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Higher education has never been more confusing or expensive. Our goal is to help you navigate the very big decisions related to higher ed with objective information and expert advice. Each piece of content on the site is original, based on extensive research, and reviewed by multiple editors, including a subject matter expert. This ensures that all of our content is up-to-date, useful, accurate, and thorough.

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How to Write an Amazing Personal Statement (Includes Examples!)

how to write personal statement for mature student

Lisa Freedland is a Scholarships360 writer with personal experience in psychological research and content writing. She has written content for an online fact-checking organization and has conducted research at the University of Southern California as well as the University of California, Irvine. Lisa graduated from the University of Southern California in Fall 2021 with a degree in Psychology.

Learn about our editorial policies

Zach Skillings is the Scholarships360 Newsletter Editor. He specializes in college admissions and strives to answer important questions about higher education. When he’s not contributing to Scholarships360, Zach writes about travel, music, film, and culture. His work has been published in Our State Magazine, Ladygunn Magazine, The Nocturnal Times, and The Lexington Dispatch. Zach graduated from Elon University with a degree in Cinema and Television Arts.

how to write personal statement for mature student

Bill Jack has over a decade of experience in college admissions and financial aid. Since 2008, he has worked at Colby College, Wesleyan University, University of Maine at Farmington, and Bates College.

how to write personal statement for mature student

Maria Geiger is Director of Content at Scholarships360. She is a former online educational technology instructor and adjunct writing instructor. In addition to education reform, Maria’s interests include viewpoint diversity, blended/flipped learning, digital communication, and integrating media/web tools into the curriculum to better facilitate student engagement. Maria earned both a B.A. and an M.A. in English Literature from Monmouth University, an M. Ed. in Education from Monmouth University, and a Virtual Online Teaching Certificate (VOLT) from the University of Pennsylvania.

How to Write an Amazing Personal Statement (Includes Examples!)

The personal statement. It’s one of the most important parts of the entire college application process. This essay is the perfect opportunity to show admissions officers who you are and what makes you stand out from the crowd. But writing a good personal statement isn’t exactly easy. That’s why we’ve put together the ultimate guide on how to nail your personal statement, complete with example essays . Each essay was reviewed and commented upon by admissions expert Bill Jack. Let’s dive in!

Related: How to write an essay about yourself  

What is a personal statement? 

A personal statement is a special type of essay that’s required when you’re applying to colleges and scholarship programs. In this essay, you’re expected to share something about who you are and what you bring to the table. Think of it as a chance to reveal a side of yourself not found in the rest of your application. Personal statements are typically around 400 – 600 words in length. 

What can I write about? 

Pretty much anything, as long as it’s about you . While this is liberating in the sense that your writing options are nearly unlimited, it’s also overwhelming for the same reason. The good news is that you’ll probably be responding to a specific prompt. Chances are you’re applying to a school that uses the Common App , which means you’ll have seven prompts to choose from . Reviewing these prompts can help generate some ideas, but so can asking yourself meaningful questions. 

Below you’ll find a list of questions to ask yourself during the brainstorming process. For each of the following questions, spend a few minutes jotting down whatever comes to mind. 

  • What experiences have shaped who you are? 
  • What’s special or unique about you or your life story? 
  • Who or what has inspired you the most? 
  • What accomplishments are you most proud of? 
  • What are your goals for the future? How have you arrived at those goals? 
  • If your life was a movie, what would be the most interesting scene? 
  • What have been some of the biggest challenges in your life? How did you respond and what did you learn? 

The purpose of these questions is to prompt you to think about your life at a deeper level. Hopefully by reflecting on them, you’ll find an essay topic that is impactful and meaningful. In the next section, we’ll offer some advice on actually writing your essay. 

Also see:  How to write a 500 word essay

How do I write my personal statement? 

Once you’ve found a topic, it’s time to start writing! Every personal statement is different, so there’s not really one formula that works for every student. That being said, the following tips should get you started in the right direction:  

1. Freewrite, then rewrite 

The blank page tends to get more intimidating the longer you stare at it, so it’s best to go ahead and jump right in! Don’t worry about making the first draft absolutely perfect. Instead, just get your ideas on the page and don’t spend too much time thinking about the finer details. Think of this initial writing session as a “brain dump”. Take 15-30 minutes to quickly empty all your thoughts onto the page without worrying about things like grammar, spelling, or sentence structure. You can even use bullet points if that helps. Once you have your ideas on the page, then you can go back and shape them exactly how you want. 

2. Establish your theme 

Now that you’ve got some basic ideas down on the page, it’s time to lock in on a theme. Your theme is a specific angle that reflects the central message of your essay. It can be summarized in a sentence or even a word. For example, let’s say you’re writing about how you had to establish a whole new group of friends when you moved to a new city. The theme for this type of essay would probably be something like “adaptation”. Having a theme will help you stay focused throughout your essay. Since you only have a limited number of words, you can’t afford to go off on tangents that don’t relate to your theme. 

3. Tell a story

A lot of great essays rely on a specific scene or story. Find the personal anecdote relevant to your theme and transfer it to the page. The best way to do this is by using descriptive language. Consult the five senses as you’re setting the scene. What did you see, hear, taste, touch, or smell? How were you feeling emotionally? Using descriptive language can really help your essay come to life. According to UPchieve , a nonprofit that supports low income students, focusing on a particular moment as a “ revised version of a memoir ” is one way to keep readers engaged. 

Related: College essay primer: show, don’t tell  

4. Focus on your opening paragraph

Your opening paragraph should grab your reader’s attention and set the tone for the rest of your essay. In most cases, this is the best place to include your anecdote (if you have one). By leading with your personal story, you can hook your audience from the get-go. After telling your story, you can explain why it’s important to who you are. 

Related:  How to start a scholarship essay (with examples)

5. Use an authentic voice 

Your personal statement reflects who you are, so you should use a tone that represents you. That means you shouldn’t try to sound like someone else, and you shouldn’t use fancy words just to show off. This isn’t an academic paper, so you don’t have to adopt a super formal tone. Instead, write in a way that allows room for your personality to breathe. 

6. Edit, edit, edit…

Once you’re done writing, give yourself some time away from the essay. Try to allow a few days to pass before looking at the essay again with fresh eyes. This way, you’re more likely to pick up on spelling and grammatical errors. You may even get some new ideas and rethink the way you wrote some things. Once you’re satisfied, let someone else edit your essay. We recommend asking a teacher, parent, or sibling for their thoughts before submitting. 

Examples of personal statements 

Sometimes viewing someone else’s work is the best way to generate inspiration and get the creative juices flowing. The following essays are written in response to four different Common App prompts: 

Prompt 1: “Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.”

When I was eight years old, I wanted a GameCube very badly. For weeks I hounded my dad to buy me one and finally he agreed. But there was a catch. He’d only get me a GameCube if I promised to start reading. Every day I played video games, I would have to pick up a book and read for at least one hour. At that point in my life, reading was just something I had to suffer through for school assignments. To read for pleasure seemed ludicrous. Needless to say, I wasn’t exactly thrilled about this proposed agreement. But I figured anything was worth it to get my hands on that shiny new video game console, so I bit the bullet and shook my dad’s hand. Little did I know that I had just made a life-changing deal. 

At first, the required hour of reading was a chore — something I had to do so I could play Mario Kart. But it quickly turned into something more than that. To my complete and utter surprise, I discovered that I actually enjoyed reading. One hour turned into two, two turned into three, and after a while I was spending more time reading than I was playing video games. I found myself captivated by the written word, and I read everything I could get my hands on. Lord of the Rings , Percy Jackson , Goosebumps — you name it. I was falling in love with literature, while my GameCube was accumulating dust in the TV stand. 

Soon enough, reading led to writing. I was beginning to come up with my own stories, so I put pen to paper and let my imagination run wild. It started out small. My first effort was a rudimentary picture book about a friendly raccoon who went to the moon. But things progressed. My stories became more intricate, my characters more complex. I wrote a series of science fiction novellas. I tried my hand at poetry. I was amazed at the worlds I could create with the tip of my pen. I had dreams of becoming an author. 

Then somewhere along the way my family got a subscription to Netflix, and that completely changed the way I thought about storytelling. My nose had been buried in books up until then, so I hadn’t really seen a lot of movies. That quickly changed. It seemed like every other day a pair of new DVDs would arrive in the mail (this was the early days of Netflix). Dark Knight, The Truman Show, Inception, Memento — all these great films were coming in and out of the house. And I couldn’t get enough of them. Movies brought stories to life in a way that books could not. I was head over heels for visual storytelling. 

Suddenly I wasn’t writing novels and short stories anymore. I was writing scripts for movies. Now I wanted to transfer my ideas to the big screen, rather than the pages of a book. But I was still doing the same thing I had always done. I was writing, just in a different format. To help with this process, I read the screenplays of my favorite films and paid attention to the way they were crafted. I kept watching more and more movies. And I hadn’t forgotten about my first love, either. I still cherished books and looked to them for inspiration. By the end of my junior year of high school, I had completed two scripts for short films. 

So why am I telling you all this? Because I want to turn my love of storytelling into a career. I’m not totally sure how to do that yet, but I know I have options. Whether it’s film production, creative writing, or even journalism, I want to find a major that suits my ambitions. Writing has taken me a long way, and I know it can take me even further. As I step into this next chapter of my life, I couldn’t be more excited to see how my craft develops. In the meantime, I should probably get rid of that dusty old GameCube. 

Feedback from admissions professional Bill Jack

Essays don’t always have to reveal details about the student’s intended career path, but one thing I like about this essay is that it gives the reader a sense of the why. Why do they want to pursue storytelling. It also shows the reader that they are open to how they pursue their interest. Being open to exploration is such a vital part of college, so it’s also showing the reader that they likely will be open to new things in college. And, it’s always fun to learn a little bit more about the student’s family, especially if the reader can learn about how the students interacts with their family. 

Prompt 2: “The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?”

I remember my first impression of Irvine: weird. It was foggy, stock-full of greenery and eucalyptus trees, and reminded me of my 5th grade trip to a “science camp” which was located in the San Bernardino mountains. Besides Irvine, that was one of the few places in Southern California where you’d find so many non-palm trees. 

Of course, perhaps my initial impression of Irvine was biased, motivated by a desire to stay in my hometown and a fear of the unknown. While that was true to an extent, Irvine was certainly still a little peculiar. The city itself was based on a “master plan” of sorts, with the location of each of its schools, parks, shops, and arguably its trees having been logically “picked” before the foundation was poured. Even the homes all looked roughly the same, with their beige, stucco walls almost serving as a hallmark of the city itself.

Thus, this perfectly structured, perfectly safe city seemed like a paradise of sorts to many outsiders, my parents included. I was a little more hesitant to welcome this. As I saw it, this was a phony city – believing that its uniformity stood for a lack of personality. My hometown, although not as flawlessly safe nor clean as Irvine, was where most of my dearest memories had occurred. From the many sleepovers at Cindie’s house, to trying to avoid my school’s own version of the “infamous” cheese touch, to the many laughs shared with friends and family, I shed a tear at the prospect of leaving my home.

Moving into the foreign city, remnants of the hostility I held towards Irvine remained. Still dwelling in my memories of the past, I was initially unable to see Irvine as a “home.” So, as I walked into my first-ever Irvine class, being greeted by many kind, yet unfamiliar faces around me, I was unable to recognize that some of those new faces would later become some of my dearest friends. Such negative feelings about the city were further reinforced by newer, harder classes, and more complicated homework. Sitting in the discomfort of this unfamiliar environment, it started to seem that “change” was something not only inevitable, but insurmountable.

As the years went on, however, this idea seemed to fade. I got used to my classes and bike racing through Irvine neighborhoods with my friends, watching the trees that once seemed just a “weird” green blob soon transform into one of my favorite parts of the city. While I kept my old, beloved memories stored, I made space for new ones. From carefully making our way over the narrow creek path next to our school, to the laughs we shared during chemistry class, my new memories made with friends seemed to transform a city I once disliked into one I would miss. 

Through this transformation, I have come to recognize that change, although sometimes intimidating at first, can open the door to great times and meaningful connections. Although Irvine may have once seemed like a strange, “phony” place that I couldn’t wait to be rid of, the memories and laughs I had grown to share there were very real. As I move onto this next part of my life, I hope I can use this knowledge that I have gained from my time in Irvine to make the most of what’s to come. Even if the change may be frightening at first, I have learned to embrace what’s on the other side, whether green or not.

One huge plus to writing an essay that focuses on a place is that you might have it read by someone who has been there. Yet, what’s really helpful about this essay is that even if someone hasn’t been there, a picture is painted about what the place is like.  Admission officers have the hard task of really understanding what the student sees, so the use of adjectives and imagery can really help.  It’s also really clever to see that the green that’s mentioned at the beginning is mentioned at the end.  It’s a nice way to bookend the essay and tie it all together.

Prompt 6: “Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more?”

I like getting lost. Not literally, of course, but figuratively. Whether it be in the story of a love song by Taylor Swift, or in the memories brought back by listening to my favorite childhood video game’s background music, I’ve always appreciated music’s ability to transport me to another place, another time, another feeling. 

Alas, I cannot sing, nor have I practiced an instrument since my middle school piano class days. So, perhaps Kurt Vonnegut was right. As he puts it, “Virtually every writer I know would rather be a musician.” While I cannot speak for others, I have certainly not debunked his theory. Writing allows many, including myself, to attempt to mimic the transformative power of music – even if our singing voices aren’t exactly “pleasant.” Just as you can get lost in music, you can do so in a story. Whether it is in George Orwell’s totalitarian Oceania, or Little Women’s Orchard House, the stories outlined in novels can provide an amazing look into the lives and worlds of others, and an escape from the worries and problems of those in your own.

While I am certainly not claiming to have the storytelling abilities of the Orwells or Alcotts before me, I’ve had fun trying to recreate such transformative feelings for others. When I was nine, I attempted to write a story about a little girl who had gotten lost in the woods, only managing to get a couple pages through. As I got older, whenever I was assigned a creative writing assignment in school, I wrote about the same pig, Phil. He was always angry: in my 8th grade science class, Phil was mad at some humans who had harbored his friend captive, and in my 9th grade English class, at a couple who robbed him. 

Thus, when I heard about a writing club being opened at my school in 11th grade, I knew I had to join. I wanted to discern whether writing was just a hobby I picked up now and then, or a true passion. If it was a passion, I wanted to learn as much as possible about how I could improve. Although my high school’s writing club certainly wasn’t going to transform me into Shakespeare, I knew I could learn a lot from it – and I did. The club challenged me to do many things, from writing on the spot, to writing poetry, to even writing about myself, something that’s hopefully coming in handy right now. 

From then on, I started to expand into different types of writing, storing short ideas, skits, and more in appropriately-labeled Google Drive folders. At around the same time, I became interested in classic literature, which largely stemmed from a project in English class. We had been required to choose and read a classic on our own, then present it to the class in an interesting way. While my book was certainly interesting and unique in its own right, nearly everyone else’s novels seemed more captivating to me. So, I took it upon myself to read as many classics as I could the following summer.

One of the books I read during the summer, funnily enough, was Animal Farm, which starred angry pigs, reminiscent of Phil. I had also started going over different ideas in my head, thinking about how I could translate them into words using the new skills I learned. While the writing club helped reaffirm my interest in writing and allowed me to develop new skills, my newfound affinity for classics gave me inspiration to write. Now, I am actually considering writing as part of my future. In this endeavor, I hope that Phil, and the music I inevitably listen to as I write, will accompany me every step of the way.

Admission officers might read 70 (or more!) essays in one day. It’s not uncommon for them to start to blend together and sound similar. This essay might not make you laugh out loud. But, it might make the reader chuckle while reading it thanks to the subtle humor and levity. Being able to incorporate a little humor into your essay (if it is natural for you to do… do not force it), can really be a great way to shed additional light into who you are. Remember, the essay isn’t merely about proving that you can write, but it should also reveal a little bit about your personality.

Prompt 5: “Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.”

I learned a lot of things during the summer I worked at Tropical Smoothie. I discovered the value of hard work. I figured out how to save money. I even mastered the art of the Mango Magic smoothie (the secret is lots of sugar). But most importantly, I learned the power of perspective. And I have Deja to thank for that. 

Deja was my shift supervisor, and one of Tropical Smoothie’s best employees. She was punctual, friendly, and always willing to lend a helping hand. She knew the store from top to bottom, and could handle pretty much any situation thrown her way. She made everyone around her better. On top of all that, she was four months pregnant! I was always impressed by Deja’s work ethic, but I gained an entirely new level of respect for her one day.

It was a Friday night, and Deja and I were working the closing shift together. It was very busy, and Deja and I were the only ones on shift. We managed to get by, but we were exhausted by the end of the evening. After wiping down the counters and mopping the floors, we closed up shop and went our separate ways. I was eager to get home. 

I walked a couple blocks to where I had parked my car. Well, it wasn’t my car actually. It was my dad’s ‘98 Chevy pickup truck, and it was in rough shape. It had no heat or A/C, the leather seats were cracked beyond repair, and the driver’s side door was jammed shut. I sighed as I got in through the passenger side and scooted over to the driver’s seat. The whole reason I was working at Tropical Smoothie was to save up enough money to buy my own car. I was hoping to have something more respectable to drive during my senior year of high school. 

I cranked the old thing up and started on my way home. But soon enough, I spotted Deja walking on the side of the road. There was no sidewalk here, the light was low, and she was dangerously close to the passing cars. I pulled over and offered her a ride. She got in and explained that she was on her way home. Apparently she didn’t have a car and had been walking to work every day. I couldn’t believe it. Here I was complaining about my set of wheels, while Deja didn’t have any to begin with.

We got to talking, and she confessed that she had been having a tough time. You would never know from the way she was so cheerful at work, but Deja had a lot on her plate. She was taking care of her mother, her boyfriend had just lost his job, and she was worried about making ends meet. And of course, she was expecting a baby in five months. On top of all that, she had been walking nearly a mile to and from work every day. The whole thing was a real eye opener, and made me reconsider some things in my own life. 

For one, I didn’t mind driving my dad’s truck anymore. It was banged up, sure, but it was a lot better than nothing. My mindset had changed. I appreciated the truck now. I began to think about other things differently, too. I started making mental notes of all the things in my life I was thankful for — my family, my friends, my health. I became grateful for what I had, instead of obsessing over the things I didn’t. 

I also gained more awareness of the world outside my own little bubble. My encounter with Deja had shown me first-hand that everyone is dealing with their own problems, some worse than others. So I started paying more attention to my friends, family members, and coworkers. I started listening more and asking how I could help. I also gave Deja a ride home for the rest of the summer. 

These are all small things, of course, but I think they make a difference. I realized I’m at my best when I’m not fixated on my own life, but when I’m considerate of the lives around me. I want to keep this in mind as I continue to grow and develop as a person. I want to continue to search for ways to support the people around me. And most importantly, I want to keep things in perspective.

Too often we can be focused on our own problems that we fail to realize that everyone has their own things going on in their lives, too.  This essay showcases how it’s important to put things in perspective, a skill that certainly will prove invaluable in college… and not just in the classroom.  Another reason I like this essay is because it provides deeper insight into the student’s life.  Sure, you might have mentioned in your activities list that you have a job.  But as this essay does, you can show why you have the job in the first place, what your responsibilities are, and more.

A few last tips

We hope these essay examples gave you a bit of inspiration of what to include in your own. However, before you go, we’d like to send you off with a few (personal statement) writing tips to help you make your essays as lovely as the memories and anecdotes they’re based off of. Without further ado, here are some of our best tips for writing your personal statements:

1. Open strong

College admissions officers read many, many essays (think 50+) a day, which can sometimes cause them to start blending together and sounding alike. One way to avoid your essay from simply fading into the background is to start strong. This means opening your essay with something memorable, whether an interesting personal anecdote, a descriptive setting, or anything else that you think would catch a reader’s attention (so long as it’s not inappropriate). Not only might this help college admissions officers better remember your essay, but it will also make them curious about what the rest of your essay will entail.

2. Be authentic

Perhaps most important when it comes to writing personal statement essays is to maintain your authenticity. Ultimately, your essays should reflect your unique stories and quirks that make you who you are, and should help college admissions officers determine whether you’d truly be a good fit for their school or not. So, don’t stress trying to figure out what colleges are looking for. Be yourself, and let the colleges come to you!

3. Strong writing

This one may seem a little obvious, but strong writing will certainly appeal to colleges. Not only will it make your essay more compelling, but it may show colleges that you’re ready for college-level essay writing (that you’ll likely have to do a lot of). Just remember that good writing is not limited to grammar. Using captivating detail and descriptions are a huge part of making your essay seem more like a story than a lecture.

4. Proofread

Last but not least, remember to proofread! Make sure your essay contains no errors in grammar, punctuation, and spelling. When you’re done proofreading your essay yourself, we would also recommend that you ask a teacher, parent, or other grammatically savvy person to proofread your essay as well.

Final thoughts 

With those in hand, we hope you now have a better sense of how to write your personal statement. While your grades and test scores are important when it comes to college admissions, it’s really your essays that can “make” or “break” your application. 

Although this may make it seem like a daunting task, writing an amazing personal statement essay is all about effort. Thus, so long as you start early, follow the advice listed above, and dedicate your time and effort to it, it’s entirely possible to write an essay that perfectly encapsulates you. Good luck, and happy writing!

Also see:  Scholarships360’s free scholarships search tool

Key Takeaways

  • It may take some people longer than others to know what they want to write about, but remember that everyone, including you, has something unique to write about!
  • Personal statements should be personal, which means you should avoid being too general and really strive to show off what makes you “you”
  • Time and effort are two of the most important things you can put into your personal statement to ensure that it is the best representation of yourself
  • Don’t forget to ask people who know you to read your work before you submit; they should be able to tell you better than anyone if you are truly shining through!

Frequently asked questions about writing personal statements 

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Mature Student Personal Statement Examples

What is a mature student personal statement.

As a mature student, you should know what you want to do with your life. You should also be aware of the advantages and disadvantages of different careers.

I am motivated by my love for learning and a desire to contribute to society. My interests include mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, astronomy, computer science, and many more. 

I want to learn about everything and share what I know. I’m interested in studying abroad and travelling around the world. I’d like to work as a teacher after graduation and help others develop their skills. 

I enjoy reading books and watching movies. I also enjoy playing sports and games. I hope to become a doctor when I grow up.

Mature Students: Five Things To Include In Your Personal Statement 

The main difference for more mature students is the challenge of fitting in a relatively small space a larger amount of life history than an average student. 

However, what we’re looking for is basically the same thing: evidence of your interest, understanding and enthusiasm for the chosen field.

How Do I Write A Mature Student  Personal  Statement?

We suggest you begin by writing down any notes about your skills, experience, hobbies, or extracurricular activities. 

Then write down your strengths and ambitions for the next stage of your career. Remember to keep things simple and focussed.

Personal statements should be written in an organized manner. 

  • You should start by explaining what motivated you to become interested in your chosen field. 
  • Then you may explain how your interests align with the requirements of the program you are applying to. 
  • Finally, you should describe any relevant experience you have had in the past.

Start drafting your statement early and giving yourself plenty of time to revise and improve your statement, and proofread your statement for spelling and grammar. 

  • Be sure to go through three or four times before you can have the final, polished draft.
  •  When you’re happy with it make sure you check it again for spelling and grammar (you should use spell checker for this). 
  • Then paste it into your UCAS application form, ready to submit!

Mature Student Personal Statement 

I am changing my career path because I want to be a doctor. I want to become a surgeon. I want to work with people who are sick and dying. I want to save lives. I want to make a difference. 

Show Evidence Of Recent Study Even If It’s In A Non- Relevant Field. 

Any evidence of formal study helps to show the admissions tutor that you enjoy studying, that you’re capable of studying,and that you’re ready to rejoin academia.

Whether it’s night school, Access to HE course, or any other kind of training, make sure to reflect upon it in your statement. Showing your personal progress is also very important. 

For those who are going back to university after working experience, it’s important to demonstrate how you’ve progressed since then.

This could be done, for instance, by mentioning your work experiences, training courses, interests, and hobbies, or your reading. 

The primary goal of most mature applicants is to train themselves for a new career. Whatever career area you have in your mind, show awareness of the specific challenges, and that have researched this before applying.

I am mature enough to understand the time commitment of studying a full- or partial-time degree. 

I also want to achieve my goals, even though it means sacrificing some things in life. I write passionately about how much I want to achieve my goals.

It can also be addressed head-on, simply by demonstrating your attention to the pressures and commitment needed and your readiness and ability to see the degree through.

Keep Your Statement Story Truthful – And Personal. 

There might well be less tangible reasons for you to apply to university as a mature student than simply training for a different career. 

What Is A Personal Statement

Before we get to the points to cover in your personal statements as a mature student, let’s actually see what a Personal Statement is.

The easiest way to think about it is “Cover Letter” style, just as you would write it when applying for a job. You are trying to sell yourself by using your personal statement. It needs to be convincing and clear.

Some courses have really limited intake numbers, so your personal statement plays a massive role in the students’ selection process. 

Remember that, on the other hand, there is someone reading it and trying to assess if you are a good candidate. 

In terms of length, the UCAS guidelines indicate that the limit is 4000 characters and 47 lines, but I bet it sounds confusing because it does. It surprises me that we are in the year 2022 and they still do not provide a downloadable template that prohibits you from writing beyond the limit.

Write in a concise and simple style. Be enthusiastic without exaggeration.

What Should I Include In My Mature Student Personal Statement?

Any hobbies or other activities you may be involved in should always be linked to the degree programme. If you do not feel something is relevant, do not mention it. 

Remember, you only have a limited amount of space in your personal statement, so every word must earn its place.

I am planning to study Business Management after I graduate. I want to work for a company that provides services to customers.

My target career is to become an accountant. I want to achieve my goal because I believe that I can do it well.

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  • Personal Statements

Personal statements for mature students

There are many reasons why people come to Higher Education later in life. It might be that they didn’t have the opportunity to study when they were younger, they might want to gain qualifications that will help improve their career prospects, or they might simply want to learn for fun.

Whatever the reason you’re applying for a degree course as a mature student one of the most daunting parts of the application process is the personal statement. It might be many years since you’ve written an essay and a personal statement can seem like a tough obstacle to overcome.

As a mature student you’re probably going to have more workplace experience that is relevant to your chosen degree subject than academic qualifications, but don’t think that that will put you at a disadvantage.

If you’re following a more ‘non-traditional’ path into a university course it’s important to give some detail and explanation about why you’ve chosen to do it that way. Whether you took a break to have children or you’re changing industry and need qualifications to get a job there are always relevant skills or experience that you can bring to the table.

You can also talk about why going to university will benefit you and why now is the right time in your life to return to education. Your reasons are entirely unique to you and your personal statement is your chance to explain them.

Universities appreciate that your personal statement won’t look the same as someone who has come straight from school or college so don’t worry that you’ll be pipped to the post by the younger generation.

Speaking to the admissions tutors is the best way to find out what they’re looking for in a personal statement. Once you know this you can tailor your qualifications, skills, and experience to fit the course criteria.

You may also find you’ll need professional or academic references to support your application. Your personal statement is your time to shine so really push the boat out when it comes to demonstrating your passion and dedication. 

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Mature Student Personal Statement Examples

Personal statement example links.

  • Personal Statement Example 1
  • Personal Statement Example 2

Ever felt the calling to return to education after some time away? Inspired by the prospect of expanding your knowledge, improving your skills, or changing your career trajectory?

If so, becoming a mature student could be your ideal journey. This empowering decision opens up a world of new possibilities, equipping you with the opportunity to learn, grow, and transform your life at any age.

This course is an introduction to the world of higher education in the UK for mature students. It offers a practical guide to the ins and outs of returning to or starting education later in life, addressing the unique challenges and opportunities experienced by mature students.

You will gain a comprehensive understanding of the application process, with particular emphasis on the UCAS system, and an insight into the different types of qualifications available. The course also covers the important academic skills necessary for success in your chosen study, from effective study habits to academic writing and critical thinking.

Financial considerations are a significant part of this course, addressing the costs associated with higher education, various funding options available, and how to navigate them. It also pays special attention to balancing your studies with personal responsibilities, such as work and family commitments.

Moreover, the course will help you understand how to build a supportive network within your institution and the value of university resources, tutors, mentors, and student services. Lastly, it provides guidance on career planning and employability, including tips on preparing your CV and leveraging your status as a mature student in the job market.

Overall, you can expect to finish this course feeling confident and prepared to embark on your academic journey as a mature student in the UK.

👍 When writing a personal statement : Highlight your passion for the course, demonstrating your understanding of it. Use relevant personal experiences, coursework, or work history to showcase how these have fostered your interest and readiness for the course.

UK Internships and Work Placement

There are many opportunities for internships and work placements in the UK, depending on the type of organisation and type of work involved.

For mature students, there are a variety of organisations that offer internships and work placements. For example, the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) offers internships for mature students in the charity sector, which involve working with charities to help them achieve their goals. Additionally, the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) offers internships and work placements for mature students in the accounting and finance industries. These internships involve working with accountants to gain experience in the sector.

In terms of the type of work involved, internships and work placements can involve a range of tasks depending on the organisation and industry. For example, internships in the charity sector could involve research, fundraising, and communications, while internships in the accounting and finance sector could involve financial analysis, auditing, and tax preparation.

Overall, there are a variety of internships and work placements available for mature students in the UK, depending on the type of organisation and type of work involved.

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Most applications for a postgrad are done directly to the university you are applying to. There may be some exceptions but the course information will alert you to these (e.g., applying to the PME at University of Galway). 

Applications will generally consist of

  • an online application form
  • supporting documentation which may include your transcripts, a personal statement/statement of intent, a piece of writing, portfolio etc.
  • academic references/referees 

To find out the detail of how to apply for a specific programme/course see the course information pages directly. Eg. For specific NUI Galway queries, check out  www.universityofgalway.ie/courses/taught-postgraduate-courses    or go to the annual  Postgraduate Open Days  to informally chat about individual courses.  

You may need a personal statement or other supporting documentation - for links and more information see 

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Closing dates vary depending on the course and the university, check with each university as there is no central resource for closing dates.

University of Galway closing dates are available online at /key-dates/

What is a statement of Intent?

Also called a Personal Statement, this is an opportunity to show why you have applied for the course. Read and follow the instructions carefully as they make ask specific questions and will have a set word count.

You can watch the video below for an overview or read our booklet .  Please note that only currently registered students of University of Galway can access other support from the Career Development Centre such as feedback on their personal statement - click the link below for details. 

Currently studying at University of Galway? 

Find the answers to some frequently asked questions about continuing your studies and get help with postgrad applications on our Careers Information for Students sharepoint (you need to be logged into your university Office365 account to access).

Watch: video presentation of our personal statement workshop. We recommend also using our booklet (see above)

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Personal statement in CAO application crucial for mature students

About 12,000 mature students will seek a third-level place through the cao this year.

how to write personal statement for mature student

If you are thinking of applying as a mature student, you need to consider the kind of information colleges want in assessing your application. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Brian Mooney's face

Up to 80,000 people will seek a third-level place through the CAO this year. Most of those will sit the Leaving Cert for the first time and will succeed or fail based on the points they secure in the exam.

However, a sizeable number of mature applicants – about 12,000 – will be judged on other factors. Their success will depend largely on the quality of their personal statement in the application, and the interviews they may be invited to after the February 1st application deadline.

These applicants, who must have been aged 23 on or before January 1st, have to apply for a college place through the CAO.

If you are thinking of applying as a mature student, you need to consider the kind of information colleges want in assessing your application.

This includes your highest academic qualification to date, any studies you are engaged in, any non-certified courses you may have taken, your employment or voluntary work history to date, English language proficiency (if applicable), any references you hold, your hobbies/interests and, most importantly, why you are interested in taking the course.

Admissions pathway

For almost all course choices, mature applicants simply complete the online CAO application process, but there are a multiplicity of variations to this rule in colleges across the country (which are outlined fully at cao.ie/mature).

UCD, UL, NUIG and UCC have introduced a mature students’ admissions pathway for some faculties. This test takes place on on Saturday, March 5th, 2016. The fee this year is €75 per candidate during the registration period up to February 7th, 2016; it rises by a further €35 between February 8th and 21st, 2016.

For all applicants, including adults, it is important to research courses thoroughly before making applications to any college. There are lots of sources online (such as qualifax.ie and careersportal.ie). Many colleges also hold information events in the form of open days before the CAO deadline of February 1st each year. These are usually listed on the qualifax website.

Access and foundation courses also exist in many colleges. These aim to prepare people who are applying to higher education. You will need to check with the college to which you are considering applying to see if an access or foundation course is suitable.

Twelve colleges in the Dublin region have come together to produce a very useful set of supporting guidelines for mature applicants, which is also available at cao.ie/mature.

During March and April, mature applicants may be called for an interview as part of a college’s assessment process of an application. Candidates typically find out if they have been successful in the first week of July.

Remember that it is normal to feel apprehensive about applying. I co-ordinated and lectured on an evening course in UCD for almost 20 years. The most tentative and insecure applicants were always the mature adults. Universally, they turned out to be the glue that helped the class bond and find their feet.

Their life experience provided them and their less mature classmates with invaluable resources as the two-year programme unfolded. As an adult, do not be overwhelmed by the prospect of returning to study. You will bring far more to the dynamic of your chosen course than you realise.


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How to Write a Mature Student Nursing Personal Statement

Mature Student Nursing Personal Statement

Need some help with your mature student nursing personal statement? We’ve got you. Most nursing programs consider mature students (typically applicants who are 21 years of age or older) to be  non-traditional applicants , and although it is very common, applying for nursing school as a non-traditional applicant can quickly feel intimidating. However, with the right strategies, it is possible to create strong application components that will improve your chances of getting admitted, and one of the components you need to pay special attention to is your nursing personal statement. In this blog, we are going to tell you why your mature student nursing personal statement is so important, what you can do to strengthen your essay, and we’ll share some examples of  nursing school personal statements  that’ll inspire your own. So, keep reading to learn how to write a compelling mature student nursing personal statement.

>> Want us to help you get accepted? Schedule a free strategy call here . <<

Article Contents 10 min read

What is the purpose of a nursing personal statement.

The nursing personal statement is a common admissions essay that is part of the application process to nursing school, studying nursing, and practicing nursing. Writing skills are essential for nurses since they need to be able to communicate, verbally and in written form, with their colleagues, patients, and the medical community at large. Your nursing personal statement gives the admissions committee one of it's few chances to evaluate your communication skills. 

It also gives you a chance to tell them why you are a good fit for the field of nursing and for their nursing program specifically. Your essay should essentially outline who you are and why you're applying to nursing school. It should give answers the question, " why do you want to be a nurse ". It should be noted that many nursing school applications include an essay component, but not all of them do. You should take the time to verify the specific requirements of your chosen school.

1. Answer the Question 'Why Now?'

As a mature student, it is essential that you show the admissions committee that you are not only interested but also committed to nursing. This is why we recommend that you spend a paragraph or a few short sentences answering the question 'why now?' Perhaps this was always part of the plan for you, or perhaps your current career made you realize that nursing was a better fit for you – whatever the case is, providing some context of your decision-making in your mature student nursing personal statement will help the admissions board get a picture of your commitment to and suitability for the field of nursing.

You should not spend your entire essay explaining why you've decided to change direction and apply to this program at this particular point in your life, but you should briefly discuss the experience or event that led to your decision. Take some time to reflect and really brainstorm before putting pen to paper on this one. Sometimes your reasons for applying to a nursing program as a mature applicant are straightforward - like perharps, you simply could not afford it, but other times they might be less tangible than merely training for a new career. Start by thinking about why you didn't choose to go into nursing immediately after high school or college, consider what has changed since then, and how those changes have affected your decision.

One of the most important essay writing strategies we can share with you is to show, not tell. The reality is that anyway can talk about their accomplishments and use buzzwords to make themselves sound like a strong candidate. The admissions committee doesn't just want to read about the qualities and traits that you think you possess, they want to know how you know you have those skills, how you developed them, and how you have used them.

This is why you want to use specific experiences and examples in your mature student nursing personal statement. That'll show the admissions board that you have the skills and abilities required to thrive in their program. It is also a great way to discuss the advantages that being a mature student can give you. You can provide more information about your experiences and how they have prepared you for this next chapter of your academic and professional career by giving you new skills. For example, if you have been working in customer service in the medical field, you can share a short anecdote highlighting your communication and interpersonal skills. 

Remember to avoid summarizing or merely listing facts about yourself. Instead, use short anecdotes and describe specific experiences because this will make your nursing personal statement more impactful. The aim is to show the admissions board that you can back up the claims you are making about yourself. Moreover, people are also more likely to remember a narrative than a list of traits or facts, making your essay more memorable.

Have you started preparing for your nursing school interviews? This infographic can help:

3. Get Help From the Experts

Considering the role that nursing school admission essays play in the admissions process, you need to do everything you can to make sure that you are submitting the best essays possible. You can do that by working with  nursing essay writing services . These services are offered by  nursing admission consultants  , who are trained to assist students and guide them through the complex world of nursing school admissions.

These experts can review your essays and give you personalized feedback to help you edit and polish them until they are ready for submission. Please note that these advisors will not write your essay for you. Actually, we'll just go ahead and warn you right now: stay away from "admission experts" who offer to write your mature student nursing personal statement for you. It is not only unethical, but if the nursing school you applied to ever finds out, it could cost you the acceptance that you were hoping for. 

Instead, consultants can give you additional nursing school essay tips and strategies to help you write a compelling personal statement. They also review your essay drafts and help you edit them to ensure that your final essay highlights your strengths, skills, and abilities in the best way possible. They are able to see little things that the untrained eye wouldn't notice, but that could make a big difference in the quality of your overall personal statement.

Mature Student Nursing Personal Statement Example #1

My first official job was with a Rent-A-Car service as an assistant manager. I started as an intern during college and continued after graduating from Fictional University with a Bachelor of Commerce in Business Administration. At that point, I had never really thought about a career path. I grew up in a family that struggled financially, and I was always focused on making enough money to help with the bills in the best way I could. This job allowed me to do that, and I believed it would lead to a successful career in the industry.

After several months with XYZ Rent-A-Car, I realized that this job was not what I had expected. My happiest moments were when I got to speak to customers directly and help them out of challenging situations or make a small change that would make someone's day a little easier. The sad reality of my position as an assistant manager is that those days were few and far between. Each morning, waking up to go to work became more and more difficult as I started craving a career that would allow me to interact with others and help them more often. 

One of my favorite memories from my time at XYZ Rent-A-Car was helping a single mother who was driving across the country to attend her oldest son's college graduation. It was the middle of the night, and we only had two small sedan cars left in the parking lot, but she needed an SUV because she was traveling with two kids, and one of them was in a wheelchair. I knew how important this was for her, so I spent almost an hour on the phone with other XYZ Rent-A-Car branches in the state, looking for a car that would fit her needs before driving her for 1 hour and 35 minutes across the state line to pick up a vehicle from a different branch. 

That experience was a pivotal moment in my career. First, it was special to me because I felt like I had gotten the customer out of a jam, and I got to do it while interacting with her two adorable children. However, what made it truly special is that she left a review on our website in which she explained how grateful she was for the patience I showed her son, and how comfortable I made her son feel when I was helping him out of his wheelchair and into the new car. She explained that he has cerebral palsy and often gets defensive with strangers but that he had taken a liking to me because of how I treated him.

I hadn't paid attention to that moment because it had come naturally to me, but the fact that she had noticed it and it had made a difference for them made me very happy. I wanted more of that in my career, and I decided to start thinking about the different career options that would allow me to do so. I wanted a job that would suit my compassion and innate desire to help people and that also had longevity and security. 

Preparing for a nursing school interview? Here are some our tips!

After carefully researching different fields and career options, I realized that nursing was my best choice. I have always been curious about the field of medicine, but I never had any interest in becoming a doctor. Even as a child, I remember playing doctor and being more interested in helping my dolls manage their pain, ensuring they were clean, dressing their wounds, and making sure they felt cared for rather than curing them.

I knew that becoming a nurse would not be easy or cheap, so before embarking on this journey, I wanted to make sure that I was on the right path for me. I spent the following months talking to different nurses and researching the many roles nurses occupy depending on their credentials. 

I even spent three months shadowing a nurse practitioner who works as a travel nurse. During those three months, she was taking care of a terminal patient in their home, and I got the opportunity to learn so much about interacting with patients. I watched as she administered his medication with care, spoke with him, listened to him, made him laugh, and did many other little things to ensure he was as comfortable as possible. It helped me understand that a big part of being a great nurse is interacting with your patients and communicating with them, verbally or otherwise. 

I know I am finally on the right path for my career, and I look forward to learning more about all the other traits and competencies that make a great nurse. I am confident that my desire to care for others, commitment to nursing, and work ethic will make me a great student and, eventually, a great nurse.

My desire to become a nurse - a nurse for elderly patients in particular - has developed over the years. I have always believed that my fulfillment lies in serving those most vulnerable, but I was not sure which career path would allow me to do so and also suit my skills. After high school, I worked a number of different jobs. One of them was as a customer service representative for an insurance company, which enabled me to not only develop my communication skills but also understand that I wanted to play an active role in patient care. 

One of the companies that we represented was a nursing home, and I always felt a connection to many of the residents who called us. So when I started looking for a role that would allow me to actively interact with people in person, taking a job as a care assistant in that facility felt natural. That job helped me discover how satisfying such work could be and how it gave purpose to my life, both personally and professionally. 

I tended to the needs of several terminally ill patients. That experience taught me about the emotional demands of nursing while simultaneously helping me gain a deep sense of reward from feeling that I had contributed to their welfare during their final days. One of the patients I bonded with the most suffered from Alzheimer's, and I remember being especially touched by his frustration at being unable to communicate effectively. To make his life a bit easier, I helped him create infographics and write sticky notes that we strategically placed around the home so that he could be a bit more independent. To this day, it is one of the most rewarding experiences I have ever had. 

The next role I took - as an in-home healthcare assistant- gave me even more opportunities to gain experience with a wide variety of illnesses and a chance to observe nurses at work. For example, recently, I have been working with a patient with tetraplegia who suffers from emotional and cognitive disabilities, which sometimes manifest themselves in challenging behavior. With patience and clear communication, we have been able to build a mutually trusting relationship, thus helping him manage a degree of independent life. 

In addition to learning how to build trust and interact with even the most challenging patients, I have been learning many nursing skills - such as taking blood pressure, noting symptoms, as well as the administrative processes of nursing like keeping accurate notes, relaying information, and the like. 

Over the years, my experiences and the conversations I have had with other professionals in the industry have shown me that being an adult nurse is very demanding and calls for a greater level of personal commitment than many other occupations. That is part of what appeals to me. I genuinely believe that most of the best things in life require a great deal of commitment and hard work. I am prepared to take on this challenge. Additionally, my experiences have prepared me for nursing school and the nursing profession by sharpening my communication skills, attention to detail, sense of empathy, and work ethic. 

Now that I have found the right career path for me, I am ready to start my tertiary education and become a nurse. I took the time to research several institutions before deciding on which ones to apply to because it is important to me to study at a school that not only has an excellent curriculum and practicum opportunities but one that also values patient-centered care. 

So, as you read this essay and the rest of my application, I'd like you to know that I took the time to learn about myself, my chosen profession, and your school before making any commitments. I am indeed committed to becoming the best nurse that I can be, and I know that you can help me on that journey.

Nursing school acceptance rates in the US and Canada differ widely depending on your school and program of choice, but it is safe to say that nursing schools are pretty competitive, and most schools are highly selective.

Not necessarily. Most nursing schools have a written application component, such as a nursing personal statement or letter of intent. That said, different schools have their own admission requirements and process, so you will need to check the requirements of your school of choice.

Your nursing school personal statement is supposed to tell the admissions committee more about who you are, what will make you a good nursing school student, and eventually, a nurse.

Unless otherwise stated, your personal statement should be between 650 and 800 words. That said, verifying the requirements specified by the school you're actually applying to is important as some schools may require a longer or shorter essay.

As a mature nursing applicant, you should discuss your reasons for applying to nursing school at this stage of your life and the different experiences in your journey that have prepared you for nursing school and a career as a nurse. 

Essentially, it means that you should use specific examples and anecdotes to highlight the various qualities and traits that you want to showcase instead of simply telling them that you possess those qualities.

A strong mature nursing student personal statement should be concise, grammatically correct, have specific examples, address the 'why now' question, have a strong opening statement, and follow the instructions given by your chosen school. 

Writing a solid personal statement requires time. We recommend giving yourself at least six and eight weeks to work on your essay.

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Law personal statement example (mature student).

I long recall having been amazed as to how law permeates every aspect of our lives. My career thus far has taken me to the City of London, as far away as New Zealand, and then back to Reading again and has served to cultivate my interest in law and made me yearn to study this fascinating subject at undergraduate level, and formally qualify as a solicitor, within criminal advocacy.

My interest in practicing law first became apparent in 2000 when I commenced employment for a mortgage company. The role required liaising with solicitors to ensure that conditions pertaining to our offer of mortgage, and any subsequent legal issues raised, were resolved to the satisfaction of the company.

This is when I began to admire the work of legal professionals immensely. Their ability to advise on matters of law in a such a precise and exact manner was astounding and something to which I aspired as it appealed to my analytical and methodical nature. This, and subsequent roles, developed my argumentative communication skills, both written and verbal, and also enabled me to further develop an analytical approach to problem solving.

Keen to feed my curiosity further, I visited the public gallery within Reading Crown Court. The case was a minor appeal, but left a lasting impression upon me. The appellant was sat directly behind his barrister and was frequently instructing him regarding points raised by The Crown, which were then argued on his behalf. I remember being fascinated by this true demonstration of advocacy in action and decided that a future within criminal law was what I wanted.

I wished to gain first hand knowledge and experience of the criminal justice system so I applied to volunteer for the Witness Service and currently work with them one day a week. This is intensely rewarding for me; being able to observe court procedures and personnel affords me a direct insight into the criminal law world, and is something I do savour; however, this is tempered by the fact that many of the witnesses are themselves alleged victims of crime and deserve my full attention.

The experience I have gained has given me the benefit of seeing the law in a variety of contextual, cultural and practical applications and culminated in my decision to apply for university. As I had not enrolled on an academic course for a while, I thought it prudent to embark upon an Access course.

My choice of subjects has helped me develop a wide range of skills relevant to law at undergraduate level: Business has developed further my critical thinking and analytical skills, and has served to improve my logical approach to problem solving; Psychology has taught me research skills and the ability to critically evaluate an argument, and Law has given me an overview of the English Legal System and improved my written communication skills. Furthermore, all three subjects have enabled me to develop my oral communication skills by way of assessed in-class presentations.

I have a balanced range of outside interests but my main passion is golf, which I have played for over 20 years. I find golf an analytically rich game, with each hole presenting a multitude of problems to be analysed and solved. Many years ago I was appointed the Junior Captain at my local golf club, and thrived upon the pressure and responsibility of that position.

I relish the prospect of studying law at degree level and believe I am ready for the challenges presented by sustained study at this level. The prospect of learning from experts within their respective fields of law is a very exciting one; also meeting new and varied people with common interests, taking an active interest in the student law societies and, in particular, taking part in 'Mooting' are some of the things to which I particularly look forward.

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This personal statement was written by nick220281 for application in 2010.

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