment. Too often people who are disconnected from spirituality misunderstand the role it plays in billions of people’s lives. They see it as a way to “check out” from the issues the world faces, ignoring their responsibilities to others. This may be true for others, but not me. Quite the opposite. My spirituality helps me empathize with others(( Wonderful reflection.)) ; it helps me focus on the obligations we each have to every other person and creature on this planet. For me, it is the ultimate way to “check in” to the needs of the world and my community in a way that grounds me emotionally.
Spirituality offers a way to find meaning and purpose in life, and to connect with something greater than ourselves. For that, and for my grandmother, I am truly grateful.
AO Notes on An Afternoon with Grandmother
In this deeply reflective essay, the writer uses spirituality and their relationship with their grandmother to reveal a very personal part of themselves. The writer isn’t afraid to be vulnerable, and they clearly showcase strengths of wisdom and compassion.
- Vivid language: This author is a talented writer who has included a bunch of vivid language. But it’s not over the top. They include just enough to hold a reader’s attention and add some interest.
- Reflection: The reflection throughout this essay is excellent. Notice how it’s not just at the beginning or the end. It’s woven throughout. The writer follows up each major detail with an explanation of why it’s personally meaningful.
- Conclusion: The conclusion combines vivid language and reflection perfectly. By the end of the essay, we know exactly what the writer wants us to take away: spirituality is personally meaningful to them because it helps them connect with the people around them. And I especially like how the writer chose to end on a note of gratitude—always a good value to have in a personal statement.
Personal Statement Example #6: Rosie’s
While most people find their lowest point at rock bottom, I found mine in an Amerikooler DW081677F-8(( We’re definitely off to an odd start. I’m curious where this is headed!)) . With drops rolling down my back and my cheeks, I snuck into the walk-in freezer for a moment of chill.
At that point, I had worked at Rosie's for nearly a year. The job was a good one: it fit with my school schedule, paid well, and introduced me to close friends. But as a workplace, Rosie’s was pure chaos. The original owners passed on a host of problems the new owners were working hard to fix. But the problems ran deep. From an inefficient kitchen organization to a malfunctioning scheduling software, we never knew what to do or when.
The day I found myself in the Amerikooler was the day everything caught up with us(( This is a good transitional phrase that helps readers navigate this fairly complex narrative.)) . An error in our scheduling software led to us operating with only 30% of our typical team. As the only waitress on duty, I ran between the kitchen and the guests, stopping mid-delivery to put new vegetables in the steamers. The kitchen staff were barely getting through each dish before customers lost patience.
Then, in all the commotion, I dropped a plate of macaroni and cheese all over a customer. I apologized over and over again. I was embarrassed and ashamed. I couldn’t believe what I had done. I always tried to be one step ahead to give my customers the best service, so my mistake felt like an utter failure. After helping them clean up, I ran immediately to the freezer. I realized that something had to change.
In the Amerikooler, a pea and corn mix cool on my back, I considered my options. The easiest option was to quit. I could find another job, one that didn’t cause me so much stress. But quitting wouldn’t just mean giving up. It would mean accepting my failure. It would also mean abandoning the coworkers I had grown close to. Leaving them would only burden them more. While I knew it wasn’t my job to fix the restaurant, I knew that leaving wasn’t the answer either. Instead, I decided to focus on solutions(( I like the focus on solutions and action steps here!)) . I stood up from the cold, dirty freezer floor, dusted off my work pants, washed my hands, and got back to work.
Despite being the newest and youngest member of the Rosie’s staff, I recognized that I brought a new perspective to the workplace. Having spent the previous three summers scheduling volunteers for my local food drive, I used my organizing experience to devise a new scheduling system, one that didn’t rely on our outdated technology. I brought up the system at our weekly meeting, and after initial pushback, everyone agreed to give it a try. Three months later, my system keeps everyone happy and our kitchen and floor staffed.
But it wasn’t just the staffing problem that was the issue. Our workflows were inefficient, and we didn’t know how to communicate or collaborate effectively. I know that identifying an issue is always the first step to a solution, so I raised the question at our most recent staff meeting. Having earned my coworkers’ and bosses’ trust(( And here we see some good growth and leadership.)) , I led us in outlining a few new processes to streamline our productivity. In stark contrast to the failure I felt after spilling the macaroni and cheese, developing a new workflow with my coworkers made me proud. I hadn’t given in to the chaos, but I had worked thoughtfully and collaboratively to create new solutions.
I’m sure that won’t be my last time working in a disorganized environment or spilling macaroni and cheese. But I know that I’ll be ready to address whatever comes my way.
AO Notes on Rosie’s
If you’ve ever worked in a food establishment, then something in this essay will probably resonate with you. But I appreciate how the writer doesn’t get pulled into the negativity they experience. Instead, they focused their efforts (and their essay) on how they could make things better for everyone. That’s the kind of student admissions officers want to see on their campuses.
- Organization: The writer has to narrate and backtrack a bit at the beginning of the essay to make the introduction work. But it’s not confusing for a reader because they have very solid transitions. I also like how the action steps and reflection are organized in the narrative.
- Positive outlook: As an admissions officer, I would admire this student for their problem-solving skills. Working in that environment was surely tough, but they didn’t give up. They got to work and helped everyone out in the process.
- Humor: From the introduction to the conclusion, the writer incorporates subtle humor throughout. Because of it, we actually feel like we know the writer by the conclusion. Too much humor can overwhelm a personal essay, but just enough can help readers see who the writer really is.
Personal Statement Example #7: Gone Fishing
I pulled the line with my left hand and snapped the rod back with my right. The line split through the air above me like a knife through cake. I rigidly waved my right arm up and down to dry off my fly, which had started sinking from the weight of the water. Ready to cast, I loosened the grip on my left hand to release a few more feet of line, pulled my right arm back in a grandiose motion, and hammered it back down. I expected my line to fly out in front of me, gracefully floating back onto the surface of the water. Instead, I was met with a startling resistance. My fly had lodged itself into the bush behind me(( This opening paragraph has great vivid description. Here, we end on a moment of suspense that has left me intrigued about what will happen next.)) .
Annoyed, I waded through the tall, thick grass, rod under my arm and mosquitoes buzzing in my ears. This was the reality of fly fishing. In my short time as a fisherman, I’d caught far more trees, bushes, and riverweed than I had fish. What seems so elegant in movies like A River Runs Through It is actually a grueling process of trial and error. I took up flyfishing a year ago to conquer my fear of the outdoors(( Ah ha—we learn that this essay isn’t really about fly fishing. It’s about conquering a fear. And with that, we see that the stakes are high.)) . I could have (and probably should have) chosen a more mild activity like hiking or kayaking, but I’ve always been one to take on a challenge.
I had been afraid of the outdoors since childhood. Coming from a family that prefers libraries to parks and bed and breakfasts to tents, I never learned how to appreciate nature. I limited my time outside as much as I could. I feared the bugs, the sun, and the unknown.
I decided to try flyfishing when I realized I didn’t want to be controlled by my fear any longer(( As an AO, I would applaud this student’s bravery.)) . All the birthday parties I’d turned down, the memories that were made without me, I had missed out on so much. Being outside was an integral part of the human experience—or, at least, that’s what I’d been told. Without being willing to enjoy nature, I was missing out on what it meant to be myself.
Soon after this realization, I found an old rod in my grandpa’s garage and took it as a sign from the universe. On my first time out, my Honda Civic lurched over a ditch on the gravel road Google Maps had directed me to. I’d spent hours watching YouTube videos of proper technique. Stepping out of my car, I felt my skin crack under the dry heat, and I wanted to leave. But I continued on, walking through branches and over logs to the riverbank. I was doing it( More vivid detail that really gives us a sense of the writer’s discomfort—yet they’re persisting.)) .
I pushed myself to continue, no matter how uncomfortable I got. I went back, Saturday after Saturday, each time noticing improvements in my abilities. Along the way, I learned to push myself to do things that make me uncomfortable. I saw myself in a new light. I wasn’t Charlie, afraid of the outdoors. I was Charlie, fisherman.
The first time I caught a fish, I could hardly believe it. Thinking I had caught another piece of riverweed, I tugged on my line and rolled my eyes. But suddenly, it started tugging back. It was a sensation I’d never experienced before, one of haste, pride, and panic. I instantly collected myself, bracing against the bank as I secured the line with my finger and slowly pulled the fish ashore. Delicately removing my hook from its mouth, I admired its beauty. Whereas I had once feared creatures like this trout, I now respected it. Its holographic scales glistened in the sunlight. I thanked it for helping me grow, and I placed it back in the water. It swam away. I wiped the slime off my hands and picked up my rod, left hand tugging at the line, right hand snapping back again((This conclusion is quite long, but I really like this poetic ending. It shows so much growth, and there’s a subtle nod to the fact that the writer is continuing to fish.)) .
AO Notes on Gone Fishing
From all this imagery, I really felt like I was fishing alongside them. What’s better, I feel like I really get where this student is coming from because of their vulnerability. They show immense growth and open-mindedness, which is exactly what admissions officers are looking for.
- Imagery: This writer definitely likes creative writing. From the introduction, we can envision ourselves going on this journey with the writer. There is some excellent “show, don’t tell” here.
- Deep personal meaning: Biggest fears are hard to overcome, especially with such a good attitude. It’s clear that this topic is a meaningful one to the writer. Even the act of fly fishing, which they didn’t seem to like much at first, becomes a meaningful act.
- Narrative arc: We have a classic “going on a journey” essay, where the writer transforms on a journey from point A (being afraid of the outdoors) to point B (catching a fish). The writer’s implementation of this structure is excellent, which makes the essay easy to follow along.
Good Personal Statement Examples
Even if your essay isn’t worthy of The New Yorker , you can still make your mark on admissions officers. Writing an essay that fulfills all the goals of a personal statement, whether or not it meets every single criterion an admissions officer is looking for, can still get you into a great college.
Most personal statements are good personal statements, so don’t worry if you’re feeling overwhelmed by the amazing essay examples you see online. The key to writing a good personal statement is writing your personal statement. Focus on finding a topic that lets you communicate your own meaning and voice, and you’ll be set.
The following examples are awesome personal statements. There may be a little room for improvement in places, but the essays do exactly what they need to do. And they say a lot about their writers. Let’s see what the writers and admissions officers have to say.
Personal Statement Example #8: Beekeeper’s Club
As I lift the heavy lid of the hive, the hum of thousands of bees fills my ears. I carefully smoke the entrance to calm the bees, and I begin to inspect the frames. The bees are busy at work, collecting nectar and pollen, and tending to their young. I am in awe of their organization.
I never would have thought that I, a high school student, would become a beekeeper(( An interesting hobby for a high school student! I’m intrigued to see where this is going.)) . But now it’s something I can’t imagine my life without.
It all started when I found a beekeeping suit at a garage sale two summers ago. At a mere five dollars, it was yellowing and musty, but it appeared to be fully intact and without any holes. I’ve lived many lives as a hobbyist, always willing to try new things. I’ve been a sailor, a gardener, a basketball player, a harpist, a rock climber, and more. The problem is that I can never manage to see these hobbies through(( I see. Here we get a sense of what’s at stake in this new venture. The problem is that writer can’t seem to hold down a hobby. Will beekeeping solve that problem? Let’s find out .)) . As a perpetual novice, I always lose interest or become overwhelmed by all the information. But that’s never stopped me from taking up a new hobby, so I brought the beekeeping suit to the make-shift register and handed the seller a five-dollar bill.
To embark on my new hobby, I first went to the library and read everything I could find about beekeeping. Research is always my first step when starting something new. I like to know what I’m in for. As I read, I became fascinated by the fact that such small creatures can serve such a critical role on our planet. I learned about the importance of bees for pollinating crops, and I read that their populations have been declining in recent years. I was determined to do my part to help. This wasn’t just a hobby anymore— it was a mission(( And the stakes just got higher.)) .
But like the bees I’d been reading about, I knew I couldn't do it alone. My years of abandoning hobbies had taught me that this time, I needed guidance from someone with experience. I knew the first place to look. At the farmer’s market that Saturday, I went straight to the honey stand and introduced myself. The vendor’s name was Jeremy, and he was excited to see someone so young taking up beekeeping. I asked if I could come see his hives sometime, and he agreed.
I showed up the next weekend with my used beekeeping suit in hand. Jeremy gave me a tour. I was astounded by the simultaneous simplicity and complexity. As the months went by, Jeremy became my mentor. He taught me the importance of monitoring the health of the hive, how to properly harvest honey, and even the ins and outs of the farmer’s market business.
I was grateful for his guidance and friendship. I found myself becoming more and more passionate about bees and the art of beekeeping.
After months of tending to my hive, I finally had it up and running. These bees were in my care(( The writer has shown us that they’ve learned a big lesson from their past failures: they need support and guidance. I’m impressed that this time they are making an intentional change.)) —this was one hobby I couldn’t abandon. With that knowledge and Jeremy’s support, one hive grew to five. I’m not in it for the money or even the honey. I’m in it for the bees, for the millimeter of difference I’m making in their lives and in the life of the earth.
Through beekeeping, I have found a community of people who share my love for bees. Jeremy, the bees, and the entire beekeeping community have taught me not to quit. We support each other, share tips and advice, and work together to help protect these important insects. And in the process, I have learned that I can take up any new hobby I want and stick with it if I just put in enough effort(( Yep—the writer has come out of this journey on the other side, having learned that their effort does pay off.)) .
AO Notes on Beekeeper’s Club
As an admissions officer, it’s always fun to read about students’ eccentric hobbies. I’d count this as one of them. But what’s better than learning about the hobby is seeing a student’s personal growth.
What makes this essay good:
- Personal journey: Most good personal statements show some kind of personal growth. In this case, we see that the writer has grown mature and aware enough to hold down a hobby. We see that it wasn’t an easy road, but they got there.
- Strengths: There are lots of strengths in this personal statement. We see self-awareness, initiative, teamwork, and care for the bees and the planet.
- Reflection: Part of what makes this personal journey so good is that the writer takes us on the journey with them through reflection. At each stage of the journey, we know exactly what the writer is thinking and feeling. By the end, we’re celebrating their success with them.
What the writer could do to level up:
- Personal meaning: Yep, “personal journey” and “personal meaning” can be two separate things. Although the writer goes on a great personal journey, the personal meaning seems to be lacking a bit. It’s clear that this is an important topic to the writer, but it doesn’t exactly come across as an especially vulnerable one. The writer could make it more vulnerable by incorporating more personal meaning into their reflection: what would it have meant if they had quit beekeeping too? What’s the problem with dropping hobbies in the first place? Why is it personally important to learn to stick with things?
Personal Statement Example #9: Ann
Pushing her blonde curls from her forehead, she pursed her lips in focus(( This vivid, detailed description really draws me in.)) . She sat with legs crossed across the kitchen chair. This was it: the moment she’d been preparing for. Her tiny hand gripped the pencil as if it were a stick of dynamite and twitched her fingers up, down, and back again. She looked up at me and smiled, teeth too big for her growing mouth. “Ann,” the paper read. As I glowed back at my mini-me, I saw in her my whole heart(( And here the focus switches from Ann to the writer—an important transition.)) .
My sister was technically an accident, born when I was eleven years old. But I know that, in the grand scheme of things, Ann’s existence was destined by the cosmos. Watching her write was like looking in a mirror. My hair has long since turned brown, but she and I deal with the same unmanageable curls. Her toothy grin developed over five years of mutual laughter. And she got that unwavering focus from watching me do my own homework each night. At the same time I’ve taught her the ways of the world, she’s taught me joy, patience, and persistence(( Lessons learned! This sentence really draws attention to the main theme. It could be a little more specific because “joy, patience, and persistence” are almost cliche.)) .
I had been an only child for my first decade of life. I remember being lonely and without purpose. With Ann came the opportunity to make a real impact on someone, even as a child myself. The night she was born, I vowed to protect her. I had never seen anyone so small and fragile, and I begged my parents to let me hold her. Next to mine, her hand looked like a doll’s. It was purple and pink from the ordeal of birth. Her eyes barely opened, but I couldn’t keep mine off her.
Many older siblings find their younger siblings to be nuisances. But Ann has always been my best friend. Her first two years of life, she struggled with health issues that scared us all. I felt helpless and afraid, but I knew I had to fight alongside her. I did everything I could: I grabbed diapers and bottles for my parents, I talked to her for hours on end, and, when she was old enough, I spoon fed her and encouraged her to eat. As Ann grew bigger and stronger, I grew stronger, too(( It sounds like this was a really difficult challenge for the writer and their family. I appreciate this picture we get of the writer in relation to Ann.)) .
Each year has gotten better than the previous. I was there to catch Ann when she took her first steps, teach her her first words, and get her dressed every day. She tagged behind me as I took photos before my first dance, got my learner’s permit, and went on my college tours. While being a teen with a toddler sibling wasn’t always perfect, Ann’s mere presence makes those around her feel loved and appreciated. She’s exactly who I aspire to be.
Watching her write her name at the kitchen table, I became overwhelmed with the thought of leaving her to head off to college. She still has so much to learn, so many ways to grow. But just as the thought entered my mind, she spoke in her high-pitched and innocent voice. “When you go to college,” she asked, “will you tell me about your classes?” I blinked away the tears gathering in my eyes, smoothed her curls with my hand, and pulled her in close.
Going to college won’t mean leaving Ann. It will mean opening her world—and mine—to endless new knowledge and possibilities. She’ll grow and change, and so will I. When we reunite, we’ll smile our toothy smiles and embrace each other, our curly hair intertwining. We’ll sit at the kitchen table, focused and laughing, like nothing has changed(( I like how the siblings are continuing to grow together, but at the end of the day, they still have their amazing relationship.)) .
AO Notes on Ann
I always find sibling essays like this one so sweet. It’s amazing how clearly we can understand someone solely through their interactions with a loved one. As an admissions officer, I would see that this student would be a great community member (and roommate!).
- Deeply meaningful: Especially with the family context, it’s apparent that this topic is deeply meaningful to the writer. Because it’s so meaningful a topic, the writer is able to show an immense amount of care for Ann without even trying. AOs love seeing traits like care, maturity, and the ability to grow.
- Clear message: Personal statements should have themes that encompass the main message the writer wants to convey. This essay’s message is clear as day: the writer is a better, happier, more generous person because of Ann. They are an awesome sibling.
- More about the self: This one’s tricky because we get an implicit sense of who the writer is now through the overall tone and meaning. But a lot of the personal examples the writer chose are old examples from childhood and early adolescence. Some of those are important to provide family context, but I still would have liked to get a more recent picture of the writer.
Personal Statement Example #10: Running through My Neighborhood
My mind and eyes began to wander as I turned the corner on my fourth mile. I’ve always been a runner. It's a way for me to relax and challenge myself. Running makes me feel like I’m one with the world around me. As I run, I can't help but be struck by the beauty of the buildings and people that make up my city. Each is a work of art—a carefully-crafted expression of my community. With every step, I feel a deep connection to the life around me(( This introduction covers a lot, so this last sentence could be a bit more specific.)) .
On my run, I find myself drawn to the intricate details of the buildings. I admire the way the light catches on centuries-old bricks, casting shadows that dance across the pavement below. I look up at the skyscraper windows that nearly touch the sky, frightened at the sight of window washers. Old and new, the buildings all carry stories.
In the same way, I admire the neighbors around me. I see them feeding pigeons, smiling at me as I pass by. They’re walking dogs and babies, talking on a park bench, and playing hopscotch. I run by them, fast but steady, and breathe it all in. I’m on this beautiful city block, surrounded by people whose whole lives are familiar yet mysterious, and I’m running.
But it's not just the aesthetic beauty of the buildings that grabs my attention. As I run, I find myself thinking about the stories and histories behind each one. I wonder about the people who built them, the families they had at home, the lives they led. I think about the people who have lived and worked in these buildings and the memories that have been made within their walls.
Take the local bakery, for instance. I’ve run by there a thousand times in my life, each time soaking up the smell of freshly-baked bread and pastries. The building seems unassuming at first, with a simple glass door and brick façade. But once you step foot inside, you’re immediately hit with the warmth of the staff and patrons. The old photos on the wall and cozy furniture that has been there since the bakery’s opening back in the 1950s—it feels like home(( These are great vivid details.)) . The bakery is everything I value about my neighborhood. It completely represents what kind of neighbor I want to be. Plus, it’s not a bad place for a post-run snack.
Through my runs, I’ve also made connections with those who frequent the sidewalks alongside me. One of the people I see regularly on my runs is Mrs. Carter, an elderly woman who always has a kind word and a smile for everyone she meets. Her white hair is carefully curled, and her face is dimpled with laugh lines from thousands of conversations like ours. She often stops to chat with me, asking how my day is going and sharing stories from her own life. I always look forward to seeing her. She’s like the grandmother I never had. Mrs. Carter inspires me to be a better community member every day(( This kind of reflection brings the focus back to the writer’s personal journey.)) .
Running through my neighborhood is about more than just staying fit. It’s also about being in community with those around me. As I weave through the people on the sidewalk, I feel as though I am weaving myself through their stories, picking up tidbits and adding them to my own narrative. I wouldn’t be who I am today without these runs that have taught me so much. I can’t wait to run across my college campus, admiring my new surroundings and meeting my new neighbors(( I like this gesture to the future—as an AO, I would start to picture this student running through my campus, too!)) .
AO Notes on Running through My Neighborhood
Running essays can get a bad rap in college admissions. But this one overcomes that stereotype. At its core, this essay is about the runner’s relationship to their community. I really appreciate how much care and enthusiasm this writer shows for those around them.
- Writing: The writer’s voice shines through. They have great vivid descriptions, and we’re really able to envision ourselves in the neighborhood alongside them.
- Personal meaning: The way the writer describes those they encounter in their neighborhood shows that this isn’t a minor part of their life. Their runs are a big deal. The people they see along the way have greatly shaped who they are.
- Greater focus on self: Now, there are much worse culprits when it comes to personal essays that focus on people other than the writer. But the writer does toe the line. Their descriptions mostly focus on those around them, and while there is some reflection that connects their own experience to other people, it doesn’t actually take up much space in the essay. To level up, the writer could make this essay more about themself.
Personal Statement Example #11: Musical Installation Art
As a child, I was always drawn to stringed instruments(( The hook could have more punch, but this gets the job done.)) . I would pluck at my dad's old guitars, create makeshift harps with dental floss, and even play around with the banjo and harp in music class. As I got older, I realized that I wanted to focus on making my own instruments. And where better to start than in my dad's scrapyard? The yard sprawled out for almost five acres behind our house. It was a marvel of junk and oddities, with the accumulated garbage from hundreds of junker cars built up in our backyard. I grew up playing there, leading a childhood that most parents would probably see as reckless—rolling tires through narrow alleyways between crushed cars stacked high. But for me, the backyard was an endless playground for my imagination.
It was there that I discovered the joys of welding and soldering. I would rummage through piles of metal and find pieces that I could fashion into something new. My first sculptures were simple, resembling birds or dogs and pieced together from strips of metal. I’d look for similar art everywhere I went, grasping for inspiration. At a fair one weekend, I saw a booth run by an artist who built guitars. After speaking with him about his art, he asked to see a picture of my sculptures. I showed him and explained that I hoped to make my own instruments one day, too. He scuttled to the back of his tent and returned with a gift: a set of thick copper strings. “Try using those,”(( What an endearing story.)) he told me.
My first sculpture instrument was a crude thing—little more than a board of metal with pegs that I used to pull the copper strings tight. But I tightened them, I was in love—spending all night plucking away. At first, the instrument wailed and screeched. String by string, I delicately tuned the wires into sirens. I had created something that played music, and I was so proud.
My experience building the instrument motivated me to enroll in a sculpture class at the local community college. It was there that I learned how to properly solder metal and create more complex structures. For my final project, I made a three-foot-tall, four-stringed metal instrument in the shape of a dragon.
But as I worked, I started to realize that my dragon wasn't going to be beautiful in the traditional sense. Its metal body was jagged and uneven, and the strings were stretched tight across its back in a way that produced discordant, almost abrasive music. I tried to adjust the tuning, but no matter what I did, the music remained harsh and unpleasant.
At first, I was disappointed. I wanted my dragon to be a work of art, something that people would marvel at and love listening to. But as I continued to play with it, I started to see the beauty in the chaos(( This paragraph shows wonderful growth. And as a reader, I’m drawn in trying to imagine what the sculpture actually looks like.)) . The music it produced was like a musical language that I had invented, one that was wild and untamed. It was a reflection of my own creativity and individuality. A discordant collection of notes that sounded like they’d been tuned so as to be atonal. But I didn't care. I was a scrapyard kid, and this dragon played the song of my people: strong, innovative, and beautiful.
The combination of sculpture and music fascinates me. How does the shape of a fabrication affect the kind of sound that the object produces? What sounds do different materials produce? As I’ve learned more about sculpture, I’ve also become interested in installation art that has sound dimensions. I want to capture people’s visual and aural attention to inspire questions about how we navigate the aesthetic world(( It sounds like this topic potentially relates to the student’s future goals. If that’s true, there could be a clearer academic connection here.)) . And I’ll use whatever scraps I can find to make my creations.
AO Notes on Musical Installation Art
I don’t think I’ve ever seen a piece of musical installation art myself, so this topic really held my attention. I appreciate the journey the writer went on to learn that their art may not look like everyone else’s, but it can be just as impactful.
- Topic: I like this topic not only because it’s not one you see every day but also because it lets the writer reveal a lot about themself and their background. We see where they grew up and who they grew up with, and we also learn about this deeply meaningful personal interest.
- Writing style: This author has a very distinct writing style. In some ways, the writing style mirrors their art style—abrupt at times, melodic at others.
- Organization: The first half of this essay doesn’t always match up with the second half. Even though we’re still able to see the writer’s journey as a metal artist and musician, there’s still a bit of streamlining that needs to happen.
Personal Statement Example #12: Ski Patrol
I can never get enough of being in the mountains(( This hook isn’t very compelling, so it could use some more attention.)) . I am a skier through and through. Growing up, I spent countless family vacations on the slopes with my dad and siblings. I love the rush I get speeding down the mountain—I’ve improved so much over my life that I can now handle most runs I come across. But last year, I took my love for skiing to a whole other level by joining ski patrol.
It was mid-December, and my family had decided to take a weekend away to go skiing. Everything was going normally at first. We had a good day on the slopes and wanted to go one more run before calling it a night. We took a moment to rest and watched the person in front of us go. Only seconds after she headed down the mountain, something happened with her ski. She catapulted into a nearby tree. People raced to check on her, while we stayed back and alerted ski patrol.
When ski patrol arrived, I watched in amazement. They moved in such a precise way. They were like a machine—everyone knew exactly what to do when. Thankfully, it was a false alarm and the skier only had a few scratches. But my own life was changed forever. I knew then that I wanted to be a part of this team, to help others in a tangible way and to make a difference on the mountain that had always been my home.
As soon as I could, I applied for the Junior Ski Patrol team. I had to go through a tryout process on the hill, which made me nervous. But it felt good to be surrounded by people who loved skiing as much as I do. Thankfully, I was accepted shortly after; it was one of the best days of my life. Now on Junior Ski Patrol, I have the opportunity to do what I love – skiing – while also making a positive impact on others(( And here we get to the heart of the essay. The writer wants to help others while doing something they love. It’s a noble pursuit!)) . My team shadows the adult Ski Patrol, and we learn a lot of lessons along the way.
On the mountain (and in life), you never know what challenges might arise. One of the most important things I’ve learned from Junior Ski Patrol is to be prepared for anything. I’ve gotten my CPR and first aid certifications so I’m always prepared to administer life-saving care to anyone who might need it. I know how to pack a bag full of enough essentials to survive harsh weather or injuries.
But ski patrol has also taught me so much more than just how to help others. It has shown me how I work best on a team. I’m not naturally a leader, which is something I’ve always felt ashamed about. After learning from our mentors who all fulfill different roles on their adult Ski Patrol team, I realized that I don’t have to be a leader to be a good team member. The quiet collaborators who can follow the lead, take initiative when needed, and do their jobs really well are just as important as the people who are front-and-center(( An important personal insight.)) .
Being on ski patrol as a high school student has been an incredible journey, and I am grateful for the opportunity to be a part of such a dedicated team. More importantly, I’m proud of the growth I’ve experienced. I went from a person who just loves skiing to a person who is more confident in herself. I no longer feel unprepared or timid. I know exactly how to keep myself safe and work alongside others. While I don’t want to be a professional Ski Patroller or even go into medicine, I know these lessons will serve me well wherever life takes me(( As an AO, I would have been wondering if being on JSP made them want to study medicine, so I appreciate that they answered it for me!)) . But no matter where I end up, when the mountain calls, you know I’ll answer.
AO Notes on Ski Patrol
In this fun hobby-meets-accomplishment essay, the writer shows us their strengths of care and teamwork. I like the crossover between something that they really enjoy and this impressive accomplishment they have of being on Junior Ski Patrol.
- Lessons learned: The writer makes it very clear what lessons they learned from Junior Ski Patrol. Lessons don’t always have to be this explicit, but I appreciate how the writer really takes the time to reflect on what they’ve learned.
- Personal insight: Okay, this point is related to the lessons learned. But it’s important to draw out on its own because personal essays are, of course, personal. This topic easily could have been just about skiing down a mountain or administering first aid on patrol. Instead, the writer kept the focus inward to meet the expectations of a personal essay.
- What’s at stake?: We do get a good sense of personal meaning. But the writer could do a better job of speaking to the significance of this activity to their life. A good question to ask is, “What’s at stake?” What would I have lost or gained if this story had turned out differently? Asking these questions can also help you figure out what it is that you want an admissions officer to learn from your personal statement.
Personal Statement Example #13: The Regulars
One pump of vanilla syrup. Frothed milk. One espresso shot. Caramel drizzle(( Starting with some version of the following sentence would have been a stronger hook.)) . Like a scientist at her bench, I have methodically repeated these steps four days a week for the past two years. During my time as a Starbucks barista, I’ve learned hundreds of recipes and customizations. I know all the secret menu hacks, and I’ve developed several recipes for friends and family too. I pride myself on speed, quality, and memory. My favorite part of the job is the customer service. As one of the busiest locations in the region, I’ve caffeinated thousands. But it’s my regular customers, those whose orders I know like the back of my hand, who have truly impacted me.
Venti Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew, hold the vanilla syrup. A busy mom of four, Chelsea is always in a hurry. I try to catch her the moment she enters the store so I can get started right away. Her Venti drink fuels her through school dropoffs and pickups, gymnastics lessons, and evening math homework. Throughout my conversations with her, I’ve learned that Chelsea is a scheduling virtuoso. As someone with ADHD(( This paragraph is almost too much about Chelsea, so this sentence is crucial to bring the focus back to the writer.)) , I became so inspired by her ability to juggle so many people and schedules simultaneously. After asking her for advice, she helped me find a time management system that I can keep up with. I have Chelsea to thank for my improved grades.
Grande dark roast, no room for cream. Mr. Williams is a retired businessman who always tips 100%. Mr. Williams is a quiet man, so it took me months to draw any information from him. Instead of using my over-the-top customer service voice, I eventually learned to be myself. When I got him to open up, I discovered that he was a service worker himself before he made it big in business in his sixties. The truth is, Mr. Williams has tipped me hundreds of dollars throughout my time here, which is extra money that will help me pay for college. He’s taught me the value of quiet generosity(( Let’s be honest. Mr. Williams sounds like a cool guy. But Mr. Williams isn’t applying to college—the writer is! I like that we get small glimpses into who the writer is through this paragraph, but there’s still room for more.)) .
Tall soy London Fog. Sweet Darla gave up coffee twenty-five years ago, but she still loves an occasional treat. When Darla enters, I clear my schedule. She always has stories to tell about the eighty years of life she’s lived. Darla is everything I want to be at that age: she’s spunky, opinionated, and hilarious(( Here we learn a lot about the writer through Darla.)) . Sometimes I tell Darla stories of my own. When I explained the dramatic series of events that led to me landing first chair in my symphony, she said she was going to retell it her bridge club. Making Darla laugh so hard will always be one of my proudest moments.
Grande iced matcha. Taylor is my age and goes to my school. When I took her order for the first time, I felt embarrassed that I needed to work to support myself while she could enjoy expensive drinks. But her kindness softened me. As time went on, I learned that she visited Starbucks so much because she wanted to get out of her house, which wasn’t a very happy place. While I have to take on as many shifts as possible, I still have a happy home to return to afterward. Now Taylor comes in near the end of my shift so we can take our drinks and have dinner at my house.
When you work in customer service, customers enter and exit your life like a revolving door. But the regulars, those special people who draw connections from daily but brief interactions, stick with you for life. I wouldn’t be who I am today if it weren’t for these people, and I would never have met them if it weren’t for my job as a barista. I haven’t just been making drinks these past two years. I’ve been making friends(( The conclusion does a good job tying all these different stories back together. )) .
AO Notes on The Regulars
No one appreciates a good barista story more than a tired admissions officer on their 30th application of the day! I like the personality that comes through in this essay especially. But this is one of those cases where it’s almost too much about other people.
- Creative take: Not every college essay needs a creative flair. In fact, sometimes going for “unique” structures can detract from an essay. But I like how the writer uses this format to structure the essay.
- Organization: This essay isn’t one a reader is bound to get lost in. The introduction sets up the essay well, it’s easy to see the connections between the points the writer is conveying, and the conclusion brings the focus back to the writer.
- More focus on self: While we do learn about the writer in this essay, we also learn a lot about Chelsea, Mr. Williams, Darla, and Taylor. The writer could have pared down the descriptions of other people—or cut one of the examples altogether—to save more room for personal reflection.
“Bad” Personal Statement Examples
These “bad” essays aren’t necessarily bad. They just aren’t very effective personal statements. Specifically, these two essays make some of the biggest college essay mistakes.
Making mistakes, especially when you’ve never written a personal statement before, is to be expected. We’ve included these examples so you can see what those mistakes look like in real-time. Learning from ineffective examples can be just as helpful as learning from the exceptional ones, so grab your pencil and start taking notes.
Our admissions officers have highlighted what’s working and what’s not. They offer helpful commentary and advice for revisions that you can use to assess whether your own personal statement.
Personal Statement Example #14: The Worst Year
My sophomore year of high school presented me with so many challenges(( This hook definitely gets straight to the point, but it doesn’t draw me in as a reader.)) . I struggled with a lot that year and barely managed to get by. It was the greatest challenge I ever faced.
The year started out like any other but soon went into chaos. My brother suddenly started struggling with drugs and alcohol. Before that, we didn’t know how bad he was hurting. But one night he finally came to us for help because apparently he had been using substances to cope with his emotions. He was scared because he felt like he had reached a breaking point and needed support. My parents didn’t want to help because they thought that he didn’t have a problem but I know my brother and I knew that he didn’t seem like himself. It was so sad to watch him go through that. I tried my best to help him but I was only a kid. I couldn’t really do anything besides tell him I loved him. Eventually my parents decided to get him some help, so he went away for a while and I wrote him letters every week and visited him as much as I could. The treatment he got helped thankfully. He’s doing better now and I am grateful that he is my brother.
But then Covid hit and I couldn’t even leave my house. We thought it would just be a two week vacation to school but it turned into two whole years of my life gone just like that. At the beginning I was stuck in my bedroom while my parents were working their jobs from the living room. Everyone was constantly getting annoyed with each other and driving each other wild. I would be doing a class Zoom in my room and I could hear my parents in a meeting in the living room. I had a hard time not being able to see my friends. I couldn't focus and my grades dropped. Even my teachers didn’t really seem to care. I was sick of staring at black Zoom screens all the time that I even stopped logging on. All of that combined led to me becoming very depressed and anxious. My grades dropped even more because I just couldn’t pay attention or focus enough to do my homework. I ended up getting grades way lower than I ever thought I would that year and I’m so frustrated about it because it felt like I was trying my best but it just wasn’t enough(( Here we see the writer opening up a bit and reflecting on what it was like to go through that experience.)) .
Even once we finally got back in school things didn’t get much better. The pandemic was just too much for my family so my parents ended up getting divorced at the beginning of my junior year. After all we had been through together seeing them separate made me devastated. My dad got an apartment and I had to go back and forth between their houses and pack up all my stuff every time. It was like moving my entire life every weekend. My brother was out of the house by this point so it was just me all by myself. My school was far from my dad’s new place so I’d have a long commute on the weeks I was with him. He was stressed at work and about the divorce and I just ended up feeling so lonely and spending most of my time in my room. My grades got better once online school stopped(( This moment of hope does a lot for moving the essay forward.)) but I had a hard time keeping close relationships with my friends because they didn’t like that I was living far away now and that we couldn’t really hang out anymore.
I couldn’t believe that two years would change so much. Getting through everything really challenged me. But I’m glad to be moving forward with my life.
AO Notes on The Worst Year
This student definitely had a challenging year. It’s clear that they’ve overcome a lot, and I appreciate their willingness to share their struggles. I like that the very last sentence
What this essay does well:
- Vulnerability: Writing about challenges is never easy, especially when you’re writing to people you don’t know. This writer is bold and unafraid in doing so.
What could be improved on:
- Not enough positivity: Here’s the thing. You definitely don’t need to be able to spin all of your challenging experiences into positive ones. But the topics you choose to write your college essay about should ultimately conclude on a positive note. You want your college essay to show you in a positive light, so you should choose a topic that lets you find a light, positive, or hopeful resolution.
Personal Statement Example #15: The Strikeout that Changed my Life
The stadium lights shone brightly in my eyes. I stepped up to the plate and drew back my bat. I wiggled my fingers, waiting. The pitcher wound up his arm and threw the ball towards me. My eyes worked overtime to track the ball. I watched as it flew directly towards the center of the plate and made a last-minute curve(( I like this vivid description.)) . It went straight into the catcher’s mitt. “Strike three!” the umpire yelled. That was the time I struck out at the quarter-finals. My team was so close to making it to the championship that we could taste it. It was the bottom of the sixth, and I gave up a valuable chance to score game-winning runs. We ended up losing. I learned a valuable lesson that fateful day. I never wanted to let my team down like that again(( And the writer jumps quickly into the main theme of the essay. Still, the message here could be more specific.)) .
We had advanced through our bracket without much trouble. The other teams were no match for our work ethic and teamwork. We were in perfect sync. As the first baseman, I was ready for any throw that came my way. We were also hitting well. I scored three home runs throughout the course of the tournament. We were a high-functioning machine. But for a machine to work, each cog has to function correctly. When I stepped up to the plate in the sixth inning, I was a broken cog.
After our quarter–final loss, I grieved with my teammates. Then I went off on my own to think. How had I let my team down so badly? How did I not even try to swing at that pitch? It was all my fault. I had to figure out what I had done wrong so I would never make the mistake again. I realized that I had been thinking selfishly. I was concerned about my own performance, my own at-bat averages(( This is a good reflection.)) . I was scared of failing because I didn’t want to be embarrassed. And worrying about all of those things caused me to lose focus and miss my chance to make a difference. Instead, I should have been thinking about how my at-bat would contribute to my team’s overall goal of winning the game.
I returned to where my teammates were congregating, and several of them patted me on the back. The next day, we went over how the game went as a team and talked about how we could improve at our tournament the following weekend. I admitted that I felt like I let the team down. My teammates said that they understood and reassured me that mistakes happen. It wasn’t my failed at-bat alone that lost us the game. Like winning, losing is a team effort. It was a culmination of lots of little issues. At the end of the day, the other team just out-performed us. But we could try hard, practice a lot, and return triumphant next weekend.
Letting my team down was a crushing blow to my self-esteem. I never want to feel like that again, but I know that the experience caused me to grow. Through all of this, I learned that I have to trust myself and my team(( Here we get to the lesson learned.)) . Focusing on myself alone can only get me so far. But focusing on my team can get me to where I want to go. I’m actually thankful that I struck out in that sixth inning because it caused me to learn an important life lesson.
AO Notes on The Strikeout that Changed My Life
This essay on its own definitely isn’t “bad.” As far as essays go, it’s clear, well-written, and organized nicely. But as a college essay, it could be doing more work on the writer’s behalf. See, as an admissions officer, I don’t actually learn that much about the writer from this essay alone. I see that they like baseball, are a good teammate, and can overcome failure. Those are wonderful traits, but they don’t exactly help set this student apart on the admissions committee floor. Instead, the student could make this essay more vulnerable and personal.
- Writing: The writer uses some great creative writing skills to really set the scene for the readers. In that first paragraph, I really feel like I’m there watching the game.
- Reflection: Even though the topic could be more significant, the writer does a great job reflecting on the meaning they drew from the experience.
- Significance: It’s very clear that this topic holds a lot of meaning to the writer. But as a college essay topic, it’s lacking vulnerability and stakes.
Writing a personal statement is a difficult ask, especially when you’ve never even read one before. But now, with these fifteen examples in your back pocket, you’re ready to write your own.
If you’re not sure what steps to take next, hop on over to our guide to writing personal statements for advice. You can also find more extensive guidance on the Essay Academy , a comprehensive college essay writing video course and community.
Happy writing! 🥳
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Personal Statement - MSc Business with International Management
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Management is a speedily emerging field, with a keen eye on emerging Management and I am passionate to study the MSc Management Programme at University of Brighton. It provides comprehensive and profound knowledge and expertise of contemporary business organizations worldwide. This MSc Management programme will assist me to prepare for a larger career in management with the specializations offered in human resource management, entrepreneurship, and interna....
Personal Statement of Purpose - MSc Computer Science
The course that I’m looking to pursue is MSc Computer Science at York St John University (YSJU). By studying this course, I will be able to gain invaluable in-depth and practical knowledge which will help me in starting a successful career. Moreover, getting the opportunity to study in this university will help me advance both professionally and academically. In addition, the opportunity to apply my theories and ideas in practice will benefit me to e....
PersonalStatement- BSc (Hons) Pharmaceutical Science
I want to pursue the BSc (Hons) Pharmaceutical Science programme at University of Hertfordshire. The University works with a wide range of pharmaceutical industries who input the course design and teaching which meets the changing demands of the workplace and give students a path to achieve their future career goal. Over and above, I believe getting a chance to pursue my study career in this University will progress me both professionally and intellectuall....
Personal Statement - BSc (Hons) Biomedical Science
The human body is one of the most amazing things on earth. The desire to study biomedical science came from my school life when I was studying biology and was greatly fascinated by the biology of the human body. My goal in studying biomedical science is to gain a deeper understanding of the human body. I am willing to pursue a BSc (Hons) Biomedical Science with International Foundation programme (Malvern House) at the University of East London. By studying....
Personal Statement - MSc Logistics and Supply Chain Management
I am keen to pursue MSc (PGCertPGDip) Logistics and Supply Chain Management progamme at the University of Brighton because the professional world today is highly competitive and the importance of supply chain management and logistics in globalization, and digitization has multiplied. As I aim to improve and strengthen my knowledge of this Logistics and Supply Chain Management. This course covers topics such as Digital Supply Chain, International ....
PersonalStatement- BSc (Hons) Computer Science
The course that I’m looking to pursue is BSc (Hons) Computer Science at University of East London (UEL). Through the teachings of this course, I will be able to gain invaluable in-depth and practical knowledge which will help me in starting a successful career. The opportunity to apply my theories and ideas in practice will benefit me to enhance my skills and knowledge and to achieve a deeper understanding of the field of Web Technologies, Computer S....
Personal Statement - LLM International Law and Social Justice
I am keen to pursue LLM International Law and Social Justice at University of Brighton. This LL.M in international law and Social Justice will complement and enhance my Bachelor degree. The application is supported by my CV and evidence of my qualifications, references and my eligibility to study. This will verify the information contained within this application. If I may complete the LLM international law and Social Justice, I will get a vast idea about ....
Personal Statement - MSc Management with Professional Development and Planning
I, S Ahmed, am from Bangladesh a highly ambitious boy. I am 27 years old. I have decided to study in the MSc Management with Professional Development and Planning (PDP) Programme at BPP University because it is a comprehensive and detailed course of study that provides the knowledge and skills needed by contemporary global business organisations. As this course prepares graduates for management-level positions and so I am looking forward to achieving this ....
Personal Statement of Purpose - MBA
I am keen to study MBA at York Saint John University, London. This course is suitable for me to enhance my academic qualifications and it will be a great opportunity to start a successful career through deep insights and practical knowledge. Moreover, I believe getting a chance to pursue my study career in this University will progress me both professionally and intellectually, besides the opportunity to apply my theories and ideas in practice will benefit....
Personal Statement of Purpose - BSc (Hons) Computer Science with International Foundation Programme
I am intending to pursue the BSc (Hons) Computer Science with International Foundation Programme at University of East London (Malvern House). This course is currently in the midst of a technological and computing revolution that will radically change my life and potentially redefine what it means to be human. I will be able to build a strong foundation in computer science fundamentals in this course, including modeling and designing information systems, d....
Personal Statement - BSc (Hons) Business Management
I am keen to study the BSc (Hons) Business Management with International Foundation Programmeat the University of East London.I am very ambitious and I have always been interested in management-related things. I believe Management to be a fast-developing profession as business industries are heavily involved with their management for all kinds of decisions, and I find the prospect of working in this field inspiring. And I found that studying this course wi....
SOP – MSc Management with Project Management
My name is BalajiYadagani, and I’m a 28-year-old Indian looking to pursue MSc Management with Project Management with Professional Development and Planning (PDP) at BPP University. This course is suitable for me to enhance my academic qualifications and it will be a great opportunity to start a successful career through deep insights and practical knowledge. I have gained knowledge and skills of English language during my bachelor’s at Jawaharl....
SOP - MSc Management with Professional Development and Planning
I want to study the MSc Management with Professional Development and Planning (PDP) module offered by BPP University because the programme is a comprehensive and detailed programme of study that offers the knowledge and skills demanded by contemporary global business organizations. The programme provides a range of theoretical knowledge of modern business practice while equips with number of practical skills that can enhance my competitive edge to potentia....
Personal statement - MSc International Management
I am keen to pursue MSc International Management at University of Brighton. By researching the course curriculum available at university website, I become to know that this course helps students to develop the global business knowledge which will help me to achieve my future career goal. Moreover, I believe getting a chance to pursue my study career in thisUniversity will progress me both professionally and intellectually. Besides the opportunity to apply ....
Personal Statement - MSc Healthcare Leadership
My name is Md R Islam and I am 25 years old. I am from Bangladesh. Right now, I am intending to pursue the MSc Healthcare Leadership programme at BPP University. By studying this programme I will be able to evaluate critically a range of leadership models, techniques, and appropriate application to everyday working practice. Moreover, I believe getting a chance to pursue this MSc course at this University will progress me both professionally and intellectu....
SOP - MSc Computer Science with Professional Experience
I amkeento pursueMSc ComputerSciencewith ProfessionalExperienceatYork StJohn University. This programme will balance bothadvancedpractical skills and theoreticalknowledge to providewith theabilityto entera range ofprofessionalIT disciplines andemployment.Moreover, this coursehelps student to furtherdevelop their knowledge andskills within the cutting-edgeareas of ComputerScience. Accordingto myresearch andfindingsIhavefound that an MScin ComputerScience....
SOP - MSc Accounting and Finance [Advance Diploma Route]
I have chosen to study MSc Accounting and Finance [Advance Diploma Route] at BPP University. This course modules is designed to develop critical thinking and analytical skills, the further study is essential for a successful global accounting career. The course is ideal for starting a successful career through invaluable insights and practical knowledge which will be playing a vital role to achieve my future career objectives. BPP University offers some....
Personal Statement - MSc Planning and Development
I am M Ali and from Bangladesh. I am writing this application with great joy to study the course MSc Planning and Development at the Queen’s University Belfast. This course is designed to provide a broad knowledge of planning and professional skills and to use statistical analysis. More importantly, this course will teach me how they solve problems, and create new solutions for the built environment and understand the complexity of environmental mana....
PS - MSc Accounting and Finance [Advanced Diploma Route]
I am willing to study the MSc Accounting and Finance [Advanced Diploma Route] programme at BPP University. The course is ideal for starting a successful career through invaluable insights and practical knowledge which will be playing a vital role to achieve my future career goal. After completing my HSC & SSC in Science group, I completed my Bachelor of Arts and Masters in Da’wah and Islamic Studies. During my school days, I had taken part in ....
Personal Statement of Purpose - MSc Management
I am intending to study the MSc Management at University of Brighton to enhance my academic knowledge and create better and further opportunities for my career. By doing a lot of research on the University website for the course, I can confidently say that this course will satisfy my curiosity and hope and it will lead me to a career that I aim to develop in a sustainable way. In this MSc Management program at Brighton University, I will be able to do c....
Statement of Purpose - MBA
I am Md S Uddin,keen to study the MBA with work placement at York St John University London Campus to enhance my current academic attainments, extend my skills in Business and with professional skills and create better opportunities to design my career in the field. Following my Secondary and Higher Secondary education were science background and I studied my Bachelor and Master Degree in Daw’ah and Islamic Studies under the International Islamic ....
Personal Statement - MSc International Business
I have been doing extensive research since my last graduation to narrow-down my prospective course of study. After much deliberation, I have decided to pursue MSc International Business at University of Bedfordshire. The program provides its students with the knowledge and professional skills that go beyond the scope of standard management and I believe that this program will give the premise to me to advance into a profession with extraordinary potential.....
Statement of Purpose-MSc International Business
Following my Successful completion of the MSc International Accounting and Finance at London South Bank University, I have made a strategic decision to extend my academic knowledge and skills further with an MSc in International Business so that I can gain mastery in varied functions of business and organisations. My aim is to gain control over my efficiency and leave no gap in my accomplishments so that I can be a human asset for my employer or my own pro....
Statement of Purpose - MSc International Business
Upon finishing my recent study of MSc International Finance, while waiting for the final result, a thorough inspection in my accomplishments till now, I find myself narrowed to a one dimensional direction of accounting and finance. A transition and shift to UK’s dynamic environment from my home country Pakistan, I have observed the broader aspects of career directions and demands of global business organisations. The needs for rounded knowledge and s....
Statement of Purpose - DBA Course
I am very keen to follow Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) course at University of the Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD). While doing my Master in Management with Finance from BPP University after my MBA from University of West London, I became more attached to the management area of business and industry and planned my career in this arena. The DBA course will enable me to gain new horizon of knowledge in those areas and boost my career prospects as....
Statement of Purpose MSc Clinical Dermatology course
A medical graduate from the College of Medicine, University of Sulaimani, Iraq with few years of experience as a Dermatology Professional, I am driven to gain advanced level knowledge and skills in the field from scholastic institution and specialise in Clinical Dermatology with a master degree. After exploring my options and researching different study opportunities, I am keen to follow the MSc Clinical Dermatology course offered by Kings College London. ....
MBA - sample statement of Purpose
To master my business management knowledge and skills that I have gained from my recently completed Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) course, I aim to follow the Master of Business Administration course (MBA) and progress towards my career goals. After extensive search and research of course, universities and study destinations, I have decided to undertake the MBA programme offered by the University of the West of Scotland (UWS). At UWS, this MB....
LLM Commercial and Corporate Law - Sample Personal Statement
My name is T Ahmed. My nationality is Bangladeshi and I am 25 years old. I am intending to pursue the LLM Comparative Commercial Law at BPP University to to achieve a deeper understanding of the field of Comparative Commercial Law. I look forward to having the opportunity to study it to a higher level. Following my SSC & HSC, I have completed my Bachelor of Laws (Honours) from ASA University of Bangladesh in 2019. Then I admitted myself at Jagannath Un....
MBA with pre-master's
A recent graduate of Political Science, I have been in search of scopes for job opportunities in my home country and found very limited options let alone extreme competition in Bangladesh Job Market where unemployment rate is too high. The analysis has prompted me to re-think and plan realistically for further study options that can facilitate more and better career prospects. An evaluation of the current trends of the job market in Bangladesh, I have esta....
MSc Business with International Management with Advanced Practice
Today’s changing nature of global business and organisations that are evolving at fast pace to emancipate traditional management with business leaders who are versatile and pragmatic. Given the recent development that my home country India has seen in the last decade, it has become integral to co-ordinate and sustain the growth with skilled and professional human capital. This importance goes further with demands for skilled and educated women to put....
MBA (Master of Business Administration)
I am keen to pursue the Master of Business Administration (MBA) programme offered by the celebrated Bristol Business School of University of the West of England (UWE). As the MBA is recognised as the benchmark professional qualification in management, this rigorous and career-oriented MBA programme, once qualified will give the message to my employer that I can think strategically and beyond my immediate role. These programmes will undoubtedly help me g....
Following my recently completed Master of Business Studies under the National University of Bangladesh, I take great interest to study an MBA programme under the Northampton University, the ‘Gold’ ranked university by the Teaching Excellence Framework. I have made the decision after considering all aspects of my academic and career developments. In my Master of Business Studies, I have gathered one-dimensional knowledge mainly focused to man....
MSc Clinical Dermatology
Note: the example personal statement (statement of purpose) below is for guidelines only and to help you understand how to write one - do not copy any part of it. When applying to universities, write your own personal statement (statement of purpose) according to your profile for the course you are applying. Please check HERE for detailed guidelines on how to write a personal statement (statement of purpose). I am keen to follow the MSc Clinical Dermato....
DBA - Doctor of Business Administration
I am highly motivated to study the Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) programme to enhance my academic accomplishments and gain further personal and professional developments. The qualification would facilitate me to realise my career plan as a business management consultant and develop it to further height. I have recently completed MSc Management with Finance course - the study has provided me insights into various areas of management and busines....
Personal Statement for MBA course application
A recent graduate with a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) Degree, the Master of Business Administration (MBA) course as my postgraduate study pathway is the reflection of my academic pursuance for greater depth of knowledge in the area. While reviewing my options for a master’s study between MSc and MBA, I have concluded that being a premier business and management qualification, an MBA could provide rounded knowledge while complementing my ....
Doctor of Business Administration - DBA
I am keen to follow the DBA programme offered by the University of the West of Scotland to gain further academic progression and enhance my academic heights to next level. This accomplishments along with my current qualifications would provide me the strength to realise my career plan as a consultant for business and organisations. From my research, I have found out that as the number of MBA holders continues to grow, the DBA qualification enables gradu....
MSc International Human Resource Management
I want to pursue my higher education at University of Bedfordshire for the MSc International Human Resource Management in November 2021 intake. I want to study this course to enhance my current academic credentials and prepare myself as a career ready graduate with required skills and knowledge for my future managerial role (HR & Admin ) at BEXIMCO Textile Limited , Bangladesh. I strongly believe that this course will meet the requirement with relevant....
MSc Finance and Business Management
My Enthusiasm knows no bound to apply for the MSc Finance and Business Management course at the University of Bedfordshire. While researching on my further study options in the UK, the course and its contents have caught my attention – the 3 in 1 combination of finance, business and management incorporated in one master degree is truly a perfect opportunity to specialise in 3 vital functional areas of business organisations. The course has been ....
MSc Computing Networking Programme
I am interested to follow the MSc Computing Networking programme at the University of Bedfordshire because this course will enhance my knowledge of computer networking technologies - through the use of real-world applications, I will gain an in-depth understanding of advanced and academic computing skills. I have studied BCS Certificate and Diploma level in computing followed by year 3 top up BSc in Computing under the University of Greenwich. In thes....
The MBA Global Business is a premier masters qualification offered at Coventry University London – the qualification is a powerful demonstration of some of the most sought-after attributes in any executive: intelligence; innovation; and determination. It blends established expertise with the latest thinking of contemporary business and management to provide a real catalyst to develop career. In a fiercely competitive employment market, the MBA giv....
LLM Commercial Law
With the procession of globalisation internationally based and active industries continue to grow each year and marching together. In this climate of globalisation, commerce and trade exert some of the most powerful influences on human activity and commercial relationships reflect a constantly evolving world. The above aspects have brought good practice along with malpractice in business and organisations. The ingenuity of traders and the complexity of ....
Developing countries like Bangladesh, my home country, we need Accountancy and Finance professionals equipped with Western and European qualifications accompanied by practically experienced social, cultural and economic activities practised there. There was a time, it had been almost impossible to gain access to these special qualifications by students in general. ACCA (The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) – the largest accountancy b....
BSc (Hons) Professional Accounting Course
Note: the example personal statement (statement of purpose) below is for guidelines only and to help you understand how to write one - do not copy any part of it. When applying to universities, write your own personal statement (statement of purpose) according to your profile for the course you are applying. Please check HERE for detailed guidelines on how to write a personal statement (statement of purpose). My aim is to become a ....
I am motivated to study the ACCA course which predominantly focuses in accounting and finance with other key functional areas of business and organisation. The syllabus of the programme is modernised to address global issues virtually in all aspects of business. Being qualified with ACCA would equip me with complete knowledge and competences in professional capacity for accounting, finance, tax, audit, management, consultancy, marketing, human resource, co....
The ACCA Programme
I am an MA in the subject of English – English is a major international language and the language of corporate world. The language dominates the communications among business communities across the globe. The study of English itself does not have much merit in itself except for academic learning. The knowledge does not have much use apart from communication in the present global climate of business revolution. I have realised this after coming to ....
The ACCA Course
Though I have very strong academic achievements and qualifications, I have realised my attainments have enabled me extensive theoretical knowledge which requires transformation with professional skills and competences. Moreover, the theoretical parts of learning can be further explored with critical analysis techniques and tools. This findings in my skills shortage have prompted me to decide to study ACCA programme that offer professional edge with advance....
ACCA - Association of Chartered Certified Accountants Study
I am keen to pursue the ACCA programme because the programme is a comprehensive and intensive investigation into key areas in accounting and finance - it is both academically rigorous and closely in line with professional practice. Accounting has been defined as the measurement and disclosure of financial information that is used by managers, investors and others to make decisions about the allocation of resources within organisations. It is much more t....
MSc International Marketing Course
In today’s era of globalization, business functions are more independent and require specialist knowledge to sustain growth and remain competitive. General management with bit of knowledge in every function is no more effective and hence traditional management has shifted focuses on specialist knowledge and skills in individual units or single functions. Modern business organsiations now demand specialists in every department. I have learned this ....
Today’s world of success is dominated by business and Accounting is often described as the 'language of business', it involves analysing and using financial information to understand and evaluate the financial position of an organisation. Accounting is really the language business speaks. Business communicates in dollars and pounds and accountants are an integral part of that communication. A professional accounting qualification is not ju....
MSc International Marketing programme
From my recent study MBA, I have learned that marketing marks the heart and soul of most business because the success of a business is directly impacted by marketers – from the analyses of markets and consumers, to the advertising and selling of products. Successful businesses like Virgin, McDonalds, KFC, Apple, Coca-Cola, they all have one thing in common – a successful, dynamic marketing team. In a world where social media and relationship....
MSc Computer Networking
I write to express my enthusiasm and interests in the MSc Computer Networking study opportunity and particularly why University of Bedfordshire is my first preference as an institute for my higher study. As because I completed BEng (Hons) Telecommunication and Computer Networks Engineering from London South Bank University and as because Computer Networking one of my favorite subjects in undergraduate, I am very passionate and wish to promote my career in ....
Note: the example personal statement (statement of purpose) below is for guidelines only and to help you understand how to write one - do not copy any part of it. When applying to universities, write your own personal statement (statement of purpose) according to your profile for the course you are applying. Please check HERE for detailed guidelines on how to write a personal statement (statement of purpose). The world is changing, a....
LLB - the Bachelor of Laws (Hons) Course
My upbringing has honed my perception of society and people leading me to be acutely aware of social injustice, inequality, exploitation, discrimination, and religious fundamentalism, especially in a society such as the one I am a citizen of – Sri Lanka. As I grew up I nurtured a desire to work through my life in establishing a society that would be free from these. As such, I have chosen to study law (LLB) and take training as a Lawyer/Ba....
BSc (Hons) Business Management Course
A devoted student of business discipline since my secondary school, I have recently completed a BTEC Level 3 Certificate in Business successfully. The qualification has perfectly set a platform for me to start my bachelor degree study in the area of business in the UK universities. I have taken considerations for options available for me at different institutions, and finally decided to study the BSc (Hons) Business and Management at the BPP University, th....
BSc (Hons) Business and Management
Ba (hons) business management programme (final year).
I have chosen to pursue the BA (Hons) Business Management degree course under the University of Sunderland London because this course has been developed not only to reflect the increasing international dimension of business and management, but also to provide a range of opportunities and experiences that will help develop my the intercultural skills necessary to operate effectively across national and cultural boundaries. The study would give me a true ins....
Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) programme
The globally recognised ACCA qualification is a badge of quality and professionalism – it provides knowledge and skills at the highest professional standard. It is a broad-based qualification, focusing on the essential skills of accounting, business, finance and management - ACCA incorporates subjects, in fact, areas of accountancy, management, audit, tax, corporate law, finance and other related functions of business and organisation. I am intere....
PGD Strategic Leadership and Executive Management Programme
I intend to follow the Post Graduate Diploma in Strategic Leadership and Executive Management programme at the Westminster Kingsway College (WKC) which is in the forefront in providing this life-skill course. The programme has been designed on a combination of executive coaching and work based learning – this allow learners to define a set of objectives designed to have a real impact on their workplace and develop these into a work-based learning ....
MSc Project Management
The principle reason that motivated me to pursue the MSc Project Management course is the appeal and challenge Project Managers experience in delivering assignments they undertake in their career. The qualification, indeed, lead to very smart and modern careers for graduates who love challenges, creativity, leadership and success. As a graduate of Mathematics, I have cultivated these features in my student life. Now, for my master level of study, I would l....
MSc Medical Ultrasound Programme
I am keen to study the MSc Medical Ultrasound programme to develop my skills and work towards advanced and consultant-level practice. As a healthcare professional, the area has drawn my interest and I believe the study will enhance my competences to further level with newer domain of knowledge and skills. From the study, I aim to develop my understanding of the relevant ultrasound principles including current applications of ultrasound and imaging modal....
MSc Marketing and Business Management
As they say: without marketing there is no business; and both marketing and business must be management efficiently and effectively, I have decided to study a post-graduation qualification that combines both and carry on from my current qualification. I have found the MSc Marketing and Business Management fulfils my academic goals and would help achieving my career aspirations. In fact, today’s business world is constantly changing; technological ....
MSc Management programme
Note: the example personal statement (statement of purpose) below is for guidelines only and to help you understand how to write one - do not copy any part of it. When applying to universities, write your own personal statement (statement of purpose) according to your profile for the course you are applying. Please check HERE for detailed guidelines on how to write a personal statement (statement of purpose). I have chosen to study t....
MSc Management with Project Management
As a student, I have been always in search for the knowledge and skills that would put me the right direction with concurrent trends of global business and position me in strong career role that I enjoy with thorough and complete knowledge, skills and efficiency and thus be in demands with employers as a key player. With my BSc in Computer Science and MSc in Mathematics from India, I sought for business management knowledge from Europe to earn transfera....
MSc Management with Finance
A bachelor degree holder in the business administration from south Asia, I have recently accomplished a BSc (Hons) in Business Studies from the University of Ulster, United Kingdom. While these two qualifications from two different continents are at same academic level, the different learning set up and environment, education system have transformed my knowledge with newer perspectives and better insights. The study has, in fact, driven my academic pursuan....
MSc International Tourism and Hospitality Management
I have noticed that tourism and hospitality are closely-related areas of an economic and social phenomenon that have developed a critical role in the world economy. The industry has become one of the major players in international commerce, and represents at the same time one of the main income sources for many developing countries with economic and employment benefits. The profession is not only profit oriented but also interesting and full of colourful f....
MSc International Marketing
I take great inspiration from my recently attained higher study programme, MBA International under Anglia Ruskin University to further expand my knowledge in the branches of business management and gain all-round efficiency. One of the major areas that has been highlights of global business success in most recent time is International Marketing and this was not served in the menu of my MBA syllabus. To fulfil my academic aspiration with complete satisfacti....
MSc International Business Programme
I am keen to follow the MSc International Business Programme at University of Ulster London to fulfil my academic vision of gaining the ultimate contemporary knowledge and skills in the area and to achieve my career goal and its subsequent development in international arena. Earlier I had studied an MBA via BTEC Advanced Professional Diploma in Management Studies (APDMS). I was awarded 60 APL credits for the APDMS by New Bucks University towards t....
MSc International Business
In the era of “Information & Technology”, the world has truly provided a wonderful platform for every person to chase their own dream and turn them into reality. As for me, my dream is to study MSc International Business at University of Bedfordshire. I set my heart on developing my current academic achievement under University of Bedfordshire, because I will be constantly exposed to skills and ideas that will enable me to develop into a managemen....
MSc International Business Management
Business success requires a breadth of knowledge and abilities of efficient management to survive in fierce global competition. The economic backbone of contemporary world is backed by business and creative management that can administer and conducts operations with strategic action in different functions. Since my academic interests and career visions evolve in the area, I have made decision to study the MSc International Business Management programme wit....
I have chosen to study MSc Finance and Business Management programme because I believe from the study I will develop an in-depth understanding of finance and its management in the success of business. I will learn to apply latest thinking on finance and management to the analysis of the key business problems being experienced by the world's major businesses and to develop the research skills necessary to tackle financial and business management problem....
MSc Finance and Accounting
It is my most recent study of BA Honours in International Management that has given me a good chance to assess my learning needs with specific needs and I have identified what areas to focus more and specialise on in today’s global environment of economic challenge. After careful thought and research, I have finally synchronised my career targets with my academic aims and made my decision to follow the MSc Accounting and Finance programme. The two....
MSc Applied Finance
Note: the example personal statement (statement of purpose) below is for guidelines only and to help you understand how to write one - do not copy any part of it. When applying to universities, write your own personal statement (statement of purpose) according to your profile for the course you are applying. Please check HERE for detailed guidelines on how to write a personal statement (statement of purpose). I have chosen to study MSc Applied Finance p....
MSc Applied Finance Programme
I have chosen to study MSc Applied Finance programme because I believe from the study I will develop an in-depth understanding of finance to apply latest thinking on finance and management to the analysis of the key problems being experienced by the world's major businesses and to develop the research skills necessary to tackle financial and business management problems and issues. Unlike my current qualification MBA, I will have the opportunity to ....
MSc Accounting and Finance
Note: the example personal statement (statement of purpose) below is for guidelines only and to help you understand how to write one - do not copy any part of it. When applying to universities, write your own personal statement (statement of purpose) according to your profile for the course you are applying. Please check HERE for detailed guidelines on how to write a personal statement (statement of purpose). I have chosen to study MSc Ac....
Today's business environment is continuously changing and the management is facing diverse challenges ranging from the financial constraints of the current global economy, to the demand for raw materials and the need to focus on sustainability and corporate social responsibility. Future managers must be prepared with knowledge and skills that addresses international business issues in contemporary time and reflects on the actions and needs for capabili....
MBA in IT Management
I have chosen to study the MBA (Information Technology Management) programme under the University of Bedfordshire because this programme is designed to help students meet the challenges that managers are facing in the global business environment in the IT industry- this would be an ideal opportunity to enhance my academic knowledge, develop professional experience and prepare for career progressions. From extensive research on the course, syllabus, cont....
MA International Human Resource Management
My choice of MA International Human Resource Management course as my higher study programme is not a selection at spur of the moment; it is a reflection of my long preparation since I completed my Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) degree under Eastern University, Bangladesh. In fact, in my BBA study, my major was Human Resource Management and I thoroughly enjoyed strategic human resource management, industrial relations, organisation change and ....
MA in International Development
I am M Hasan from Bangladesh. I am writing this statement with great joy to study the course MA International Development at the University of East Anglia (UEA). This course is designed to provide a broad knowledge of moral, practical, and political challenges that are faced by the world today. More importantly, this course will teach me how the world politics, morals, gender equality, climate change and access to education shapes the economy. If I get the....
LLM International Human Rights Law
I have made my mind to study LLM International Human Rights Law at University of Bedfordshire (UoB). LLM Human Rights Law is a unique programme designed to enable students to progress to become human rights practitioners and specialists in this dynamic area of law. This course would allow me to gain academic progress sion since it is&n....
Bachelor of Laws (Hons)
Lawyers play different roles in eradicating corruption, uplifting human rights and establishing the rule of law. Hence, I believe that training as a Lawyer would certainly give me the best opportunity to stand up against all the wrongs in the society and that would be the best way to serve the people of my country. For this, the first step I like to take is to study the LLB (Honours) programme. The LLB is the quickest and most common route to becoming a....
HND Business Management
I am keen to study the HND Business Management at the highly esteemed Ealing, Hammersmith & West London College as part of my higher education plan and reach to my career goals. This course under the well-known awarding body Edexcel has been designed to prepare students with contemporary business management knowledge to match the ever changing global business and organisations and their effective management. The course structure is planned to dev....
Extended Masters in Management
I am keen to follow the Extended Masters offered by the BPP University, UK’s only university exclusively dedicated for business and the professions. As this 2 year programme is designed with a Pre-Masters Diploma in Business Management in the 1st year and then an MSc in the 2nd year – the programme aims to prepare students with pre knowledge for the chosen field of MSc at the university including MSc Management, MSc Management with Finance, ....
Degree Foundation Programme
Note: the example personal statement (statement of purpose) below is for guidelines only and to help you understand how to write one - do not copy any part of it. When applying to universities, write your own personal statement (statement of purpose) according to your profile for the course you are applying. Please check HERE for detailed guidelines on how to write a personal statement (statement of purpose). I am eager to follow the Degr....
BSc (Hons) Nursing
I want to study nursing because I believe it will be the start of a long and successful career in working in the medical field. My goal is to work in operating theatres. I want to develop a set of skills which will stay with me for the rest of my life and kick start a career doing something I love. In fact, I would like to study nursing because I feel it will lead me directly to one of the most emotionally fulfilling careers available, as well as giving....
BSc (Hons) International Business Management
I am pleased to apply for the BSc (Hons) International Business Management since I have found the programme crossing my academic progression route. I have found the programme offered by Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) very interesting in fulfilling my academic and career goal. The course offered by ARU covers all the major functional areas of business and organisation from finance and marketing to human resource management and information management; it ....
BSc (Hons) Business Management
The time I realised the employment market and the economic backbone of the world is dominated by business degree holders, I had already completed my BA (Pass) course in general discipline. In particular, my work role at Inspire System Limited as Account Executive has inspired my ambition to gain qualification in business related area significantly. Driven by my dream, I applied to the UK Government College, Westminster Kingsway College to study BTEC Lev....
BSc (Hons) in Business and Tourism
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Personal statements for university applications
Forming a key part of your university application, you should use the UCAS personal statement to showcase how your skills, experience and aspirations make you a good fit for the course
What is a university personal statement?
With two sides of A4 to work with, this is your opportunity to tell course tutors in your own words the reasons why you feel you'd be an asset to their university.
How long should a personal statement be?
There's no maximum word count, but you'll need to remain within the 4,000 character limit (including spaces and punctuation) allowed in your UCAS application, as well as keeping the statement to a total of 47 lines of text.
UCAS recommends that you write your personal statement in Microsoft Word before copying and pasting it into the online application form. This is because the application page times out after being inactive for 35 minutes. You'll still need to account for how individual characters are counted differently between Microsoft Word and the online form.
What do I write about?
When considering what to include in your personal statement, take time to think about the reasons you're applying to university and what makes you a suitable candidate.
To make this work for different courses and universities, you'll need to find some common ground by providing examples of why you'll be a success - demonstrating enthusiasm for the choices you've made and how they fit in with your career ambitions.
You'll need to talk about the relevant skills, experience and achievements you've gained through extra-curricular activities - whether these are sporting, musical or creative.
As well as going through your academic record to date, your personal statement also gives you the opportunity to mention any work experience or volunteering you've undertaken, detailing what you've learned from it. For instance, you may have been involved with the Young Enterprise programme at school and have a better idea of how to manage your money.
It's never too late to show you're actively preparing for higher education. Get involved with an extra-curricular club, secure a part-time job or do some volunteering. You could even complete a free online course in a relevant subject with an organisation such as FutureLearn or the Tech Nation Digital Business Academy .
If you're an international student, you could discuss why the UK is your preferred study destination ahead of universities in your own country. Don't forget to mention the English language tests, courses and qualifications you've taken.
Finally, if there are any personal or financial circumstances that have had a strong bearing on your performance at school or college, you can outline these in this statement.
How do I write a personal statement?
By breaking your personal statement down into sections, you can ensure you cover the most relevant points.
Course-relevant skills and credentials should be given prominence in the overall structure. You can use the course descriptions to help you.
However, as you only have the one personal statement for all your choices, if you've selected a variety of subjects that aren't that similar, you'll need to focus on the transferable skills and common qualities typically valued by universities - for example, creativity or problem-solving.
Adopt a simple, concise and natural style for writing your statement, while still showing enthusiasm. Allow your personality to shine through.
It can often take a number of redrafts until the statement is ready, so allow plenty of time to write it properly, and set yourself a schedule.
Get used to reading your statement aloud and asking for feedback from family, teachers and advisers before redrafting to make sure your writing flows well. You'll also need to check for the correct punctuation, spelling and grammar and not just rely on a spellchecker.
Keep an up-to-date copy of your statement saved so you can refer back to it during the interview process.
How do I start a personal statement?
At this point, think about why you're applying for the course, and how you became interested in it in the first place. Was it through work experience or studying the subject at A-level?
Once you've noted down your reasons for choosing the course, you can move on to your skills and what makes you stand out positively from other applicants, providing evidence of where each attribute has been utilised.
After you've written this down, condense it so it's less wordy. You can then attempt to write a punchy opening paragraph showcasing your excitement at the prospect of going to university, and an understanding of what you're getting yourself into.
Get off to the best start by using the UCAS personal statement builder .
What should I avoid?
- As you'll only have the one statement, it's important not to mention universities by name - unless you plan on applying to just a single institution.
- Remember that admissions staff may not share your sense of humour, so steer clear of anything that might get misinterpreted.
- Refrain from using clichés or making arrogant or exaggerated statements.
- Resist any temptation to use somebody else's work as your own. The UCAS Similarity Detection Service utilises the Copycatch system, which will compare your statement against those stored within a comprehensive library of statements - those sent to UCAS and elsewhere (including paper publications).
- Be careful not to ramble. Structuring your work so you know how much space you have for each section will make sticking to your main points much easier.
University personal statement examples
While you can find some examples online - from the likes of Reed.co.uk and King's College London - it's important to use your own words and not copy them directly.
Indeed, the UCAS personal statement worksheet can prove just as useful when it comes to helping you decide what to put in your own personal statement.
You can simply print out this personal statement template and jot down any ideas into the various sections as you think of them.
Find out more
- Read the full lowdown on how to apply for university .
- Get tips on preparing for a university interview .
- For further advice on writing a university personal statement, visit UCAS .
- Take a look at The Topic for the latest news, insights and opinions.
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