How to Write a Personal Statement

Why is it important to know how to write a personal statement?

Many graduate schools require more than just an application and your standardized test scores. Look below for some tips on how to write a personal statement as well as what some things you may have heard that are not recommended.

How to Write a Personal Statement Tips:

1. Research the school to which you are applying.

Tailor your personal statements to suit each university if possible.

2. Answer the question or address the prompt.

Tell them what they want to know, not what you think they should know.

3. Write well and proofread…multiple times.

Use proper written English and have several other people read your essay for any typos or errors you may have missed. Receiving feedback from multiple sources is especially important.

4. Stay within the word limit.

Other applicants are doing it. So can you.

5. Develop each idea.

Stick to a few well-developed concepts and make sure every sentence is important to the essay. It should read more like a story than a list.

6. Remember to KISS (Keep it Simple, Stupid!).

Think of sentences you’ve had to read multiple times just to understand what the writer was trying to say. Don’t write like that. It’s unlikely the person from the admissions office who is reading your personal statement is going to spend extra time trying to translate your flowery jargon. Keep it easy to read.

The following are some things you should not do when you are writing personal statements:

1. Use the same personal statement for every application.

Even if the prompts are similar, each school deserves its own unique response.

2. Be a cliché.

For example, most medical school applicants probably want to help people and are good at science; it is not necessary to include that in your personal statements.

3. Write about everything.

Avoid controversial topics such as religion or politics.

4. Go crazy trying to stand out.

Writing poetry or fake magazine articles about yourself is just not appropriate. Rather, use clear technical writing to sound more professional and to the point.

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