personal statement for educational leadership program

Educational Leadership Personal Statement Examples

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Educational Leadership Personal Statement Example

I am pleased to submit this educational leadership personal statement to gain admission into your highly-valued university.

Educational leadership has a pivotal role in shaping a nation’s human capital. Because it is now simpler to export low-skilled employment, the value of education has only increased with globalisation. While it would make sense to expect countries to invest more in education to boost their competitiveness, the reality is quite the opposite.

Many things, including bureaucracy, decreased public education financing, and a general lack of urgency on the part of elected leaders, contribute to the education sector’s glacial pace of development around the world.

Furthermore, there is reluctance towards altering the framework of local educational systems because of the unknown outcomes resulting from such an alteration and because the sheer magnitude of the challenge deters many from even trying. This is true in developed countries with some of the world’s most outstanding universities.

Education sectors worldwide need leaders who are not scared of thinking outside the box and questioning the status quo, as I have come to believe via my work experience in the academic sector and after considerable research on the matter.

To this end, I have decided to earn a master’s degree in educational leadership in the hopes that I can use my education to effect constructive change in the Saudi educational system.

Early in my career, I developed a deep interest in bringing positive change to my community. This prompted me to research alternative educational models to see if there could be ways to improve the quality of education in my community using the resources at hand.

I have learned a lot from my readings and discussions with other educators, and I’d like to pass along what I’ve learned to my fellow Educational Leadership Program students and get their feedback, too.

One of the most surprising things I have learned is that the value of available tools to educators is sometimes overstated. The ability of various stakeholders, such as educators, parents, and government officials, to collaborate to identify problems and implement effective remedies may be more crucial.

I have held several positions during my academic career, including instructor, administrator, accountant, and trainer. With the insight I’ve gained, I now believe that the education systems of developing economies can learn from other countries. In reality, the nonprofit sector in advanced economies is a great case study of the benefits of borrowing ideas from other fields.

There is a growing trend of non-profits operating more like for-profit businesses, with a heavy focus on effective financial and human capital management and greater accountability for results. I predict that the public school systems of developed countries will eventually have to operate more like corporations.

Similarly, my experience with international businesses has taught me the importance of monitoring the forces and tendencies beyond our borders. Because technology has altered the educational landscape, the conventional teaching model is coming under fire for the first time.

I look forward to learning from my classmates and contributing my perspectives to the Educational Leadership program. By applying what I have learned in the program, I hope to improve my educational leadership philosophy and ultimately make a difference in the public education sector in my community and beyond.

Kindly accept my educational leadership personal statement for admission to study for a postgraduate degree at your university.

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Educational Leadership, Personal Statement Example

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The quality of a country’s human capital is primarily shaped by education. The value of education has only grown with globalization because it is now easier to outsource low-skilled jobs. One may assume countries have become more focused on investments in education to improve their competitiveness but the reality could not have been more different. There are numerous factors that contribute towards slow progress in the global education sector such as bureaucracy, funding cuts for public education, and lack of sense of urgency on the part of the elected officials. In addition, there is hesitation towards changing the structure of the local education systems because any change would involve uncertainty and the scale of the challenge discourages most from even making an attempt. This is as much true for Saudi Arabia as it is for countries with some of the finest academic institutions in the world like the U.S. My work experience in the academic sector as well as knowledge gained from extensive reading on the issue has convinced me that education sectors around the world are in dire need of education leaders who are not afraid of thinking outside-the-box as well as the challenging the quo. This is why I have decided to pursue my Masters in Educational Leadership because it will provide me with knowledge and insights to bring about positive changes in Saudi education sector.

I realized early on in my career that Saudi Arabia invests quite a low figure in its education system and I knew things won’t be changing soon. This motivated me to educate myself on different education systems around the world to investigate how educators like me may be able to revamp the local education system, even with limited resources. My extensive research as well as conversations with fellow education professionals has yielded several useful insights which I hope to share with my fellow students in the Educational Leadership Program as well as seek their input. Probably, one of the most unexpected insights I have gained is that the importance of resources available to educators is often exaggerated. What may be more important is the organizational hierarchy of the academic institutions as well as the ability of different stakeholders including teachers, parents, and public officials to work together to identify issues and implement innovative and efficient solutions.

During my academic career, I have worked in a wide range of capacities including teacher, administrator, accountant, and trainer. This has helped me gain a comprehensive knowledge of how the whole education system works and I believe that education system in Saudi Arabia can import lessons from not only education systems in other countries but even non-related sectors such as Corporate America and non-profit sector. In fact, non-profit sector in developed countries like the U.S. serve as a great example of importing ideas from other industries. More and more non-profit organizations are being run like commercial organizations, with huge emphasis on efficient management of financial and human capital as well as higher accountability for performance. I believe public education system in Saudi Arabia and other countries including the U.S. will also have to adopt business-like approach to their operations. Similarly, I have learnt from multi-national organizations that every industry should keep an open eye on the external factors and trends that are shaping our world. For the first time, traditional education model is under attack because technology has changed the way students now learn.

I will bring unique insights into the Educational Leadership program and am excited to learn from my fellow students who may come from diverse cultural and professional backgrounds. The knowledge and skills learnt in the program will help me further refine my educational leadership philosophy and make positive contributions to the public education sector in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere.

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How to Write a Strong Personal Statement

  • Ruth Gotian
  • Ushma S. Neill

personal statement for educational leadership program

A few adjustments can get your application noticed.

Whether applying for a summer internship, a professional development opportunity, such as a Fulbright, an executive MBA program, or a senior leadership development course, a personal statement threads the ideas of your CV, and is longer and has a different tone and purpose than a traditional cover letter. A few adjustments to your personal statement can get your application noticed by the reviewer.

  • Make sure you’re writing what they want to hear. Most organizations that offer a fellowship or internship are using the experience as a pipeline: It’s smart to spend 10 weeks and $15,000 on someone before committing five years and $300,000. Rarely are the organizations being charitable or altruistic, so align your stated goals with theirs
  • Know when to bury the lead, and when to get to the point. It’s hard to paint a picture and explain your motivations in 200 words, but if you have two pages, give the reader a story arc or ease into your point by setting the scene.
  • Recognize that the reviewer will be reading your statement subjectively, meaning you’re being assessed on unknowable criteria. Most people on evaluation committees are reading for whether or not you’re interesting. Stated differently, do they want to go out to dinner with you to hear more? Write it so that the person reading it wants to hear more.
  • Address the elephant in the room (if there is one). Maybe your grades weren’t great in core courses, or perhaps you’ve never worked in the field you’re applying to. Make sure to address the deficiency rather than hoping the reader ignores it because they won’t. A few sentences suffice. Deficiencies do not need to be the cornerstone of the application.

At multiple points in your life, you will need to take action to transition from where you are to where you want to be. This process is layered and time-consuming, and getting yourself to stand out among the masses is an arduous but not impossible task. Having a polished resume that explains what you’ve done is the common first step. But, when an application asks for it, a personal statement can add color and depth to your list of accomplishments. It moves you from a one-dimensional indistinguishable candidate to someone with drive, interest, and nuance.

personal statement for educational leadership program

  • Ruth Gotian is the chief learning officer and associate professor of education in anesthesiology at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York City, and the author of The Success Factor and Financial Times Guide to Mentoring . She was named the #1 emerging management thinker by Thinkers50. You can access her free list of conversation starters and test your mentoring impact . RuthGotian
  • Ushma S. Neill is the Vice President, Scientific Education & Training at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. She runs several summer internships and is involved with the NYC Marshall Scholar Selection Committee. ushmaneill

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Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership

Take the next step toward your career goals. Learn key information about the USC Rossier admission process and application requirements for the Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership program.

Waite-Phillips-Hall

Prerequisites

In order to apply for this program, you must:

  • Have a master’s degree, or equivalent, from a college or university that is regionally accredited or recognized by a ministry of education. The institution must have been accredited at the time your degree was conferred
  • Have a minimum of three years of relevant, full-time work experience relevant to the concentration of interest
  • Have leadership experience that demonstrates increasing responsibility

Program applications are reviewed on a rolling basis, but we encourage you to apply early.

*scholarship consideration priority deadlines

Application Instructions

Review the detailed instructions in the dropdowns for each section of the online application . If you need accommodation for any part of the application process, please contact the Office of Admission and Scholarships at [email protected]. We encourage you to submit your request for accommodation at least two weeks before the accommodation is needed so our team can make the necessary arrangements.

Where to find it on the application: My Application > Personal Information

  • Enter your name as it appears on your government issued I.D. Indicate any alternate or previous names in the “other name” field (i.e. maiden name).
  • Enter the email address USC Rossier should use to communicate with you throughout the application process.

Where to find it on the application: My Application > Academic History > Colleges Attended > Add a College > Upload a Transcript 

To expedite admission decisions, please upload registrar-issued transcripts from all attended institutions to the USC application portal. Official transcripts should be submitted separately to the USC Office of Graduate Admissions upon acceptance and submission of intent to enroll.  

International students should refer to USC’s country specific requirements to determine which academic records they need to submit. 

To Upload Your Transcript to The Application Portal   

Login to your USC Application Portal and navigate to the Academic History section. Enter detailed information about your academic history from each institution you have attended. 

Once you have saved this information, you will find an option to Upload a Transcript for each institution. You can upload only one PDF per institution. If the transcript consists of multiple pages, you must scan each page and merge them into a single PDF file. If you do not have access to a scanner, you can take clear photos of each page and combine them into one PDF.  

There are various online services available to merge multiple files into a single PDF or convert photos into PDFs. Once you have uploaded your transcripts and completed all other sections of the application, you can proceed to submit your application.  

Upon admission and submission of the statement of intent to enroll, you must submit degree-conferred transcripts from all attended institutions to the Office of Graduate Admissions.

colleges attended

Where to find it on the application: My Application > Supporting Information > Documents > CV/Resume

Your rĂ©sumĂ© should be detailed enough to help the admission committee understand the various experiences – extracurricular, leadership or volunteer – that have shaped your interest in the program. Outline your roles and responsibilities within each organization and highlight any special achievements or accomplishments. In the “Supporting Information” section of the application, select “Documents”. Select the “add document” button under “CV/Resume.”

CV Resume

Where to find it on the application: My Application > Program Materials > Documents

Essay responses will be used to evaluate your personal, professional and educational perspectives and experiences and the ability to effectively communicate ideas and organize written thoughts.

Responses to essay questions should be double-spaced with a 12-point font and one-inch margin on all sides. Include your full name at the beginning of each document. Upload each essay as a separate document in the appropriate section.

Personal Statement — 500 words or less

Your personal statement consists of a 500-word essay response. You will have the opportunity to provide an in-depth look at your background, professional goals, and highlight graduate-level written communication skills.

Write a personal statement that addresses how earning the Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EDL) degree in your concentration of interest will enable you to address inequities that interfere with learning opportunities and outcomes for students and/or employees in educational settings.

Upload your Personal Statement in the “Program Materials” section of the application under the tab “Documents.” Select the “add document” button under “Personal Statement” .

Personal Statement

Leadership Description – 500 words or less

A key aim of the program is to graduate critically conscious leaders who will exert influence to bring about equity-oriented change in an educational context. Tell us about your leadership experiences to date. What type of formal or informal leadership roles have you held. What types of responsibilities have you carried? And what has been the scope of your influence? Please provide specific examples.

 Upload your short answer essay in the “Program Materials” section of the application under the tab “Documents”. Select the “add document: button under “Writing Sample.”

writing sample

Optional Essay – 250 words or less

To aid the admission committee in evaluating your application, use this essay to discuss anything in your academic and/or professional history that may require additional explanation. This essay is optional.

Upload your optional essay in the “Program Materials” section of the application under the tab “Documents.” Select the “add document” button under “Other.”

other document

Where to find it on the application: My Application > Program Materials > Recommendations > Add Recommendation

USC Rossier requires two letters of recommendation to complete the application. Letters should come from supervisors and/or former instructors or faculty who can comment on significant contributions you have made in your workplace, your leadership skills as well as your commitment to life-long learning and your ability to perform well in doctoral-level coursework.

  • To submit the names of your recommenders, go to the “Program Materials” section of the application and click on the tab “Recommendations.”

recommendations

  • Recommendation letters must be typed on official letterhead from the organization with a signature. If the recommender is not able to obtain company letterhead, this must be noted somewhere in the letter.
  • It is your responsibility to ensure all recommendation letters are submitted in the proper format prior to the appropriate deadline. Letters uploaded in the incorrect format without explanation are subject to further review.
  • Recommendations letters should be submitted by recommenders by the application deadline, but they are not required to be submitted at the time you submit your application.

 Please note: recommendation letters are program-specific and cannot be used to apply to additional programs. If you withdraw your application from a particular program, your letters of recommendation will be deleted along with the application.

Where to find it: My Application > Program Materials > Kira Assessment

The recorded video response is an opportunity for you to demonstrate your communication skills in professional settings. The timed writing assessment will allow you to demonstrate your writing, critical thinking and analytical ability. No advance preparation is required for either assessment. You must complete both assessments during the same session. You are allowed to take each assessment one time only. For technical assistance with the video response or timed writing assessment, email [email protected].

  • Click the “Open Kira Assessment” button on the “Kira Assessment” tab in the application. Note: clicking this link will NOT require you to take the assessment(s) immediately. You can register for the assessment(s) and return at any time to complete it.
  • When the page opens, click the “Check In” button.
  • Click the registration module. Your first and last name and email should pre-populate in the registration form. Agree to the terms of agreement and privacy policy and click the “Register” button. After you register, a link to Kira will also be sent to your email address for easy access at the time you choose to complete your assessment(s).
  • Complete the device set up and practice modules to prepare for your assessment(s).
  • Click the assessment module (final step) at the time you are ready to begin your assessment(s).
  • Once completed, your assessments become part of your application and will be reviewed by the admission committee in conjunction with other application materials.

Video Response  

  • Record your responses using an internet-connected computer with a webcam.
  • Dress professionally and behave as you would during an in-person interview.
  • Make sure you have a pen and notepad available for taking notes on the prompt.
  • Once you begin the assessment, you will be provided with two prompts, one at a time, followed by five minutes of prep time for each prompt.
  • You will have two minutes to complete your response. There will be a countdown timer and a progress bar during preparation and response time so you can track how much time you have left. If you finish before time is up, you can submit your response using the “submit” button in the lower right corner. The system will automatically submit your response when the time is up.

Timed Writing Assessment

  • Once you begin the assessment, you will be provided with the essay topic. You will have 45 minutes to compose and submit your response.
  • Write your essay within the provided space in Kira; do not copy and paste from other documents.
  • As a general guideline, the essay should be structured with an introduction containing a thesis statement, a body containing your major points and a conclusion.
  • Do not use citations or conduct research on the topic while writing your response.
  • There is no minimum or maximum word count, however, we recommend a length of 350 to 700 words.
  • There will be a countdown timer and a progress bar during the response time so you can track how much time you have left. If you finish before time is up, you can submit your response using the “submit” button in the lower right corner. The system will automatically submit your response when the time is up.

USC Rossier welcomes international applicants. If your prior study was completed outside of the United States, you must have earned the equivalent of a United States bachelor’s degree to be eligible for admission. View the international application requirements based on your country of study . 

International students whose native language is not English and who completed their undergraduate work outside of the United States are required to demonstrate proficiency in English as part of the application process. USC does not waive the English proficiency requirement for graduate degree(s) earned in the United States or other qualifying countries; requirements are based on the completion of undergraduate studies. For more information on English Proficiency requirements, English-language test waivers and other alternate accepted exams, please visit the USC Graduate Admission English-Language Proficiency page .

TOEFL or IELTS Test Scores Where to find it on the application: My Application > Academic History > Standardized Tests > Add a Test Score

International students whose native language is not English and who completed their undergraduate work outside of the United States are required to submit an official TOEFL or IELTS score as part of their application. You must have taken one of these tests within the past two years.

In order to be a competitive applicant, you should receive a TOEFL score at or above 100 iBT and an IELTS score at or above 6.5 with no less than a score of 6 on each band.

You may upload your test score report in the “Academic History” section of the application to be used in application review. However, only scores received electronically from the testing service are considered official. Official test scores should be sent from the testing agency directly to USC.

  • TOEFL: To send official scores, use USC ETS code 4852. Please note that USC does not accept super-scoring for the TOEFL.
  • IELTS: Select “University of Southern California” at the time of registration. Alternatively, provide this information to your testing center after taking the test.

Standarized Tests

For more information on English Proficiency requirements, English-language test waivers, and other alternate accepted exams, please visit the USC Graduate Admission page . 

Your application materials will be reviewed by both the USC Rossier School of Education Office of Admission and Scholarships and the USC Office of Graduate Admissions.

  • Refer to your USC Rossier personal portal for timely and accurate updates on your application status (including missing items).
  • If your application is complete by the round application deadline, expect to receive notification of your admission decision by the corresponding notification date.
  • You will receive a decision letter from both USC Rossier and the USC Office of Graduate admission.

Where to find it on the application: Submit Application Tab

Application fees must be paid by credit or debit card.

An application fee waiver is available to applicants who meet certain eligibility criteria. Eligibility criteria and instructions for obtaining a fee waiver can be found at the USC Graduate Admission website. If you choose to apply for a fee waiver you must:

  • Start your online application but do not submit the application until the fee waiver is approved.
  • Provide supporting documents to demonstrate qualification.
  • Have your fee waiver request approved.
  • Complete and submit your online application.
Tips Submit all application materials by the deadline . Incomplete applications may be delayed to the next application review. Skip ahead to the “Recommendations” section and use the application platform to send requests for letters of recommendation first . We recommend you complete this step right away to provide each recommender with the maximum amount of time to complete their letter. Follow the transcript submission instructions carefully. Please upload your registrar-issued transcripts from each institution attended to the USC application portal. Upon acceptance and submission of intent to enroll, you will need to submit official transcripts to the USC Office of Graduate Admissions separately.

Review Process

Your application to USC Rossier will be evaluated using a holistic review process. Academic preparation, professional work experience, personal achievement and commitment to the USC Rossier mission are each considered. No single attribute or characteristic guarantees admission to USC Rossier.

We seek applicants who will add to our vibrant learning community and whose goals, values and experiences align with the USC Rossier mission and program goals. We adhere to the university’s non-discrimination policy, and are committed to providing equal opportunity for all students.

As an applicant for this program, you will be automatically considered for limited USC Rossier scholarships, with priority consideration given to applicants who apply by the priority and regular deadlines. There is no need to submit a separate application. Recipients are selected based on academic achievement, demonstrated dedication to the USC Rossier mission and other distinguishing characteristics. All USC Rossier scholarships are awarded at the time of admission.

Document Submission Policy

Transcripts and all other application materials become the property of USC. The university does not return or duplicate materials for any reason whatsoever. The information and materials in your submitted application are made available only to the central Office of Admission and the admission committee of the academic department or professional school to which you have applied.

Frequently Asked Questions

USC Rossier students come from diverse academic backgrounds. Education or experience related to your program of interest can make you a more competitive applicant, however it is not required. If your bachelor’s or master’s degree is unrelated to the program for which you are applying, use your application to communicate your passion for working in your selected field and explain how your background and experience has prepared you to be successful and positively contribute to your chosen field.

The admission committee looks for leadership experiences that demonstrate increasing levels of responsibility. Exceptional applicants demonstrate long-term commitment to historically marginalized student populations.

No. At USC Rossier, the online and on-campus version of our programs are distinct with separate applications. If you would like to be considered for a program other than the program for which you have been admitted, you will need to reapply to that program.

No. Your diploma will read “Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership” only.

No. The program has one start date per academic year. 

There is no minimum GPA required to apply to USC Rossier programs, but competitive applicants typically have a GPA of 3.0 or above. However, GPA is one of many elements evaluated in the admission committee’s comprehensive evaluation of candidates. In the application, you may use the optional essay to discuss anything in your academic and/or professional history that may require additional explanation.

If you would like to be considered for a program other than the program for which you have been admitted, you will need to re-apply for the new program. Please read the program requirements thoroughly, as they may be different from those specified for the program to which you were admitted. Your application will not be considered complete until all documents required for your new program are received.

Before applying for any program, it is recommended that you speak with an admission team member for assistance and direction in determining which program is the best fit for you.  

Applicants are permitted to apply to up to three USC programs within the same academic year. When completing your online application, select all programs to which you would like to apply. Please read each program’s guidelines carefully, as each program may require different documents or methods of assessment. You will only need to complete program-specific questions for each additional program; you will not have to fill out the entire application multiple times.

If you decide you would like to apply to an additional program after submitting your initial application, you can log back into your application and add another program.

Application fees are required for each program to which you apply, but you will only need to submit transcripts and test scores (optional for most programs) once.   

You can request to transfer up to six units of doctoral coursework completed at another institution that meet the requirements of the EDL program. Contact your academic advisor in the EdD program office to learn more. 

GRE scores are neither required nor accepted for admission at USC Rossier.

Callah Darmali

Callah Darmali

Associate Director, Office of Admission and Scholarships

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Writing Personal Statements for Graduate School

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Personal Statements

Preparing a well-written and effective personal statement (sometimes referred to as statements of purpose or personal essays) that clearly articulates your preparation, goals, and motivation for pursuing that specific graduate degree is critically important. You will need to spend a considerable amount of time and effort in crafting these statements. The focus, structure, and length of personal statements vary from program to program. Some will have prompts or questions you need to answer, while others will leave the topic open-ended. The length varies widely as well. Read instructions carefully and make sure to adhere to all parameters laid out in the application guidelines.

Clear writing is the result of clear thinking. The first and most important task is to decide on a message. Consider carefully which two or three points you wish to impress upon the reader, remembering that your audience is composed of academics who are experts in their fields. Your statement should show that you are able to think logically and express your thoughts in a clear and concise manner. Remember that the reader already has a record of your activities and your transcript; avoid simply restating your resume and transcript. Writing your statement will take time; start early and give yourself more than enough time for revisions. If no prompts are given, you can use the questions below to begin brainstorming content to include in your statement; for more information, see our Writing Personal Statement presentation Prezi  and our three-minute video on Writing Personal Statements .

  • What experiences and academic preparation do you have that are relevant to the degree you’re seeking?
  • Why are you choosing to pursue a graduate degree at this time?
  • Why do you want to pursue this particular degree and how will this degree and the specific program fit into your career plans and your long-term goals?
  • What specific topics are you aiming to explore and what does the current literature say about those topics?

After you’ve written a first draft, start the work of editing, refining, simplifying, and polishing. Provide specific examples that will help illustrate your points and convey your interests, intentions, and motivations. Is any section, sentence, or word superfluous, ambiguous, apologetic, or awkward? Are your verbs strong and active? Have you removed most of the qualifiers? Are you sure that each activity or interest you mention supports one of your main ideas? Spelling and grammatical errors are inexcusable. Don’t rely on spell-check to catch all errors; read your statement aloud and have it reviewed by multiple people whose opinion you trust. If possible, have your statement reviewed by a writing tutor. For individual assistance with writing your personal statement, consult with the writing tutor in your residential college  or the Writing Center within the Yale Center for Teaching and Learning .

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How to Write a Strong Personal Statement for Graduate School

  • by Heidi Kerr and Paul David Terry
  • November 10, 2020

A student sits on his laptop at the Silo at UC Davis.

You’ve made the exciting decision to pursue a graduate degree. Congratulations! There are a wide range of graduate programs to explore , and once you’ve selected the right program for you, it’s time to begin the graduate application process. 

The statement of purpose and personal history statement are key components of the UC Davis graduate school application . With fewer than 4,000 characters allowed for each essay, these statements can seem particularly daunting. However, each one has a specific purpose for showcasing your academic journey and creating a holistic application.

Below, we’ve analyzed the differences between the statement of purpose and personal history statement and provided tips for writing these graduate school admissions essays. 

Statement of Purpose and Personal History: What’s the Difference?

A student examines chemicals through a beaker while wearing a lab coat and goggles.

The statement of purpose shares your academic objectives with the admissions committee and explains why you want to obtain a graduate degree. The personal history statement provides background about who you are and how your experiences have shaped your interests and ability to overcome challenges. Each essay has specific goals to showcase your experience, passion and story. 

How to Write a Strong Statement of Purpose

The statement of purpose should highlight your academic preparation , motivation and interests, along with any specializations and career goals that contribute to your program of study. As you write your statement of purpose, it should encompass some of the following:

  • Academic and research experiences - Include any relevant academic studies or research pursuits, internships or employment, presentations, publications, teaching, and travel or study abroad experiences that prepare you for this graduate program. Explain your motivation or passion for these experiences and how they can enrich your graduate study.
  • Interests, specializations, and career goals - Highlight your research interests, disciplinary subfields, area(s) of specialization, and professional objectives.
  • Fit - Explain how your preparation, experiences, and interests match the specific resources and characteristics of your graduate program at UC Davis. Identify specific faculty within your desired graduate program with whom you would like to work and how their interests match your own.

The statement of purpose should also address why you want to pursue the particular graduate degree program at the university and what your goals are in pursuing a degree. Remember, the statement of purpose should explain exactly that, your purpose for becoming a graduate student. This is the primary way it stands apart from your personal history statement. 

What to Include in Your Personal History Statement

A student smiles as she inspects yellow liquid underneath a microscope, while her professor watches on.

The personal history statement helps the reader learn more about you as an individual and potential graduate student. Use this opportunity to describe how your personal background informs your decision to pursue a graduate degree. Tell a story that  includes any experiences, challenges or opportunities relevant to your academic journey. Consider how your life experiences contribute to the social, intellectual, or cultural diversity within a campus community and your chosen field.

A strong personal history statement begins with an authentic voice and personal narrative. This can reflect your journey to graduate school, any obstacles you’ve encountered, and how you've overcome challenges. Talk about your personal goals and dreams. Explain what motivates and drives you toward this degree. The more your personal statement tells your school about you as an individual, the more it will stand out. Don't write something to impress someone else. This includes language, style and tone. Authenticity is important and resonates well. Tell the truth, in your voice, from your perspective. Use your story to connect.

More Tips and Resources for Applying to Graduate School

Applying to graduate school may be daunting to some, but UC Davis has a variety of resources to help you create a strong graduate school application. Check out the Applying to Graduate School: A Guide and Handbook for ideas and worksheets on how to construct your essays. Or visit our Office of Educational Opportunity and Enrichment Services website for more graduate school prep resources. 

Paul David Terry is the assistant director of special interest and affinity networks and alumni diversity lead at the Cal Aggie Alumni Association. He oversees the UC Davis Health Improving OUTcomes blog and enjoys cycling and brewing ginger beer.

Heidi Kerr works as the content and media manager at UC Davis’ Graduate Studies. She has worked as a communications professional at multiple higher education institutions and is passionate about promoting student success.

The authors acknowledge current and former leaders from Pre-Graduate/Law Advising in Office of Educational Opportunity and Enrichment Services, especially Annalisa Teixeira, Ph.D. and Cloe Le Gall-Scoville, Ph.D., who granted us permission to reference Applying to Graduate School: A Guide and Workbook .

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Writing an Outstanding Statement of Purpose

Previously: Revising your Resume, CV, or Biosketch

By Dr.  William Wittels , Program Manager, The Leadership Alliance

The statement of purpose is one of the most important elements of your application. This article offers a framework for thinking about your statement that should help you write a memorable and effective one.

Your statement of purpose is your only opportunity to tell application reviewers your story in your own words. Knowing your story makes your application much more memorable and, as a result, helps you stand out from the larger application pool. Moreover, it is your best opportunity to tell the application reviewers why you are a good fit for their program. They are planning to invest significant resources in the graduate students that they admit. Knowing that you are applying to their programs for compelling reasons is a central motivation for every decision to accept.

Focus on articulating three kinds of fit:

  • The fit between you and your chosen field (i.e., why you want to get a PhD in your chosen field and are likely to excel in it).
  • The fit between you and the program to which you are applying (i.e., why this particular program will be the best place for you to go).
  • The fit between the program and your plans after graduate school (i.e., why this particular program will be the best launching pad for your research and teaching career).

Think of the statement of purpose as a narrative, with you as the protagonist. Part of that narrative is your story of who you are, why you want to get a PhD in your chosen field, and the experiences that led to and deepened your desire for getting a PhD. The other part of the narrative describes why going to the program to which you are applying will result in your becoming a thriving scholar in your chosen field.

To the end of telling that narrative,  many statements of purpose  follow a similar, four-part structure.

  • Introduce yourself and your motivations. Articulate your fascination with the questions that bring you to your field of study and root that fascination in an experience or set of experiences. You are the protagonist of this narrative. You need to show your readers what motivates you on this journey.
  • Develop your backstory. Here you should summarize your previous academic, work, and volunteer experiences. For PhD programs, be sure to highlight any research experiences you have. This section should not read like a laundry list of the items already on your resume. Pick the most important experiences and highlight them.
  • Connect your backstory to your next chapter. Elaborate upon your experiences to show why they are relevant to graduate school. If you are highlighting your accomplishments as an undergraduate, focus on why they have put you in a position to thrive in graduate school. If you have taken time off for work or a post-baccalaureate course of study, explain how those experiences have prepared you for graduate school, particularly if you are changing fields.
  • Preview your next chapter. Describe what, if admitted, you plan to study. Be specific both about the questions you would like to research and why the program is a good fit for that. Carefully study the current research of the faculty and be sure to highlight the research interests of three of them in your statement.

Throughout this narrative, be as specific as possible about your experiences and intentions. Use a formal, but conversational tone. Do not try to impress with technical jargon or disciplinary vocabulary. Be selective in your choices of what to highlight. You will not have enough space to follow a “more is better” strategy when choosing experiences and interests to emphasize. If you have a poor grade or two on your transcript, feel empowered to explain the reasons behind that grade if it reinforces your overall narrative as a researcher. For example, particularly intense volunteering may have distracted you from your coursework while also sparking the research interest that has led you to apply to grad school. If the explanation for the grade is personal, such as an illness or a death in the family, try to address it in an addendum to your application.

Be sure to proofread multiple times and have multiple people review your statement. Ask roommates, friends, or coworkers to read for clarity and grammar. Ask one of your undergraduate mentors to give you feedback on how you are describing the three kinds of fit discussed above. Above all, be true to who you are, what you have done, and what you want to do. If you get accepted on the basis of an inauthentic statement, you will likely find yourself in a graduate program that is a poor fit for you and will stifle your growth as a scholar. You want to join a program in which you will thrive. A compelling, authentic statement of purpose will help you toward that goal.

Action Items

  • Focus on writing a narrative of how your experiences shaped your interests.
  • Connect this narrative to the program. Cite the research interests of three of them in your statement.
  • Proofread multiple times and ask multiple people to read your statement.

Up next: Getting your Writing Sample Right

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Write a Compelling Graduate School Personal Statement

Writing a personal statement when applying to graduate school can be daunting. There are a lot of guides that dictate rules on structure, form and content that often do more harm than good. This post offers advice on how to write a personal statement rather than inflexible “rules” that may help you produce your best work by maintain your original voice. The universities are, after all, looking to hear from you.

  • Just start writing. For many of us, writing a personal statement can be a torturous process to begin. Once we get in the swing of things, it become a lot easier, but that first sentence is a battle in and of itself. Try not to get too caught up on this first step. If you just start typing, you can always come back to the beginning to edit and refine your writing.
  • Be honest, sincere and original. Universities receive thousands of applications every year and appreciate personal statements that reflect personality and sincerity. While it is always worthwhile to read personal statement guidelines, do not feel compelled to stick to a rigid form. If you think you have something interesting to add, or something that will help you stand out as a candidate for the program, add it!
  • Be specific. Stay focused on your goals. A personal statement is supposed to illustrate your reasons for pursuing a certain program and it is important to build your narrative around that. Clearly show why you should be a part of this program and try not to get sidelined by tangential anecdotes.
  • Monitor the logistics. Be concise and direct. Proofread! Avoid using long, run-on sentences and make sure you haven’t misspelled anything. Small mistakes leave big impressions and can be easily avoided with a little attention to detail.
  • Project your enthusiasm. Above all, convey your enthusiasm for your intended field of study as much as possible. Whether this is through writing about your past experiences or by demonstrating a marked interest in a specific area of your field, an informed personal statement will make a strong impression.

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Writing an Educational Leadership Philosophy Statement

Dr. natasha kenny, phd, & dr. carol berenson, phd, taylor institute for teaching and learning .

December 2016

We often support instructors in creating teaching philosophy statements, and various resources exist to support their development (e.g. Chism, 1998; Kenny, Jeffs, and Berenson, 2015; Schonwetter et al., 2002).  However, few resources are available to help faculty in preparing educational leadership philosophy statements.

We recently created a resource to help faculty preparing educational leadership philosophy statements as part of their nomination dossiers for institutional and national awards, such as the University of Calgary Teaching Award for Educational Leadership and the  3M National Teaching Fellowship .

Similar in format to a teaching philosophy statement, an educational leadership philosophy statement “clearly communicate[s] what our beliefs are about educational leadership, why we hold these beliefs and how we translate our beliefs into practice” (Berenson and Kenny, 2015).  An example structure for an educational leadership philosophy statement and guiding questions to help those preparing a statement are presented in Table 1 below.  While every statement will uniquely articulate the educational leadership beliefs and practices of each author, these questions provide a foundational guide for helping to support faculty in creating an educational leadership philosophy statement.

Dr. Ken MacMillan, 3M National Teaching Fellow, and the 2015 recipient of the UCalgary Award for Educational Leadership has shared an  example educational leadership philosophy statement here .

Philosophy statement components

Developing an educational leadership philosophy statement provides an opportunity for individuals to reflect on their own leadership beliefs and activities. This process also makes visible the many ways in which leadership is formally and informally enacted by individuals on our campus.

Beliefs about educational leadership

What are my beliefs about educational leadership in post-secondary education? Why do I hold these beliefs?   Who or what has most informed my leadership approaches? How have my beliefs been influenced by my experiences postsecondary educator and/or scholarly literature related to leadership? What difference do I hope to make as a leader? What does it mean to be a good leader in a post-secondary context?

Educational leadership activities and initiatives

What educational leadership activities, practices and initiatives have I implemented? How do these align with my beliefs? When have I felt most engaged and affirmed as an educational leader? What are my key strengths and skills as a leader? What am I most proud of? What sets me apart? What are some of my accomplishments as a post-secondary leader?

Impact and influence

What difference have I made, and how do I know? What has been the impact and influence of my educational leadership (on me, on students, on colleagues, on my department, on my faculty, on the institution and beyond)? What have others learned from my leadership approaches?

Future aspirations

How will I continue to develop, grow, and improve as a leader? What interests me most about teaching and learning in post-secondary education? What changes do I most hope to see and inspire? What are my future goals and aspirations as a leader in post-secondary education?

Guiding questions adapted from: Kearns, K.D. & Sullivan, C.S. (2011); Kenny, Jeffs & Berenson (2015); Stavros & Hinrichs (2011); Schonwetter et al. (2002); Seldin, P., Miller, J. E., & Seldin, C. A. (2010).

Related content

Sample teaching philosophy statements .

Read more >>

What Makes a Great Teaching Award Nomination Dossier? 

Berenson, C. & Kenny, N.A. (2016).  Preparing an Educational Leadership Philosophy Statement . Calgary, AB: Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning.

Chism, Nancy. (1998). Developing a philosophy of teaching statement.  Essays on Teaching Excellence: Toward the Best in the Academy, 9,  1-3.  Retrieved from http://podnetwork.org/content/uploads/V9-N3-Chism.pdf

Kearns, K.D. and Sullivan, C.S. (2011). Resources and practices to help graduate students and postdoctoral fellows write statements of teaching philosophy.  Advances in Physiology Education , 35, 136-145.

Kenny, N.A., Jeffs, C., & Berenson, C. (2015).  Preparing a Teaching Philosophy Statement.  Calgary, AB: Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning.

Schonwetter, D.J., Sokal, L., Friesen, M., & Taylor, L.K. (2002). Teaching philosophies reconsidered: A conceptual model for the development and evaluation of teaching philosophy statements.  International Journal for Academic Development,  7(1), 83-97

Seldin, P., Miller, J. E., & Seldin, C. A. (2010). The teaching portfolio: A practical guide to improved performance and promotion/tenure decisions. John Wiley & Sons.

Stavros, Jacqueline M, & Hinrichs, Gina. (2011). The Thin Book Of SOAR: Building Strengths-Based Strategy: Thin Book Publishing.

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If you’re applying to graduate school, you’ll likely need to write a personal statement. But what exactly is a graduate school personal statement? And what should you write about to give yourself your best shot at admission?

In this guide, we teach you how to write a personal statement for grad school, step by step. But first, let’s go over how the personal statement differs from the statement of purpose as well as what schools look for in a great graduate school essay.

What Is a Graduate School Personal Statement?

A graduate school personal statement is an admission essay that typically focuses on your personal reasons for wanting to enter a grad program and particular field of study. Essentially, you must tell the story of who you are and how you developed your current research interests.

So is a personal statement for graduate school the same thing as a statement of purpose? Well, not always (though it can be). Here are the general distinctions between the two essay types:

  • Statement of purpose:  A formal essay that summarizes your academic and professional background, research interests, and career goals. In this essay, you’ll usually explain your reasons for applying to grad school and why you believe the program is a good fit for you (as well as why you’re a good fit for it!).
  • Personal statement: A less formal essay that focuses on your passion and motivation for wanting to enter your chosen field and program. This statement is typically more flexible than the statement of purpose, with a bigger emphasis on storytelling. Schools often encourage applicants to discuss (relevant) challenges in their lives and how they’ve overcome them.

Both the graduate school personal statement and statement of purpose are usually anywhere from one to three double-spaced pages long, depending on the program you’re applying to.

Below is a chart comparing the personal statement and statement of purpose:

Usually, the personal statement and statement of purpose are considered two different graduate school essay types.

But this isn’t always the case. While some schools consider the personal statement and statement of purpose two distinct essays, others use the names interchangeably.

For example, Michigan State University’s College of Engineering  considers them two distinct essays, while The Ohio State University uses “personal statement” to describe what is essentially a statement of purpose.

Many schools require just one essay  (and it’ll usually be the statement of purpose, as it’s the more academic one). But some, such as the University of Michigan , ask for both a personal statement and statement of purpose, while others, such as  Notre Dame’s Creative Writing MFA program , want an essay that combines the features of both!

Ultimately, the type of graduate school essay you  submit will depend entirely on where you’re applying.

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What Do Schools Look For in a Personal Statement?

Many grad schools require a personal statement in order to learn more about you, your interests, your struggles, and your motivations for wanting to enter a field of study. Through this essay, schools can get to know you on a deeper, more intimate level and learn about you in ways they can’t through transcripts and letters of recommendation alone.

But what specifically do universities look for in a great personal statement for graduate school? Here are some of the most important elements to include in your essay.

A Compelling Story

First off, your personal statement must tell a story. After all, this essay is basically your autobiography: it introduces who you are, your interests and motivations, and why you’ve decided to apply to grad school.

Unlike the statement of purpose, the personal statement should focus mostly on your personal history, from your failures to your triumphs. All experiences should tie back to your field or research area, emphasizing what you’ve learned and what this means in terms of your potential as a grad student.

Since you’re talking about yourself, be conversational in your storytelling: use an authentic voice, open up about your experiences, and maybe even throw in a joke or two. Though you’re still writing an essay for school, it’s generally OK to be a little more informal here than you would in a statement of purpose.

That said, there are a couple of things you absolutely shouldn’t do in your personal statement.

  • Open your essay with a quotation. Professors have heard the quotation before and don’t need (or want) to hear it again. Plus, quotations often take up too much space in an already short essay!
  • Use clichĂ©s. Think of unique ways to tell your story and grab readers’ attention. Schools want to see you can be creative yet honest about yourself, so avoid clichĂ©s like the plague (see what I did there?).
  • Get too creative. Your goal is to look like a serious, committed applicant—not a wacky risk taker—so write clearly and avoid any unnecessary distractions such as images, colors, and unprofessional fonts.

Most importantly, remember that your graduate school personal statement should focus on your successes. Try to use strong, encouraging words and put positive twists on difficult experiences whenever possible. It’s OK to mention your setbacks, too—just as long as you’re discussing how you ultimately overcame (or plan to overcome) them.

Inspirations for Your Research Interests

Schools don’t only want to see clearly defined research interests but also  why you have these particular interests.   While the statement of purpose elaborates on your professional goals, the personal statement explains what personally motivated you to explore your interests.

For example, in my personal statement for a Japanese Studies MA program, I wrote about my hot-and-cold relationship with the Japanese language and how a literature class and a stint abroad ultimately inspired me to keep learning.

Don’t make the mistake of going way back to the beginning to start your essay. Many applicants open their statements with something along the lines of “I fell in love with psychology when I was ten years old” or “It all started when I was in high school.” But these broad statements lack the creativity and zest needed to secure an acceptance, so avoid them at all costs.

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Your Motivation for Applying to Grad School

Your statement of purpose should explain why grad school is a practical next step in your professional life—but your personal statement should focus on what personally motivates you to take this step.

Generally, schools want answers to the following questions:

  • Why is grad school an appropriate step for you now?
  • How will a graduate degree help you achieve your goals?
  • Why didn’t you apply to grad school earlier (if you took time off after undergrad)?
  • Were there any struggles or problems you faced that prevented you from applying to grad school before?

Be honest about why you’re applying, both to grad school and the program in particular. In my graduate school essay, I discussed how my passion for Japanese literature and desire to translate it inspired me to seek advanced language training at the graduate level.

Strong Writing Skills

A great personal statement shows that you can write cogently and coherently. After all, strong writing skills are imperative for success as a grad student!

So in addition to telling a good story, make sure you use correct grammar, spelling, punctuation, and capitalization. Use paragraphs to break up your thoughts, too. Because the personal statement is slightly less formal than the statement of purpose, feel free to play around a little with paragraph form and length.

Also, remember that  good writing doesn’t necessarily equal big words.  You’re writing about yourself, so use words that come naturally to you. Don’t grab a thesaurus and start throwing in a bunch of high-level vocabulary wherever you can; this will make your essay sound less authentic, not to mention stiff.

On the other hand, don’t get too colloquial. You’ll lose respect if you start inserting conversational words such as “gonna” and “gotta.” Therefore, look for the middle ground and write from there.

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Explanations for Any Hiccups in Your Academic Career

Lastly, the personal statement  gives applicants a chance to explain any problems or changes in their academic histories, such as low grades or gaps in education.

Because transcripts and resumes are severely limited in what information they give, schools often use the personal statement to understand your reasons for abrupt changes in your resume and/or transcripts, and to see how you’ve overcome these barriers in your education (and life).

Essentially, a personal statement equalizes the playing field by giving you full rein to explain yourself and emphasize your success over any struggles you’ve had.

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How to Write a Personal Statement for Grad School: 9-Step Guide

The personal statement is a fiercely important part of your grad school application. In this section, we teach you how to write a memorable personal statement for grad school so that you’ll have a better shot at getting accepted.

Step 1: Start Early

Personal statements (actually, grad school applications in general!) take a lot of work, so don’t put off writing your essay until the week before your deadline. Rather, try to start working on your essay at least two or three months before your application is due.

You might want to give yourself more time to write it if you’re currently in school or working a demanding job. Setting aside more time lets you work on your graduate school essay routinely without having to squeeze in too many hours each week.

If you only have a month or less until your application deadline, get started on your essay pronto! Though it’s possible to write a personal statement quickly, I recommend carving out more time so that you can put more thought and effort into what you write and how you present yourself. (Doing this also gives others more time to edit your essay for you! We’ll cover this more in later steps.)

Step 2: Read the Instructions

Perhaps the most important step is to read your program’s instructions for the personal statement. Not following these instructions could very well result in a rejection, so always read these first before you start writing! Most programs put their personal statement instructions on their application materials pages.

Your program should give you the following information:

  • What type of content your personal statement should include or generally focus on (you might even get an actual prompt to answer!)
  • How long your statement should be
  • What type of heading, if any, you must include on your statement
  • How to save and submit your statement (e.g., .docx, PDF, etc.)

For example, let’s say you’re applying to the History PhD program at UC Berkeley . In this case, your personal statement can’t exceed 1,000 words (three double-spaced pages). You must also answer this prompt :

Please describe how your personal background informs your decision to pursue a graduate degree. Please include information on how you have overcome barriers to access in higher education, evidence of how you have come to understand the barriers faced by others, evidence of your academic service to advance equitable access to higher education for women, racial minorities, and individuals from other groups that have been historically underrepresented in higher education, evidence of your research focusing on underserved populations or related issues of inequality, or evidence of your leadership among such groups.

On the other hand, if you were to apply for an MS in Mining, Geological, and Geophysical Engineering at the University of Arizona , your personal statement would follow these parameters:

Your personal statement is an opportunity to sell yourself, in terms of your research interests, research experience and research goals. Unless you have extensive research experience, most personal statements should be about two single-spaced pages. Your writing should be clear, concise, grammatically correct and professional in tone. You may convey some personal experiences that have led to your current interests or that make you a particularly promising candidate.

Clearly, grad programs can approach personal statements quite differently. Some schools consider them the same as statements of purpose and want a formal focus on academic and research interests, while others want applicants to explain more informally the challenges they’ve overcome to get to this point.

Simply put,  follow your program’s directions exactly in order to give yourself your best shot at admission.  And if any part of the instructions is unclear, don’t hesitate to contact your program!

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Step 3: Figure Out Your Angle

Your “angle,” or focus, in your graduate school personal statement will depend on a few key factors:

  • What your grad program wants you to write about
  • Your field of study and research interests
  • How much experience you have in your field

As I mentioned in step 2, it’s extremely important to  read the personal statement instructions for your program. Many times these guidelines will tell you what to include in your essay, thereby clarifying what your overall angle needs to be.

Let’s look back at the example we used above for UC Berkeley’s doctoral program in history. If you were applying here and came from a low-income family, you could discuss how you’ve overcome these financial challenges in your life to get to where you are today.

No matter the prompt, you’ll need to discuss your research interests (to some degree) in your personal statement.  How much you talk about your interests, however, will depend on whether you have to submit a separate statement of purpose. If so, you can focus less on your research plans and more on your passions and motivations for applying.

On the other hand, if your personal statement is essentially a statement of purpose, dive deep into your research interests—that is,  be specific! For example, those applying to English lit programs should think about the works, eras, and writers they want to study, and why.

More broadly, though, try to answer the question of  what you hope to accomplish, either during or after the program. Is there any particular project you want to do? Skills you want to improve? Field you want to break into?

Finally, always choose a positive angle.  Use affirmative words and phrases to highlight both your successes and overall enthusiasm for the program.

Step 4: Ask Yourself, “Why This Program? Why This Field?”

Although the statement of purpose usually answers this question directly, you’ll likely need to address this in your personal statement as well—ideally, with a less academic and more conversational tone.

As you brainstorm, try to come up with answers to the following questions:

  • What goals or experiences led you to apply to this program?
  • How will this program help you grow on a personal level?
  • What made you interested in this field? Why do you want to study it more?
  • What are your research interests? How did you develop these interests?
  • Are there any particular professors you wish to work with?

Step 5: Make an Outline

Now that you’ve brainstormed some ideas, it’s time to start outlining your essay.

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How you choose to outline your statement is up to you. Some people like drawing bubble charts for organizing their thoughts, whereas others (like myself) prefer to write a list of rough ideas in the general order they want to present them.

Even if you’re not sure whether you want to include something, just add it to your outline anyway. You can always cut it out later as you draft and edit.

Step 6: Draft Your Essay

It’s now time to start writing! Once you’ve got your outline ready, work on expanding what you’ve written into full-fledged paragraphs.

In the beginning, it’s OK to write down anything you feel is relevant, but as you continue to draft, try to look for any extraneous information you can chop.

Remember, most personal statements will be short— usually one to two double-spaced pages—so you don’t want to risk exceeding your program’s word limit. Schools want to see that you can tell a story concisely yet effectively.

If you’re having trouble coming up with a way to open your statement, try skipping around as you draft. Go ahead and jump to a paragraph you have more ideas for—it’s perfectly OK! Just make sure you start to tie all of your ideas together the closer you get to finishing your draft.

On a related note, be careful not to copy any material from your statement of purpose (if you’re required to submit two separate essays). These statements may share a little overlap but should still focus on different aspects of your (academic) life, accomplishments, and goals.

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Step 7: Get Feedback

Once you finish drafting, give your essay to people you trust for feedback. This could be a parent, friend, sibling, or mentor (such as a former or current professor).

Ask your editors to give you  specific feedback  on what you can change, both stylistically and technically, to make it more impactful. Ideally, they’ll also note any unclear, awkward, or redundant ideas/phrases and will offer you helpful suggestions for improvement.

If you’ve written a separate statement of purpose, see whether your editors are willing to check that essay over as well so that you can ensure there isn’t too much overlap between the two.

Step 8: Revise & Edit Your Essay

Once you get feedback, revise and edit your personal statement using your editors’ comments as a guide.

For example, if your editors told you your essay lacked detail, look for places in your writing where you can be more specific and that are likely to have a strong impact on the admission committee.

As you revise, keep an eye out for any awkward sentences or extraneous information. Personal statements are usually pretty brief and you don’t want to accidentally exceed the word limit. So when in doubt, take it out!

Step 9: Proofread

The final step is to proofread your draft. Start by using your computer’s spell check function to quickly find any glaring typos and grammatical errors.

Then, proofread your essay one sentence at a time. Since it’s easy to miss errors in your own writing, I recommend editing your essay from back to front (i.e., from the last sentence to the first sentence). Doing this prevents you from glossing over words and lets you pinpoint punctuation, spelling, and grammatical errors more easily.

In addition, check that you have page numbers on each page (if required—though I suggest adding them regardless) and a proper heading (again, if required) that meets the requirements of your program.

Before you submit it, see if you can get someone else (preferably one or all of your editors from step 7) to look over your final draft as well.  If anyone spots a problem with your essay, go back to step 8. If you get all thumbs ups, read over your statement one last time and then turn it in without looking back! (Seriously, don’t read it again or you’re going to want to change something.)

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The Key to a Great Graduate School Personal Statement

The personal statement is an essential part of your grad school application. Like the statement of purpose, it highlights your research interests, experiences, and goals.

But more importantly, the personal statement showcases  your unbridled passion for your field, lets you reflect on challenges you’ve faced (and subsequently overcome), and answers the overarching question of why you want to attend grad school.

A great graduate school personal statement will normally include most or all of the following elements:

  • A compelling story
  • Inspirations for your research interests
  • Your motivation for applying to grad school
  • Strong writing skills
  • Explanations for any changes or problems in your academic career

Above, we walked you through how to write a personal statement for grad school. To recap, here are the nine steps to follow:

  • Start early—at least two or three months before your application is due
  • Read your program’s instructions for the personal statement
  • Figure out your angle by brainstorming ideas
  • Ask yourself, “Why this program/field?”
  • Make an outline using charts, a list, etc.
  • Draft your essay
  • Get specific feedback from multiple editors
  • Revise and edit your essay
  • Proofread (and get other people to proofread it, too!)

What’s Next?

Need to write a statement of purpose, too? Waste no time!  Our expert guide offers tons of tips to help you come up with a statement of purpose that’s certain to impress admission committees.

Do your schools require a CV or resume?  If you’re totally lost on where to begin, read our guides to learn how to put together a great CV or resume for grad school. And for extra help, check out our four original CV and resume templates !

What do you need to submit for your grad school application?  Get the scoop on what kinds of materials you’ll need to prepare when applying to grad school .

Ready to improve your GRE score by 7 points?

personal statement for educational leadership program

Author: Hannah Muniz

Hannah graduated summa cum laude from the University of Southern California with a bachelor’s degree in English and East Asian languages and cultures. After graduation, she taught English in Japan for two years via the JET Program. She is passionate about education, writing, and travel. View all posts by Hannah Muniz

personal statement for educational leadership program

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Writing the Personal Statement

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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 .

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Higher Education Ed.D. Statement of Purpose

The statement of purpose plays an important role in the admissions process. It is used by the admissions committee to learn more about you as a person, a potential online doctoral student, and as a potential future administrator in higher education. We recommend that the statement address the following points:

  • Please tell us about yourself, your professional goals, and how the EdD will help you achieve those goals.
  • Please describe how your personal and academic background will contribute to your success as a doctoral student. For example, you may discuss any educational, economic, cultural, or social experiences that shape you as a candidate. The committee recognizes that access to opportunity varies, so feel free to discuss any personal, academic, or professional challenges you have experienced. Not everyone will have challenges so you do not need to discuss them unless you feel doing so will help the committee assess promise for success as a doctoral student and a future professional.
  • Pursuing a doctoral degree while working full-time can be a challenge. Please describe how, if accepted, you plan to manage your work-academic time, what level of support you have from your supervisor, and any other information that will help the admissions committee assess time available for doctoral study.
  • If you have interests in specific aspects of higher education, please feel free to describe those interests, but it is not necessary that you have a defined area of interest in order to be considered for acceptance into the program.

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personal statement for educational leadership program

How to Write a Personal Statement for a Scholarship + Examples

What’s covered:, what is the purpose of the scholarship personal statement, what to include in your personal statement, personal statement example: breakdown + analysis, how to make sure your writing is effective.

Either before or after you’ve gotten into your dream school, you’ll have to figure out how to pay for it. For most students, this involves a combination of financial aid, parent contributions, self-contributions, student loans, and scholarships/grants. Because scholarships are money out of someone else’s pocket that you never have to pay back, they are a great place to start!

Scholarships come in two forms: merit-based and need-based. Need-based scholarships are also often called grants. These designations tell you whether an organization looks at your financial situation when deciding about your scholarship.

Additionally, different scholarships fall under different categories based on the mission of the organization or person providing the scholarship’s financing. These missions typically emphasize different things like academic achievement, specific career goals, community service, leadership, family background, skill in the arts, or having overcome hardship. As you select scholarships to apply for and complete your applications, you should keep these missions in mind.

No matter what type of scholarship you are applying for, you will be asked to provide the review committee with standard materials. This includes your transcript, GPA, and resume/extracurriculars, but also, importantly, your personal statement. A scholarship personal statement is a bit different from your normal college essay, so we’ve put together this guide and some examples to help you get started!

The purpose of your personal statement is to help a review committee learn more about your personality, values, goals, and what makes you special. Ultimately, like with your college essays, you are trying to humanize your profile beyond your transcript, GPA, and test scores.

College essays all have one goal in mind (which is why you can apply to multiple schools at once through applications like the Common App or Coalition App): convince admissions officers that you would be a valuable addition to the university environment. The goal of your scholarship personal statement is different and differs more from one scholarship to the next. Rather than convincing various review committees that you are a generally good candidate for extra funding for college, you need to convince each review committee that your values have historically aligned with their organization’s mission and will continue to align with their organization’s mission.

Common missions amongst those who give scholarships include:

  • Providing opportunities for students with career ambitions in a particular field
  • Helping students who have experienced unexpected hardship
  • Supporting students who show outstanding academic achievement
  • Funding the arts through investing in young artists with strong technical skill
  • Supporting the development of civic-minded community service leaders of the future
  • Providing opportunities for historically underrepresented ethnic communities 

If a specific mission like this is outlined on an organization’s website or in the promotional material for its scholarship, the purpose of your personal statement is to show how you exemplify that mission.

Some scholarships ask for your personal statement to be guided by a prompt, while others leave things open for interpretation. When you are provided a prompt, it is obvious what you must do: answer the prompt. When you are not provided a prompt, you want to write a personal statement that is essentially a small-scale autobiography where you position yourself as a good investment. In either case, you should identify a focus or theme for what you are trying to say about yourself so that your application does not get lost in the shuffle.

Prompts include questions like:

  • Why do you deserve this scholarship?
  • How have you shown your commitment to (leadership/community service/diversity) in your community?
  • When did you overcome adversity?
  • Why is attending college important to you?

If you are provided a prompt, develop a theme for your response that showcases both your values and your achievements. This will help your essay feel focused and will subsequently help the review committee to remember which candidate you were as they deliberate.

Themes include things like:

  • I deserve this community service scholarship because my compassion for intergenerational trauma has inspired me to volunteer with a local after-school program. I didn’t just sympathize. I did something about my sympathy because that’s the type of person I am. Within the program, I have identified avenues for improvement and worked alongside full-time staff to develop new strategies for increasing attendance.
  • I overcame adversity when my mother had to have a major surgery two months after giving birth to my younger brother. I was just a kid but was thrown into a situation where I had to raise another kid. It was hard, but I’m the kind of person who tries to grow from hard times and, through my experience taking care of a baby, I learned the importance of listening to body language and nonverbal cues to understand the needs of others (baby and nonbaby, alike).

Without a prompt, clarity can be harder to achieve. That said, it is of the utmost importance that you find a focus. First, think about both your goals and your values.

Types of goals include:

  • Career goals
  • Goals for personal growth
  • The type of friend you want to be
  • The change you want to make in the world

Values could include:

  • Authenticity
  • And many more!

After you write out your goals/values, write out your achievements to see what goals/values you have “proof” of your commitment to. Your essay will ultimately be an exploration of your goal/value, what you have done about your goal/value in the past, and what you aspire to in the future.

You might be tempted to reflect on areas for improvement, but scholarships care about you living out your values. It is not enough to aspire to be exemplary in leadership, community service, or your academic field. For scholarships, you have to already be exemplary.

Finally, keep in mind that the review committee likely already has a copy of your extracurricular activities and involvement. Pick one or two accomplishments, then strive for depth, not breadth as you explore them.

My interest in the field of neuroscience began at a young age.  When I was twelve years old, my sister developed a condition called Pseudotumor Cerebri following multiple concussions during a basketball game.  It took the doctors over six months to make a proper diagnosis, followed by three years of treatment before she recovered.  During this time, my love for neuroscience was sparked as I began to research her condition and, then, other neurocognitive conditions.  Later, my love of neuroscience was amplified when my mother began to suffer from brain-related health issues.  My mother had been a practicing attorney in Dallas for over twenty years.  She was a determined litigator who relentlessly tried difficult cases that changed people’s lives.  Now, she suffers from a cognitive impairment and is no longer able to practice law.  Oftentimes, she has headaches, she gets “cloudy,” her executive functioning slows down, she feels overwhelmed, and she forgets things.  My mother has gone from being the strong, confident, emotional and financial caretaker of our family to needing significant help on a daily basis. Once again, with this illness came a lot of research on my part — research that encouraged me to pursue my dreams of exploring neuroscience.

Due to my experiences with my mother and sister when I was in middle school, I knew that I wanted to make a difference in the field of neuroscience.  I also knew that, to obtain this goal, I needed to maintain superior grades in school while also pursuing opportunities outside of school to further my education.  In school, I was able to maintain superior grades to the point where I am currently valedictorian in a class of 567 students.  In addition, in school, I challenged myself by taking 16 Advanced Placement classes and 19 Honors classes.  Two of the most beneficial classes were AP Capstone Seminar and AP Capstone Research.  AP Capstone Seminar and AP Capstone Research are research-oriented classes where students are given the opportunity to pursue whatever track their research takes them down.  As a junior in AP Capstone Seminar, I researched the effects of harmful pesticide use on the prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in children.  This year, as a senior in AP Capstone Research, I am learning about the effects of medical marijuana on the treatment of Multiple Sclerosis (MS).  

Outside of school, I furthered my education through taking advantage of the Duke TiP summer program. Duke TiP is a summer program run by Duke University where students who score extremely well on the SAT as middle schoolers are able to take college classes at different universities throughout the summers of their middle school and high school years.  I took advantage of this opportunity twice.  First, I went to Trinity University in San Antonio to expand my horizons and learn more about debate.  However, once I was done exploring, I decided I wanted to go into neuroscience.  This led me to take an Abnormal Psychology class at Duke University’s West Campus.  This class opened my eyes to the interaction between neuroscience and mental health, mental illness, and personality.  Years later, I am currently continuing my education outside of school as an intern at the University of Texas Dallas Center for Brain Health.  Through this internship, I have been able to see different aspects of neuroscience including brain pattern testing, virtual reality therapy, and longitudinal research studies.  With this background, I have positioned myself to be accepted by top neuroscience programs throughout the nation.  So far, I have been accepted to the neuroscience department of University of Southern California, the University of Virginia, the University of Texas, and Southern Methodist University, as well as the chemistry department at University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill.  

It is with this passion for neuroscience driven by my family and passion for education driven by internal motivation that I will set out to conquer my career objectives.  My educational aspirations consist of acquiring a bachelor’s degree in a biological or health science that would assist me in pursuing a medical career as a neuroscience researcher.  I decided to attain a career as a researcher since my passion has always been assisting others and trying to improve their quality of life.  After obtaining my Masters and my PhD, I plan to become a professor at a prestigious university and continue performing lab research on cognitive disorders.  I am particularly interested in disorders such as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).  In the lab, I hope to find different therapies and medications to help treat the 3.5 million people around the world suffering from ASD.  Furthermore, I want to contribute back to underserved populations that struggle because they do not have as much access to medical assistance as other privileged groups.  As such, I hope to do a part of my research in less developed or developing Spanish-speaking countries. This will also allow me to pursue my love of Spanish while pursuing my love of neuroscience.  I think that following such a career path will provide me the opportunity to learn about the medical needs of the autistic community and improve their quality of health.  Furthermore, I hope to train a new generation of students to strive to research and make comparable discoveries.  Whether it be through virtual reality labs or new drug discoveries, I believe that research leads to innovation which leads to a brighter future. 

This student does a great job of making themself appear competent and dedicated to the field of neuroscience. This is primarily because they provided tangible evidence of how they have pursued their dedication in the past—through their AP Capstone courses, their Abnormal Psychology class at Duke TiP, and their internship at UTD. There is no doubt in the mind of a reader that this student is high-achieving. 

This student also engages successfully with a past-future trajectory, where they end with a vision of how they will continue to use neuroscience in the future. This helps the review committee see what they are investing in and the ways that their money will go to good use.

This student has two major areas for improvement. As we have said, the purpose of a personal statement is for a student to humanize themself to a review committee. This student struggles to depict themself separately from their academic achievements. A solution to this would be for the student to establish a theme towards the beginning of their essay that relates to both their values as a human and their achievements.

At the beginning of the essay, the student explores how their interest in neuroscience began. They explain their interest through the following sentences: “During this time, my love for neuroscience was sparked as I began to research her condition and, then, other neurocognitive conditions” and “Once again, with this illness came a lot of research on my part — research that encouraged me to pursue my dreams of exploring neuroscience.” The student made the great decision to tell the backstory of their interest, but they described their research in very mundane and redundant terms. Instead, they could have focused on their value of intellectual curiosity as a magnetic force that encouraged them to research their mother and sister’s ailments. Curiosity, then, could serve as a value-related thematic throughline to taking AP Capstone classes, taking college courses during the summer that weren’t required, and interning before even graduating high school.

A second area for improvement would be avoiding statistics. As the student identifies their valedictorian status and the number of AP classes they have taken, they might turn away certain personalities on a review committee by appearing braggy. Even further, these statistics are a waste of space. The review committee already has access to this information. These words distract from the major theme of the essay and would have been better used to humanize the student.

Throughout my academic career, I have been an avid scholar, constantly pushing myself towards ambitious goals. I held and continue to hold myself to a high standard, enrolling myself in rigorous curriculum, including Honors and Advanced Placement courses to stretch my mental potential. During my junior year of high school, I took four AP tests, two on the same day, and earned the AP Scholar with Honor Award. Additionally, I received the Letter of Commendation for the PSAT/NMSQT, and qualified for Rotary Top 100 Students both my freshman and senior year, a sign of my commitment to my studies. However, school has not been all about having the best GPA for me; beyond the numbers, I have a deep drive to learn which motivates me to do well academically. I truly enjoy learning new things, whether it be a new essay style or a math theorem. I always give each class my best effort and try my hardest on every assignment. My teachers have noticed this as well, and I have received school Lancer Awards and Student of the Month recognitions as a result. It is a major goal of mine to continue to aspire towards a high level of achievement regarding future educational and occupational endeavors; I plan on continuing this level of dedication throughout my educational career and implementing the skills I have learned and will learn into my college experience and beyond.

This fall, I will begin attending the University of California Los Angeles as an English major. I chose this major because I am fascinated by written language, especially its ability to convey powerful messages and emotions. I also enjoy delving into the works of other authors to analyze specific components of their writing to discover the meaning behind their words. In particular, I cannot wait to begin in-depth literary criticism and learn new stylistic techniques to add more depth to my writing. Furthermore, I recently went to UCLA’s Bruin Day, an event for incoming freshmen, where I was exposed to many different extracurriculars, some of which really piqued my interest. I plan on joining the Writing Success Program, where I can help students receive free writing help, and Mock Trial, where I can debate issues with peers in front of a real judge. The latter, combined with a strong writing background from my undergraduate English studies will be extremely beneficial because I plan to apply to law school after my undergraduate degree. As of now, my career goal is to become a civil rights lawyer, to stand up for those who are discriminated against and protect minority groups to proliferate equality.

As a lawyer, I wish to utilize legislation to ameliorate the plight of the millions of Americans who feel prejudice and help them receive equity in the workplace, society, and so on. Though this seems a daunting task, I feel that my work ethic and past experience will give me the jumpstart I need to establish myself as a successful lawyer and give a voice to those who are often unheard in today’s legal system. I have been a Girl Scout for over a decade and continually participate in community service for the homeless, elderly, veterans, and more. My most recent project was the Gold Award, which I conducted in the Fullerton School District. I facilitated over ten workshops where junior high students taught elementary pupils STEM principles such as density and aerodynamics via creative activities like building aluminum boats and paper airplanes. I also work at Kumon, a tutoring center, where I teach students to advance their academic success. I love my job, and helping students from local schools reach their potential fills me with much pride.

Both being a Girl Scout and working at Kumon have inspired me to help those in need, contributing significantly to my desire to become a lawyer and aid others. My extracurriculars have allowed me to gain a new perspective on both learning and teaching, and have solidified my will to help the less fortunate. In college, I hope to continue to gain knowledge and further develop my leadership skills, amassing qualities that will help me assist others. I plan to join multiple community service clubs, such as UCLA’s local outreach programs that directly aid residents of Los Angeles. I want to help my fellow pupils as well, and plan on volunteering at peer tutoring and peer editing programs on campus. After college, during my career, I want to use legal tactics to assist the underdog and take a chance on those who are often overlooked for opportunities. I wish to represent those that are scared to seek out help or cannot afford it. Rather than battling conflict with additional conflict, I want to implement peaceful but strong, efficient tactics that will help make my state, country, and eventually the world more welcoming to people of all ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds. These goals are close to my heart and therefore I will be as diligent as I am passionate about them. My perseverance and love for learning and community service drive my ambition in both education and life as a whole, and the drive to make the world a better place is one that I will carry with me for my entire life.

This student emphasizes two values in this essay: hard work and community service. These are values that go together nicely, and definitely make sense with this student’s end goal of becoming a civil rights lawyer! That said, some changes could be made to the way the student presents their values that would make their personal statement more convincing and engaging.

Structurally, instead of using a past-future trajectory, this student starts by explaining their academic achievements, then explains their career goals, then explains their history of community service, then explains their future desires for community service. This structure loses the reader. Instead, the student should have started with either the past or the future. 

This could look like 1) identifying their career goals, 2) explaining that hard work and a commitment to community service are necessary to get there, and 3) explaining that they aren’t worried because of their past commitment to hard work and community service. Or it could look like 1) providing examples of their hard work and community service in the past, then 2) explaining how those values will help them achieve their career goals.

Additionally, like with our other example, this student shows a heavy investment in statistics and spouting off accomplishments. This can be unappealing. Unfortunately, even when the student recognizes that they are doing this, writing “beyond the numbers, I have a deep drive to learn which motivates me to do well academically. I truly enjoy learning new things, whether it be a new essay style or a math theorem,” they continue on to cite their achievements, writing “My teachers have noticed this as well, and I have received school Lancer Awards and Student of the Month recognitions as a result.” They say they are going beyond the numbers, but they don’t go beyond the awards. They don’t look inward. One way to fix this would be to make community service the theme around which the essay operates, supplementing with statistics in ways that advance the image of the student as dedicated to community service.

Finally, this student would be more successful if they varied their sentence structure. While a small-scale autobiography can be good, if organized, every sentence should not begin with ‘I.’ The essay still needs to be engaging or the review committee might stop reading.

Feedback is ultimately any writer’s best source of improvement! To get your personal statement edited for free, use our Peer Review Essay Tool . With this tool, other students can tell you if your scholarship essay is effective and help you improve your essay so that you can have the best chances of gaining those extra funds!

Related CollegeVine Blog Posts

personal statement for educational leadership program

By Anna Chapman  April 30, 2024

Headshots of Chloe Ciliege, Nancy Green and Carlie Bennink

One of the many professional and personal enrichment programs offered through Emory Continuing Education is the Women in Leadership Certificate. Nancy Green (center) is a course instructor, and Chloe Ciliege (left) and Carlie Bennick (right) recently completed the program.

Emory is known as a world-class leader in both undergraduate and graduate education. But the university also has a vast breadth of continuing education programs for professional and personal enrichment.

One such program is the Women in Leadership Certificate , a five-week course led by women with a variety of subject matter expertise in innovation, cultural awareness, engagement, resilience and self-advocacy.

Nancy Green, performance strategist and owner of consulting firm iinteg inc., leads one of the course modules and helped develop the curriculum from its inception. She says the certificate’s content focuses on the unique experiences of women in leadership positions and their experiences in the workplace.

“There are unique approaches to being seen and heard and having a seat at the table. That’s where this program comes in,” Green says. “Everything we cover is through that lens. It’s the same leadership skills, but through that understanding.”

Green, who earned her MBA from Emory’s Goizueta Business School in 2001, says the certificate helps women succeed in areas where stereotypes often persist.

“I think it’s really important that we help women ensure that they are seen and heard,” Green says. “These skills are skills that women in every leadership position in every industry can benefit from.”

Green says the module she instructs is focused on driving engagement. It’s based on the idea that employees who are engaged contribute more to the team than employees who are not engaged.

“This module focuses on, as a leader, how to build stronger relationships and create a foundation that drives engagement,” Green says. “Also, employees’ understanding of their role and the expectations for that role have to be clear.”

Because of the great importance of clearly defining expectations, Green says one of the module exercises requires certificate participants to write goal statements for one of their employees; Green then shares her feedback. This exercise allows participants to leave the program with the skills to effectively define and implement goals and expectations for all their employees.

“They leave with actual frameworks for having good conversations. They leave with a well-written performance expectation that they can use as a model as they go forward,” Green says. “This is not a theoretical certificate; it involves practical application.”

In addition to goal setting, certificate participants bring other important skills and perspectives back to their teams.

“Participants get a better understanding of themselves, and that is so valuable. Managers spend a lot of time focused on everybody else, and this course is also focused on understanding, ‘Where am I in my skills? Where do I want to improve?’ Participants leave with a full toolbox,” says Green.

Carlie Bennink, Northeast regional underwriting manager associate vice president for PURE Programs, recently completed the certificate alongside her colleague Chloe Ciliege, Florida regional underwriting manager associate vice president. Bennink says the goal-setting activity was incredibly helpful for her as a manager.

“I brought the goal-setting exercise back to my team immediately,” says Bennink. “It was perfect timing because we were setting goals for the year. That content was especially relevant.”

The self-advocacy module especially resonated with Ciliege, serving as both an important reminder for herself and was something she wanted to integrate into the fabric of her team. 

“I try to tell my team, ‘You do a lot of things that I might not know about, or my boss might not know about.’ But those activities are important, and you have to be an advocate for yourself and let people know about the things you’re doing,” Ciliege says.

Bennink felt the same. “I think women in the workplace inadvertently put ourselves down and don’t advocate for ourselves, because so many of us have been told to just be quiet and not come across as boastful or bragging,” she says. “The self-advocacy module was centered around communicating your skills and knowing what you’re really good at and being able to articulate that to others.”

A welcoming community is a crucial component of the certificate — both Ciliege and Bennink agree that it created an environment for success and openness in the group.

“To hear situations that people actually went through and things they’ve learned and how they advocated for themselves was fantastic,” Ciliege says. “It’s amazing to hear what people do because sometimes you’re stuck in your own little bubble. It’s reassuring to know that there’s a community of women supporting each other.”

For Green, the five program modules, participants and instructors come together to create a course that allows women in leadership to reach their goals.

“It’s about building the career that you want and building the life that you envision for yourself, and so you’re bringing your best self to work every day,” says Green. “And I think that’s what this is all about.”  

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    The Statement of Purpose is your opportunity to show the admissions committee your commitment to education and to pursuing graduate study at HGSE. You are encouraged to share parts of your personal story, especially those that relate to your decision to work in education or your experiences in the field. A strong Statement of Purpose will ...

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  12. How to Write a Personal Statement

    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 ...

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    Sample Personal Statement for Graduate School 3. PDF of Sample Graduate School Personal Statement 3 - Public Health. This is my successful personal statement for Columbia's Master's program in Public Health. We'll do a deep dive on this statement paragraph-by-paragraph in the next section, but I'll highlight a couple of things that ...

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  18. EDD Doctorate Education Personal Statement of Purpose ...

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  23. How to Write a Personal Statement for a Scholarship + Examples

    That said, it is of the utmost importance that you find a focus. First, think about both your goals and your values. Types of goals include: Career goals. Goals for personal growth. The type of friend you want to be. The change you want to make in the world. Values could include: Authenticity.

  24. Continuing education at Emory offers women the opportunity to

    But the university also has a vast breadth of continuing education programs for professional and personal enrichment. One such program is the Women in Leadership Certificate, a five-week course led by women with a variety of subject matter expertise in innovation, cultural awareness, engagement, resilience and self-advocacy.