Purdue Online Writing Lab Purdue OWL® College of Liberal Arts

Writing the Personal Statement

OWL logo

Welcome to the Purdue OWL

This page is brought to you by the OWL at Purdue University. When printing this page, you must include the entire legal notice.

Copyright ©1995-2018 by The Writing Lab & The OWL at Purdue and Purdue University. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, reproduced, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our terms and conditions of fair use.

This handout provides information about writing personal statements for academic and other positions.

The personal statement, your opportunity to sell yourself in the application process, generally falls into one of two categories:

1. The general, comprehensive personal statement:

This allows you maximum freedom in terms of what you write and is the type of statement often prepared for standard medical or law school application forms.

2. The response to very specific questions:

Often, business and graduate school applications ask specific questions, and your statement should respond specifically to the question being asked. Some business school applications favor multiple essays, typically asking for responses to three or more questions.

Questions to ask yourself before you write:

  • What's special, unique, distinctive, and/or impressive about you or your life story?
  • What details of your life (personal or family problems, history, people or events that have shaped you or influenced your goals) might help the committee better understand you or help set you apart from other applicants?
  • When did you become interested in this field and what have you learned about it (and about yourself) that has further stimulated your interest and reinforced your conviction that you are well suited to this field? What insights have you gained?
  • How have you learned about this field—through classes, readings, seminars, work or other experiences, or conversations with people already in the field?
  • If you have worked a lot during your college years, what have you learned (leadership or managerial skills, for example), and how has that work contributed to your growth?
  • What are your career goals?
  • Are there any gaps or discrepancies in your academic record that you should explain (great grades but mediocre LSAT or GRE scores, for example, or a distinct upward pattern to your GPA if it was only average in the beginning)?
  • Have you had to overcome any unusual obstacles or hardships (for example, economic, familial, or physical) in your life?
  • What personal characteristics (for example, integrity, compassion, and/or persistence) do you possess that would improve your prospects for success in the field or profession? Is there a way to demonstrate or document that you have these characteristics?
  • What skills (for example, leadership, communicative, analytical) do you possess?
  • Why might you be a stronger candidate for graduate school—and more successful and effective in the profession or field than other applicants?
  • What are the most compelling reasons you can give for the admissions committee to be interested in you?

General advice

Answer the questions that are asked

  • If you are applying to several schools, you may find questions in each application that are somewhat similar.
  • Don't be tempted to use the same statement for all applications. It is important to answer each question being asked, and if slightly different answers are needed, you should write separate statements. In every case, be sure your answer fits the question being asked.

Tell a story

  • Think in terms of showing or demonstrating through concrete experience. One of the worst things you can do is to bore the admissions committee. If your statement is fresh, lively, and different, you'll be putting yourself ahead of the pack. If you distinguish yourself through your story, you will make yourself memorable.

Be specific

  • Don't, for example, state that you would make an excellent doctor unless you can back it up with specific reasons. Your desire to become a lawyer, engineer, or whatever should be logical, the result of specific experience that is described in your statement. Your application should emerge as the logical conclusion to your story.

Find an angle

  • If you're like most people, your life story lacks drama, so figuring out a way to make it interesting becomes the big challenge. Finding an angle or a "hook" is vital.

Concentrate on your opening paragraph

  • The lead or opening paragraph is generally the most important. It is here that you grab the reader's attention or lose it. This paragraph becomes the framework for the rest of the statement.

Tell what you know

  • The middle section of your essay might detail your interest and experience in your particular field, as well as some of your knowledge of the field. Too many people graduate with little or no knowledge of the nuts and bolts of the profession or field they hope to enter. Be as specific as you can in relating what you know about the field and use the language professionals use in conveying this information. Refer to experiences (work, research, etc.), classes, conversations with people in the field, books you've read, seminars you've attended, or any other source of specific information about the career you want and why you're suited to it. Since you will have to select what you include in your statement, the choices you make are often an indication of your judgment.

Don't include some subjects

  • There are certain things best left out of personal statements. For example, references to experiences or accomplishments in high school or earlier are generally not a good idea. Don't mention potentially controversial subjects (for example, controversial religious or political issues).

Do some research, if needed

  • If a school wants to know why you're applying to it rather than another school, do some research to find out what sets your choice apart from other universities or programs. If the school setting would provide an important geographical or cultural change for you, this might be a factor to mention.

Write well and correctly

  • Be meticulous. Type and proofread your essay very carefully. Many admissions officers say that good written skills and command of correct use of language are important to them as they read these statements. Express yourself clearly and concisely. Adhere to stated word limits.

Avoid clichés

  • A medical school applicant who writes that he is good at science and wants to help other people is not exactly expressing an original thought. Stay away from often-repeated or tired statements.

For more information on writing a personal statement, see the personal statement vidcast .

DOs and DON’Ts When Writing a Personal Statement

(1) Pay Attention to Each School’s Prompt Hopefully, for most applicants, this is a no-brainer. The prompt for each school is first available in August/September when law schools release that year’s application. The prompts typically don’t change much year to year, so you can get a head start by looking at the previous year’s application. For many/most applicants, the prompts are similar enough that the same personal statement template can be used with minor adjustments for each school (see Tip #2 on personalization). For some applicants, however, the prompts are different enough that you should write multiple personal statements. Be sure that the personal statement you use for a school does in fact respond to the prompt for that school. The ability to follow directions is a necessity for law school applicants.

(2) Personalize Your Statement Most law schools want to see that you have put time and effort into researching why that school is a good fit for you. One of the ways you can demonstrate your due diligence is to include a paragraph (typically at the close of your personal statement) outlining several specific factors that have drawn you to that law school. Be specific. Important considerations to note: (a) Vague statements asserting that a law school is a good fit for you without any supporting evidence or information are useless, so do your research and work on articulating the reasons for your interest in each school. (b) You can review a school’s website to determine what you like about that school, but don’t just regurgitate information from the website. They want to know why that information is relevant to your interests and/or goals. (c) Top-ranked schools (typically, top 5 or so) pretty much know why you would like to attend, so personalization is less important unless there is something that truly differentiates that school from others to you. (d) Some schools have a separate “optional” essay allowing you to discuss why you want to attend that school. If that is the case for one of your schools, write the separate essay, and omit the personalized paragraph from your personal statement. (e) Be sure to submit the correct versions to each school. Save the school’s name in the title to help minimize any potential for error.

(3) Be Personable As you now know, one of your goals as an applicant is to let admissions committees get to know you. It is just as important that they like you. Admissions committees are in no rush to admit applicants who are arrogant, pretentious, elitist, or rude. So the tone you use in your personal statement is important. Don’t assume that you need to use a formal tone just because you think lawyers write very formally. By using a formal tone, you are actually building a wall between yourself and the admissions committee—the opposite of what you should be doing. Aim for a more conversational (but not casual) tone so that the statement flows easily for the reader. Further, forget the big words that you think make you sound smart. They actually risk making you sound arrogant, pretentious, or even unintelligent (if used improperly). Strong writing conveys intelligence without the need for big words.

(4) Tell a Story Another easy way to be both personal and personable in your personal statement is to start off with an anecdote about yourself that sets up the framework for the rest of the statement. For example, if you are highlighting certain characteristics in your statement, tell an anecdote that demonstrates those characteristics. If you are discussing a defining moment in your life, describe a scene from that experience. A well-told anecdote can immediately capture readers’ attention and draw them into your world. Even if you don’t include an anecdote in the statement, the topic that you choose should, in a sense, “tell a story” about you in a way that captures and keeps the reader’s attention.

(5) Be Concise Some schools set no limit for personal statements, but most suggest either 2–3 or 2–4 pages. Aim for two pages, double-spaced. Do not make the error of thinking that more is better. Law schools value the ability to persuasively convey information in a relatively short space. Also, keep in mind that admissions committees are reviewing thousands of applications. Don’t waste their time.

10 DON’Ts 1. DON’T just restate your résumé in narrative form. That shows no critical thinking ability. If you are going to talk about more than one achievement or experience mentioned on your résumé, then connect the dots. Find a common theme that ties those items together. 2. DON’T address your weaknesses in the personal statement. Use an addendum.The personal statement should highlight the positives about you. 3. DON’T focus on your high school activities or accomplishments. Focusing on achievements in high school can draw attention to a lack of similar achievements in college. 4. DON’T be overly dramatic. Understatement is better. 5. DON’T spend too much time talking about someone or something else. Always bring the focus back to you. 6. DON’T start your statement with a famous quotation, no matter how well you think it might fit with the theme of your personal statement. Admissions committees want to hear your words, not those of someone else. 7. DON’T use legalese or Latin phrases. 8. DON’T be careless. Be sure not to accidentally mention the wrong school in your statement. 9. DON’T use big words in an effort to impress the admissions committees. It sets the wrong tone for the statement. 10. DON’T write a position paper or opinion piece. Even written well, those types of writings are not particularly useful to admissions committees because they miss the point of the personal statement.

How to Write a Personal Statement for College

when is my personal statement due

What Is a Personal Statement?

The significance of personal statements in college applications, how a personal statement can impact your admission, preparing to write your personal statement, self-reflection: identifying your strengths and passions.

  • Researching Your Desired College's Values and Expectations

Structuring Your Personal Statement

Writing tips for a compelling personal statement, using a genuine and personal tone, highlighting your unique qualities, avoiding common mistakes in personal statements, reviewing and revising your personal statement, seeking feedback from others, proofreading: ensuring clarity and correctness, personal statement examples and analysis.

  • Personal Statement Example The Passionate Artist
  • Personal Statement Example The Aspiring Scientist
  • Personal Statement Example The Community Leader

Frequently Asked Questions About Writing Personal Statements for College

  • What's the importance of proofreading and editing?

How can I start my personal statement?

How long should it take to write a personal statement, top scholarships with upcoming deadlines.

when is my personal statement due

1000 Bold Points No-Essay Scholarship

$10,000 Award

when is my personal statement due

"Be Bold" No-Essay Scholarship

$25,000 Award

when is my personal statement due

Forget Your Student Debt. No-Essay Grant.

The new year is here, which means college applications are due. And if you're a high school student, we know the pressure to make your application is at an all-time high, especially regarding the personal statement . As one of the most crucial components of your college application, the personal statement essay is your opportunity to showcase your unique personality, life experiences, and aspirations.

It's a window of opportunity for admissions counselors to get a sense of who you are, and that can be nerve-wracking. But there's no need to fear. At Bold.org, we've got you covered!

In this article, we will discuss what a personal statement is and the role it plays and guide you through the process of writing an impressive and effective personal statement that will capture the attention of any college admissions committee. We will also provide a few writing tips that can help shape your personal essay!

While most students dread writing a personal essay, we want to show you that it can be an exciting and fulfilling process. The key is to stay true to yourself throughout the process and showcase what makes you a unique and valuable addition to the college community. Good luck!

Are you a high school student preparing to apply for college? Check out our blog for more information about college essays and learn how to apply for scholarships!

what is a personal statement

Before we get into it, let's discuss what a personal statement is. A personal statement is a way of explaining your reasons for wanting to study at a particular institution, pursuing a specific course, and demonstrating your ability to complete the course successfully. It provides admissions officers a glimpse into who you are as a person beyond grades and test scores. Whether you're seeking your bachelor's degree or applying for graduate school , your college admissions essay allows you to make a connection with admissions committees and stand out among other applicants.

A personal statement is not just a formality; it is an opportunity for you to showcase your individuality and demonstrate your passion for your chosen field of study. This opportunity is your chance to tell your unique story and highlight the experiences and qualities that make you a strong candidate for admission.

Get Matched to Thousands of Scholarships

Create your Bold.org profile to access thousands of exclusive scholarships, available only on Bold.org.

A personal statement serves as an opportunity to illustrate your motivations and goals. When it comes to writing your college personal statement, it's important to ask yourself questions like what drove you to choose a particular field of study. What life experiences led you to where you are today? How have those experiences shaped your aspirations? By answering these questions in your personal statement, you provide valuable insight into your character and the contributions you can make to the college community.

Also, a well-crafted personal statement can show your ability to think critically and communicate effectively, as well as your academic interests. It showcases your writing skills and your capacity to express complex ideas clearly and concisely. Admissions committees are not only looking for students with impressive academic records; they are looking for individuals who can contribute to the intellectual and social makeup of their institution, as well.

It's important to keep in mind that while you're thinking of ways to write a personal statement to ensure you stand out, admissions committees have the challenging task of selecting the best-fit candidates from a competitive pool of applicants. A well-crafted college essay can make all the difference in their decision-making process. It is your chance to highlight your unique qualities and convince college admissions that you are the perfect fit for their institution.

On top of that, compelling college essays demonstrate your ability to overcome challenges and adversity. Think of a time you were faced with a dilemma. How did you overcome it? And how did that hardship shape the person you are today? A personal statement essay allows you to highlight your resilience and determination, showing the college admissions boards that you have the grit and proper problem-solving skills to succeed in college and the real world.

Ultimately, a personal statement is an opportunity for you to leave a lasting impression on the admissions officers. It is your chance to make your case so they can see why you deserve to be admitted to their institution. So take the time to reflect on your experiences, articulate your goals, and write a personal statement that truly reflects who you are as an individual.

preparing your personal statement

Writing a personal statement is an opportunity for self-reflection and introspection. It allows you to dig deep into your thoughts, experiences, and aspirations and present them in a compelling and coherent manner. However, before you start writing, it is important to go through a thorough preparation process to ensure that your personal statement truly reflects who you are and what you can bring to the table.

First things first: self-reflection. Take the time to identify your strengths, passions, and key experiences that have influenced your personal and academic growth. Reflect on your accomplishments, challenges you've overcome, and the values that shape your worldview. These insights will form the foundation of your personal statement. Being self-reflective can inspire and encourage students to write the best personal statement. College admissions committees want to hear about you in your own words.

Please note: self-reflection is not a one-time exercise; it is an ongoing process that requires introspection and self-awareness. Consider the activities or subjects that ignite a fire within you, the moments that have made you feel proud or accomplished, and the skills that you have developed over time. These reflections will help you highlight your unique qualities and demonstrate why you are a strong candidate for the college or program you are applying to.

Researching Your Desired College's Values and Expectations

Each college has its own set of values and expectations for prospective students. We recommend you do some research on the institution you are applying to and familiarize yourself with its mission, academic programs, and campus culture . By aligning your personal statement with the college's values, you demonstrate your genuine interest and dedication to joining their community.

Also, when researching your desired college, go beyond the surface-level information and into the specific programs, courses, or faculty members that interest you. Explore the extracurricular activities or clubs that resonate with your passions. By showing that you have taken the time to understand the college's offerings and how they align with your goals, you convey a sense of purpose and commitment in your personal statement.

Now that you've completed the preparation phase, it's time to structure your personal statement . A well-organized personal statement will ensure that your message is clear and compelling and can even be an intellectual challenge. A good one!

However, when structuring your personal statement, it is important to consider the flow and coherence of your ideas. You want to guide the reader through a logical progression of thoughts and experiences, allowing them to understand your journey and motivations. This progression will not only draw your reader's attention to who you are but also show your personal characteristics and leave a lasting impression.

Now let's get into it.

The Introduction: Grabbing Attention from the Start

The introduction of your personal statement is your chance to make a strong first impression. This first impression is where you have the opportunity to captivate the reader and compel them to continue reading. It is crucial to start with a captivating hook that immediately grabs their attention. Pro tip: it helps to read your essay aloud for coherency purposes.

You can also use various techniques to create a compelling introduction, such as starting with an engaging anecdote that relates to your chosen field of study or personal experiences. This strategy will help the reader connect with you on a deeper level and understand the context of your personal statement.

Another effective approach is to use a thought-provoking quote that resonates with your aspirations and goals. By incorporating a powerful statement from a notable figure or expert in your field, you can set the tone for the rest of your personal statement and demonstrate your understanding of the subject matter.

The Body: Showcasing Your Experiences and Achievements

The core of your personal statement (or body paragraphs) provides the space to showcase your experiences, accomplishments, and personal growth. You should see this as the meat and bones of your college essay, where you can go into the details about yourself and life and provide specific examples to illustrate your story.

Note: when organizing your thoughts, it is key to maintain coherence and clarity. Consider using a thematic approach, grouping related experiences and achievements together to highlight your strengths and skills. This will demonstrate your ability to apply what you have learned and your potential for success in your chosen field.

Remember to reflect on the impact of each experience and how it has shaped your character and aspirations. Admissions committees are interested not only in what you have accomplished but also in how these experiences have influenced your personal growth and development.

The Conclusion: Leaving a Final and Lasting Impression

As you approach the end of your personal statement (or conclusion), it is key to leave a lasting impression on the reader. This is where you can bring your personal statement to a full circle and summarize your main points. Reiterate your motivation for pursuing higher education and express your enthusiasm for joining the college community. Share your aspirations and how you plan to make a positive impact in your chosen field.

Remember: structuring your personal statement is not just about adding more paragraphs or expanding the length. It is about organizing your thoughts, showcasing your experiences, and leaving a lasting impression on the reader. Take the time to craft a well-structured personal statement that truly reflects who you are and what you aspire to achieve.

tips for a compelling personal statement

Now that we have a well-structured personal statement, let's go over some writing tips that will help you create a compelling personal statement.

When writing your college admissions statement, maintaining a genuine and personal tone of voice is important. Admissions committees want you to remain authentic and let your unique personality shine through your words. Though it's not said enough, they appreciate sincerity and want to get to know the real you, so don't be afraid to share personal insights on yourself and reflect on meaningful life experiences.

For example, if you're passionate about environmental conservation, you could share a story about how you organized a community clean-up event and how it impacted your perspective on the importance of sustainability. By sharing personal stories like this, you not only demonstrate your commitment to a cause but also provide insight into your character and values.

Another key to writing a memorable personal statement is by highlighting your unique qualities. Think about what sets you apart from the rest and emphasize those qualities! Don't be afraid to brag about yourself. Whether it's your leadership skills, creative thinking, or commitment to community service, talk about them! Be the needle in a haystack they want to find.

To successfully pull this off, you want to include specific examples of how you've applied these qualities in your life. If you're a natural leader, talk about a time when you took charge of a group project and successfully guided your team to achieve a common goal. Providing concrete evidence of your abilities will make your personal statement more persuasive and compelling.

Most importantly, though, you want to avoid common mistakes that can weaken the impact of your personal statement. These include vague statements, excessive use of clichés, grammar mistakes, and focusing too much on achievements rather than personal growth. You want to make sure that your final submission doesn't read like a first draft.

When writing your personal statement, take the time to carefully consider your words and their meaning. Avoid using generic phrases like "I want to make a difference" without providing specific examples or explanations on how or in what ways you want to make a difference. And be mindful of clichés! This is a major key. Admissions officers have read countless personal statements that all too often contain overused phrases like "follow your dreams" or "think outside the box." Forget what you think they want to hear and strive for originality.

Remember to start writing your college personal statement early, allowing yourself sufficient time for reflection, drafting, and revision.

revise your personal statement

Once you have completed your initial draft, it's time to review and revise your personal statement to ensure its effectiveness. A well-crafted personal statement can make a significant impact on your college or job application, so it's crucial to invest time and effort into refining it.

While reviewing your personal statement, seek feedback from others. Don't be afraid of constructive criticism. Reach out to trusted teachers, mentors, or family members and ask for their insights! Their perspectives can provide valuable feedback and help you improve your essays in areas you didn't think needed improvement. Be open-minded and receptive to their suggestions, as feedback is meant to enhance your personal statement.

As you gather feedback, consider the structure and organization of your personal statement. Ask yourself questions like, are your ideas presented in a logical and coherent manner? Do your paragraphs flow smoothly from one to the next? Take the time to evaluate the overall structure and make adjustments as necessary.

When seeking feedback, it's important to choose individuals who are familiar with the application process or have experience in your field of interest. They can provide valuable insights into what admissions officers or employers are looking for in a personal statement. Additionally, consider seeking feedback from individuals who know you well and can offer a unique perspective on your experiences and qualities.

During the feedback process, encourage your reviewers to provide specific comments and suggestions. Ask them to highlight areas where your personal statement could be strengthened or expanded. This will help you identify specific areas for improvement and guide your revision process.

Once you have incorporated feedback and made necessary revisions, it's time to proofread your personal statement. Carefully review your writing for any grammatical or spelling errors. Pay attention to sentence structure and clarity, ensuring that your ideas are effectively communicated. Taking the time to carefully review your work can make your college application process the least stressful as possible.

Proofreading is also an essential step in the revision process . It demonstrates your attention to detail and dedication to presenting your best work. Consider reading your personal statement aloud to catch any awkward phrasing or unclear sentences, and ask a trusted friend or family member to review your statement for a fresh perspective.

As you proofread, also consider the tone and voice of your personal statement. Ensure that your writing reflects your unique personality and showcases your passion and enthusiasm for your chosen field. Your personal statement should be an authentic representation of who you are and what you can bring to the table.

personal statement examples and analysis

We know writing a college essay can be time-consuming, so to further assist you in the writing process, we have personal statement examples accompanied by analysis for you to browse. These examples are meant to give you a sense of how successful personal statements are constructed and the kind of impact they can have on admissions officers.

Personal Statement Example 1: The Passionate Artist

Meet Sarah, a high school senior with an unwavering passion for art . In her personal statement, she eloquently describes how art has become an integral part of her life. Sarah's words paint a vivid picture of her dedication, creativity, and ability to express herself through various mediums.

Admissions officers are captivated by Sarah's personal statement as it showcases her unique perspective and artistic talent. They are able to envision her potential contributions to the campus community, whether through her artwork or her ability to inspire others with her passion.

Personal Statement Example 2: The Aspiring Scientist

Imagine John, a driven student who dreams of unraveling the mysteries of the universe. In his personal statement, he delves into his fascination with science and his relentless pursuit of knowledge. John's personal statement showcases his analytical thinking, problem-solving skills, and his ability to think critically.

Admissions officers are intrigued by John's personal statement as it demonstrates his commitment to scientific exploration and his desire to make a meaningful impact in the field. They can envision John conducting groundbreaking research, pushing the boundaries of scientific knowledge, and contributing to the academic community.

Personal Statement Example 3: The Community Leader

Now, let's meet Emily, a student who has dedicated herself to making a difference in her community. In her personal statement, she shares her experiences as a leader, her passion for service, and her ability to bring people together. Emily's personal statement showcases her empathy, resilience, and her commitment to creating positive change.

Admissions officers are inspired by Emily's personal statement as it highlights her potential to be a catalyst for change on campus. They can envision Emily organizing community service projects, leading student organizations, and fostering a sense of unity among her peers.

Studying these personal statement examples, you will gain valuable insights into what makes a compelling personal statement. Remember, your personal statement is your opportunity to showcase your unique qualities, experiences, and aspirations. Use these examples as a starting point to craft a personal statement that truly reflects who you are and what you can bring to a college or university.

writing a personal statement for college

What's the importance of proofreading and editing?

Making sure your writing is polished through proofreading and editing is really important. Mistakes can take away from what you're trying to say. Once you've got your initial draft down, it's a good idea to step away for a bit and then come back to it with fresh eyes to make it even better. You can also ask teachers or mentors to read it and give you their thoughts – that can make a big difference, too!

Think about kicking things off with an attention-grabbing hook that really pulls the reader in. This hook can be a cool story, a strong quote, or a personal experience that's totally unique to you and connects with what you're planning to study.

Giving yourself a good amount of time, like a few weeks or even a couple of months, to brainstorm and write your personal statement is a smart move. How long it takes to write a personal statement really depends on things like how fast you write, how much thinking and researching you need to do, and how many times you want to rewrite and improve it. It's different for everyone!

Are you a high school student looking for tips on your college application? Visit Bold.org today and learn how you can create a profile and apply for scholarships today.

when is my personal statement due

Related Posts

What is a d1 school an overview of ncaa division 1 athletics, how to cite in chicago style, what is international baccalaureate.

  • Online Degree Explore Bachelor’s & Master’s degrees
  • MasterTrack™ Earn credit towards a Master’s degree
  • University Certificates Advance your career with graduate-level learning
  • Top Courses
  • Join for Free

How to Write a Personal Statement

A personal statement can be a key part of your college application, and you can really make yours shine by following a few tips.

[Featured Image] A lady with pink hair is holding a piece of paper with a laptop on her lap.

When you're applying to college—either to an undergraduate or graduate program—you may be asked to submit a personal statement. It's an essay that gives you the chance to share more about who you are and why you'd like to attend the university you're applying to.  

The information you provide in your personal statement can help build on your other application materials, like your transcripts and letters of recommendation, and build a more cohesive picture to help the admissions committee understand your goals.

In this article, we'll go over more about personal statements, including why they're important, what to include in one, and tips for strengthening yours.

What is a personal statement?

A personal statement—sometimes known as a college essay —is a brief written essay you submit with other materials when applying to college or university. Personal statements tend to be most common for undergraduate applications, and they're a great opportunity for an admissions committee to hear your voice directly.

Many colleges and universities in the US, especially those using Common App , provide prompts for you to use. For example, "Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea" or "Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time" [ 1 ]. If the school you're interested in attending doesn't require prompts, you will likely want to craft a response that touches on your story, your values, and your goals if possible.

In grad school, personal statements are sometimes known as letters of intent , and go into more detail about your academic and professional background, while expressing interest in attending the particular program you're applying to.

Why is a personal statement important?

Personal statements are important for a number of reasons. Whereas other materials you submit in an application can address your academic abilities (like your transcripts) or how you perform as a student (like your letters of recommendation), a personal statement is a chance to do exactly that: get more personal.

Personal statements typically:

Permit you to share things that don't fit on your resume, such as personal stories, motivations, and values

Offer schools a chance to see why you're interested in a particular field of study and what you hope to accomplish after you graduate 

Provide an opportunity for you to talk about past employment, volunteer experiences, or skills you have that complement your studies 

Allow colleges to evaluate your writing skills 

Bring life to a college application package otherwise filled with facts and figures 

Coursera Plus

Build job-ready skills with a Coursera Plus subscription

  • Get access to 7,000+ learning programs from world-class universities and companies, including Google, Yale, Salesforce, and more
  • Try different courses and find your best fit at no additional cost
  • Earn certificates for learning programs you complete
  • A subscription price of $59/month, cancel anytime

How to write a personal statement.

As we mentioned earlier, you may have to respond to a prompt when drafting your personal statement—or a college or university may invite you to respond however you'd like. In either case, use the steps below to begin building your response.

Create a solid hook .

To capture the attention of an admissions committee member, start your personal statement with a hook that relates to the topic of your essay. A hook tends to be a colorful sentence or two at the very beginning that compels the reader to continue reading.

To create a captivating hook, try one of these methods:

Pose a rhetorical question. 

Provide an interesting statistic. 

Insert a quote from a well-known person.

Challenge the reader with a common misconception. 

Use an anecdote, which is a short story that can be true or imaginary. 

Credibility is crucial when writing a personal statement as part of your college application process. If you choose a statistic, quote, or misconception for your hook, make sure it comes from a reliable source.

Follow a narrative.

The best personal statements typically read like a story: they have a common theme, as well as a beginning, middle, and end. This type of format also helps keep your thoughts organized and improves the flow of your essay.

Common themes to consider for your personal statement include:

Special role models from your past

Life-altering events you've experienced

Unusual challenges you've faced

Accomplishments you're especially proud of

Service to others and why you enjoy it

What you've learned from traveling to a particular place

Unique ways you stand out from other candidates

Be specific.

Admissions committees read thousands of personal statements every year, which is why being specific on yours is important. Back up your statements with examples or anecdotes.

For instance, avoid vague assertions like, "I'm interested in your school counseling program because I care about children." Instead, point out experiences you've had with children that emphasize how much you care. For instance, you might mention your summer job as a day camp counselor or your volunteer experience mentoring younger children.

Don't forget to include detail and vibrancy to keep your statement interesting. The use of detail shows how your unique voice and experiences can add value to the college or university you're applying to.

Stay on topic.

It's natural to want to impress the members of the admissions committee who will read your personal statement. The best way to do this is to lead your readers through a cohesive, informative, and descriptive essay.

If you feel you might be going astray, ensure each paragraph in your essay's body supports your introduction. Here are a few more strategies that can help keep you on track:

Know what you want to say and do research if needed. 

Create an outline listing the key points you want to share.

Read your outline aloud to confirm it makes logical sense before proceeding. 

Read your essay aloud while you're writing to confirm you're staying on topic.

Ask a trusted friend or family member to read your essay and make suggestions.

Be true to your own voice.

Because of the importance of your personal statement, you could be tempted to be very formal with structure and language. However, using a more relaxed tone is better than you would for a classroom writing assignment. 

Remember: admissions committees really want to hear from you . Writing in your own voice will help accomplish this. To ensure your tone isn't too relaxed, write your statement as if you were speaking to an older relative or trusted teacher. This way, you'll come across as respectful, confident, and honest.

Tips for drafting an effective personal statement.

Now that you've learned a little about personal statements and how to craft them, here are a few more tips you can follow to strengthen your essay:

1. Customize your statement.

You don't have to completely rewrite your personal statement every time you apply to a new college, but you want to make sure you tailor it as much as possible. For instance, if you talk about wanting to take a certain class or study a certain subject, make sure you adjust any specifics for each application.

2. Avoid cliches.

Admissions committees are ultimately looking for students who will fit the school, and who the school can help guide toward their larger goals. In that case, cliches can get in the way of a reviewer understanding what it is you want from a college education. Watch out for cliches like "making a difference," "broadening my horizons," or "the best thing that ever happened to me."

3. Stay focused.

Try to avoid getting off-track or including tangents in your personal statement. Stay focused by writing a first draft and then re-reading what you've written. Does every paragraph flow from one point to the next? Are the ideas you're presenting cohesive?

4. Stick to topics that aren't controversial.

It's best not to discuss political beliefs or inappropriate topics in your essay. These can be controversial; ideally, you want to share something goals- or values-driven with an admissions committee.

Polish your writing skills on Coursera.

A stellar personal statement starts with stellar writing skills. Enhance your writing ability with a writing course from a top university, like Good with Words: Writing and Editing from the University of Michigan or Writing a Personal Essay from Wesleyan University. Get started for free to level up your writing.

Article sources

1. Common App. " 2022-2023 Common App Essay Prompts , https://www.commonapp.org/blog/2022-2023-common-app-essay-prompts." Accessed January 9, 2024.

Keep reading

Coursera staff.

Editorial Team

Coursera’s editorial team is comprised of highly experienced professional editors, writers, and fact...

This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.

Personal Statement

Personal statements may be used to customize the application to a specific program or to different specialties. 

In This Section:

Creating the personal statement, formatting the personal statement, previewing the personal statement, reviewing/editing the personal statement, assigning the personal statement.

You create your own personal statements in the MyERAS portal from the Personal Statements section listed under Documents. 

  • Each personal statement must contain a Personal Statement Title and the Personal Statement Content. The title will be visible only to you to help you correctly assign it to programs, and the content will be visible to both you and the programs it is assigned to. 
  • The personal statement is limited to 28,000 characters, which include letters, numbers, spaces, and punctuation marks. 
  • There is not a limit to how many personal statements applicants can create. 
  • Personal statements created outside the MyERAS application should be done in a plain text word processing application such as Notepad (for Windows users) or SimpleText (for Mac users). The statement should reflect your personal perspective and experiences accurately and must be your own work and not the work of another author or the product of artificial intelligence. 
  • Personal statements created in word processing applications not using plain text may contain hidden and invalid formatting. 
  • Note: A number of websites provide examples of personal statements. Do not copy any information from these sites and use it in your personal statements without giving credit to the author. Such use is considered plagiarism. 
  • The ERAS program will investigate any suspected acts of plagiarism. 
  • Any substantiated findings of plagiarism may result in the reporting of such findings to the programs to which you apply now and in subsequent ERAS seasons. 

Return to Top ↑

When creating a personal statement in the MyERAS application, the following formatting options will be available: 

  • Underline. 
  • Strikethrough. 
  • Numbering. 
  • Align left. 
  • Align right. 
  • Increase indent. 
  • Decrease indent. 
  • Insert hyperlink. 

After entering the personal statement title and content, you will have the opportunity to preview your personal statement before saving it. This preview allows you to view your personal statement just as the programs will view it, including the number of pages.  

You are responsible for reviewing your personal statements before assigning them to programs. 

The Preview/Print option under the Actions column will allow you to view and/or print your personal statement. 

Personal statements can be edited at any point during the application season — even when assigned to programs that have been applied to. 

Personal statements that have been edited will be reflected on the programs’ side by an updated status containing the date of the updated version, but programs are not guaranteed to view or review updated versions of personal statements. 

You may designate the assignment of one personal statement for each program. 

  • Personal statements can be assigned to any saved or applied to programs from the Personal Statements page by selecting “Assign” under the Actions column of the intended personal statement. 
  • When assigning by personal statement, programs listed with a disabled checkbox already have the selected personal statement currently assigned. 
  • When assigning by personal statement, you should review any personal statements that are listed under the Assigned Personal Statement column before making selections or changes. 
  • Personal statements can be assigned by program using the Assign option under the Actions column on both the Saved Programs and Programs Applied To pages. 
  • Changes to personal statement assignments can be made throughout the application season, but programs are not guaranteed to view or review newly assigned personal statements. 
  • A personal statement cannot be assigned to programs that are closed. 
  • Printer-friendly version

An official website of the United States Government

  • Kreyòl ayisyen
  • Search Toggle search Search Include Historical Content - Any - No Include Historical Content - Any - No Search
  • Menu Toggle menu
  • INFORMATION FOR…
  • Individuals
  • Business & Self Employed
  • Charities and Nonprofits
  • International Taxpayers
  • Federal State and Local Governments
  • Indian Tribal Governments
  • Tax Exempt Bonds
  • FILING FOR INDIVIDUALS
  • Who Should File
  • How to File
  • When to File
  • Where to File
  • Update Your Information
  • Get Your Tax Record
  • Apply for an Employer ID Number (EIN)
  • Check Your Amended Return Status
  • Get an Identity Protection PIN (IP PIN)
  • File Your Taxes for Free
  • Bank Account (Direct Pay)
  • Debit or Credit Card
  • Payment Plan (Installment Agreement)
  • Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS)
  • Your Online Account
  • Tax Withholding Estimator
  • Estimated Taxes
  • Where's My Refund
  • What to Expect
  • Direct Deposit
  • Reduced Refunds
  • Amend Return

Credits & Deductions

  • INFORMATION FOR...
  • Businesses & Self-Employed
  • Earned Income Credit (EITC)
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Clean Energy and Vehicle Credits
  • Standard Deduction
  • Retirement Plans

Forms & Instructions

  • POPULAR FORMS & INSTRUCTIONS
  • Form 1040 Instructions
  • Form 4506-T
  • POPULAR FOR TAX PROS
  • Form 1040-X
  • Circular 230

2024 tax filing season set for January 29; IRS continues to make improvements to help taxpayers

More in news.

  • Topics in the News
  • News Releases for Frequently Asked Questions
  • Multimedia Center
  • Tax Relief in Disaster Situations
  • Inflation Reduction Act
  • Taxpayer First Act
  • Tax Scams/Consumer Alerts
  • The Tax Gap
  • Fact Sheets
  • IRS Tax Tips
  • e-News Subscriptions
  • IRS Guidance
  • Media Contacts
  • IRS Statements and Announcements

IR-2024-04, Jan. 8, 2024

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today announced Monday, Jan. 29, 2024, as the official start date of the nation's 2024 tax season when the agency will begin accepting and processing 2023 tax returns.

The IRS expects more than 128.7 million individual tax returns to be filed by the April 15, 2024, tax deadline.

Although the IRS will not officially begin accepting and processing tax returns until Jan. 29, people do not need to wait until then to work on their taxes if they're using software companies or tax professionals. For example, most software companies accept electronic submissions and then hold them until the IRS is ready to begin processing later this month. IRS Free File will also be available on IRS.gov starting Jan. 12 in advance of the filing season opening. The IRS Direct File pilot will be rolled out in phases as final testing is completed and is expected to be widely available in mid-March to eligible taxpayers in the participating states.

Taxpayers will continue to see helpful changes at the IRS following ongoing transformation work. Building off the success of the 2023 tax season that saw significant improvements following passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, the 2024 filing season will continue reflecting the focus on improving services to taxpayers.

"As our transformation efforts take hold, taxpayers will continue to see marked improvement in IRS operations in the upcoming filing season," said IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel. "IRS employees are working hard to make sure that new funding is used to help taxpayers by making the process of preparing and filing taxes easier."

Some of the new and expanded tools and resources include:

  • Expanded in-person service that meets taxpayers where they are by opening or reopening Taxpayer Assistance Centers (TACs) . The IRS will also offer extended hours at many TACs nationwide.
  • Increased help available on the toll-free line and an expanded customer call back feature designed to significantly reduce wait times.
  • Improvements to the Where's My Refund? tool, which is the IRS' most widely used taxpayer service tool. However, the tool provides limited information, often leading taxpayers to call the IRS to inquire about their refund status. Updates to Where's My Refund? will allow taxpayers to see more detailed refund status messages in plain language. These updates will also ensure Where's My Refund works seamlessly on mobile devices. Taxpayers often see a generic message stating that their returns are still being processed and to check back later. With the improvements, taxpayers will see clearer and more detailed updates, including whether the IRS needs them to respond to a letter requesting additional information. The new updates will reduce the need for taxpayers to call the IRS for answers to basic questions. 
  • Enhanced paperless processing that will enable taxpayers to submit all correspondence, non-tax forms, and responses to notices digitally and will be able to e-File 20 additional tax forms. Achieving this milestone will enable up to 125 million paper documents to be submitted digitally per year.
  • An enhanced IRS Individual Online Account that includes chat, the option to schedule and cancel future payments, revise payment plans and validate and save bank accounts.
  • A new, pilot tax filing service called Direct File that gives eligible taxpayers a new choice to file their 2023 federal tax returns online, for free, directly with the IRS. It will be rolled out in phases and is expected to be widely available in mid-March. Find more about Direct File pilot eligibility, scope and the participating states on Direct File .

April 15 tax filing deadline for most taxpayers

For most taxpayers, the deadline to file their personal federal tax return, pay any tax owed or request an extension to file is Monday, April 15, 2024.

Taxpayers living in Maine or Massachusetts have until April 17, 2024, due to the Patriot's Day and Emancipation Day holidays. If a taxpayer resides in a federally declared disaster area , they also may have additional time to file.

Tips to help people file in 2024

The IRS encourages taxpayers to take steps now to Get Ready  to file their 2023 individual federal tax return. It's important for filers to gather all the correct information they need before filing their return. Organize and gather tax records including Social Security numbers, Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers, Adoption Identification Numbers and this year's Identity Protection Personal Identification Numbers (IP PIN) . Filing an accurate return can help taxpayers avoid refund delays or later IRS mailings about a problem.

People should report all their taxable income and wait to file until they receive all income related documents. This is especially important for people who may receive various Forms 1099 from banks or other payers reporting unemployment compensation , dividends , pensions, annuities or retirement plan distributions. If a taxpayer receives Forms 1099-K , they should visit What to do with Form 1099-K to help them determine if that money should be reported as income on their federal tax return.

People should plan to file electronically  with  direct deposit . This is still the fastest and easiest way to file and receive a refund. To avoid delays in processing, people should avoid filing paper returns whenever possible.

IRS Free File; opens January 12; free service on IRS.gov has helped millions

IRS Free File will open Jan. 12, 2024, when participating software companies will accept completed tax returns and hold them until they can be filed electronically with the IRS. IRS Free File Guided Tax Software, available only at IRS.gov, is available to any taxpayer or family with Adjusted Gross Income of $79,000 or less in 2023.

Beginning Jan. 29, 2024, Free File Fillable forms, a part of this effort, is available at no cost to any income level and provides electronic forms that people can fill out and e-file themselves also at no cost.

Most refunds issued in less than 21 days; EITC refunds for many available starting February 27

Many different factors can affect the timing of a refund after the IRS receives a return. Although the IRS issues most refunds in less than 21 days, the IRS cautions taxpayers not to rely on receiving a refund by a certain date, especially when making major purchases or paying bills. Some returns may require additional review and may take longer. The easiest way to check a refund's status is by using Where's My Refund? on IRS.gov or the IRS2Go app.

Under the federal Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act, the IRS cannot issue Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) refunds before mid-February. Where's My Refund? should show an updated status by February 17   for most early EITC/ACTC filers. The IRS expects most EITC/ACTC related refunds to be available in taxpayer bank accounts or on debit cards by February 27 if they chose direct deposit and there are no other issues with their tax return.

IRS.gov, IRS Online Account provide free help

Visit IRS.gov to find online tools to help get information needed to file a complete and accurate return. The tools are easy-to-use and available anytime. Check out a few resources below:

  • IRS Individual Online Account : Individuals with a Social Security number or an Individual Taxpayer Identification number can log-in or sign-up for an IRS Individual Online Account to securely access information about their federal tax account, view balance and payment options, view and approve authorizations from their tax professional, view digital copies of select IRS notices and get information on their most recently filed return that includes their Adjusted Gross Income.
  • Interactive Tax Assistant: The Interactive Tax Assistant (ITA) is a tool that provides answers to several tax law questions specific to individual circumstances. Based on input, it can determine if a person should file a tax return, their filing status, if someone can be claimed as a dependent, if a type of income is taxable, if a filer is eligible to claim a credit or if an expense can be deducted.
  • Choosing a tax pro: People can use the  IRS Directory of Federal Tax Return Preparers with Credentials and Select Qualifications to find a preparer who is skilled in tax preparation and accurately files income tax returns. Most tax return preparers provide outstanding and professional tax service. However, choosing the wrong tax return preparer hurts taxpayers financially every year. Be sure to check  tips for choosing a tax preparer  and how to  avoid unethical "ghost" return preparers .
  • Free tax help by IRS certified volunteers: Through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) programs, volunteers are available in communities nationwide to provide free tax assistance to low-to-moderate income (generally under $64,000 in adjusted gross income) and elderly taxpayers (age 60 and older). At selected sites, taxpayers can input and electronically fi­le their own tax return with the assistance of an IRS certified volunteer. For additional information, visit Free Tax Return Preparation for Qualifying Taxpayers .
  • Help for the military: A Department of Defense program, MilTax  generally offers free return preparation and electronic filing software for federal income tax returns and up to three state income tax returns for all military members, and some veterans, with no income limit.

Key 2024 filing season dates

  • January 12: IRS Free File opens.
  • January 16: Due date for 2023 fourth quarter estimated tax payments.
  • January 26: Earned Income Tax Credit Awareness Day.
  • January 29: Filing season start date for individual tax returns.
  • April 15: Due date of filing a tax return or to request an extension for most of the nation.
  • April 17: Due date for Maine and Massachusetts.
  • October 15: Due date for extension filers.
  •  Facebook
  •  Twitter
  •  Linkedin

When can you file taxes this year? Here's when the 2024 tax season opens.

when is my personal statement due

The holidays are over, your debt balance is huge and you may be wondering how soon you can get your tax refund and put a dent in that debt . Wonder no more. The IRS said Monday it will begin accepting tax returns on Jan. 29.

If you file your taxes electronically that day and there are no issues, the IRS says it can usually issue a refund within 21 days or less as long as you didn't claim the Earned Income Tax Credit or the Additional Child Tax Credit. By law, those refunds can't be issued before mid-February. The IRS expects most EITC/Additional CTC-related refunds to be available in taxpayer bank accounts by direct deposit or on debit cards by Feb. 27, possibly earlier, if taxpayers chose direct deposit and there are no problems with the tax return. 

The final deadline for most people to file taxes is April 15.

How can I ensure my taxes are filed on the first day?

As long as you've received all your tax documents, you can complete the forms now and have them ready to send electronically on Jan. 29.

Most software companies accept electronic submissions and then hold them until the IRS is ready to begin processing later this month.

If you use a tax preparer, they also can complete your return ahead of opening day and queue it up to the IRS. As soon as the agency opens for business that day, your return will automatically get filed.

IRS Free File will be available on IRS.gov starting Jan. 12 ahead of the filing season opening. The IRS Direct File pilot will be rolled out in phases as final testing is completed and is expected to be widely available in mid-March to eligible taxpayers in the participating states.

No need to wonder. Here are answers: Tax season can be terrifying. Here's everything to know before filing your taxes in 2024.

What if I file by paper and mail?

If you file by paper and are due a refund, you'll have to wait longer for your check. Not only do you have to wait for the postal system to deliver your paper return, but processing your return will take longer. An IRS employee will have to open the mail and enter your information to get processed.

"It could take four weeks or more to process your return," the IRS said.

The IRS expects more than 128.7 million individual tax returns to be filed by the April 15 tax deadline.

Can I check to see if my refund has been issued?

Yes, go to   Where's My Refund? on IRS.gov or the  IRS2Go mobile app to see the latest information on your tax return and refund. You can also get information on your tax year 2022 or 2021 refunds.

You can begin checking

◾ 24 hours after e-filing a tax year 2023 return.

◾ Three or four days after e-filing a tax year 2021 or 2022 return.

◾ Four weeks after mailing a paper return.

Data are updated once per day, usually at night. So, there's no need to check more often, the IRS says.

What are the key 2024 filing season dates?

◾ Jan. 12:  IRS Free File opens.

◾ Jan. 16:  Due date for 2023 fourth quarter estimated tax payments.

◾ Jan. 26:  Earned Income Tax Credit Awareness Day.

◾ Jan. 29:  Filing season start date for individual tax returns.

◾ April 15:  Due date of filing a tax return or requesting an extension for most of the nation.

◾ April 17:  Due date for Maine and Massachusetts.

◾ Oct. 15:  Due date for extension filers.

Medora Lee is a money, markets, and personal finance reporter at USA TODAY. You can reach her at [email protected] and subscribe to our free Daily Money newsletter  for personal finance tips and business news every Monday through Friday.

  • Telephone Tel: +44 (0) 20 7499 2394
  • Email Email: [email protected]

Strategic Guidance

  • Private Oxbridge Consultation
  • International Oxbridge Consultation
  • Postgraduate Applications Guidance
  • Book a Complimentary Call

Comprehensive Support

  • The Premier Service
  • Oxbridge Preparation Course

Targeted Support

  • Oxbridge Personal Statement Support
  • Oxbridge Admissions Test Support
  • Oxbridge Interview Preparation Support

Application Guidance

  • ‘Aspiring to Oxbridge’ School Talk
  • Teacher Training Workshop
  • Individual Guidance Consultations

Personal Statement Support

  • Personal Statement Group Workshop
  • Personal Statement Consultations

Admissions Test Preparation

  • Admissions Test Day
  • Admissions Test Course

Interview Preparation

  • Interview Preparation Day
  • Interview Preparation Course

Free Library

  • Oxbridge Interview Resources
  • Admissions Tests Resources
  • Student Library
  • Teacher Library
  • Keeping You Current
  • Webinar Library

Our Publications

Course reports, oxbridge applications.

  • Become A Tutor
  • Our Offices
  • Dukes Education

News & Press

  • Widening Access
  • Publications
  • Sign In Register
  • Sign In    Register

12 Personal Statement FAQs and answers!

There is often a large amount of confusion surrounding how to write personal statements, especially when it comes to oxford and cambridge and other top research universities., every year, we have thousands of students ask us what qualities go into making a successful personal statement., to help, we have broken down this question into 12 of the most frequently asked questions our prospective students ask when they are trying to draft their personal statements., 1. how do i write the introduction.

Introductions are often disappointingly generic. To help you achieve more specificity and concision, the best way to write a good personal statement introduction is to complete the rest of it first. When you are getting started on the first draft, it can be overwhelming to begin at a blank page, but discussing your achievements and interests – relevant to the courses and universities you are applying to – can help you clarify what your motivation to study the subject really is. Then you can come back and explain the reasons behind your passion for Mathematics, Anglo Saxon literature or your subject of choice.

2. How many books should I talk about?

This question can be answered in various ways depending on the subject you intend to study. Clinical scientific subjects will not require many book mentions, however, Arts and Humanities personal statements for Oxbridge see a great benefit from discussing at least two books in detail, with further reading mentioned.

It’s also important to remember that academic sources shouldn’t be only limited to books. A well-rounded personal statement discusses specific theories, touches on lectures you have attended or essays and articles you have read to gain a better understanding of specific academic points rather than a general discussion. One of the biggest pitfalls students fall into when drafting Oxbridge personal statements is getting stuck waffling about general points around a subject of interest. To avoid getting stuck in general chatter, try to use only specific examples in your personal statement.

Centrally, admissions tutors want to see that you know you are getting yourself in for. Only reading a couple of books from their introductory list will therefore not tantalise them; try to follow your interests in a bit more depth and look at readings and ideas which are representative of degree level material.

3. What do I do if I have no work experience?

Referencing work experience in your personal statement is dependent on the subject you intend to study. A rule of thumb is to ask yourself whether you think an academic in the faculty you are applying to will think your work experience was relevant for the course. If you are applying to study History, for example, your two-weeks at an accounting or law firm organising files will be of little interest.

For Medicine, work experience is integral not only to the application process but will help build a strong personal statement. When applying to a vocational subject such as Medicine, where possible you should always ensure you are able to reference at least one work experience placement held. If you don’t have any work experience and your personal statement is due, make sure to arrange some and refer to this in the future tense in your personal statement when talking about your upcoming placement.

Work experience can also be useful for other more vocation-leaning subjects, such as architecture and engineering. More widely, doing work experience is extremely useful to help you begin thinking about what you might want to do with your career, and can build highly useful skills, but, unless it is relevant to the course content, it is unlikely to proffer you any credit for university admission.

4. How long should I talk about extra-curricular activities?

Leading research universities are looking for your potential to succeed on the course you are applying for. Nevertheless, two applicants who seem academically matched might be distinguished from each other by their ability to balance their time with several other things. Do include what you do outside of academia, then, but keep non-relevant activities mentioned to a minimum rather than an exhaustive list. This might mean sacrificing some of the things you do outside of your course and focus on those few things you do most often, or to the highest level. (N.B. Your reference might be able to discuss some of your extra-curricular activities too, and you don’t want to overlap this material).

What you do mention, try to link to your subject. This might be easy, as with an English literature student who has directed lots of theatre, or less easy, such as a maths applicant who plays the violin to a high level. Nevertheless, making these links convincingly can bring originality and creativity to your statement.

5. How can I tailor it for different courses?

Subjects like HSPS at Cambridge or Classical Archaeology and Ancient History at Oxford might make it tricky to tailor your statement for different courses. Oxford and Cambridge are very understanding of this, and specific guidance can usually be found on faculty websites about their expectations.

However, as a rule of thumb, focus on the areas of convergence between the courses you are applying for. If these differ in title, then avoid stating the title of the course in your statement and instead refer to the disciplinary area or focus instead. This involves: a) making sure the courses you are applying for are sufficiently similar to give you a chance of doing this, and b) doing your research on the course content and options so that you are covering the appropriate material.

This research stands even if you are applying for the same titled course everywhere. English, for example, is taught very differently at Oxford to Bristol, and focusing on an interest which does not feature in either course will result in your application being put aside.

Doing this research early can also help you to direct your reading and research to build material for your personal statement which speaks to all your choices.

6. How should I talk about my other A-level subjects?

Lots of students are told to discuss the skills they have gathered from their A Level subjects, but we caution around this; your UCAS application includes a full list of A-Level subjects studied, and your school reference will discuss your A-Level abilities. Talking about the time management or analytical skills you gained from studying history, and the logical skills you gained from physics, can therefore come across as ‘fodder’ which could have already been inferred.

You can, however, talk about how other subjects provide further insight into the course or subject you’d like to study. For example, students who have taken Classics that intend to study English Literature at university can talk about translating texts, such as the Aeneid, and how this helped gain a greater understanding of classical influence in modern English Literature. As with the whole statement, the more specific you can make this, the better.

7. How long should it be?

This is an easy one. Your personal statement should be at most, 4,000 characters or 47 lines, whichever you meet first. Although it can be shorter, we strongly recommend taking full advantage of the available space. Ideally, you want your first draft to be much longer so you can cut down and edit your personal statement to be shorter, rather than using general waffle or struggling to fill the space.

Cutting it down is usually relatively easy, but it might take an outside eye to see the ‘wood from the trees’. Any non-relevant, generic material, anything which is likely to be in many other statements, and frilly, decorative language or repetition can all be chopped down.

If you find you are struggling to reach 4,000 characters or 47 lines, you probably need to revisit the body of your personal statement and discuss more subject-specific content. You may, alternatively, need to go back to the research and reading phase of writing.

8. What formatting should I use?

The final version of your personal statement will be submitted in a digital form with no formatting options, so there is no need to worry about formatting. That means you won’t have to decide what font or colour to use and there is no need for styles such as bold or italics. If you do include these, they won’t appear in the submitted version.

Your school should already have discussed best practice for writing your personal statement but as a reminder – do not write your statement draft in the real form! As with any content that is going to be submitted digitally, you should write it in a word document first (Microsoft Office, Google Docs, Pages, etc) where you can save a copy locally to your computer (and back-up regularly). This way, you can avoid the devastating loss of your best statement draft due to an accidental refresh or the internet dropping out.

9. How many paragraphs should it be?

There is no set-in-stone rule for the number of paragraphs but generally, a well-structured personal statement will be broken up into five or six paragraphs and be easy to read. Admissions tutors will need to comprehend your statement very quickly, so structure with this in mind.

A frequently-successful structure follows this pattern: an introduction, two to three course/subject-specific main paragraphs, a penultimate paragraph detailing your extracurricular activities, and then a final summary paragraph. The final two paragraphs are sometimes pushed together to form one.

10. Will they find out if I slightly…exaggerate my talents?

Yes! Your personal statement for Oxford and Cambridge should be considered a springboard for your interview and you could and should expect to be questioned about any single detail of it. At Oxbridge Applications, every year, we have students that approach us in January who are upset that their Admissions Tutor spent 20 minutes focused on a certain author when “I only mentioned that book briefly as a side note”.

However, you DON’T need to be an expert, or even particularly knowledgeable, about a particular idea or author to mention it in your statement. If you are questioned about an aspect of an author’s work you have mentioned which you are unsure about, then be intellectually honest and say so, but try your best to have a go given what you already know about them or similar authors/ideas.

This is not only the case for authors/books mentioned, but also if you put forward a highly ambitious or critical view in your statement. If you want to argue that Marx was totally wrong, then you better be ready to defend your view in a nuanced way. The bottom line is: stay intellectually honest and err on the side of modesty; academics tend to become less rather than more sure about the ‘truth’ the further they delve into their subject matter.

11. How many teachers should check my personal statement?

Preferably, you will get your drafted personal statement checked by at last two of your teachers or guidance advisers. One should be subject-specific who can check over the content of your paragraphs and the other can be from a different department to provide feedback on grammatical accuracy and quality of the statement.

Getting guidance from second and third parties can be useful ensure you retain editorial control, and that your voice and taste runs through the statement. If you try to include everyone’s different opinion, you can quickly end up with a jumbled statement that no longer reflects on you and your communication style and strengths.

Make sure you leave plenty of time between completing your first draft and the Oxbridge personal statement deadline ensuring you have time for others to check it over and you can make changes as necessary.

12. Should I start my personal statement with a quote?

‘Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.’ Oscar Wilde.

How much have you learned about me from reading Wilde’s words?

Quotes are used each year by applicants who end up getting offers from top universities, including Oxford and Cambridge. It’s not necessarily going to bring your application to an end. Quotes are also awarded marks in certain A Level subjects, if you have taken the time to remember them and give them a bit of context.

However, your personal statement gives admissions tutors the chance to hear your voice, and to get a sense of what you might be like as a student on their course. By definition , using a quote – i.e. someone else’s words – is not personal. It is therefore preferable to avoid using a quote unless it’s absolutely essential. Using a quote doesn’t make YOU sound more interesting.

Before you decide to use a quote, think long and hard. If you would really like to use a quote, try to make it as pithy and concise as possible, and make sure it elevates and builds on what you are saying; that it expresses something you couldn’t have otherwise expressed on your own. (Also, by ‘quote’, we are not talking about specific concepts or theories – these are absolutely fine to include.)

Driven by 20 years of research and first-hand experience in guiding thousands of applicants, our consultations provide an honest and detailed assessment with guidance on individual personal statements.

If you would like to speak to one of our oxbridge-graduate advisors about your own personal statement, contact our oxbridge advising team on  +44 (0)207499 2394 , email at [email protected] , or request a callback  to discuss your situation., explore oxbridge applications, request a callback, application resources, related content, choosing a cambridge college, who are the admissions tutors, results day is here.

Our Oxbridge-graduate consultants are available between 9.00 am – 5.00 pm from Monday to Friday, with additional evening availability when requested.

  • Tel: +44 (0) 20 7499 2394
  • Email: [email protected]

Oxbridge Applications, 14 – 16 Waterloo Place, London, SW1Y 4AR

  • Private Oxbridge Application Consultant
  • Oxbridge Personal Statement Support Package
  • Oxbridge Mock Interview Preparation and Support
  • Personal Statement Workshop and Checks
  • Schools Mock Interviews – Online and In-School
  • Teacher Training Workshops – Online and In-School
  • Oxbridge Preparation Days – Online and In-School
  • Terms and Conditions
  • Privacy Policy
  • Safeguarding & Child Protection
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Company Registration Number: 3757054

Recently Updated Blogs

Blog new year, new academic goals: setting resolutions for a successful academic year, blog important updates on ucas personal statements for 2024 and beyond, blog christmas break or study break navigating the festive season in your university application year, blog update from cambridge admissions assessment testing, blog crafting your action plan while awaiting interview decisions, choosing a college, a slippery question, privacy overview, added to cart.

Stanford University

Latest information about COVID-19

Writing Your Personal Statements

Your personal statement must demonstrate to the admissions committee that you have considered graduate school and their specific program seriously. It’s your opportunity to summarize your academic and research experiences. You must also communicate how your experiences are relevant to preparing you for the graduate degree that you will be pursuing and explain why a given program is the right one for you.

The personal statement is where you highlight your strengths. Make your strengths absolutely clear to the reviewers, because they will often be reading many other statements. Your self-assessments and honest conversations with peers and advisors should have also revealed your strengths. But you must also address (not blame others for) weaknesses or unusual aspects of your application or academic background.

Your personal statement should focus on two main aspects: your competence and commitment.

1. Identify your strengths in terms of competence that indicate that you will succeed in the grad program and provide examples to support your claims. Start your statement by describing your strengths immediately. Because faculty will be reading many statements, it’s important to start off with your strengths and not “bury your lede.” Consider traits of successful graduate students from your informational interviews, and identify which of these traits you have. These traits could involve research skills and experiences, expertise in working with techniques or instruments, familiarity with professional networks and resources in your field, etc.

  • Check your responses from the exercises in the self-assessment section. You may wish to consult notes from your informational interviews and your Seven Stories . Write concise summaries and stories that demonstrate your strengths, e.g. how your strengths helped you to achieve certain goals or overcome obstacles.
  • Summarize your research experience(s). What were the main project goals and the “big picture” questions? What was your role in this project? What did you accomplish? What did you learn, and how did you grow as a result of the experience(s)?

Vannessa Velez's portrait

My research examines the interplay between U.S. domestic politics and foreign policy during the Cold War. As a native New Yorker, I saw firsthand how dramatically my city changed after 9/11, which prompted my early interest in U.S. policy at home and abroad. As an undergraduate at the City College of New York, I planned to study international relations with a focus on U.S. foreign affairs. I also quickly became involved in student activist groups that focused on raising awareness about a wide range of human rights issues, from the Syrian refugee crisis to asylum seekers from Central America.

The more I learned about the crises in the present, the more I realized that I needed a deeper understanding of the past to fully grasp them. I decided to pursue a PhD in history in order to gain a clearer understanding of human rights issues in the present and to empower young student-activists like myself.

— Vannessa Velez, PhD candidate in History

Addressing weaknesses or unusual aspects

  • Identify weaknesses or unusual aspects in your application—e.g., a significant drop in your GPA during a term; weak GRE scores; changes in your academic trajectory, etc. Don’t ignore them, because ignoring them might be interpreted as blind spots for you. If you’re unsure if a particular issue is significant enough to address, seek advice from faculty mentors.
  • Explain how you’ll improve and strengthen those areas or work around your weakness. Determine how you will address them in a positive light, e.g., by discussing how you overcame obstacles through persistence, what you learned from challenges, and how you grew from failures. Focusing on a growth mindset  or grit  and this blog on weaknesses might also help.
  • Deal with any significant unusual aspects later in the statement to allow a positive impression to develop first.
  • Explain, rather than provide excuses—i.e., address the issue directly and don’t blame others (even if you believe someone else is responsible). Draft it and get feedback from others to see if the explanation is working as you want it to.
  • Provide supporting empirical evidence if possible. For example, “Adjusting to college was a major step for me, coming from a small high school and as a first-generation college student. My freshman GPA was not up to par with my typical achievements, as demonstrated by my improved  GPA of 3.8 during my second and third years in college."
  • Be concise (don’t dwell on the issues), but also be complete (don’t lead to other potentially unanswered questions). For example, if a drop in grades during a term was due to a health issue, explain whether the health issue is recurring, managed now with medication, resolved, etc.

2. Explain your commitment to research and their graduate program, including your motivation for why you are applying to this graduate program at this university. Be as specific as possible. Identify several faculty members with whom you are interested in working, and explain why their research interests you.

  • Descriptions of your commitment should explain why you’re passionate about this particular academic field and provide demonstrations of your commitment with stories (e.g., working long hours to solve a problem, overcoming challenges in research, resilience in pursuing problems). Don’t merely assert your commitment.
  • Explain why you are applying to graduate school, as opposed to seeking a professional degree or a job. Discuss your interest and motivation for grad school, along with your future career aspirations.

Jaime Fine's portrait

I am definitely not your traditional graduate student. As a biracial (Native American and white), first-generation PhD student from a military family, I had very limited guidance on how best to pursue my education, especially when I decided that graduate school was a good idea. I ended up coming to this PhD in a very circuitous manner, stopping first to get a JD and, later, an MFA in Young Adult Literature. With each degree, I took time to work and apply what I’d learned, as a lawyer and as an educator. Each time, I realized that I was circling around questions that I couldn’t let go of—not just because I found them to be fascinating, but because I did (and still do!) feel that my research could help to bridge a gap that desperately needs bridging. Because my work is quite interdisciplinary, I strongly feel that I wouldn’t have been able to pursue this line of research without the degrees and life experience I gained before coming to this program.

— Jamie Fine, PhD candidate in Modern Thought and Literature

Statement of Purpose: subtle aspects

  • Think in terms of engaging faculty in a conversation rather than pleading with them that you should be admitted. Ask reviewers to read drafts with this concern in mind.
  • With later drafts, try developing an overall narrative theme. See if one emerges as you work.
  • Write at least 10 drafts and expect your thinking and the essay to change quite a bit over time.
  • Read drafts out loud to help you catch errors.
  • Expect the "you' that emerges in your essay to be incomplete. . . that’s OK.
  • You’re sharing a professional/scholarly slice of "you."
  • Avoid humor (do you really know what senior academics find funny?) and flashy openings and closings. Think of pitching the essay to an educated person in the field, but not necessarily in your specialty. Avoid emotionally laden words (such as "love" or "passion"). Remember, your audience is a group of professors! Overly emotional appeals might make them uncomfortable. They are looking for scholarly colleagues.

Stanford University

© Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305

College Advisor logo

How to Start a Personal Statement

Avatar photo

One of the first hurdles students encounter when writing college essays is how to start a personal statement. As a core element of many applications, understanding how to write a personal statement is crucial. Learning how to write a personal statement that is an authentic representation of yourself can be challenging. However, mastering this skill will help you craft personal essays that make a lasting impact on admissions officers. 

Specific, actionable college essay tips can help you learn how to write a personal statement for college. If you spend time learning how to start a college essay, you’ll feel even more confident as you begin the process. So, let’s demystify just exactly how to start a personal statement. 

In this guide, How to Start a Personal Statement, we’ll cover everything you need to know about personal statements, including:

  • Personal statement meaning, goals, and expectations
  • Common personal statement formats
  • The importance of a hook and how to write one
  • Steps for how to start a personal statement
  • Tips for how to write a personal statement
  • How to approach the editing phase
  • Coming up with personal statement ideas
  • Examples of personal statements and how to use them

Remember, any writing process takes time. This applies whether you’re figuring out how to start a college essay or how to write a personal statement for college. No matter what approach you take, the key to how to write a great college essay is to start early! 

Now, let’s start with the basics: what is a personal statement?

What is a personal statement?

when is my personal statement due

Simply put, a personal statement is a type of college application essay. But, if you’re looking for answers to, “What is a personal statement?” you probably already know that. At its core, the personal statement should be the essay that most clearly reflects your application narrative . By reading your personal statement, colleges should gain a better understanding of who you are. That means having a clear sense of your strengths, values, and interests.

However, this doesn’t mean that your personal statement needs to capture your entire life story. In fact, often, your personal statement will likely center around just one particular moment or experience. Specifically, one that has defined your identity, passions, or personal growth. 

If you search for a personal statement meaning by school, you may find slightly varying definitions. However, all personal essays have the same goal. Personal essays show colleges your authentic voice while highlighting a part of yourself that isn’t captured elsewhere in your application. You’ll notice this if you read any example of a personal statement for college. 

Engaging in self-reflection

To understand the personal statement meaning in the simplest terms, think of two words: self-reflection . Identifying pivotal life moments, values, and skills are all a part of how to write a great college essay. However, the process of how to write a personal statement for college takes more than just describing an experience. Instead, it forces you to find the balance between contextualizing what happened and expressing how it impacted you.

Successful personal essays will generally do two things. One, they’ll capture the meaning of your past experiences, specifically the ways you were changed and the lessons you learned. Two, they’ll connect your past experiences to your current and future goals. For many students, college applications are the first time they’ve been asked to write about themselves. So, the process of making these personal connections may seem daunting.

Preparing for the future

Knowing exactly what is a personal statement and how to write a personal statement can also help you in other facets of life. For example, consider the overlap between the college application process and the job application process. When applying to jobs, you need to highlight pertinent skills, values, and beliefs—just like in a college application essay. You can even use the skills and principles for writing a personal statement to write a cover letter (with certain nuances, of course).

For more information on the personal statement meaning, check out the application/essay page for schools on your college list. Their advice and resources can help students understand exactly what’s expected from them in these types of essays. And, many colleges will even provide their own tips for how to write a great college essay. They might also provide an example of a personal statement for college. 

We’ve answered the question, “What is a personal statement?” So, now, let’s get into the personal statement format.

Personal statement format

when is my personal statement due

When learning how to write a personal statement, you’ll encounter some different personal statement formats. While there is no singular or “best” personal statement format, most personal essays share a few key attributes. So, understanding these key features can greatly help students learning how to write a great college essay.

Many students’ personal statements tell stories. In fact, discovering these important stories forms a key component of how to start a college essay. Much of the work that goes into discovering how to write a personal statement starts before you even begin writing. (We’ll discuss brainstorming ideas in a later section of this guide.)

Before we dive into how to start a personal statement, we need to pinpoint the starting point for your personal statements: the prompts.

Common/Coalition Application Personal Statement

In many cases, the personal statement refers to the Common App essay or Coalition Application essay. While there are some differences between the two application portals, both follow the same personal statement format. Students will choose from a selection of college essay prompts and write an essay (650 words max). Then, they will submit that essay to every school they apply to via that particular portal. In these cases, the process of how to start a college essay begins with reading through the provided prompts.

Learning how to write a personal statement for college includes learning how to choose the best prompt for you. The personal statement topic you ultimately choose is extremely important; your topic is essentially the soul of your essay. You’d be hard-pressed to find a well-written example of a personal statement for college that wasn’t based on an impactful topic. 

The Common App essay

Let’s take a closer look at how to start a college essay for the Common App. In the Common App, students have seven college essay prompts to choose from. Each of these college essay prompts allows students to share important anecdotes from their lives. Most of these college essay prompts ask specific questions, however, the seventh prompt is slightly different. Prompt #7 actually allows students to choose any topic for their essay.

10 Exceptional Common App Essay Examples

The coalition app essay.

The Coalition Application offers a similar personal statement format. Prompt #6 also asks students to submit an essay on any topic. You might think that responding to such an open-ended prompt would change your approach for how to write a great college essay. However, you can still use the college essay tips provided in this guide, no matter what prompt you decide to respond to.

The Common App and the Coalition Application are the most common personal statement formats you’ll encounter. However, some schools have their own unique personal statement format and requirements.

Coalition Essay Prompts 2023-24

Other personal statements

The method you take when figuring out how to write a personal statement will largely depend on your personal statement prompt. However, a personal statement for college isn’t always based on specific college essay prompts. You might simply be asked to share more about yourself. However, even if your personal statement format doesn’t directly ask you for a particular narrative, your essay still needs a focus. So, you should still aim to have your personal statement tell a story about some critical aspect of your identity. 

That being said, always double-check the specific personal statement format and requirements for each program you apply to. For instance, if you apply to universities in the UK, the UCAS personal statement is far different from other personal essays. Namely, these personal statements focus almost entirely on academics. 

When considering how to start a personal statement, look to admissions websites or university blogs for advice. Often, they’ll have a page dedicated to helpful college essay tips with insight into what they look for from students’ personal essays. For example, check out this blog from UChicago that provides tips on how to approach their quirky prompts. Additionally, check out this personal statement webinar in which an admissions officer shares helpful college essay tips. 

Now, let’s define an important attribute of how to start a personal statement: the hook.

How to start a personal statement: Understanding the “hook”

how to start a personal statement

It’s impossible to learn how to start a personal statement or how to write a personal statement that “wows” without a hook. A hook is an opening statement that catches the reader’s attention. It draws them in and makes them want to keep reading to see how the story unfolds. In personal essays, the hook is key to getting your reader invested in your story. 

But, if the idea of coming up with a compelling hook intimidates you, don’t panic! The hook isn’t necessarily the step you need to start with when learning how to start a college essay. That being said, it forms a crucial component of the personal statement introduction. You’ll notice that almost every successful example of personal statement for college has an engaging hook.

Let’s check out some hooks that impressed to help give you a better idea of how to start a personal statement.

College Personal Statement Examples

Example of personal statement for college: hook #1.

My life is as simple as a Rubik’s Cube: a child’s toy that can be solved in 20 moves or less IF and only if enough knowledge is gained.

In this personal statement introduction, this student intrigues the reader by comparing their life to a toy. Simply by reading this hook, we can see this student’s self-reflection as well as their creativity. And, most importantly, we’re intrigued to see the connection of how and why this person is fascinated by a Rubik’s cube. In this example, the Rubik’s cube is both unique and genuinely important to the writer. Moreover, by the end of the essay, we gain some valuable insight into how this person navigates the world. And, it all started with this hook. 

Example of Personal Statement for College: Hook #2

When I joined the high school swim team, I never expected to go to school dressed as Shrek.

After reading this hook, you’re probably left with more questions than answers. “What does having to be on the swim team have to do with dressing up as Shrek?” We don’t know yet! And, that’s the point. This surprising hook has the reader curious about the connection the writer will make. However, when figuring out how to start a personal statement, don’t go overboard with the shock factor. Keep in mind that personal essays can’t come from wild statements alone. Rather, they need to connect to a meaningful moment in the writer’s life. 

Example of Personal Statement for College: Hook #3

At six years old, most kids I know get excited to help Blue find clues or recite Elmo’s songs on Sesame Street. So you can imagine my family’s surprise when they saw me ignoring the other kids to go belt alongside my grandfather’s mariachi trio in the backyard.

Your hook doesn’t have to be just one sentence. Rather, it might be a couple of sentences or even the first paragraph, like in this example. Keep in mind that there are no definitive rules to how to start a personal statement—other than sharing important information about yourself that will stand out to admissions officers.

Students who want to master how to write a personal statement need to learn how to craft an engaging hook. This particular hook shows how the writer is different from their peers. As the reader, we can learn a lot from just these few sentences. We already know that this writer isn’t afraid to be themselves and do what they love from a young age. This college application essay gets into much deeper themes as the narrative continues. However, the most important part of the personal statement introduction—the hook—has already done its job of pulling the reader in to learn more. 

Using these examples

These are just a few successful hooks that students have used in their approach to how to start a personal statement. Each of these comes from a strong example of a personal statement for college. As you can see from each example of a personal statement for college, the best personal statement topics are unique. However, even the most quirky hooks always lead the reader into an essay of substance.

Use each example of personal statement for college to help inspire your “how to write a personal statement” journey. When considering how to write a great college essay, analyzing examples of what works can help. 

Want to see how others figured out how to start a personal statement? Check out these personal statement examples as well as these Common App essay examples for inspiration.

When to write your hook

Having a hook is a crucial part of how to write a personal statement that impresses. However, coming up with your hook won’t necessarily form the first step in your process. Just as there’s no one right way of how to write a personal statement, there’s no one right way to write a hook. 

When considering how to start a personal statement, you don’t need to dive into the hook right away. You may even write a whole draft of your essay before figuring out the best hook for your personal statement introduction. 

So, if a hook doesn’t jump to your brain as you consider personal statement ideas, just start writing! Sometimes, it’s best to write a straightforward beginning (maybe even dry!) and then work your way backward. Remember, it doesn’t matter when you come up with it. Just be sure to add that sparkly hook to your personal statement before submitting your final draft.

Do all colleges require a personal statement?

how to start a personal statement

It’s more than likely that you will need to know how to write a personal statement during the college application process. However, not every college requires a personal statement—though most top schools do. 

So, before stressing about how to start a college essay, check the requirements of the schools on your college list . However, keep in mind that most of the nation’s top schools require applicants to submit a personal statement for college.

Additionally, you might want to adjust your personal statement for different programs. You’ll still submit the same personal statement for college for each school you apply to through the Common App. However, other specialized programs and applications might request a slightly different personal statement format. So, always check the admissions requirements and do your research on every school and each individual program. Your approach to how to start a college essay will depend on each program’s prompts and formats. You can also always look at an example of a personal statement for college for inspiration. 

33 Colleges Without Supplemental Essays

Do colleges care about the personal statement? 

A strong college application essay is extremely important in the admissions process. So, put simply, yes—colleges really do care about the personal statement. Understanding how to start a personal statement means understanding the weight that it carries. Of course, you shouldn’t let yourself get overwhelmed by the process. Rather, try to feel excited by the opportunity to truly show off your personality, skills, background, future goals, and more.

That being said, the extent to which your personal statement impacts your admissions decision will likely vary by school. For instance, some larger state schools may focus foremost on your grades or standardized test scores (due to the fact that they receive such a large volume of applicants and have more spaces available). While these schools will still care about your personal statement, other factors may have a more immediate impact on their admissions decisions. 

On the other hand, top universities with smaller enrollments often place a considerable amount of emphasis on the personal statement. These schools receive more qualified applicants than the places they have available. Your personal statement lets you highlight what makes you unique and how you’ll enrich their campus community. 

How to write a personal statement – Step-by-step guide

A successful personal statement for college will read as passionate and authentic. You’ll notice this in each example of personal statement for college that you read. But how exactly do you write a passionate and authentic essay?

To begin, you’ll likely brainstorm personal statement ideas and decide on your personal statement topic.  However, understanding how to write a personal statement will require more than simply knowing how to start a personal statement. And remember, you can always check out an example of a personal essay for college if you’re feeling stuck. 

How to write a personal statement isn’t a strict process—as seen in this personal statement webinar about rethinking your essay . However, you should follow certain key steps as you craft your essays. Following each step, and allotting yourself sufficient time to do so, will make the writing process all the better. (Tips about staying on track are just as important as the best college essay tips about writing!)

Next, we’ll walk you through the step-by-step process of how to write a personal statement. This includes brainstorming personal statement ideas, exploring personal statement topics, and reviewing and submitting your personal essays.

Ready to learn just how to write a personal statement? Let’s get started!

How to start a personal statement – First steps

how to start a personal statement

Now, let’s dive into how to start a personal statement. The first steps to how to start a personal statement can be broken down into two parts:

During these steps, you’ll generate personal statement ideas and select your personal statement topics. Without a strong topic, you’ll struggle to write a genuine essay. So, let’s talk about how to generate an essay topic that highlights your passion. 

Step 1: Brainstorm

How to start a personal statement begins with brainstorming a list of ideas. Each stellar example of a personal statement for college likely came from a brainstorming session. But, why is brainstorming so important? 

While some personal statement requirements won’t provide specific prompts for applicants, many will, including the Common App essay. So, you should make sure to choose a great topic that directly answers the prompt. 

Let’s check out some brainstorming exercises that can help you get the great ideas flowing. 

The best way to choose a great topic for a personal statement for college is through your passions. If you’re stuck when it comes to pinpointing your passions, try answering this question: If you were going to host a TED talk, what would it be and why? We all know that TED talks are addicting—that’s because they’re engaging. And they’re engaging because the hosts are talking about their passions. 

So, think about something you would be excited to spend 30-40 minutes discussing in front of an audience. What would you say about it? You might find using voice notes and recording yourself is easier than writing out your ideas. For some students, talking about something may feel easier than immediately putting pen to paper. 

If a TED talk doesn’t get your creative juices flowing, try a classic essay brainstorming method: mind maps. You’ve likely done mind maps in your high school English class. But for those who haven’t, let’s break down the process. 

First, take the prompt for your essay. For instance, maybe it asks about a challenge you’ve faced. Set a timer for 10 minutes and write the prompt on a sheet of paper. Then, next to the prompt, start writing every experience you’ve had that relates to the prompt. This is not the time to get into the details—just focus on potential topics. Even if you’re not sure if something is a perfect fit, include it! At this stage, all ideas are fair game. Later, you can narrow them down to find the topic that you have the most to write about. 

Defining values

Another useful brainstorming exercise for a college application essay, especially when it comes to how to start a personal statement, has to do with defining your values. Most successful personal essays center around a value that students have. Think about the values that are most important to you (loyalty, kindness, empathy, honesty, etc.). Then, create a list of 4-6 values. After that, for each of your values, come up with a list of experiences that reflect them. You can even set a timer for each value. 

Alternatively, you might work backward by coming up with a list of experiences that you find were the most impactful in your life. From these experiences, you can identify values that they instilled or that you embodied. Make sure to focus on an experience that highlights something critical about who you are as a person, student, or community member. You might also consider doing this same activity for qualities or skills depending on the essay prompt. 

Step 2: Free-write

how to start a personal statement

Once you have your topic, it’s time to flex your writing muscles. Don’t feel constrained by the word count at this stage. In fact, forget about a hook, a conclusion, and other literary details. Now is just the time to get your ideas on paper stress-free. 

Struggling with Step 2 in how to start a personal statement? You might benefit from doing a timed free write. Set a timer for 20 minutes and don’t stop writing about the topic until the time is up. Don’t stress about writing the perfect sentence or having the right flow–just keep writing on the topic at hand. You may want to do this step a couple of times if you’re still deciding on the best prompt to respond to. You won’t always find the perfect personal essay topic on the first try, and that’s okay.

However, keep in mind that some topics may read as inappropriate or cliché. If you end up choosing an overused essay topic, you may struggle to come up with a unique angle. (But that doesn’t mean these topics are entirely off-limits!) However, you should not talk about illegal or illicit behavior and never use explicit language. 

While you have free range to pick an essay topic, there are certain errors you can make. Make sure you don’t join the club of students who missed the mark with their personal essays. Learn from this personal statement webinar reviewing common mistakes that students make in their personal essays. Then, you’ll know what to avoid when deciding how to start a personal statement.

How to start a personal statement – Writing & editing

how to start a personal statement

You’ve gotten some answers to the question “what is a personal statement?” and learned how to start a personal statement. Now, it’s time to start a draft. 

For some students, figuring out how to start a college essay is the most stressful part of writing their personal essays. Indeed, you may have to write four to six drafts of your college application essay before you’ve written a personal statement for college that makes you feel proud. 

This is why our top piece of advice for how to write a great college essay is to start early. If you start early, you’ll have plenty of time to learn how to write a personal statement. You’ll also have the flexibility to write multiple drafts of your personal essays. Additionally, you’ll be able to read an example of a personal statement for college. 

Time also allows you the freedom to try out multiple personal statement topics. That way, you can find the personal statement format that makes for a powerful college application essay.

In this section, we’ll provide some college essay tips for outlining your personal statement, an important step for how to start a personal statement.

One idea for how to start a college essay is to draft an outline. An outline is simply a list of the ideas that will go into each part of your essay. You can format your outline in any way that makes sense for you. 

By outlining, you can remove some of the pressure around how to start a personal statement. Instead of putting pen to paper to write a whole essay , you just have to jot down what order you want your ideas to go in. Think of an outline as a sketch of a picture you want to draw. Once you have that sketch, drawing the rest of the picture is usually easier.

However, outlining is not for everyone. Some students find outlining stressful, limiting, or confusing. If you’d rather jump into writing your personal statement on a blank page, do so. At the end of the day, when figuring out how to start a personal statement, you should follow the writing process that works best for you.  

Drafting Your College Essay

Regardless of whether you choose to outline your ideas, here are some tips for how to start a college essay draft:

Find a beginning, middle, and end to your story.

As we’ve shared, a strong personal statement for college tells a story about who you are and demonstrates what you would bring to a college campus. 

To write a strong example of a personal statement for college, you must have a beginning, middle, and end. By this, we mean that your essay should introduce and build upon ideas until they lead to some kind of resolution usually related to your personal growth. Think about your favorite book or movie – how did the story develop and resolve itself? Make sure your personal essays do the same.

Develop your hook.

The key to how to start a personal statement is with a hook. As we shared above, a hook is an engaging personal statement introduction that catches the reader’s attention. In your outline, consider adding some ideas for potential hooks. 

A hook can include, but is not limited to, any of the following types of opening sentences:

  • A piece of dialogue (i.e. “Do you remember the summer we went to Turkey?” said my mother.)
  • A description of a scene (i.e., The Alaskan lake was warm that summer, the sun gleaming off its gentle ripples.)
  • A thought-provoking question (i.e., What makes a house feel like a home?)
  • A relevant and powerful quote (i.e., When Steve Jobs said “You can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking back,” he gave words to a struggle I have long faced.) 
  • An unexpected thought (i.e., I am the fourth of eleven children in my family and the first one to dream of going to college.)

Each of the above personal statement introductions is unique and original. Additionally, all of these hooks make the reader wonder what else is coming in the essay. Indeed, each of these hooks is a great idea for how to start a college essay. 

When thinking about how to start a college essay, avoid using cliché or generic personal statement introductions. In general, don’t directly answer college essay prompts like “A challenge I have faced is…”. These types of personal statement introductions are so common that they tend to lose the reader’s attention quickly.

Jot down details.

After identifying a hook, begin telling your story. In your outline, include any details that make your story unique. While some students assume that personal statement topics must be very rare or ground-breaking, in most cases the details are what set essays apart. 

What do you remember that can help the reader experience your story vividly? How can you evoke their senses or emotions in a way that makes them feel and remember your story? Keeping these questions in mind will unlock many tools for how to write a great college essay.

Identify reflections.

Stories are powerful not only for how they make us feel but for what they teach us. When you jot down your outline, consider what reflections or lessons you have to share. Why does your story matter? What does it demonstrate about who you are? 

Your essay should be descriptive and show us what you were experiencing. However, you can also include a few lines that tell the reader what you want them to take away. Usually, these reflections come towards the end of the essay, but they can also be sprinkled throughout. 

How to Write a Personal Statement – Polish and Revise 

how to start a personal statement

Now that you’ve learned how to start a personal statement, let’s discuss what some consider to be the most critical part of writing an essay – revising. Polishing and revising an essay are the keys for how to write a great college essay. When you look at an example of a personal statement for college, remember that the student probably spent many hours revising that essay.

When revising your personal essays, avoid getting frustrated by how long the process takes. The key for how to write a personal statement without getting too overwhelmed is to be gentle and compassionate with yourself. Just like living your story takes time, energy, and resilience, so does writing your story in a college application essay. Rather than getting frustrated, celebrate how much you have learned about how to start a college essay.

In the next section, we’ll dive deeper into college essay tips for revising your personal essays. 

Step 4: Revise

when is my personal statement due

If you’re wondering how to write a personal statement for college, you’re probably also wondering how to revise one. Revision is the process during which you review what you have written for errors and to check whether the ideas make sense. You might also revise to find ways to shorten your essay if it is too long or expand on ideas that you didn’t fully flesh out. 

Here are some college essay tips for revision:

College Essay Revision Tips

1. take breaks.

After you write your first draft, step away from it for at least 24 hours. When we spend a long time working on a piece of writing, sometimes our brains find it hard to focus. Stepping away will give you time to let your brain rest and return to it with fresh eyes.

We also recommend taking breaks whenever you feel stuck, a condition sometimes called writer’s block. While you might feel that pushing through is the best option, stepping away for a glass of water or a stretch can rejuvenate your body and give new energy to your mind as well. Taking care of yourself is actually one of the keys for how to write a personal statement that represents your best work. 

2. Make a revision checklist

Create a list of items to look for as you revise. That way, you won’t miss anything. Here are some ideas for what how to start a personal statement revision checklist:

  • Structure/flow – Does the structure of my essay support its meaning? A structure can refer to the length of paragraphs, the order of ideas, or the format. Maybe your essay has a lot of dialogue, but now you have realized the dialogue is distracting. 
  • Repetitive language – Do you use the same words or phrases over and over again? While you may have fallen into repetition when figuring out how to start a personal statement, try varying vocabulary or rephrasing sentence structure to keep the reader interested.
  • Spelling/grammar/syntax – Run your essay through an app like Grammarly and always use spell check. Look for ways to remove unnecessary words or shorten sentences. Generally, the fewer words you use to express an idea, the easier it will be for the reader to understand.
  • Narrative voice – This refers to the voice you use to tell your story. Is it very informal? Do you sound like you are texting with friends? One of the keys for how to write a personal statement is to use your own voice while still remembering that you are speaking to a college admissions officer. As experts in how to write a great college essay know, avoid slang and spell out contractions for added formality.

3. Read your essay aloud

Reading your essay out loud can help you find mistakes. Even more importantly, it can also help you feel if the essay captures your voice. When you read it out loud, does your essay sound like you? Are there words in your essay that you would never use in real life? These questions can help you determine if you need to adjust the narrative voice of your essay. After all, admissions officers want to hear what you sound like, not a parent or friend.

4. Get help

Whether you’re stuck on how to write a personal statement or not, it’s always a good idea to get another set of eyes on your essay. Just be careful who you select. Make sure you are asking someone who knows how to write a personal statement and can give you the right kind of feedback. 

Also, consider asking both someone who knows you well and someone who does not know you well. The person who knows you well, like a teacher, parent, counselor, or college advisor (like our team of experts at CollegeAdvisor) can make sure your voice comes across. A person who does not know you well can provide input from an outsider’s perspective. Ultimately, when you submit your college essay, you will be sending it to someone who has never met you. As such, it should make sense to people who don’t know you as well.

5. Don’t be afraid to start over

Sometimes, during the revision process, you may realize that your topic doesn’t work for you. Perhaps you realize that you were so worried about how to start a personal statement that you chose a topic you thought others wanted to read instead of one that really resonates with you. Or, maybe you just thought of a new idea for how to start a personal statement that you like a lot better. It is totally normal to redraft entire paragraphs or simply throw out the essay and start over . Even though it may seem like you have wasted time, you were learning throughout the entire process about how to write a personal statement. 

Starting over might be the best approach for you and allow you to write an essay that feels more authentic . However, do not simply start over because you are being hyper-critical of yourself. Focus as much on what you like about your essay as the parts that you do not. Do not let perfectionism cause you to throw away a perfectly good essay.

On average, students learning how to write a great college essay need to write four to six drafts until they are ready to submit. However, if you have done your research on how to write a personal statement, it may take you less. After six drafts, ask yourself if you really need to keep working on the essay, or if you are letting perfectionism get the best of you. Remember, no essay is perfect. As long as your personal statement reflects your true voice and shares a compelling story about how you became who you are, you’re likely ready to submit it.

In the next section, we will dive deeper into the final steps for how to write a great college essay that you should take before hitting submit.

Step 5: Final Review & Submit

how to start a personal statement

Congratulations! You’re almost ready to submit your personal statement for college. You’ve learned how to write a personal statement, brainstormed and drafted one, and revised it. Before you hit submit, here is a final checklist of questions to ask yourself: 

1. Did I answer the prompt fully?

Just like you plug your answer back into a math equation to see if it works, plug your essay back into the prompt. Make sure each part of the question is being answered.

2. Did I meet the word or character count?

While it is okay to be a bit under the word count, as long as you answer the question fully, going over the word count will usually mean you cannot submit your essay. 

3. Does my essay paste neatly into the application?

Before pasting your essay into the online application, we recommend pasting your essay into a Word document or Google document. Make sure to remove any formatting like bolding, italics, or comments. Left-align your essay so that it is easy to read. And, double check that spacing between sentences and paragraphs is uniform. 

While these might seem like small details, they all add to the impression you make upon admissions officers about how prepared you might be to attend their school.  Take advantage of the option to download the PDF summary of your application, if it exists, to ensure everything looks neat before you submit it.

If you can answer all these questions with a yes, you’re probably ready to submit your essay. Now, you can teach others how to write a personal statement, too. 

How to start a personal statement

At this point, you have reviewed all the steps for how to write a personal statement for college. We’d like to remind you of some important parts of this process that will help ease any stress related to writing your college essays.

First, try brainstorming first. Writing a college essay is a lot different than most academic writing you’ll have done, and it’s natural to face some writer’s block. By taking advantage of brainstorming exercises, you can get used to the idea of writing about yourself in a low-pressure environment. Some students want to skip brainstorming because they find this step unnecessary or a waste of time. 

In fact, brainstorming can help you write your essay faster because your personal statement ideas will already be on paper. Brainstorming can also help you avoid writing an essay and then realizing you do not like your topic, leading to you having to write a whole new draft.

Another key point in how to start a personal statement is to write a good “hook.” However, this doesn’t need to be the first thing that you write as you begin the drafting process. Just like writing a title sometimes is easier after you have written a paper, it can be easier to find your hook after you have fleshed out other parts of your essay.

Starting early

Regardless of what approach you take, remember that the most important piece of advice for how to start a personal statement is to start early. If you begin the process early, you’ll have time to learn about personal statement format and personal statement meaning, brainstorm essay ideas, watch personal statement webinars, and review sample essays. All of these steps will help you learn how to write a personal statement that is strong and clear.

Below, we’ll help you learn more about how to start a personal statement by providing brainstorming exercises to come up with personal statement ideas.

Generating personal statement ideas

how to start a personal statement

The first question many students ask when learning how to start a personal statement is how to come up with personal statement ideas. As we have mentioned, brainstorming forms a key part of this process.

Importantly, there are many ways to brainstorm. So, even if you think you do not like to brainstorm, consider revising these brainstorming methods. One of them might open up ideas for how to start your personal statement that you had never considered.

One important note is that you do not have to use college essay prompts as the starting point for your brainstorming process. While they can certainly jog your thinking, sometimes they can also limit your creativity. Since most of the Common App and Coalition App prompts are open-ended, you can usually turn most ideas into a great response to college essay prompts.

Keep reading for activities that can help you brainstorm your personal statement for college. 

Here are some ideas for brainstorming personal statement topics:

Brainstorming Activities

1. make a timeline of important life events.

Students who ask “what is a personal statement?” are often concerned that they have to tell their entire life story in 650 words. While this is not true, your personal statement should highlight key life events. A life event can include a big change, an accomplishment, or a time of deep personal growth. 

For this activity, consider making a timeline of important life events. Do so without judgment or filtering. No event is too small to include. After you have completed your timeline, consider if any event is one that you want to share in your college application essay. One of these events might be a great hook for your personal statement introduction and give you ideas for how to start a personal statement.

2. Make lists

Lists are an excellent way to brainstorm personal statement topics. Try making lists of accomplishments, challenges you have faced, people who have taught you important life lessons, values, fears, hobbies, or mistakes you have made. Remember that it is perfectly fine to talk about times when you feel you failed or made mistakes if you can show how you learned and grew from the experience.

3. Ask trusted people for ideas

Brainstorming does not have to happen alone. Ask friends, family, mentors, teachers, classmates, or others who know you well to tell you what your most important character traits are. You’d be surprised what people will share. Perhaps one of your friends sees you as adventurous because you like to take new routes to school every day, and you had never considered that to be a noteworthy trait of yours. This feedback could be the inspiration you need for how to start a personal statement.

4. Free-write

Rather than trying to find an idea, allow yourself the freedom to free-write. Set a timer for 10 minutes and write without stopping. Write a response to any of the following questions :

  • What matters to you?
  • What do you want others to know about you?
  • What is the hardest thing you have ever gone through? How did you get through it?
  • What brings you joy?
  • How have you grown or changed in the past few years?

If you feel at a loss for words, write “I don’t know” over and over until a new idea pops into your head. The idea is to allow your brain to flow without restriction or pressure. Do not judge what you write, just allow it to be. When you have completed your free-write, look through what you wrote looking for meaningful stories or learnings you might want to share.

Undoubtedly, these are just a few ideas for how to start a personal statement and find a good personal statement introduction. If none of these work, do not despair. Instead, try a different route for coming up with personal statement topics. For instance, you may try reading an example of a personal statement for college or checking out this personal statement webinar. 

In the next section, we’ll discuss how to use sample essays when figuring out how to write a personal statement.

Using personal statement examples

how to start a personal statement

When looking for answers to questions like “What is a personal statement?” or “How to start a personal statement?” college application essay examples can be very helpful. In this section, we’ll look at how to write a personal statement for college and identify college essay tips with the help of sample essays .

Sample Personal Essays

In this article , we review ten essays that provide ideas for how to start a personal statement. Whether writing about books or gymnastics, each example of a personal statement for college highlights a unique important aspect of a student’s life. In addition, each student provides meaningful insights into how their thinking developed over time.

How to Write a Personal Statement: 5 Personal Statement Examples

Check out this resource to see five excellent responses to the Common App college essay prompts. Note how each essay has a unique hook that captures the reader’s attention.

College Essay Examples: 10 Best Examples of College Essays and Why They Worked

Wondering how a personal statement format impacts the essay’s meaning? This essay compilation answers that question and much more, providing college essay tips based on what worked in these personal essays.

How to Analyze an Example of a Personal Statement for College

If you’re looking for ideas on how to start a personal statement, then reading sample essays is an excellent idea. However, be careful not to copy others’ work. In this section, we’ll discuss how to use these samples when you develop your own personal statement meaning and personal statement format.

First, be authentic. While it is important to find inspiration in others’ work, copying topics or phrases is dangerous. At best, it will come across as disingenuous to admissions officers, who read thousands of essays. At worst, it can get you into serious trouble. 

Instead, use these samples to learn about how to write a personal statement. As you read them, ask yourself questions such as:

  • Why did the writer choose this topic?
  • How does the first sentence of the essay engage the reader?
  • What structure does the personal statement use?
  • How does this personal statement format add to the essay’s intrigue?
  • What does this essay teach us about the writer?
  • In what ways might this essay be an expression of the writer’s personal brand ?

Take notes as you read each example of a personal statement for college. In your notes, identify general thoughts regarding the questions “What is a personal statement?” and “How to start a college essay?” If you can answer these questions fully after reading sample essays, you’re on your way to acing your college essay.

How to Start a Personal Statement: Final Thoughts

With this article, we answered the question: “What is a personal statement?” By breaking the personal statement meaning, we found tips for approaching many kinds of college essay prompts. We also identified why personal statement meaning is important to colleges and how to write a great college essay that will help your application shine.

Even skilled writers struggle with how to write a personal statement. Personal essays are difficult not only because they require a certain level of vulnerability , but also because the personal statement format is not something we use often in our day-to-day lives. For that reason, it is difficult to know how to start a college essay.

Throughout this guide, we provided resources like personal statement webinars and sample essays. We also highlighted how to use an example of a personal statement for college in your own process. Within these samples, you’ll find lots of ideas for how to start a personal statement.

Whenever you feel overwhelmed by thinking about how to start a personal statement, remember that you are not alone. Our team can provide you with additional insights and individualized coaching about how to write a personal statement for college. With support, you will be able to express who you are and ace your personal statement. Good luck!

how to start a personal statement

This article was written by Sarah Kaminski and senior advisor, Courtney Ng . Looking for more admissions support? Click here to schedule a free meeting with one of our Admissions Specialists. During your meeting, our team will discuss your profile and help you find targeted ways to increase your admissions odds at top schools. We’ll also answer any questions and discuss how CollegeAdvisor.com can support you in the college application process.

when is my personal statement due

Personalized and effective college advising for high school students.

  • Advisor Application
  • Popular Colleges
  • Privacy Policy and Cookie Notice
  • Student Login
  • California Privacy Notice
  • Terms and Conditions
  • Your Privacy Choices

By using the College Advisor site and/or working with College Advisor, you agree to our updated Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy , including an arbitration clause that covers any disputes relating to our policies and your use of our products and services.

Med School Insiders

Residency Application Personal Statement Guide

  • By Med School Insiders
  • July 4, 2022
  • Medical Student
  • Personal Statement , Residency Application

The residency application personal statement is an opportunity to detail your professional development over the course of medical school. Why do you want to join your chosen specialty? Why are you qualified to do so? What will you contribute to the program?

Continue reading our residency application personal statement guide for detailed advice on how to craft your personal statement. We’ll also share residency personal statement examples and common mistakes to avoid.

The ERAS Personal Statement

The majority of your residency application focuses on your scores and grades, and this doesn’t shed much light on who you are as a person. If there is anything you feel is underrepresented in the rest of your residency application, your personal statement is the place to highlight it. This is your chance to tell your story the way you see it.

Do not enter this process believing all you need to do is rewrite your medical school personal statement from a few years ago. While they are both technically personal statements, they are very different. When you wrote your medical school personal statement, you were a wide-eyed premed. But residency programs aren’t looking for medical students—they’re looking for young professionals who have earned their doctorate, deepened their dedication to medicine, and immensely improved their medical knowledge.

The success of your personal statement depends on your ability to effectively communicate these changes. Keep the focus of your residency personal statement on your professional development and how your experiences in medical school have crystalized your desire to pursue your chosen specialty.

Why is that specialty the one for you? What unique experiences, skills, and qualities can you contribute to the program? Speak passionately about what you hope to accomplish. Be confident yet humble about what you have achieved so far.

Remember, outside of residency interviews, this is your only chance to share your perspective and provide context to your accomplishments. Why you ? What’s your story?

ERAS Personal Statement Length

The residency personal statement length technically allows for 28,000 characters, but you do not need to utilize this entire space. We recommend keeping your residency personal statement to one typed page, which is anywhere from 500-800 words, depending on your writing.

Don’t try to fill the space to create a longer essay if you’re not actually adding anything relevant or new to your personal statement. Remember, you want to keep your audience’s attention and engage each member of the admissions committee. Being overly long-winded or repeating what they already know is a surefire way to bore committee members.

One page is the standard length for residency personal statements. Be clear and concise with your language.

How to Craft a Personal Statement for Residency

Hand writing journal Personal Statement prompts

1 | Illustrate Your Growth And Maturity

While residencies are educational, they’re quite a bit different from medical school. Residencies provide on-the-job training for people to acquire their medical license so that they can become a practicing physician. In order to be accepted into residency, your application needs to demonstrate that you are qualified.

Your residency personal statement must reflect your vastly deepened knowledge of and dedication to medicine. You are not the same innocuous premed you were when you wrote your medical school personal statement all those years ago. You are now a young professional with a doctorate, and this must be made abundantly clear to the residency program.

How have you developed professionally? Which aspects of your medical education have meant the most to you? Where have you made the greatest impact, where do you most want to make an impact in the future, and what about your experiences have made it clear to you why you belong in your chosen specialty?

Back up your ambitions with concrete, anecdotal examples of your accomplishments. Residency programs don’t care what you say you can do—they want the proof. Stay humble, but be confident about all you have achieved so far.

2 | Develop a Narrative Across Your Application

Your residency personal statement does not exist in isolation. It’s one aspect of your entire residency application, and that means it must work alongside all of the other components.

Do not simply regurgitate or rehash aspects of your CV or extracurriculars. The personal statement is an opportunity to expand and elaborate on aspects of your life, experience, skills, and assets that are not otherwise noted in your application. Don’t look at the personal statement as one more task to complete, but rather an opportunity to help decision makers see who you really are and why you would make an ideal residency candidate.

Use the personal statement to continue unraveling your personal narrative. This aspect of your application should work hand-in-hand with everything else to establish a clear and cohesive narrative of who you are and why you’re qualified.

Learn more: How to Develop a Cohesive Narrative Across Applications .

3 | Keep Your Word Count Down

You may technically have 28,000 characters, but that is far, far from what you should aim for. The standard length of a residency personal statement is one page in ERAS, which equals anywhere from 500-800 words.

Challenge yourself to be as clear and concise as possible. Show restraint and get your points across clearly and effectively in a short amount of space. Remember, you’re trying to engage your reader and entice admissions committee members. You don’t in any way want to bore them or risk that they don’t finish your personal statement due to its length.

If the first draft of your personal statement is longer than one page, continue editing and revising it until you’ve pared it down.

What aspects are superfluous? What words are not serving a clear purpose? How can you convey the same message in a shorter amount of space? Are there any areas (besides the conclusion) where you repeat yourself?

Utilize clear and direct language. Long sentences written with flowery language you got out of a thesaurus will not impress residency admissions committees.

4 | Start Early And Give Yourself Time

Starting early will give you the time you need to brainstorm, outline, write, revise, and edit your personal statement. Even though you’ve written a personal statement before, the residency personal statement is a different beast entirely, and it will require plenty of your time and attention.

Start thinking about your personal statement at the beginning of the year, many months before application season begins. Start by brainstorming ideas and reflecting on your time in medical school. What have you learned? How have you changed? What values do you continue to hold? Why were you drawn to a specific specialty?

Keep a journal or online document where you can continue to add your ideas and thoughts for your residency personal statement. By late spring or early summer, you should be outlining and writing a first draft of your personal statement.

This timeline will give you a few months to continue to revise and edit your personal statement.

View our breakdown of what you should prepare and work on each month leading up to residency: Residency Application Timeline and Month-by-Month Schedule .

5 | Take Time Revising and Invest in Professional Editing

Remember to allocate adequate time to the feedback and editing process. Spell checking tools are okay to start with, but remember these tools are only bots, and they will not be able to catch all mistakes or contextual issues.

Review your essay many times over yourself and gather feedback from qualified friends, family, acquaintances, or by hiring a reputable editing service. Whether or not you need to hire a service depends on if you know editors with adcom experience or who are intimately familiar with the residency admission process. For best results, look for an editing service that utilizes doctors with real admissions committee experience.

Learn more: How to Choose the Best Medical School Admissions Consultant .

Example of Residency Personal Statements

Utilize examples of successful residency personal statements to get a better idea of what admissions committees are looking for. It’s important that you use these examples to strengthen your knowledge of what’s expected, not to guide your own topic. Your own personal statement will be completely unique to your medical school journey, your specialty preferences, and what makes you an ideal candidate.

View our database of Residency Personal Statement Samples from real students who successfully matched into residency.

These sample personal statements are for reference purposes only and should absolutely not be used to copy or plagiarize in any capacity. Remember that plagiarism detection software is used when evaluating personal statements.

If you still feel stuck after reading residency personal statement examples, try completing a variety of prompts to get your ideas flowing. For example:

  • What is your greatest strength, and how can that strength be applied to your residency?
  • What major failures or setbacks did you encounter during medical school, and what did you learn from those experiences?
  • When did you first know you wanted to become a doctor?
  • What values are the most important to you?
  • What do you believe is the most important trait to have as a doctor?

Utilize our 25 Medical School Personal Statement Prompts to Spark Ideas .

Residency Application Personal Statement Mistakes to Avoid

Woman unhappy reading a paper Bad Personal Statement Examples

Common pitfalls are common for a reason. Admissions committees see these mistakes time and time again, no matter how many times medical students are warned. These common mistakes come into play when students rush their personal statement and don’t put adequate time into receiving feedback and acting on that feedback.

Avoid the following common residency personal statement mistakes.

  • Don’t treat your residency personal statement like your medical school application.
  • Don’t miss spelling or grammar errors in your essay. Ensure you have plenty of time for revisions and editing.
  • Don’t list your accomplishments or rehash your CV and extracurriculars.
  • Don’t use a thesaurus to come up with larger, more complicated words.
  • Don’t overuse the word I. Doing so makes you more likely to state your accomplishments instead of telling a story.
  • Don’t state the obvious or use clichés, such as your passion for science or wanting to help people.
  • Don’t ignore the feedback you receive from experienced editors or editing services.
  • Don’t speak negatively about another student, physician, or healthcare professional.
  • Don’t lie or make up stories. You may be asked about anything in your personal statement during interviews.
  • Don’t discuss anything in your personal statement that you won’t feel comfortable speaking about during residency interviews.
  • Don’t plead for an interview or opportunity.
  • Don’t procrastinate on your personal statement. You should be thinking about it months before your application is due.
  • Don’t submit your personal statement before gathering feedback from multiple, reliable sources.
  • Don’t use a personal statement editing service that does not utilize real doctors with admissions committee experience.

Residency Application Personal Statement Editing

Med School Insiders can help you prepare a stand out residency application that will help you match into your ideal program. We offer a number of Residency Admissions Consulting Services tailored to your needs, including comprehensive personal statement editing .

Our residency personal statement editing services include careful analysis of content and tone in addition to insights on how to improve your essay to impress residency program admissions committees. Your essay will be edited by a real doctor with admissions committee experience who knows the residency program admissions process inside and out.

For more strategies as well as the latest medical school and industry news, follow the Med School Insiders blog , which has hundreds of resources, guides, and personal stories, including a detailed guide on the residency application process. Read our ERAS Residency Application Guide , which is updated each application cycle.

Med School Insiders

Med School Insiders

Woman in white lab coat at a laptop applying to residency

MSAR for Residency: 3 Resources to Systematically Select Programs

Unfortunately, there is no MSAR equivalent for residency. Utilize our three-step method to systematically generate your program list.

Student typing on a laptop - How to Write a personal Statement

2024 How to Write a Medical School Personal Statement (11 Steps)

Read our step-by-step guide on how to write a medical school personal statement, including how to get started, what to include, and common mistakes to avoid.

Residency Letter of Intent - envelope and card with rings

2024 Guide to the Letter of Intent for Residency

While not required, many applicants send a letter of intent for residency to gain a competitive edge. Read our key tips for how to write a residency letter of intent.

Leave a Reply Cancel reply

Join the insider newsletter.

Join our mailing list to receive MSI exclusives, news, and updates. No spam. One-click unsubscribe.

Join the Insider Newsletter

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Join the Insider Newsletter

Receive regular exclusive MSI content, news, and updates! No spam. One-click unsubscribe.

  • Main content

Trump will not be allowed to deliver his own closing arguments in his NY fraud trial after failing to agree to preconditions

  • Trump asked his NY fraud-trial judge for permission to make his own closing arguments Thursday.
  •  The judge denied the request Wednesday after Trump failed to agree to "reasonable, lawful limits."
  • Trump also tried to use his mother-in-law's death to postpone closings three weeks.

Insider Today

The judge in Donald Trump's New York fraud trial on Wednesday denied the former president's unusual request to be allowed to help deliver his own closing arguments on Thursday.

Trump failed to meet a noon deadline to agree to limitations that would be imposed if he were to directly face the judge and make a final argument against a potentially business-empire-crippling verdict.

Trump had asked to contribute to his attorneys' closing arguments by making a short personal statement to close out the three-month nonjury trial.

The judge had been willing to allow it. But the offer was rescinded after Trump would not agree to keep the statement on topic — without it turning into a campaign speech or an attack on his adversaries.

"Take it or leave it," the judge told Trump

By the end of the morning on Wednesday — with closing arguments less than 24 hours away — Trump's side had missed repeated deadline extensions for agreeing to limitations on what he could and could not say, state Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron told the parties, in denying the request via email.

"I won't debate this yet again," the judge wrote in an email to Trump's lead attorney, Christopher Kise, sent at 11:54 a.m.

"Take it or leave it. Now or never. You have until noon, seven minutes from now," the judge wrote.

Then, as if his keyboard's caps-lock key had experienced a Trump-like malfunction, the judge ended the email with this: "I WILL NOT GRANT ANY FURTHER EXTENSIONS."

Seven minutes later, Engoron emailed Kise his final decision.

"Dear Mr. Kise," the judge began.

"Not having heard from you by the third extended deadline (noon today), I assume that Mr. Trump will not agree to the reasonable, lawful limits I have imposed as a precondition to giving a closing statement above and beyond those given by his attorneys, and that, therefore, he will not be speaking in court tomorrow," the judge wrote, thereby ending the discussion.

Trump would be bound by the same limitations as anyone else

Under New York civil law, Trump would have been bound by the same limitations on closing arguments as any lawyer or pro se defendant.

But Trump was hardly a model of discipline in depositions and during testimony at the trial. The New York attorney general's office has accused Trump of inflating his wealth by billions of dollars in fraudulent net-worth statements issued to banks and insurers.

Both his April pretrial deposition and his November testimony were loaded with tangents and personal attacks.

In closing arguments, Trump could only have told the judge what he believes the evidence in the three-month-long trial has proven, what it failed to prove, and what a just verdict would be.

The judge's denial Wednesday was the culmination of days of sometimes testy, emailed back-and-forths between the judge, Trump's lawyers, and the attorney general's office.

A week-long email chain full of testy exchanges — and the random use of capital letters

The exchange began a week ago with an email sent to Trump's team and the AG's office by Engoron's principal law clerk, Allison Greenfield, whose role in the trial has sparked headlines.

Earlier in the trial, the judge issued a gag order forbidding the former president from disparaging his legal staff after Trump's personal attacks on Greenfield, made on social media and in remarks to reporters, resulted in her being targeted by what court filings described as a deluge of threatening hate mail and messages.

On January 3, Greenfield kicked the exchange off with an email saying that closing arguments would be confined to a single day, January 11.

She asked what in normal circumstances would have been a routine housekeeping question: "how many people, and who, will be speaking for each side, and how much time each person, or each side, wants."

The AG's side promptly responded that they would need around an hour, assuming "that closing arguments will follow standard practice."

Kise then responded to the clerk on Trump's behalf with a email that began, "happy new year!"

Kise estimated Trump's defense closings would take roughly two hours. Then he added, "additionally, president trump plans to present argument at closing as well."

But Trump 'lacks self control,' the AG's side countered

Not so fast, Andrew Amer, the special counsel for the AG's office responded four hours later, at 5 p.m. on Thursday, January 4, a week before closings.

Trump's application to present closing arguments should be denied, Amer protested, in part because "Mr. Trump is prone to giving irrelevant speeches," and "lacks self control."

Allowing Trump to present closing arguments will only invite more disruptive speeches and allow him "to testify without being subject to cross-examination," Amer argued.

The next day, on Friday, Engoron hopped into the email chain.

The judge said he would consent to Trump making a closing argument, but only if "personally, on the record, just before he speaks, he agrees to limit his subjects to what is permissible in a counsel's closing argument."

That means no "comment on irrelevant matters," no "campaign speech," and no attacks on the judge, the judge's staff, the attorney general's office, or the New York court system, the judge said.

"If Mr. Trump violates any of these rules, I will not hesitate to cut him off in mid-sentence and admonish him," the judge added. "If he continues to violate the rules, I will end his closing argument and prevent him from making any further statements in the courtroom."

Trump would be removed from the courtroom

And if Trump violated the gag order, he would "forthwith" be removed from the courtroom by court officers, the judge's email concluded. A gag-order violation would also result in a fine of not less than $50,000, the judge warned.

Three days passed. Then, on Tuesday of this week, Kise responded, saying he was glad the judge agreed to let Trump be heard during closing arguments.

However, Kise continued, still in all-lower-case, "he cannot agree (nor would i recommend he do so) to the proposed preconditions and prior restraints." The judge's conditions on Trump speaking were "fraught with ambiguities" and "simply untenable," Kise wrote.

Two hours later, the judge replied, saying his limitations were "reasonable" and "normal" and noting they "are the same limits that the law imposes on any person making a closing argument."

"Take it or leave it," the judge told Kise. "Please let me know which by 4:00 p.m. today.

Trump's side asks for a delay due to his mother-in-law's death

At 4:18 p.m. Tuesday, Kise responded, "apologies as i did not see your deadline." He added, "additionally, my client is in the air so I have not yet been able to discuss your email with him. would therefore request you allow until tomorrow morning for any response."

Five hours later, Kise emailed the judge again, informing him that "Mrs. Trump's mother passed away this evening," and asking that closings be postponed until January 29, "because of the challenges presented by this deeply personal family matter."

The judge responded with, "I am sorry to hear the sad news," but he denied the request to postpone closing arguments, given courthouse logistics.

"Justice Engoron," Kise responded the next day, Wednesday. "Despite the fact that his Mother-in Law, who he was very close to, passed away late last night, President Trump will be speaking tomorrow."

But will Trump agree "to the limitations I have imposed," the judge asked.

"This is very unfair, your Honor," Kise quickly answered. "You are not allowing President Trump, who has been wrongfully demeaned and belittled by an out of control, politically motivated Attorney General, to speak about the things that must be spoken about."

The judge's denial of Trump's request to speak during closing arguments came 40 minutes later, after Kise missed the noon deadline.

ABC News first reported on Tuesday that Trump wanted to deliver his own closing statement.

Another Trump attorney, Alina Habba, and her spokesperson did not respond to requests for comment from Business Insider.

A spokesperson for Attorney General Letitia James declined to comment.

when is my personal statement due

Watch: 'Courts seem to be so political': Trump calls out Federal Courts for freezing the travel ban

when is my personal statement due

University of Pittsburgh

  • What is an Affinity Community?
  • International Students
  • Students of Color
  • Veteran Students
  • Student Athletes
  • Students with Neurodiversity & Dis/ability
  • Adult Students
  • First Generation Students
  • Prospective Students
  • Undergraduate Students
  • Graduate Students
  • What is a Career Community?
  • Exploration & Discovery
  • Education, Cultures & Human Services
  • Multimedia, Marketing, Communication & Creative Arts
  • Policy, Law & Public Service
  • Management, Consulting, Sales & Finance
  • Life & Physical Sciences
  • Environment & Sustainability
  • Engineering
  • Computing, Information & Analytics
  • Exploring Careers
  • Exploring Graduate School
  • Internships
  • Interview Prep
  • Research, Volunteering, & Fellowships
  • Resume Prep
  • Skill Development
  • Contact + Team
  • Career Resources

Fall is Application Prep Season for Graduate Studies: How to write a PhD personal statement

  • Share This: Share Fall is Application Prep Season for Graduate Studies: How to write a PhD personal statement on Facebook Share Fall is Application Prep Season for Graduate Studies: How to write a PhD personal statement on LinkedIn Share Fall is Application Prep Season for Graduate Studies: How to write a PhD personal statement on X

Not sure where to start when it comes to writing a PhD personal statement? We have put together a helpful article packed full of advice for writing your PhD personal statement (or cover letter), so you can approach the task with confidence. PhD personal statements are incredibly important bits of work, showing how suitable you are for studying within the department that you are applying to, so it’s wise to make sure you’ve done your absolute best – you only get to make your first impression once! Have a read of our useful PhD personal statement tips, make a cup of coffee, and start showing off your writing skills.

What is a PhD personal statement?

How do i write a phd personal statement, how should i structure a phd personal statement, what should i write in a phd personal statement, what style should i use for a phd personal statement, how should i check my phd personal statement, phd cover letter and personal statement tips.

When applying for a PhD course, you may have to submit a research proposal as well as a personal statement or cover letter.

The proposal details your research project (such as proposed methods, results and planned analysis) and why there is value in exploring it.

Your personal statement outlines why you are suitable for doctoral study. In addition, it should say why you’re interested in the specific PhD with that particular department and how your experiences can add to it.

Sometimes you only have to submit a proposal or a personal statement. If you have to submit both, be sure that they clearly cover these separate areas.

Your PhD application is very different from an application you may have made before through UCAS. It goes directly to the university and needs to be fully tailored to what the department is looking for. It’s similar to a job application.

If you haven’t already, get in touch with the PhD supervisors or other contacts within the department you want to work in. They regularly need PhD students to support their work, so they will probably be happy to help you with your application.

When planning what to write, read all relevant information about the course and any guidance from the university – for example, lists of desirable criteria, or a person specifications. You can use each criterion as a heading and make bullet points on what to write under each one.

  • An introduction that outlines why you want to do the PhD
  • Middle paragraphs that say how your interests and experiences make you right for doctoral study, and why the university department is a suitable fit for you
  • A concluding paragraph that summarises why you’re the best person for the course

Aim to explain how your skills and experience make you a suitable candidate for this particular PhD at this specific university.

  • Why should you be completing research in this area?
  • What are your strengths and achievements?
  • What are your influences?
  • Why is this university the right one for your project?
  • Why do you want to work with this team?
  • Make sure that you give evidence and not just state points, especially if the criteria are specific. What have you done to match the requirements?

You can discuss your wider achievements or extracurricular activities, but try to keep it suited to the PhD. If you want, add information about gaps in your CV or any other issues that are relevant.

If you’re applying for a fellowship (a funded PhD), you should tailor your application to the funder. Spend enough time researching the fellowship so you talk about why it will be beneficial to you.

Aim to be concise in your writing. The university may set a limit on the word count, but if not, your personal statement should ideally be no longer than one side of A4. Be concise and make every word count.

Your statement should reflect the academic nature of the writing you’ll be doing in the PhD. For example, if your work is scientific, the people who will read your statement want to see that you can provide evidence and an explanation with each point you make.

For more information on how to write a personal statement, see our general postgraduate advice article.

Go to:  How to write a postgraduate personal statement

When writing your application, spend plenty of time rewriting sections to perfect it. A good idea is to spend 20 minutes editing for every hour you spend writing. If you can, sit in a different environment to edit than where you write from, as this will help keep your mind clear and fresh.

Develop a strong academic CV – this is what admissions tutors will usually look at before reading your personal statement. Use the CV to list your experiences, and don’t repeat the same information in your statement.

Start putting your application together early, even as early as a year before the PhD will begin. This will give you time to contact supervisors. Your applications may be due in December or January before you start, so you’ll need to set aside plenty of time if you’re applying for funding.

Personal Statement Writing

Personal Statement Format

Cathy A.

A Complete Guide to a Perfect Personal Statement Format

Published on: Mar 26, 2019

Last updated on: Nov 14, 2023

Personal Statement Format

People also read

How to Write a Personal Statement - Easy Tips & Examples

10+ Personal Statement Examples to Elevate Your Application

Common App Personal Statement Prompts 2023-2024

Share this article

Do you struggle with formatting your personal statement? Many students face challenges when it comes to formatting their personal statements.

It's common for students to feel unsure about how to structure their personal statements. Questions like, "How do I organize it? What tone should I use? Am I including the right information?" can be really stressful and confusing, adding more pressure to an already stressful application process.

But don't worry! This blog is here to help. We'll make it easy for you to understand personal statement formatting, so you can create a strong and impressive personal statement. 

So, let’s begin!

On This Page On This Page -->

What is a Correct Personal Statement Format?

Like other academic papers, personal statements should also be formatted and structured according to a standard set of guidelines. In this way, you can make sure all the information in your personal statement is in an organized manner.

Usually the guidelines for formatting are provided by institutions where you are applying. Different institutions can have varying requirements so it's important to be mindful of their requirements.

However, here are the basic guidelines that you can follow if you don’t know how to format a personal statement.

  • Word Limit: Aim for around 500 words, staying within 495-505 words.
  • Spacing: Use single-spacing within paragraphs and add an extra line of space between each paragraph.
  • Font Style: Opt for a universally accepted font style, such as Times New Roman.
  • Font Size: Maintain a 12-point font size throughout your personal statement.
  • Header: Include your name and the page number in the header of each page for easy organization.

A standard formatting convention should be used to make your personal statement readable. Keep in mind that review committees go through hundreds of personal statements so it is important to make sure your personal statement stands out. 

Here is a sample personal statement format template you can use to write a personal statement:

How to Format A Personal Statement

The requirements for writing a personal statement vary, but generally, a personal statement includes certain information in the following format.

Step 1 - Determining Word Limit and Line-Spacing

Knowing the word limit is crucial. Ensure your personal statement aligns with the specified range, that is typically around 500 words. 

Implement double-spacing within paragraphs, adding an extra line of space between each paragraph. This technique creates a visually clear and structured layout for easy reading.

Step 2 - Font Style and Size

Consistency in font style is important for readability. Choose a widely accepted and easily readable font like Times New Roman or Arial. 

Maintain a font size of 12 points throughout your personal statement. This standard size aids in presenting a professional appearance and facilitates smooth reading.

Step 3 - Header Inclusion for Organization

To keep your document organized, consider including the title and page number in the header of each page. 

This simple addition aids in document management and ensures easy navigation, particularly if your personal statement extends across multiple pages.

Step 4 - Structuring the Content

Your personal statement's structure plays a pivotal role in its impact. Here's a breakdown of how to organize your narrative effectively:

  • Opening Paragraph - Begin with an introduction that clearly states the purpose of your personal statement. Engage the reader with an attention-grabbing opening statement and specify the program or position you're applying for.
  • Body Paragraphs - Detail your academic background, relevant experiences, and accomplishments. Showcase your skills and attributes as a strong candidate, write about any extra activities you took part in high school. Explain why the program or position you're applying for interests you and how it aligns with your ambitions.
  • Transition to Goals - Smoothly transition from your experiences to your goals, setting the stage for discussing your academic and career aspirations. Express gratitude for considering your application and end with a memorable statement or closing remark.

Step 5 - Finalizing Your Personal Statement

Ensure your personal statement is signed off with your full name. If submitting a printed copy, include your signature for authenticity. Proofread your document for clarity, coherence, and accuracy before submission.

Remember, each organization may have its own set of rules, so always double-check and follow their specific guidelines for the final touches on your personal statement.

Personal Statement Format Examples

If you are looking for helpful personal statement format examples, you are at the right place. Going through examples is one of the best practices to get an idea of how to write a perfect personal statement.

That’s why we have provided you with some good personal statement format examples to help you know what specific details should be included. 

Personal Statement Format For Grad School

Personal Statement Format For University

Personal Statement Format Law School

Personal Statement Format For College

Personal Statement Format For Masters

Personal Statement Format For Job

Personal Statement Format For Scholarship

Check out more flawlessly formatted personal statement examples to learn more!

Facing formatting hurdles with your personal statement? Even after this guide, if you're still feeling adrift, our essay writing service is here for you.

Our dedicated team excels at crafting standout personal statements. Our professional essay writing team is skilled at delivering perfectly formatted personal statements. Our team has helped thousands of students like you by providing winning personal statements.

So , why risk it? Order now to buy personal statement !

Cathy A. (Literature, Marketing)

Cathy has been been working as an author on our platform for over five years now. She has a Masters degree in mass communication and is well-versed in the art of writing. Cathy is a professional who takes her work seriously and is widely appreciated by clients for her excellent writing skills.

Paper Due? Why Suffer? That’s our Job!

Get Help

Keep reading

Personal Statement Format

We value your privacy

We use cookies to improve your experience and give you personalized content. Do you agree to our cookie policy?

Website Data Collection

We use data collected by cookies and JavaScript libraries.

Are you sure you want to cancel?

Your preferences have not been saved.

  • Pre-Markets
  • U.S. Markets
  • Cryptocurrency
  • Futures & Commodities
  • Funds & ETFs
  • Health & Science
  • Real Estate
  • Transportation
  • Industrials

Small Business

Personal Finance

  • Financial Advisors
  • Options Action
  • Buffett Archive
  • Trader Talk
  • Cybersecurity
  • Social Media
  • CNBC Disruptor 50
  • White House
  • Equity and Opportunity
  • Business Day Shows
  • Entertainment Shows
  • Full Episodes
  • Latest Video
  • CEO Interviews
  • CNBC Documentaries
  • CNBC Podcasts
  • Digital Originals
  • Live TV Schedule
  • Trust Portfolio
  • Trade Alerts
  • Meeting Videos
  • Homestretch
  • Jim's Columns
  • Stock Screener
  • Market Forecast
  • Options Investing

Credit Cards

Credit Monitoring

Help for Low Credit Scores

All Credit Cards

Find the Credit Card for You

Best Credit Cards

Best Rewards Credit Cards

Best Travel Credit Cards

Best 0% APR Credit Cards

Best Balance Transfer Credit Cards

Best Cash Back Credit Cards

Best Credit Card Welcome Bonuses

Best Credit Cards to Build Credit

Find the Best Personal Loan for You

Best Personal Loans

Best Debt Consolidation Loans

Best Loans to Refinance Credit Card Debt

Best Loans with Fast Funding

Best Small Personal Loans

Best Large Personal Loans

Best Personal Loans to Apply Online

Best Student Loan Refinance

All Banking

Find the Savings Account for You

Best High Yield Savings Accounts

Best Big Bank Savings Accounts

Best Big Bank Checking Accounts

Best No Fee Checking Accounts

No Overdraft Fee Checking Accounts

Best Checking Account Bonuses

Best Money Market Accounts

Best Credit Unions

All Mortgages

Best Mortgages

Best Mortgages for Small Down Payment

Best Mortgages for No Down Payment

Best Mortgages with No Origination Fee

Best Mortgages for Average Credit Score

Adjustable Rate Mortgages

Affording a Mortgage

All Insurance

Best Life Insurance

Best Homeowners Insurance

Best Renters Insurance

Best Car Insurance

Travel Insurance

All Credit Monitoring

Best Credit Monitoring Services

Best Identity Theft Protection

How to Boost Your Credit Score

Credit Repair Services

All Personal Finance

Best Budgeting Apps

Best Expense Tracker Apps

Best Money Transfer Apps

Best Resale Apps and Sites

Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) Apps

Best Debt Relief

All Small Business

Best Small Business Savings Accounts

Best Small Business Checking Accounts

Best Credit Cards for Small Business

Best Small Business Loans

Best Tax Software for Small Business

Best Tax Software

Best Tax Software for Small Businesses

Tax Refunds

All Help for Low Credit Scores

Best Credit Cards for Bad Credit

Best Personal Loans for Bad Credit

Best Debt Consolidation Loans for Bad Credit

Personal Loans if You Don't Have Credit

Best Credit Cards for Building Credit

Personal Loans for 580 Credit Score or Lower

Personal Loans for 670 Credit Score or Lower

Best Mortgages for Bad Credit

Best Hardship Loans

All Investing

Best IRA Accounts

Best Roth IRA Accounts

Best Investing Apps

Best Free Stock Trading Platforms

Best Robo-Advisors

Index Funds

Mutual Funds

IRS tax bracket changes could mean your paycheck is slightly bigger in 2024. Here's why

thumbnail

  • Your paycheck could be slightly bigger in 2024 due to federal income tax bracket adjustments, experts say.
  • However, you should still review your federal and state withholdings throughout the year to avoid a surprise tax bill.

As the new year kicks off, some workers could see a slightly bigger paycheck due to tax bracket changes from the IRS.

The IRS in November unveiled the federal income tax brackets for 2024 , with earnings thresholds for each tier adjusting by about 5.4% higher for inflation.

While it's lower than the tax bracket changes for 2023 , "it's still a pretty handsome increase," said certified financial planner Roger Stinnett, managing director of wealth planning for First Foundation Advisors in Irvine, California.

More from Personal Finance: High earners have a little-known option to turbocharge 401(k) savings State-run 'auto-IRA' programs aim to close retirement savings gap New change to 529 college savings plans has 'so many caveats,' advisor says

If your wages are similar to last year , the 2024 tax bracket adjustment could result in a small paycheck increase, depending on your withholding , experts say.

Of course, prolonged higher costs can chip away at tax savings.

Annual inflation declined slightly in November , but many Americans are still feeling the pinch of elevated prices for housing , motor vehicle insurance and other day-to-day expenses.

Keep a 'running total' of your income

"You always want to keep a running total in your mind of how your income is changing, because it's complex," said Stinnett, who is also a certified public accountant.

The federal income tax brackets show how much you owe on each portion of your "taxable income," which is calculated by subtracting the greater of the standard or itemized deductions from your adjusted gross income.

For 2024, the standard deduction also increased for inflation, rising to $14,600 for single filers, up from $13,850 in 2023. Married couples filing jointly may claim $29,200, up from $27,700. That change could reduce taxable income for some filers.

Check your paycheck withholding

Your federal and state paycheck withholdings affect how much taxes you pay throughout the year. You can expect a refund when you've overpaid or a tax bill when you haven't paid enough.

Even if your paycheck increased in 2024, "new tax changes could still place you in a lower or higher bracket," warned CFP Ashton Lawrence, director at Mariner Wealth Advisors in Greenville, South Carolina.

It's important to keep track of tax law and life changes that may affect your situation and adjust your paycheck withholding via Form W-4 with your employer as needed, he said.

Life changes that can affect your taxes may include marriage, divorce, the birth or adoption of a child, retirement, buying a home, filing for bankruptcy and more, according to the IRS .

One "quick check" could be last year's tax return, Stinnett said. If you had a large refund or owed a sizable balance, that may signal it's time to review your withholding.

401(k) plans opening to more part-time workers

Don't miss these stories from CNBC PRO:

  • These stocks will be the biggest S&P 500 winners of 2024, according to analysts
  • Here's where to invest $50,000 in the new year, according to the pros
  • Could a bitcoin ETF approval be a sell-the-news event? Here's what to expect if it happens
  • These stocks will be the biggest Dow winners of 2024, according to analysts
  • Oprah's flip on weight loss drugs is a sign of what's to come for the 'Ozempic trade' in 2024

comscore

Have a language expert improve your writing

Run a free plagiarism check in 10 minutes, generate accurate citations for free.

  • Knowledge Base
  • Applying to graduate school
  • How to Write Your Personal Statement | Strategies & Examples

How to Write Your Personal Statement | Strategies & Examples

Published on February 12, 2019 by Shona McCombes . Revised on July 3, 2023.

A personal statement is a short essay of around 500–1,000 words, in which you tell a compelling story about who you are, what drives you, and why you’re applying.

To write a successful personal statement for a graduate school application , don’t just summarize your experience; instead, craft a focused narrative in your own voice. Aim to demonstrate three things:

  • Your personality: what are your interests, values, and motivations?
  • Your talents: what can you bring to the program?
  • Your goals: what do you hope the program will do for you?

This article guides you through some winning strategies to build a strong, well-structured personal statement for a master’s or PhD application. You can download the full examples below.

Urban Planning Psychology History

Table of contents

Getting started with your personal statement, the introduction: start with an attention-grabbing opening, the main body: craft your narrative, the conclusion: look ahead, revising, editing, and proofreading your personal statement, frequently asked questions, other interesting articles.

Before you start writing, the first step is to understand exactly what’s expected of you. If the application gives you a question or prompt for your personal statement, the most important thing is to respond to it directly.

For example, you might be asked to focus on the development of your personal identity; challenges you have faced in your life; or your career motivations. This will shape your focus and emphasis—but you still need to find your own unique approach to answering it.

There’s no universal template for a personal statement; it’s your chance to be creative and let your own voice shine through. But there are strategies you can use to build a compelling, well-structured story.

The first paragraph of your personal statement should set the tone and lead smoothly into the story you want to tell.

Strategy 1: Open with a concrete scene

An effective way to catch the reader’s attention is to set up a scene that illustrates something about your character and interests. If you’re stuck, try thinking about:

  • A personal experience that changed your perspective
  • A story from your family’s history
  • A memorable teacher or learning experience
  • An unusual or unexpected encounter

To write an effective scene, try to go beyond straightforward description; start with an intriguing sentence that pulls the reader in, and give concrete details to create a convincing atmosphere.

Strategy 2: Open with your motivations

To emphasize your enthusiasm and commitment, you can start by explaining your interest in the subject you want to study or the career path you want to follow.

Just stating that it interests you isn’t enough: first, you need to figure out why you’re interested in this field:

  • Is it a longstanding passion or a recent discovery?
  • Does it come naturally or have you had to work hard at it?
  • How does it fit into the rest of your life?
  • What do you think it contributes to society?

Tips for the introduction

  • Don’t start on a cliche: avoid phrases like “Ever since I was a child…” or “For as long as I can remember…”
  • Do save the introduction for last. If you’re struggling to come up with a strong opening, leave it aside, and note down any interesting ideas that occur to you as you write the rest of the personal statement.

Once you’ve set up the main themes of your personal statement, you’ll delve into more detail about your experiences and motivations.

To structure the body of your personal statement, there are various strategies you can use.

Strategy 1: Describe your development over time

One of the simplest strategies is to give a chronological overview of key experiences that have led you to apply for graduate school.

  • What first sparked your interest in the field?
  • Which classes, assignments, classmates, internships, or other activities helped you develop your knowledge and skills?
  • Where do you want to go next? How does this program fit into your future plans?

Don’t try to include absolutely everything you’ve done—pick out highlights that are relevant to your application. Aim to craft a compelling narrative that shows how you’ve changed and actively developed yourself.

My interest in psychology was first sparked early in my high school career. Though somewhat scientifically inclined, I found that what interested me most was not the equations we learned about in physics and chemistry, but the motivations and perceptions of my fellow students, and the subtle social dynamics that I observed inside and outside the classroom. I wanted to learn how our identities, beliefs, and behaviours are shaped through our interactions with others, so I decided to major in Social Psychology. My undergraduate studies deepened my understanding of, and fascination with, the interplay between an individual mind and its social context.During my studies, I acquired a solid foundation of knowledge about concepts like social influence and group dynamics, but I also took classes on various topics not strictly related to my major. I was particularly interested in how other fields intersect with psychology—the classes I took on media studies, biology, and literature all enhanced my understanding of psychological concepts by providing different lenses through which to look at the issues involved.

Strategy 2: Own your challenges and obstacles

If your path to graduate school hasn’t been easy or straightforward, you can turn this into a strength, and structure your personal statement as a story of overcoming obstacles.

  • Is your social, cultural or economic background underrepresented in the field? Show how your experiences will contribute a unique perspective.
  • Do you have gaps in your resume or lower-than-ideal grades? Explain the challenges you faced and how you dealt with them.

Don’t focus too heavily on negatives, but use them to highlight your positive qualities. Resilience, resourcefulness and perseverance make you a promising graduate school candidate.

Growing up working class, urban decay becomes depressingly familiar. The sight of a row of abandoned houses does not surprise me, but it continues to bother me. Since high school, I have been determined to pursue a career in urban planning. While people of my background experience the consequences of urban planning decisions first-hand, we are underrepresented in the field itself. Ironically, given my motivation, my economic background has made my studies challenging. I was fortunate enough to be awarded a scholarship for my undergraduate studies, but after graduation I took jobs in unrelated fields to help support my parents. In the three years since, I have not lost my ambition. Now I am keen to resume my studies, and I believe I can bring an invaluable perspective to the table: that of the people most impacted by the decisions of urban planners.

Strategy 3: Demonstrate your knowledge of the field

Especially if you’re applying for a PhD or another research-focused program, it’s a good idea to show your familiarity with the subject and the department. Your personal statement can focus on the area you want to specialize in and reflect on why it matters to you.

  • Reflect on the topics or themes that you’ve focused on in your studies. What draws you to them?
  • Discuss any academic achievements, influential teachers, or other highlights of your education.
  • Talk about the questions you’d like to explore in your research and why you think they’re important.

The personal statement isn’t a research proposal , so don’t go overboard on detail—but it’s a great opportunity to show your enthusiasm for the field and your capacity for original thinking.

In applying for this research program, my intention is to build on the multidisciplinary approach I have taken in my studies so far, combining knowledge from disparate fields of study to better understand psychological concepts and issues. The Media Psychology program stands out to me as the perfect environment for this kind of research, given its researchers’ openness to collaboration across diverse fields. I am impressed by the department’s innovative interdisciplinary projects that focus on the shifting landscape of media and technology, and I hope that my own work can follow a similarly trailblazing approach. More specifically, I want to develop my understanding of the intersection of psychology and media studies, and explore how media psychology theories and methods might be applied to neurodivergent minds. I am interested not only in media psychology but also in psychological disorders, and how the two interact. This is something I touched on during my undergraduate studies and that I’m excited to delve into further.

Strategy 4: Discuss your professional ambitions

Especially if you’re applying for a more professionally-oriented program (such as an MBA), it’s a good idea to focus on concrete goals and how the program will help you achieve them.

  • If your career is just getting started, show how your character is suited to the field, and explain how graduate school will help you develop your talents.
  • If you have already worked in the profession, show what you’ve achieved so far, and explain how the program will allow you to take the next step.
  • If you are planning a career change, explain what has driven this decision and how your existing experience will help you succeed.

Don’t just state the position you want to achieve. You should demonstrate that you’ve put plenty of thought into your career plans and show why you’re well-suited to this profession.

One thing that fascinated me about the field during my undergraduate studies was the sheer number of different elements whose interactions constitute a person’s experience of an urban environment. Any number of factors could transform the scene I described at the beginning: What if there were no bus route? Better community outreach in the neighborhood? Worse law enforcement? More or fewer jobs available in the area? Some of these factors are out of the hands of an urban planner, but without taking them all into consideration, the planner has an incomplete picture of their task. Through further study I hope to develop my understanding of how these disparate elements combine and interact to create the urban environment. I am interested in the social, psychological and political effects our surroundings have on our lives. My studies will allow me to work on projects directly affecting the kinds of working-class urban communities I know well. I believe I can bring my own experiences, as well as my education, to bear upon the problem of improving infrastructure and quality of life in these communities.

Tips for the main body

  • Don’t rehash your resume by trying to summarize everything you’ve done so far; the personal statement isn’t about listing your academic or professional experience, but about reflecting, evaluating, and relating it to broader themes.
  • Do make your statements into stories: Instead of saying you’re hard-working and self-motivated, write about your internship where you took the initiative to start a new project. Instead of saying you’ve always loved reading, reflect on a novel or poem that changed your perspective.

Your conclusion should bring the focus back to the program and what you hope to get out of it, whether that’s developing practical skills, exploring intellectual questions, or both.

Emphasize the fit with your specific interests, showing why this program would be the best way to achieve your aims.

Strategy 1: What do you want to know?

If you’re applying for a more academic or research-focused program, end on a note of curiosity: what do you hope to learn, and why do you think this is the best place to learn it?

If there are specific classes or faculty members that you’re excited to learn from, this is the place to express your enthusiasm.

Strategy 2: What do you want to do?

If you’re applying for a program that focuses more on professional training, your conclusion can look to your career aspirations: what role do you want to play in society, and why is this program the best choice to help you get there?

Tips for the conclusion

  • Don’t summarize what you’ve already said. You have limited space in a personal statement, so use it wisely!
  • Do think bigger than yourself: try to express how your individual aspirations relate to your local community, your academic field, or society more broadly. It’s not just about what you’ll get out of graduate school, but about what you’ll be able to give back.

You’ll be expected to do a lot of writing in graduate school, so make a good first impression: leave yourself plenty of time to revise and polish the text.

Your style doesn’t have to be as formal as other kinds of academic writing, but it should be clear, direct and coherent. Make sure that each paragraph flows smoothly from the last, using topic sentences and transitions to create clear connections between each part.

Don’t be afraid to rewrite and restructure as much as necessary. Since you have a lot of freedom in the structure of a personal statement, you can experiment and move information around to see what works best.

Finally, it’s essential to carefully proofread your personal statement and fix any language errors. Before you submit your application, consider investing in professional personal statement editing . For $150, you have the peace of mind that your personal statement is grammatically correct, strong in term of your arguments, and free of awkward mistakes.

A statement of purpose is usually more formal, focusing on your academic or professional goals. It shouldn’t include anything that isn’t directly relevant to the application.

A personal statement can often be more creative. It might tell a story that isn’t directly related to the application, but that shows something about your personality, values, and motivations.

However, both types of document have the same overall goal: to demonstrate your potential as a graduate student and s how why you’re a great match for the program.

The typical length of a personal statement for graduate school applications is between 500 and 1,000 words.

Different programs have different requirements, so always check if there’s a minimum or maximum length and stick to the guidelines. If there is no recommended word count, aim for no more than 1-2 pages.

If you’re applying to multiple graduate school programs, you should tailor your personal statement to each application.

Some applications provide a prompt or question. In this case, you might have to write a new personal statement from scratch: the most important task is to respond to what you have been asked.

If there’s no prompt or guidelines, you can re-use the same idea for your personal statement – but change the details wherever relevant, making sure to emphasize why you’re applying to this specific program.

If the application also includes other essays, such as a statement of purpose , you might have to revise your personal statement to avoid repeating the same information.

If you want to know more about college essays , academic writing , and AI tools , make sure to check out some of our other language articles with explanations, examples, and quizzes.

College essays

  • College essay examples
  • College essay format
  • College essay style
  • College essay length
  • Diversity essays
  • Scholarship essays

Academic writing

  • Writing process
  • Avoiding repetition
  • Literature review
  • Conceptual framework
  • Dissertation outline
  • Thesis acknowledgements
  • Burned or burnt
  • Canceled or cancelled
  • Dreamt or dreamed
  • Gray or grey
  • Theater vs theatre

Cite this Scribbr article

If you want to cite this source, you can copy and paste the citation or click the “Cite this Scribbr article” button to automatically add the citation to our free Citation Generator.

McCombes, S. (2023, July 03). How to Write Your Personal Statement | Strategies & Examples. Scribbr. Retrieved January 8, 2024, from https://www.scribbr.com/graduate-school/personal-statement/

Is this article helpful?

Shona McCombes

Shona McCombes

Other students also liked, how to write a graduate school resume | template & example, how (and who) to ask for a letter of recommendation, master's vs phd | a complete guide to the differences.

IMAGES

  1. 4 Great Personal Statement Examples and Why They Worked

    when is my personal statement due

  2. FREE 20+ Sample Personal Statement Templates in MS Word

    when is my personal statement due

  3. 💐 Masters personal statement format. Writing Personal Statements for

    when is my personal statement due

  4. Personal Statement Examples

    when is my personal statement due

  5. 💄 My personal statement essay. Family Personal Statement Essay. 2022-10-24

    when is my personal statement due

  6. personal statement guidelines

    when is my personal statement due

VIDEO

  1. Reading My Personal Statement

  2. My personal statement video!

  3. Personal statements

  4. 2023年12月31日

  5. Write an Incredible Personal Statement: 3 Steps with Examples

  6. SDSU Personal Statement Video 2024

COMMENTS

  1. Your Online Account

    Sign in to your Online Account If you're a new user, have your photo identification ready. More information about identity verification is available on the sign-in page. Access Tax Records View key data from your most recently filed tax return, including your adjusted gross income, and access transcripts

  2. The Personal Statement

    1. The general, comprehensive personal statement: This allows you maximum freedom in terms of what you write and is the type of statement often prepared for standard medical or law school application forms. 2. The response to very specific questions:

  3. DOs and DON'Ts When Writing a Personal Statement

    One of the ways you can demonstrate your due diligence is to include a paragraph (typically at the close of your personal statement) outlining several specific factors that have drawn you to that law school. Be specific.

  4. Tax season 2024: When are taxes due? When will I get my refund?

    You can do this every quarter or through one annualized estimate. The annualized estimate is due on April 15. The quarterly payments for 2024 are due by the following dates: First payment: April ...

  5. How to Write a Personal Statement for College

    The new year is here, which means college applications are due. And if you're a high school student, we know the pressure to make your application is at an all-time high, especially regarding the personal statement. As one of the most crucial components of your college application, the personal statement essay is your opportunity to showcase your unique personality, life experiences, and ...

  6. Trump civil trial closing arguments: What to know

    The attorney general wrote that the total amount of disgorgement, or "ill-gotten gains," was due to Trump saving $168 million from favorable interest rates and making $60 million in profit ...

  7. How to Write a Personal Statement

    Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on Nov 29, 2023 A personal statement can be a key part of your college application, and you can really make yours shine by following a few tips. When you're applying to college—either to an undergraduate or graduate program—you may be asked to submit a personal statement.

  8. Personal Statement

    2024 MyERAS ® Applicant User Guide / Documents / Personal Statement Personal Statement Personal statements may be used to customize the application to a specific program or to different specialties. In This Section: Creating the Personal Statement Formatting the Personal Statement Previewing the Personal Statement

  9. 2024 tax filing season set for January 29; IRS continues to make

    January 16: Due date for 2023 fourth quarter estimated tax payments. January 26: Earned Income Tax Credit Awareness Day. January 29: Filing season start date for individual tax returns. April 15: Due date of filing a tax return or to request an extension for most of the nation. April 17: Due date for Maine and Massachusetts.

  10. First day to file taxes in 2024: What to know about when you can file

    The IRS said Monday it will begin accepting tax returns on Jan. 29. If you file your taxes electronically that day and there are no issues, the IRS says it can usually issue a refund within 21 ...

  11. Law School Personal Statement Examples And Tips

    A law school personal statement is a multi-paragraph essay or narrative highlighting the reason you are pursuing a J.D. degree. This essay is an opportunity to share your identity with an ...

  12. Trump can't speak during closing arguments in NY civil fraud trial

    Judge Arthur Engoron said Wednesday he does not expect Donald Trump to speak during closing arguments in the $370 million New York civil fraud trial against Trump. In a letter to attorneys for ...

  13. Personal Statement

    Submission of a personal statement or the Common Application essay is required for scholarship consideration or those applying test-optional. It may increase the likelihood that you are considered for guaranteed admission programs or given special consideration due to extenuating circumstances. Your personal statement is an important part of ...

  14. How to Write a Personal Statement (Tips + Essay Examples)

    Let's go. What is a personal statement? That just means "essay" … right? A personal statement is an essay in which you demonstrate aspects of who you are by sharing some of the qualities, skills, and values you'll bring to college.

  15. Personal Statement Format + Examples

    Getting your personal statement right is a crucial part of the application process. Learn how to format your personal statement, and find examples. ... People interpret situations differently due to their own cultural contexts, so I had to learn to pay more attention to detail to understand every point of view. I took on the state of what I ...

  16. 12 Personal Statement FAQs and answers!

    If you don't have any work experience and your personal statement is due, make sure to arrange some and refer to this in the future tense in your personal statement when talking about your upcoming placement. Work experience can also be useful for other more vocation-leaning subjects, such as architecture and engineering.

  17. Writing Your Personal Statements

    The personal statement is where you highlight your strengths. Make your strengths absolutely clear to the reviewers, because they will often be reading many other statements. ... For example, if a drop in grades during a term was due to a health issue, explain whether the health issue is recurring, managed now with medication, resolved, etc. 2.

  18. How to Start a Personal Statement

    How to approach the editing phase Coming up with personal statement ideas Examples of personal statements and how to use them Remember, any writing process takes time. This applies whether you're figuring out how to start a college essay or how to write a personal statement for college.

  19. Residency Application Personal Statement Guide

    3 | Keep Your Word Count Down. You may technically have 28,000 characters, but that is far, far from what you should aim for. The standard length of a residency personal statement is one page in ERAS, which equals anywhere from 500-800 words. Challenge yourself to be as clear and concise as possible.

  20. Trump Won't Be Allowed to Deliver Closing Arguments in NY Fraud Trial

    The judge in Donald Trump's New York fraud trial on Wednesday denied the former president's unusual request to be allowed to help deliver his own closing arguments on Thursday. Trump failed to ...

  21. Fall is Application Prep Season for Graduate Studies: How to write a

    Published on August 3, 2023 Not sure where to start when it comes to writing a PhD personal statement? We have put together a helpful article packed full of advice for writing your PhD personal statement (or cover letter), so you can approach the task with confidence.

  22. AI Personal Statement Generator

    1. Growing up in the Upper Peninsula has instilled in you a deep appreciation for the environment and a passion for conservation. 2. Your expertise in foraging has taught you valuable skills in patience, observation, and creativity, which you know will be assets in your college studies and beyond. 3.

  23. 12 Outstanding Personal Statement Examples + Why They Work 2023

    Example #3 - 12. Example #4 - Flying. Example #5 - Arab Spring in Bahrain. Example #6 - Poop, Animals and the Environment. Example #7 - Entoptic Phenomena. Example #8 - The Builder & Problem Solver. Example #10 - The Little Porch and a Dog (With Spanish Translation) Example #10 - Life As an Undocumented Student.

  24. Personal Statement Format

    1. What is a Correct Personal Statement Format? 2. How to Format A Personal Statement 3. Personal Statement Format Examples What is a Correct Personal Statement Format? Like other academic papers, personal statements should also be formatted and structured according to a standard set of guidelines.

  25. IRS 2024 tax bracket changes may make your paycheck slightly bigger

    As the new year kicks off, some workers could see a slightly bigger paycheck — thanks to tax bracket changes from the IRS. The IRS in November unveiled the federal income tax brackets for 2024 ...

  26. Resume Personal Statement: How to Write & 7+ Good Examples

    June 29, 2023 Build My Resume Now As featured in A personal statement on a resume or CV is a 2-3 sentence summary of your qualifications and career goals that goes under your resume header. A resume personal statement is also known as a: resume objective resume profile resume summary about me section

  27. How to Write Your Personal Statement

    Strategy 1: Open with a concrete scene. An effective way to catch the reader's attention is to set up a scene that illustrates something about your character and interests. If you're stuck, try thinking about: A personal experience that changed your perspective. A story from your family's history.

  28. 16 Winning Personal Statement Examples (And Why They Work)

    16 personal statement examples. Here are 16 personal statement examples—both school and career—to help you create your own: 1. Personal statement example for graduate school. A personal statement for graduate school differs greatly from one to further your professional career. It is usually an essay, rather than a brief paragraph.