Personal Statement

Your personal statement is a very important part of your graduate and/or professional school application. The statement should give the reader insight into who you are, why you are interested in a specific program, and what goals you hope to attain. You will need to write, get feedback, and revise your statement, so give yourself plenty of time.

The personal statement plays a significant role in determining who gets an interview but keep in mind that it will only be given about 5 minutes of an admissions officer's attention! Sometimes the statement is "the interview". With that being said, your personal statement needs to...

  • demonstrate your abilities
  • show aspects of yourself not otherwise developed in other areas of your application
  • serve as your pitch for what makes you an ideal applicant

Types of Personal Statements

These are two types of personal statement prompts:

  1. One that is general and comprehensive. This type of essay is usually for Medical or Law School. For example, "Write a personal statement describing your experiences and goals."
  2. A response to specific questions. This type of essay is usually for business and graduate school. For example, "Explain why this program is a best fit for you" or "Tell us about an accomplishment that is important to you."

More specific prompt examples include the following:

  • Medical School - Use this section of the application to compose a personal essay explaining why you want to study the field of medicine. 
  • Law School - Please provide a separate essay not to exceed two double-spaced typed pages using 12 point font. In this essay, you may discuss attributes, experiences, or interests that would enable you to make a distinctive contribution to the law school and/or legal profession. 
  • Business School 
    • In 600 words or less, briefly assess your career progress to date. Elaborate on your future plans and motivation for pursuing an MBA.
    • Complete the following statement, 'people may be surprised to learn that I...'
    • Tell us about an accomplishment you are proud of and how it relates to the person you are. 

Examples of Personal Statements

Read the dos & don'ts of personal statements. Review this article on fellowship statements, 5 things to include in your personal statement

3 Basic Parts of Successful Personal Statements

  1. Tell your story. Include:
    • pertinent background and qualifications
    • information about your skills
    • past experiences
    • personal attributes
  2. Discuss your future
    • tie your qualifications and past experiences to your future short- and long-term goals
    • allow for change and adaptability
  3. Explain how the graduate program connects your story to your future
    • articulate this clearly - think about your fit to the particular program and how it will help you achieve your academic and/or professional goals