If you are a school graduate and looking for tips on how to write a successful personal statement, read on because we do know how to make it an outstanding one. We’ll tell you why you need a personal statement and how to make it a really good one. 

What Is A Personal Statement and Why Do We Need It?

A personal statement is a way you let the admissions committees to get to know you. This is the way you show what are your passions and goals, what you expect from the program, and what you’ll bring to it. This is your chance to tell the admissions committee why you are a worthwhile applicant. Writing a personal statement, you demonstrate the important things about you that aren’t presented elsewhere on your application.

There is a slight difference between a personal statement and a statement of purpose (otherwise known as a letter of intent). A statement of purpose suggests focusing on your professional or academic credentials and your future professional interests.  

A personal statement includes the bulk of personal information besides your goals and academic experiences. Here applicants can add some challenges and significant life experiences that may have no direct relation to their field of interest. 

Both a personal statement and a statement of purpose/letter of intent can be asked by some programs. In such a case, your personal statement’s main focus should be your personal qualities and life experience. What concerns the statement of purpose it should be focused in a far more on your goals and academic/research experiences.

However, these two types (a personal statement and a statement of purpose) should be related to a lot of the same things, particularly when it comes to the personal qualities you bring to the program and future goals. You can be asked for a personal statement by some programs, where your research and professional interests and experiences will be the primary focus. Some programs will require a statement of purpose, where your general life experiences will be the major focus. 

In case you have some doubts, you should give the program what they require in the prompt and mind not to be stuck whether they call it a statement of purpose or personal statement. Keep in mind that you are able to call the admissions office in order to clarify what they are asking for in your admissions essay.

How to Make a Good Grad School Personal Statement 

A strong and successful graduate school personal statement should have the following elements despite the styles and forms may vary: 

A Clear Narrative
First of all, it should be a clear message about what makes you a suitable applicant, so reflect on some key points that you want to tell about yourself and then highlight those points the best possible way. (Mind that these key points need to have relation to what you can bring to the program and field specifically).
To address the things like gaps or setbacks in your application as part of your narrative is a matter of your choice. 

Concrete Examples
Concrete examples identify an outstanding statement of purpose as they are the best way of presenting its key messages. It goes about references to works and scholars that have affected your academic trajectory or even anecdotes that reveal specific traits. The main task lays in demonstrating your familiarity with the relevant literature in your field. 

For example, just saying “I love animals,” is particularly vague. You should describe a place where you worked and why did you like so much, why you are so passionate and eager to become a vet. 

A Good Fit
A great personal statement suggests that the reasons why the program is good and suitable for you are demonstrated. You should define the concrete things about the program that appeals to you, and the way you’ll reap the benefits of those opportunities. To show that you’re truly interested and aware of the program, talk about the specific professors you may be excited to work with.  

Strong Writing Skills
Writing is usually required even in science and quantitative disciplines, so a strong personal statement also implies great writing skills. Besides paying attention to the way you are communicating, mind the absence of any spelling and grammar mistakes. 

To make sure your statement sounds strong enough, you need to provide feedback. Give other people to read your statement, it really helps and be ready to go through multiple drafts. 
An essential thing to bear in mind is gimmicks and clichés that should be definitely avoided. To use overused openings and phrases like “ever since I was a child” is the worst idea ever. 

Appropriate Boundaries
Surely, writing a statement of purpose and a personal statement differ, as writing the last one enables you to be more personal, but you shouldn’t forget about appropriate boundaries in writing. Things those are too personal, whether they are about bodily functions, relationships, or illegal activities are the ones that you shouldn’t overshare. 
In addition, avoid describing anything that may make an impression of you as a person, who is unstable and uncontrolled. You have to take into account that it’s not a confessional booth. To avoid misestimating that surely will become a huge red flag to admissions committees, make sure you share appropriately. 
Watch out the way you deploy jokes and humor. No one says you should be a total killjoy, but you should better take into consideration the fact that the person reading your statement might not share your sense of humor. But at the same time, it’s essential to avoid being staid or overly formal, keep in mind that you need to be professional. 

The Given Below Brief Analysis of Some Graduate School Personal Statements

The following example provides a statement of purpose that required the outlining the applicant’s academic goals and experience with Japanese and a separate personal statement where a personal relationship with Japanese Studies should be described and the reasons for a master’s degree. 

The Personal Statement for Japanese Studies Master’s Degree 

The key factors that have made this personal statement an outstanding one:

  • The beginning, which grabs your attention: The statement that Japanese is definitely the hardest language to learn to the applicant just can’t be left unnoticed. Beginning the statement like this and claiming Japanese a brutal language to learn is the compelling reason to keep reading. 
  • A compelling narrative: A well-structured and dramatic narrative describing the applicant’s engagement and passion for the Japanese language is given right after the attention-grabbing beginning. The defining moment is the applicant’s experience studying abroad which turned out to be the major factor in the plans for the future. The desire to become a translator of Japanese literature is clearly shown, which is supported by the tight narrative structure, an outstanding way to present excellent writing skills.  
  • Concrete examples that perfectly reveal significant traits: The given examples vividly show the applicant’s deep passion for Japanese and the high level of her determination and work ethic by describing the challenges that have been overcome throughout the study process. All given information creates an image of a really dedicated and engaged student for sure. In general, this very statement should be called strong both with regard to content and style. It is memorable, well-written, and informs that the applicant would take full advantage of the graduate school experience.

The Personal Statement for a Music Composition Master’s Degree:

Key factors that have made this personal statement a successful one:

-The vivid reasons are provided, the ones that clearly show why the student is motivated to pursue graduate study: the role which music plays in her life since her childhood and her family’s musical history. Those two reasons are supported then with examples and analysis.

– Such a memorable and compelling narrative of the applicant’s ancestors’ engagement with music. 

– A deeper analysis of the advantages she has been afforded that gave her the opportunity to study music more in depth. Such thoughtful analysis makes an impression that the applicant is empathetic and insightful – qualities that are priceless to every academic community. The suitability and strength of this personal statement are obvious. 

Sample Personal Statement 3

  • The structure of the statement is clear and well-organized. A particular focus and attention are presented in almost every paragraph, and when a new idea comes it is introduced in a new paragraph with a logical transition. 
  • Many issues are covered in a pretty short space. The family history, the educational and professional background, and the goals are described. Thanks to the use of specific examples and the structure of the paragraphs, the statement doesn’t seem to be too scattered or vague. 

Key Points to Take Into Consideration While Writing a Graduate School Personal Statement

The importance and distinctive features of your thesis statement we’ve already mentioned before. Let’s point out what are the key factors for a successful personal statement for graduate school:

  • The first thing that should be mentioned is your complete view of you as an applicant and the reasons why you are qualified for the graduate study.
  • Don’t forget to include concrete examples to support that clear narrative given above. 
  • You need to demonstrate the valid reasons why you as an applicant are suitable for the program, make sure you are persuasive in giving the evidence of your suitability.  

While writing, mind that the personal statement must be strong, clear, and well-organized, avoiding errors and cliché language. Appropriate boundaries not to forget, it means you are sharing but not over-sharing.