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Resume personal statement examples

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If you want to secure job interview, you need a strong personal statement at the top of your resume.

Your resume personal statement is a short paragraph which sits at the very top of your resume – and it’s aim is to summarize the benefits of hiring you and encourage employers to read your resume in full.

In this guide I have included 17 resume personal statement examples from a range of professions and experience levels, plus a detailed guide of how to write your own personal statement that will get you noticed by employers

Resume templates 

17 resume personal statement examples

To start this guide, I have included 10 examples of good personal statements, to give you an idea of how a personal statement should look , and what should be included.

Note: personal statements are generally used by junior candidates – if you are experienced, check out our resume summary examples instead.

College graduate resume personal statement (no experience)

College graduate no experience resume personal statement

Although this college graduate has no paid work experience , they compensate for it by showcasing all of the skills and knowledge the have gained during their studies, and demonstrating how they apply their knowledge in academic and personal projects.

When you have little or no experience, it’s important to draw out transferable workplace skills from your studies and extracurricular work, to showcase them to employers.

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College graduate resume personal statement (part time freelance experience)

Graduate with part time freelance experience CV personal statement

This candidate has graduated college with a degree in biochemistry but actually wants to start a career in marketing after providing some digital freelance services to fund their studies.

In this case, they haven’t made much mention of their studies because they aren’t relevant to the marketing agencies they are applying to. Instead they have focused their personal statement around their freelance work and passion for the digital field – although they still mention the fact they are degree educated to prove their academic success.

High school leaver resume personal statement (no experience)

High school leaver no experience resume personal statement

This candidate is 16 years old and has no work experience whatsoever, but they compensate for this by detailing their academic achievements that relate to the roles they are applying for (maths and literacy are important requirements in finance and accountancy roles).

They also add some info on their extracurricular activities and high school work-placements, to strengthen this student resume further.

Top tips for writing a resume personal statement

  • Thoroughly research the jobs and companies you are planning to apply for to identify the type of candidate they are looking for – try to reflect that in your personal statement
  • Don’t be afraid to brag a little – include some of your most impressive achievements from education, work or personal life
  • Focus on describing the benefits an employer will get from hiring you. Will you help them to get more customers? Improve their workplace? Save them time and money?
  • If you have no work experience, demonstrate transferable workplace skills from your education, projects, or even hobbies

High school leaver resume personal statement (part time experience)

High school leaver part time experience resume personal statement

Although this person has only just left high school, they have also undertaken some part-time work in a call center alongside their studies.

To make the most of this experience, they have combined their academic achievements with their workplace exposure in this personal statement.

By highlighting their future studies, summer programme involvement, work experience and expressing their ambitions to progress within sales, this candidate really makes an appealing case for hiring them.

College leaver resume personal statement (no experience)

College leaver no experience resume personal statement

This candidate has left college with good grades, but does not yet have any work experience.

To compensate for the lack of workplace exposure, they have made their honor results prominent and highlighted skills and experience which would benefit the employers they are targeting.

Any recruiter reading this summary can quickly understand that this candidate has great academic achievements, a passion for IT and finance and the ability to transfer their skills into an office environment.

College student resume personal statement (freelance experience)

College graduate freelance experience resume personal statement

As this student has picked up a small amount of freelance writing work during their studies, they have made sure to brag about it in their personal statement.

They give details on their relevant studies to show the skills they are learning, and boost this further by highlighting the fact that they have been applying these skills in a real-life work setting by providing freelance services.

They also include key action verbs that recruiters will be looking for , such as creative writing, working to deadlines, and producing copy.

Academic resume personal statement

Academic CV personal statement

Aside from junior candidates, the only other people who might use a personal statement, are academic professionals; as their resume’s tend to be more longer and detailed than other professions.

This candidate provides a high level overview of their field of study, length of experience, and the roles they have held within colleges.

High school leaver resume personal statement with sports experience

High school leaver sports focussed resume personal statement

Although this person has no work experience, they are still able to show employers the value of hiring them by selling their other achievements and explaining how they could benefit an organization.

They expand on their sports club involvement to demonstrate their teamwork, leadership skills, communication and motivation, which are all important traits in the workplace, and will be looked upon favourably by recruiters and hiring managers.

They also draw upon their future plans to study business studies at college and take a part time job, to further prove their ambition and dedication.

History graduate resume personal statement

History graduate CV personal statement

This history graduate proves their aptitude for both academic achievement and workplace aptitude by showcasing valuable skills from their degree and voluntary work.

They do this by breaking down the key requirements for each and showing how their skills could be beneficial for future employers, such as listening, communication, and crisis management.

They also describe how their ability to balance studies alongside voluntary work has not only boosted their knowledge and skills, but also given excellent time management and organizational skills – which are vital assets to any employer.

Law graduate resume personal statement

Law graduate resume personal statement

This legal graduate makes the most from their college work placements by using it to bulk out the contents of their resume personal statement.

They include their degree to show they have the necessary qualifications for legal roles, which is crucial, but more importantly, they showcase how they applied their legal skills within a real-life work setting.

They give a brief overview of the types of legal professionals they have been working alongside and the type of work they have been carrying out – this is all it takes to get the attention of recruiters and show employers they have what it takes to fulfil roles in the legal sector.

Medical student resume personal statement

Medical student resume personal statement

This medical student proves their fit for the role by showcasing the key skills they have gained from their studies and their work experience placements.

In just these few sentences, they are able to highlight the vast amount of experience they have across different disciplines in the industry, something which is particularly important in the medical sector.

As they have not graduated yet and are still studying, they have provided proof of their most recent grades. This can give the recruiter some indication as to the type of grade they could be graduating with in the near future.

Masters student resume personal statement

Masters student CV personal statement

This masters student has started by specifying their area of study, in this case, accounting, and given details about the specific areas of finance they are most interested in. This can hint towards their career goals and passions.

They have then carefully listed some of the key areas of accounting and finance that they are proficient in. For example, business finance, advanced corporate finance and statistics.

They have also outlined some of the transferable skills needed for accounting roles that employers will be looking out for, such as communication, attention to detail and analytical skills.

Finance student resume personal statement

Finance student CV personal statement

As this finance student has recently undertaken some relevant work experience, they’ve made sure to shout about this in their personal summary.

But more than this, they have included a list of some of the important finance skills they gained as a result of this work experience – for example, financial reporting, processing invoices and month-end reconciliations.

Plus, through power words and phrases such as ‘prevent loss’ and ‘improve upon accuracy and efficiency’, they have also showcased how they can apply these skills in a workplace setting to benefit the potential employer.

Internship resume personal statement

Internship resume personal statement

This digital marketing professional has started their personal summary by outlining their most relevant qualifications and work experience, most notably their freelance role as a content manager.

They have also provided examples of some of the key marketing skills that potential employers might be looking for, including very detailed examples of the platforms and tools they are proficient in – for example, LinkedIn, Twitter and Pinterest.

They have then closed their statement by giving a detailed description of the type of role or opportunity they are looking for. In this case, an in-house position in a marketing company.

College graduate career changer personal statement

College graduate career changer resume personal statement

Switching careers as a college graduate can be tough. Especially when it comes to writing a personal statement that will attract employers in your new chosen field.

This candidate is looking to move from history teaching into journalism, so they have created a statement which briefly mentions their current workplace, but mainly focuses on highlighting transferable skills which are relevant to journalism. They achieve this by discussing the writing skills they use in their current role, and mentioning their hobby of writing – including some publications they have been featured in for extra brownie points.

Business management graduate personal statement

Business management graduate CV personal statement

This business management proves their ability to work within a junior business management position by swiftly highlighting their impressive degree (to ensure it is not missed) and summarizing some of the real-life experience they have gained in management during their college placements and volunteering. They do not let their lack of paid work experience, stop them demonstrating their valuable skills.

PhD graduate

PhD graduate CV personal statement

PhD graduate roles attract a lot of competition, so it’s important that your resume contains a personal statement that will quickly impress and attract recruiters.

This candidate provides a short-but-comprehensive overview of their academic achievements, whilst demonstrating their exceptional level of knowledge in research, languages and publication writing.

By highlighting a number of skills and abilities that are in high-demand in the academic workplace, this resume is very likely to get noticed and land interviews.

How to write a personal statement for your resume

Now that you’ve seen what a personal statement should look like and the type of content it should contain, follow this detailed guide to one for your own resume – and start racking those interviews up.

Guide contents

What is a resume personal statement?

Resume personal statement or resume summary, personal statement format, what to include in a resume personal statement.

  • Personal statement mistakes

How to write persuasively

A personal statement is a short paragraph at the top of your resume which gives employers an overview of your education, skills and experience

It’s purpose is to capture the attention of busy recruiters and hiring managers when your resume is first opened – encouraging them to read the rest of it.

You achieve this by writing a tailored summary of yourself that explains your suitability for the roles you are applying for at a very high level, and matches your target job descriptions .

Personal statement basics

One question candidates often ask me is , “what is the difference between a personal statement and a resume summary?”

To be honest, they are almost the same – they are both introductory paragraphs that sit at the top of your resume… but there are 2 main differences:

A personal statement tends to be used more by junior candidates (college graduates, high school leavers etc.) and is relatively long and detailed.

A resume summary tends to be favoured by more experienced candidates , and is shorter in length than a personal statement.

Personal statement vs summary

Note: If you are an experienced candidate, you may want to switch over to my resume writing guide , or example resume summaries page.

To ensure you grab recruiters’ attention with your personal statement, lay it out in the following way.


You need to ensure that your personal statement sits at the very top of your resume, and all of it should be totally visible to readers, without the need to scroll down the page.

Do this by reducing the top page margin and minimizing the space taken up by your contact details.

CV page margins

This will ensure that your whole personal statement can be seen, as soon as your resume is opened.

We have a resume template which can help you to get this right.


Your personal statement needs to contain enough detail to provide an introduction to your skills and knowledge, but not so much detail that it bores readers.

To strike the right balance, anything between 8-15 lines of text is perfect – and sentences should be sharp and to-the-point.

As with the whole of your resume , your personal statement should be written in a simple clean font at around size 10-12 to ensure that it can be read easily by all recruiters and employers.

Keep the text color simple, ensuring that it contrasts the background (black on white is best) and break it into 2 or even 3 paragraphs for a pleasant reading experience.

It should also be written in a punchy persuasive tone, to help you sell yourself and increase your chances of landing interviews , I cover how to do this in detail further down the guide.

Quick tip: A poorly written resume will fail to impress recruiters and employers. Use our quick-and-easy Resume Builder to create a winning resume in minutes with professional resume templates and pre-written content for every industry.

Once you have the style and format of your personal statement perfected, you need to fill it with compelling content that tells recruiters that your resume is worth reading.

Here’s what needs to go into your personal statement…

Before you start writing your personal statement, it’s crucial that you research your target roles to find out exactly what your new potential employers are looking for in a candidate.

Run a search for your target jobs on one of the major job websites, look through plenty of adverts and make a list of the candidate requirements that frequently appear.

Tailoring CV profile

This research will show you exactly what to include in your personal statement in order to impress the recruiters who will be reading it.

Education and qualifications are an important aspect of your personal statement, especially if you are a junior candidate.

You should highlight your highest and most relevant qualifications, whether that is a degree or your GED. You could potentially go into some more detail around modules, papers etc. if they are relevant to the roles you are applying for.

It’s important that you discuss the experience you have gained in your personal statement, to give readers an idea of the work you are comfortable undertaking.

This can of course be direct employed work experience, but it doesn’t have to be.

You can also include:

  • High school/college work placements
  • Voluntary work
  • Personal projects
  • Hobbies/interests

As with all aspects of your resume , the content should be tailored to match the requirements of your target roles.

Whilst discussing your experience, you should touch upon skills used, industries worked in, types of companies worked for, and people you have worked with.

Where possible, try to show the impact your actions have made. E.g.  A customer service agent helps to make sales for their employer.

Any industry-specific knowledge you have that will be useful to your new potential employers should be made prominent within your personal statement.

For example

  • Knowledge of financial regulations will be important for accountancy roles
  • Knowledge of IT operating systems will be important for IT roles
  • Knowledge of the national curriculum will be important for teachers

You should also include some information about the types of roles you are applying for, and why you are doing so. Try to show your interest and passion for the field you are hoping to enter, because employers want to hire people who have genuine motivation and drive in their work.

This is especially true if you don’t have much work experience, as you need something else to compensate for it.

Resume personal statement mistakes

The things that you omit from your personal statement can be just as important as the things you include.

Try to keep the following out of your personal statement..

Irrelevant info

Any information that doesn’t fall into the requirements of your target roles can be cut out of your personal statement. For example, if you were a professional athlete 6 years ago, that’s great – but it won’t be relevant if you’re applying to advertising internships, so leave it out.

Generic clichés

Poor resume profile

If you are describing yourself as a “ dynamic team player with high levels of motivation and enthusiasm” you aren’t doing yourself any favours.

These cliché terms are vastly overused and don’t provide readers with any factual details about you – so keep them to a minimum.

Stick to solid facts like education, skills , experience, achievements and knowledge.

If you really want to ensure that your personal statement makes a big impact, you need to write in a persuasive manner.

So, how do you so this?

Well, you need to brag a little – but not too much

It’s about selling yourself and appearing confident, without overstepping the mark and appearing arrogant.

For example, instead of writing.

“Marketing graduate with an interest in entering the digital field”

Be creative and excite the reader by livening the sentence up like this,

“Marketing graduate with highest exam results in class and a passion for embarking on a long and successful career within digital”

The second sentence is a much more interesting, makes the candidate appear more confident, throws in some achievements, and shows off a wider range of writing skills.

Quick tip: A poorly written resume will fail to impress recruiters and employers. Use our quick-and-easy Resume Builder to create a winning resume in minutes with professional templates and pre-written content for every industry.

Your own personal statement will be totally unique to yourself, but by using the above guidelines you will be able to create one which shows recruiters everything they need.

Remember to keep the length between 10-20 lines and only include the most relevant information for your target roles.

You can also check our college graduate resume example , our best resume templates , or our library of example resumes from all industries.

Good luck with the job hunt!

Academic Personal Statement Guide + Examples for 2024

Background Image

You have a bright future ahead of you in academia and you’ve already found the program of your dreams.

The only problem? 

You have to write an impressive academic personal statement that sets you apart from a sea of applicants.

We know that writing about yourself might not come naturally. And when the academic program you have your sights set on is on the line, it doesn’t make it any easier.

But there’s no need to worry!

We’ve prepared this guide to help you write your academic personal statement and secure your spot in your program of choice.

In this article, we’re going to cover:

  • What Is An Academic Personal Statement?
  • 7 Steps to Writing the Best Academic Personal Statement
  • An Example of a Stellar Academic Personal Statement

Let’s dive in.

academic cv

You’ll need an academic CV alongside your personal statement. Create one with ease with Novorésumé !

What Is an Academic Personal Statement?

A personal statement is an essential part of the academic application process.

Much like a motivation letter , your academic personal statement serves to demonstrate why you’re the right candidate for the course and sell yourself as a capable student.

Your goal is to show the admissions committee that they’ll benefit from having you in their university as much as you’ll benefit from joining the program.

Academic Vs CV Personal Statement

The term ‘personal statement’ can mean different things depending on your field.

In the world of job hunting, a personal statement usually refers to a few sentences that go at the top of your CV . This paragraph is meant to convey your top skills, relevant experiences, and professional goals to a hiring manager from the get-go and increase your chances of getting an interview.

However, in the world of academia, a personal statement refers to a more in-depth description of you as a candidate. 

In a nutshell, an academic personal statement shows the admissions committee your academic achievements so far, as well as what motivated you to apply and pursue this position.

Personal statements are also often required when applying for certain jobs, much like writing a cover letter . If you’re looking at a position as a faculty member in a university or other academic institution, for example, you might be asked to provide an academic personal statement.

7 Steps to Write an Academic Personal Statement

Preparation is the key to success and this is exactly where our guide comes in handy.

So just follow these steps and you’re sure to secure your spot:

#1. Read the Brief (Carefully!)

Academic personal statements aren’t necessarily a one-size-fits-all piece of writing. 

Typically, every institution has its specific requirements on what candidates should include in their academic personal statement.

To make sure you’re on the right track with your academic personal statement, read the brief carefully. Consider taking notes and highlighting important points from your program’s brief as you go through it.

Pay attention to any specific question the university wants you to answer. If you don’t address everything the admissions board expects, your personal statement will look sloppy and you’ll be considered an inattentive candidate.

Be sure to re-read the brief after you’ve finished writing your academic personal statement, too. This way you can make sure you’ve answered everything adequately and you’ll have the opportunity to correct any slips.

#2. Research the Program

Make sure you do your homework on the academic program you’re applying to.

You can’t write a good academic personal statement without research, let alone a great one. Much like researching your employer , taking the time to learn more about your desired school and personalizing your application can make a huge difference.

For example, you can dive into how your values align with that of the school you’re applying to, and how your experience and interests relate to specific things about the program. The more you focus on how you’re the right fit for this specific position, in this specific program – the better.

Carefully read through the school and program’s official pages since everything you would need to know is probably on the school’s official website. You can also ask current and former students for help but remember that whatever they say should never replace official information when crafting your academic personal statement.

#3. Plan Your Statement

An academic personal statement is meant to explain your academic interests and shouldn’t contain irrelevant details about your personal life.

Focus on why you want to study the course you’ve chosen and provide any information about your achievements so far.

Ask yourself the following questions to get the ball rolling on what to write:

  • Why do you want to study (or work) in this program? How will it benefit you?
  • How do your skills match the position?
  • What makes you stand out from other applicants?
  • What are your exact career aspirations?
  • How can you and your work benefit the institution you’re applying to?
  • If you changed fields, how did you decide to apply in this direction?
  • What insight can you bring thanks to your different experiences?
  • How will this change of field help your future career?

Write down your answer to these questions in the first draft of your academic personal statement.

#4. Look at Example Statements

Don’t hesitate to read other people’s academic personal statements online. They’re a great source of inspiration and can help get rid of any remaining writer’s block.

If you’re struggling to understand how to meet the language and formatting requirements for your academic personal statement, seeing actual examples is the best way to learn.

But be careful – don’t copy any lines you read, no matter how impressive you think they are. 

Most universities run every academic personal statement through intensive plagiarism checking, and even a paraphrased sentence could lead to your application being rejected for plagiarism.

So pay more attention to the overall structure of the academic personal statements you read, rather than copying the exact wording.

#5. Structure the Contents

There should be a cohesive argument that your entire essay follows. Each sentence and paragraph should complement and build on the one that comes before it.

The structure of your personal statement should include:

An intriguing introduction to you as a candidate

The introductory paragraph should grab the admission committee’s attention and keep them engaged.

Here you should be sure to avoid cliches like saying how you’ve “always dreamt” of graduating from this university or of studying this exact program. Instead, give an example of what really influenced you to pursue this dream.

Here’s an example:

  • I’ve always loved reading and since I was a child, it’s been my dream to graduate from Oxford University and contribute to the world of literary analysis. That’s why I spent the past year volunteering at my local writers’ society and giving constructive feedback during workshops and book discussions.
  • It wasn’t until I failed my first essay assignment in secondary school that I realized the depth that lies beneath each sentence in a given text. I began to delve into the rich layers of literary texts and the intricacies of literary analysis became my passion. Although initially challenging, the depth of understanding that this field offers about human emotions, cultural contexts, and narrative structures enthralled me. I found myself questioning the narrative structures and character motivations that I had previously taken for granted, and I was eager to understand how the subtle and often overlooked elements within a text could have a profound impact on its overall interpretation. This need to fundamentally understand a given author’s work has stayed with me since and led me to pursue literary analysis as a postgraduate student.

An engaging body

The main part of your academic personal statement should detail your interests, experience, and knowledge, and how they make you suitable for the position.

This is where you should expand on your motivation and use the following tips:

  • Why this university? Provide strong reasons for your choice, related to your future career or the institution’s reputation.
  • Mention your relevant studies and experience. This includes projects, dissertations, essays, or work experience.
  • Give evidence of key skills you have, such as research, critical thinking, communication, and time management, and explain how you can contribute to the department with them.
  • Say what makes you unique as a candidate and provide an example.
  • Explain who have been the main influences who put you on this path and why they’ve influenced you.
  • Mention other relevant experiences, such as memberships in clubs related to the subject, awards you might have won, or impressive papers you’ve written.
  • Talk about your career aspirations and how the program ties into your goal of achieving them.

Depending on the guidelines of the specific university, you could also divide your academic personal statement’s body with subheadings, such as:

  • Academic background
  • Research interests
  • Methodological approaches
  • Research experience
  • Personal experience
  • Extracurricular activities 
  • Relevant skills
  • Career aspirations

A logical conclusion

Your academic personal statement needs a conclusion that ends on an enthusiastic note.

Make sure the conclusion reiterates the main points from the body of your text.

Your relevant accomplishments and desire to attend this specific program should be clear to any reader.

#6. Pay Attention to the Language

When writing the first draft of your academic personal statement, pay attention to the language and tone you’re using.

An academic personal statement is also a formal text, so your writing should reflect that. Colloquialisms aren’t appropriate, as they would take away from the well-mannered impression you want to give the admissions committee.

However, you also want your personal statement to be straightforward and avoid any complex jargon from your field of study.

For example, your opening sentence shouldn’t be overly complicated. You should communicate everything as clearly as possible, and be inclusive to those outside of your field of study since they might be on the admissions board that’s reading your academic personal statement.

Make sure that the tone throughout your text is positive and conveys your enthusiasm for the program. Your academic personal statement should show the admissions committee that you really want to be there, and why that’s beneficial to everyone involved.

#7. Proofread Your Statement

This step probably isn’t surprising to you but it’s worth paying attention to.

Your academic personal statement is a very formal document and it should be spotless. 

So, make sure it adheres to academic writing conventions . For example, contractions like “I’m” instead of “I am” are informal, and should be avoided.

Mistakes like these are very common when writing about yourself, particularly when you’re used to describing yourself in informal environments.

Carefully proofread your academic personal statement, then run it through a grammar checker like Grammarly or Quillbot, then proofread it again.

The tiniest grammar mistake or typo could make the admissions board reject your application.

Academic Personal Statement Example

Ever since my first encounter with the enchanting worlds spun by Flaubert, Balzac, and Proust, my intellectual pursuits have gravitated toward French literature. With an undergraduate degree focused on French Language and Literature, I have been fortunate to explore my passions both theoretically and empirically, embedding them within broader themes of cultural theory and comparative literature. It is with great excitement that I apply for the postgraduate research position in the French Literature program at Kent University, with the aim of contributing novel scholarly perspectives to this captivating field.

Academic Background and Research Interests

During my undergraduate studies, I delved deeply into the realms of 19th-century Realism and Naturalism. My senior thesis, which examined the dialectics of morality and social structures in Balzac's "La Comédie Humaine," was not merely an academic exercise; it served as a crucible where my theoretical understandings were rigorously tested. This research experience intensified my interest in the complex interplay between literature and societal norms, a theme I am eager to further explore in my postgraduate work.

Methodological Approaches

My academic approach is fundamentally interdisciplinary. I strongly believe that literature should not be studied in a vacuum; rather, it should be contextualized within historical, sociological, and psychological paradigms. During a semester abroad in Paris, I took courses in cultural anthropology and French history, an enriching experience that complemented my literature-focused studies. This holistic approach will enable me to contribute a multifaceted perspective to the research endeavors at Kent University.

Previous Research and Scholarly Engagements

My scholarly activities have also extended beyond the classroom. Last summer, I participated in an international conference on French Literature and Post-Colonial Theory, presenting a paper on the depictions of colonial landscapes in Dumas' adventure novels. The opportunity to engage with academics from various disciplines provided me with fresh insights and underscored the importance of collaborative research. Further, I've had the honor of having a review article published in the Sheffield Journal of Contemporary Literary Explorations, where I critiqued a groundbreaking new translation of Verne's works.

Extracurricular Contributions and Skills

In addition to my academic achievements, I have sought to enrich my department’s intellectual community. I served as the editor of our departmental journal and organized a series of seminars featuring guest speakers from the worlds of academia and publishing. My strong organizational skills, combined with proficiency in both written and spoken French and English, make me a versatile candidate capable of adding value to the French Literature program’s broader objectives.

To summarize, my deep-rooted passion for French literature, fortified by rigorous academic training and interdisciplinary methodologies, makes me an ideal candidate for the postgraduate research position in your esteemed program. The prospect of contributing to academic discourse at Kent University is an opportunity I find deeply compelling. I am especially excited about the potential for collaborative research and interdisciplinary inquiries, which aligns perfectly with my academic philosophy. I am fully committed to leveraging my skills, experiences, and enthusiasm to make a substantive scholarly contribution to the study of French Literature. Thank you for considering my application; I am keenly looking forward to the possibility of furthering my academic journey in this vibrant intellectual community.

FAQs on Academic Personal Statements

If you’re wondering anything else about academic personal statements, check out the answers to the most frequently asked questions related to them here:

#1. How do you start a personal statement for an academic job?

Applying for an academic job is different from applying for a position as a student. First, you need to establish your qualifications and enthusiasm for the role immediately.

Start by explaining your current status, for example, as a postdoctoral researcher or an experienced member of the faculty, and specify the position you are applying for. Then follow up with your research interests or personal philosophy towards teaching.

You can add a personal anecdote or compelling fact that summarizes your academic journey so far, or your passion for the field. After that, your academic personal statement can go deeper into the qualifications from your academic CV and how you’re a great fit for the position.

#2. How do I introduce myself in an academic personal statement?

The introduction of your academic personal statement is the key to grabbing the attention of the admissions committee.

Start by stating the field or subject that interests you, and why. You can share a specific personal anecdote or observation that led you to this academic pursuit and set the stage for the detailed explanation in your main body.

The goal of your introduction is to give the reader a sense of who you are, what drives you, and why you would be a valuable addition to their department.

#3. Is an academic personal statement like an essay?

Yes, an academic personal statement can be considered a type of essay.

Both essays and academic personal statements are structured forms of writing that are meant to deliver a coherent argument and are divided into an introduction, body, and conclusion. They provide supporting evidence to prove the point and maintain a logical flow to guide the reader to the final conclusion.

However, essays tend to be objective and explore a specific topic or question in depth. Academic personal statements use similar techniques but they present the candidate’s qualifications, experiences, and aspirations in a way that’s meant to persuade the admissions committee.

#4. How long is an academic personal statement?

Typically, an academic personal statement is between 500 and 1000 words long.

The exact length of the text varies depending on the university and program you’re applying to. You should always check the specific requirements for your desired program, and stick to the guidelines you find.

However, if the university you’re applying to doesn’t specify a word count, you should aim for one to two pages.

#5. What do I avoid in an academic personal statement?

Since your personal statement is a crucial part of your academic application, it’s important to avoid any common mistakes.

Make sure the content of your academic personal statement isn’t too generic. Its goal is to give insight into you as an individual, beyond what can be read in your CV . 

You should also avoid cramming too many points in your text. Your academic personal statement should follow a logical flow, and focus on the relevance of what you’re sharing about yourself and how it relates to the academic program you’re pursuing.

Key Takeaways

And that concludes our guide to writing an academic personal statement!

We hope you feel more confident when crafting your application for that academic program or faculty position you have your sights set on.

Now let’s recap what we talked about so far:

  • Academic personal statements are very different from CV personal statements. While CV personal statements are brief paragraphs at the top of the page, an academic personal statement is an in-depth text that details why you’re interested in a given position, and what makes you a good candidate.
  • The guidelines on academic personal statements vary according to the institution you’re applying to. Read the brief very carefully, and pay attention to what it says about word count and questions your personal statement should answer. Any mistakes here could result in rejection.
  • There are differences between applying for a postgraduate program and applying for a faculty position. But in both cases, you should research the exact place you want to apply to and adjust your application accordingly to match the institution’s values.
  • Always proofread your academic personal statement before sending it, even if you’re sure there are no errors.

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Aspiring for higher education requires a compelling personal statement. This section offers a curated selection of personal statement samples specifically tailored for university applications. These samples will guide you in highlighting your academic achievements, extracurricular activities, and personal growth relevant to your desired course of study.

Sample MIT Personal Statement

At one time, I thought that it was nearly impossible for a ‘normal human’ to get into universities like MIT, Stanford, and Harvard. However, of late I have been inclined…


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Explore our guide on crafting a compelling Harvard personal statement, complete with detailed steps and illustrative examples. Learn how to convey your experiences, goals, and qualifications effectively, stand out among other applicants, and increase your chances of admission to Harvard’s esteemed graduate programs.

100+ Grad School Personal Statement Examples

Looking for inspiration for your grad school personal statement? Check out our collection of over 100 personal statement examples from successful graduate school applicants. From engineering to psychology to business, these examples will help you write an essay that showcases your unique self and increase your chances of being accepted into your dream program.

UCLA Personal Statement Example

The following personal statement was written by an applicant who was admitted to UCLA. This personal statement is intended to provide an example of a successful essay for a top school like UCLA. Sample Personal Statement for UCLA I fear the remote thought of being the...

Example LSE Personal Statement in Economics

The following personal statement is written by an applicant who got accepted to Masters’s program in Local Economic Development at London School of Economics. Read this essay to understand what a top Personal Statement in economics should look like. Sample Personal...

Sample Cambridge Personal Statement Computer Science

Cambridge is one of the most prestigious universities in the world and among the most competitive global schools. The following essay was written by an applicant who got accepted to Cambridge's Ph.D. program in Computer science program. Read her essay to understand...

Sample MIT Statement of Objectives

MIT's graduate school requires applicants to write a statement of objectives, mostly for Ph.D. program. The objectives statement tells MIT why you want to do graduate work in your chosen area of research. The statement should contain technical jargon that reflects...

This Personal Statement got him into Analytics at Georgia Tech

Here is a sample personal statement of an analytics professional with three years of experience working in Amazon. This candidate was able to secure admission into top analytics programs like Georgia Tech, NCSU, and NYU. He has graciously shared his successful essay...

Sample Math Personal Statement (Oxbridge)

The following personal statement is written by an applicant who got accepted to top graduate programs in math. Variations of this personal statement got accepted at Oxford, and Cambridge university. Read this essay to get inspiration and understand what a top math...

(Low GPA) Sample Personal Statement Oxford Computer Science

Below is a personal statement written by an applicant who was accepted to Oxford university’s computer science program. He earned his undergrad in electrical engineering with a 2.2 GPA. This example personal statement is also a great sample of how one can explain bad...

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The following essays are written by an applicant who was admitted to the MBA program at Northwestern University’s Kellogg business school. With over five years of work experience in Fintech, the applicant has diverse work experience in corporate finance and startups....

Sample Personal Statement Finance (MIT Sloan)

Here is the personal statement of an applicant who got admitted to MIT Sloan's Masters in Finance program. For personal statement, Sloan poses several questions to applicants, which the admissions committee expects to be answered in an essay form. MIT...

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The following essay examples were written by an applicant who was admitted to INSEAD. These essays are intended to provide examples of successful INSEAD application essays. Essay 1 INSEAD Briefly summarise your current (or most recent) job, including the nature of...

Sample MIT Ph.D. Personal Statement

At one time, I thought that it was nearly impossible for a ‘normal human’ to get into universities like MIT, Stanford, and Harvard. However, of late I have been inclined to think that not only many ‘normal’ students are applying but they are also getting admissions.

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April 25, 2022

Standing Out In Your AACOMAS Personal Statement and Experience and Achievements Section

5 Tips for Perfecting Your AACOMAS Personal Statement

The AACOMAS Personal Statement

The AACOMAS requires one personal statement that is a maximum of 5,300 characters long. Below are five tips to help make your AACOMAS personal statement shine .

  • Show, don’t tell The first axiom of the personal statement is to “ show, don’t tell .” Honest, compassionate, caring, dedicated – you want to show all of these qualities. But, listing them isn’t effective. Instead, explain how you’ve shown these qualities using examples that illustrate them.
  • Do not treat the personal statement as a narrative resume Do not run through your undergraduate experiences chronologically. Instead, tell a story , about you or about someone else, a patient from a mission trip abroad related to health care, disaster relief or public health – as stories of insight and growth.
  • Don’t just repeat the AMCAS statement. Osteopathic schools want applicants who are interested in their schools and their approach to medicine. Some applicants are tempted to reuse their AMCAS personal statement for their AACOMAS application as well. Not only are the length requirements different, but allopathic schools have different points of focus than osteopathic schools. Also, osteopathic schools want to know why you’re applying to them, and your response should be an informed one about what you value about osteopathic medicine. Do not regard or infer osteopathic medicine as a default plan. Why Osteopathic Medicine? If you can bring this out through a story that demonstrates a holistic vision of the patient and a holistic approach to care, all the better. Highlight your knowledge of osteopathy; show that you understand osteopathic principles; provide a story or an experience that reflects the values of osteopathic medicine. >> Still wondering what to write? Have a look at Accepted’s sample AACOMAS personal statements here .
  • Make the personal statement active Conclude positively and insightfully. Use experiences and anecdotes that reflect your path to medicine and accent your positive qualities and insight. Don’t apologize, make excuses, blame or complain. Instead, show your enthusiasm for medicine. If you write a story about a struggle, be sure to demonstrate overcoming , managing and learning from it in a way that elucidates maturity and insight.
  • Proofread Make sure that you have proofread your essay multiple times and have someone else read it for grammatical errors and confusing sentences. If your essay is sloppy, you will make a sloppy impression. This is not what you want to do.

The AACOMAS personal statement is the one place in the application where you speak in your own voice and give the admissions committee an idea of who you are: your character, your humanity and depth. Make sure that you use this space to your best advantage and make your personal statement an advantage in your application in order to stand out in a competitive field.

The AACOMAS Experiences Section

The Experiences section in the  AACOMAS application  asks you to list your non-academic work, including healthcare-related work, non-healthcare work,  volunteer work , and extracurricular activities. The Achievements section is the space for you to include academic honors, awards and scholarships.

Below are five tips for completing this section of the AACOMAS.

  • Categorize your activity by type. The AACOMAS application doesn’t let applicants list hours twice. If your experience includes two different types of activities – like research and clinical work – divide the experience and hours into two separate categories (e.g. 10 hours research and 30 hours clinical work). The AACOMAS doesn’t have a section for publications and poster presentations. You should put them in the Achievements section.
  • Focus on quality, not quantity. There is no limit for AACOMAS Experiences, though there is a limit of 5 for Achievements. Use the AMCAS 15 activities limit total as a general guiding principle, keeping in mind AACOMAS does not ask you to identify the most meaningful activities among those you list as Experiences or Achievements. If you have related/overlapping experiences combine them into one entry (i.e. shadowed 3 Osteopathic doctors during the month of July). If you have duplicate achievements (Dean’s List, all semesters, University of Michigan, 2018-22) combine these as well. Do include work for pay.  If you are a non-traditional student , do include professional work from a related or unrelated career even if a supervisor is no longer employed with the company. Then, give a general Human Resources contact number for employment verification. Admissions committees aren’t impressed by a large number of activities that require minimum commitment. Instead, they look for depth of experience and time dedication. So, don’t pad your list or fill it up with “a day here, a day there” shadowing or volunteer work. These types of activities might best be bundled together or omitted if they seem less relevant than or detract from other key experiences.
  • Include college and post-college experiences only. Don’t include experiences from high school.
  • Do not include future experiences. If you haven’t started an activity yet, you should not include it in the AACOMAS experiences section. Hypotheticals, theoreticals and “not yets” aren’t experience. If an activity you had planned for got delayed or canceled due to Covid-19, do not list it in Experiences unless you’ve actually started it, albeit later than hoped. You will have an opportunity to address missed opportunities due to Covid-19 in a supplemental essay.
  • Write in complete sentences. When you describe your experiences, use complete sentences rather than bullet points. This simply adds to the professional appearance of your application. Follow the 600 character limit rule.

Remember that the experiences section of the AACOMAS is your opportunity to present non-academic achievements to the admissions committee. Use the space to impress the committee with your dedication, your compassion, your communications skills, and  your leadership  – with the non-academic, qualitative and human side of you. Include any outside interest that is truly a passion, especially those that require dedication, acceptance and/or certification. Do you scuba dive? Do you run half-marathons? Are you a sax player in a jazz band that plays summer festivals? Do you deliver Meals on Wheels? 

Use the Achievements section to  highlight academic achievement that goes beyond good grades  and a solid GPA. Take a moment to think about this section of the application. Avoid replicating the educational accolades listed on your resume. Instead, tell the brief story that brought this recognition your way – especially if it demonstrates integrity, maturity and/or humility. The key to this section is to avoid bragging, avoid ego, avoid sounding competitive or repetitive. Build your character in the write-up of these achievements. A “best of” list evidenced by stats and numerics could be a missed opportunity for having provided insight, context and (inherent) values that likely led to a moment of recognition, even an academic one.

Are you a Scholar-Athlete but not necessarily the best player on the team? Why did you win this award? (Hint: the answer probably has something to do with dedication, inclusion and harmonious people skills.  Can you show these skills at work  rather than say you have them?) Did you win an academic award that was much more difficult for you to earn than others – for instance, if English is a second language, what actions and steps preceded winning an essay competition or a research grant? 

You need to work hard if you want to submit a winning AACOMAS (or AMCAS or AADSAS) application — and we can help! Check out Accepted’s Primary Application Package to receive complete application guidance from conceptualization to final review. Your experienced consultant will guide you through the entire primary application, ensuring that you make the best use of your time to create a compelling portrait of yourself as a future leader in the medical field.

Register for the webinar!

Related Resources:

  • The Quick Guide to Acing Your AACOMAS Application , a free guide
  • 5 Tips for Requesting an AACOMAS Letter of Recommendation (Evaluation)
  • 5 Tips for Completing AACOMAS Secondary Applications

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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!

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  • Postgraduate taught
  • Application process

Personal statement

You will need to complete a personal statement as part of your application.

This statement supports your application by demonstrating:

  • the course is right for you; and
  • you have the skills, knowledge and aptitude to achieve the course requirements.

It is normally one to two pages long.

You'll find a description of the course and the key course requirements, including skills, experiences and technical abilities on our course pages.

Use this description as a guide to the points you address in your statement.

You can also talk about how the course fits in with your desired academic progression or career aspirations.

What to include

You could structure your statement like this:

  • Current studies and how they're useful or relevant
  • Why you chose this course in particular
  • Relevant work experience and skills
  • Extracurricular activities and interests
  • Why you chose this university
  • Concluding paragraph

Business School personal statements

Personal statements for courses in the Business School are slightly different than for other courses. Your personal statement provides an opportunity for you tell us a bit more about yourself and your motivation for undertaking this programme.

In the personal statement section of the application, we ask you to answer the following questions:

  • Please share your motivation for undertaking this programme?
  • What is your proudest non-academic achievement?
  • What would you contribute to the cohort and to the Imperial community?
  • How would you use your degree to make a positive impact?

Each section of the personal statement has a 1500 character limit (including spaces).

Applying for two courses

If you are initially applying to two courses, you can submit two personal statements.

You will have two options when submitting your personal statements:

  • You can submit one document with both your first and second choice personal statements (marked clearly with headers); or
  • You can submit your first-choice personal statement when applying. If your application to your first-choice course is unsuccessful, you can then send your second choice personal statement to the appropriate  Admissions team . 

/images/cornell/logo35pt_cornell_white.svg" alt="non academic achievements for personal statement"> Cornell University --> Graduate School

Writing your academic statement of purpose.

Student typing on a laptop

What is it?

Each applicant must submit an academic statement of purpose (ASOP). The ASOP is one of your primary opportunities to help the admissions committee understand your academic objectives and determine if you are a good match for the program you are applying to. The goal of this document is to impress upon the admissions committee that you have a solid background and experience in your area of interest and that you have the potential to be successful in graduate study.

Why is it important?

The ASOP is one of the most important pieces of your graduate school application because it:

  • Gives the reviewers an understanding of your academic background and interests.
  • Allows you to illustrate in your own words what sets you apart from other applicants.
  • Helps them determine if you are a good match for the program to which you are applying.
  • Shows your communication style and ability.

Information to Include

Introduce yourself and your academic interests.

  • Provide simple background information on your area of interest and how it became of particular interest to you.
  • Here you can also share with them how and why you decided to pursue a graduate degree in this field.

Describe your academic background, preparation, and training

  • Skills you have learned from academic, lab, or research experiences (e.g., undergraduate coursework, research opportunities, scholarly writings, jobs in the field, presentations, etc.). Whenever possible, give specific examples and illustrate the points you are making, don’t just simply tell them.
  • Research you conducted – project title or focus, research mentor, your specific role, what you learned and the outcome. If there were challenges, don’t be afraid to mention what you learned from them. This shows persistence and resilience in the face of adversity– these are also things they are looking for!
  • Important papers or thesis project you completed, as well as anything scholarly beyond your academic degree requirements.
  • Relevant work or internship experience as related to the field you are applying to.

Show them you are making an informed decision

  • Indicate what you would like to study in graduate school in enough detail to convince the faculty that you understand the scope of research in the discipline and are aware of research trends.
  • Show them that you have thoroughly researched the program, its faculty, and research focus areas, and why you are applying to this program specifically. This will help you write a more informed essay that is relatable to the faculty who will be reviewing your application.
  • Describe why you are a good fit for the program and why the program is a good fit for you.
  • If there are specific faculty you are interested in working with, check the program’s ASOP instructions and determine how best to mention this in your essay. Some programs require you to name a professor(s) with whom you would like to work.
  • Are there any aspects of the program that are of particular interest to you (immersion program, opportunities for collaboration with others outside of the institution, research centers associated with the program, etc.)?
  • Include information that is important to you outside of the program – supportive environment for first-year students, access to amazing literary resources, opportunities to participate in professional/career development programming, etc.
  • Professional goals – you may wish to outline what you plan to do after you complete the program as a way of underscoring the importance of your choice to pursue graduate study.
  • Share any extracurricular opportunities you have had that show leadership, ability to work with a diverse group of people, teaching skills, etc.
  • Research degree applicants should identify specific faculty members whose research interests align with your own interests. 

Important Things to Remember

  • Pay attention and follow instructions very carefully – every program is different and some have specific items/topics they want you to address.
  • Unless otherwise noted, this is an academically focused essay, not necessarily a personal essay. You will likely add some personal details here and there, but be sure to keep the focus on your academic background and future potential.
  • Proofread and pay close attention to details – they really matter!
  • Have others from a variety of perspectives read your essay before you submit it – they should be looking at it in terms of content, style, and grammar. Remember, those outside of your field can provide you with valuable perspective and feedback.
  • Keep in mind that you can continue editing your ASOP after you have submitted it to programs with earlier deadlines.

Length, Format and Tone

  • Unless otherwise noted one to two pages in a standard font and size is typical.
  • Include your full name and proposed program of study at the top of each page – if faculty are not reading an electronic version of your essay, pages can become separated.
  • Write with confidence and in an active voice – doing this makes your sentences clear and less wordy/complicated.
  • Language should be positive and focused. Since faculty are the ones reviewing your application, it is fine to use discipline-specific terminology, tone, and style in your ASOP.

Final Checklist

  • Described your academic background in enough detail to show your experience and preparedness in the field?
  • Shown that you are a good fit for the program you are applying to?
  • Defined why you want a graduate degree in this field?
  • Demonstrated that you are self-motivated, persistent, competent, and have the skills necessary to be successful in graduate school?
  • Followed the ASOP instructions as defined by the program you are applying to?
  • Polished, proofread, and had others review your ASOP?

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Why should you consider Cornell?

MD Program Home

Non-Academic Requirements

In addition to academic requirements , brief personal essays, autobiographical sketches, and references are used in assessing your non-academic qualifications.

Throughout the admissions process, we assess your non-academic attributes, activities and achievements in terms of the Faculty’s mission and values , as well as the MD Program competencies . Our aim is to select students who we believe will make the most empathetic and highly skilled physicians.

Specifically, we evaluate materials according to the following four clusters. These four clusters are based on the CanMEDS Framework  that identifies and describes the abilities physicians require to effectively meet the health care needs of the people they serve.

Your ability to use the English language will be taken into consideration and you may be requested to submit additional information to supplement the application form.

Specific requirements 

Brief personal essays.

You are required to submit two original brief personal essays, with each essay answering a specific question related to the Faculty’s mission and values . The Temerty Faculty of Medicine’s mission statement embodies social responsibility, and the Faculty’s values are reflective of this responsibility. Each brief personal essay must be 250 words or less (this word count does not include titles, references, or verifiers, if you choose to include these). We evaluate brief personal essays independently of all other materials submitted within your application.

The two questions for the 2024-2025 admissions cycle (2023-2024 academic year):

We will perform random checks of your brief personal essays through a plagiarism detection tool. You will not be informed that your essay has been submitted for comparison. Essays submitted will be included as source documents in the reference database, where they will be used solely for the purpose of detecting plagiarism. If you do not consent to your essays being submitted through a plagiarism detection tool, you must  email [email protected] by January 3, 2024 . We will honour this request. 

Autobiographical sketch & statements

The autobiographical sketch (ABS) is a comprehensive list of your activities and achievements since age 16 which provide insight into who you are. These can include your:

  • volunteer activities
  • extracurricular activities
  • awards and accomplishments
  • research, and,
  • other activities and achievements.

You are not required to have undertaken a specific number of activities or completed a set number of hours. There are also no specific activities that will give you an ‘edge’. We do not believe there is a specific medical student ‘profile’. We are looking for students:

  • with diverse backgrounds and interests
  • who are well-rounded
  • who are community-minded
  • who have gained skills and maturity from their experiences
  • who can demonstrate time management skills
  • who show evidence of the attribute clusters in their activities

Please see the Ontario Medical School Application Service (OMSAS) Application Guide for more information on the ABS.

In addition, you are required to write and submit one ABS statement that discusses the following:

  • Write about an impactful experience from your Autobiographical Sketch that demonstrates your personal growth, character, and values. How did this experience prepare you for medical school?

Your ABS statement must be 500 words or less.  This word count does not include your activity title, references, or verifiers, if you choose to include these.

The ABS and the additional ABS statement will be evaluated as a whole. We evaluate ABS materials independently of all other materials submitted within your application.

In some cases, we may wish to verify additional information about activities that are described in either your brief personal essays or the ABS. Therefore, you must provide the name, address, and phone number of at least one contact person (verifier) for each activity. We perform random checks of applicants’ verifiers. Please notify your verifiers that they may be contacted by us. 

Note: Verifiers for ABS may or may not be the same as the verifiers you listed for your graduate studies or your references.

Let your verifiers know that they may be contacted by UME Enrolment Services.

You are required to arrange for three references to be sent to OMSAS as part of your application. Each reference includes a Confidential Assessment Form.

Note: You must not use family members, family friends, colleagues of family members, neighbours or someone who may be perceived as your peer as a referee, as we do not consider them to be objective. Letters written by a spiritual advisor are acceptable, provided the individual is not also a family member or close friend.

Applications from candidates with non-objective references will not be considered.

Referees may submit their confidential reference online. 

The deadline for receiving references is October 2nd, 2023. If OMSAS does not receive your reference by this date, your application to the University of Toronto’s MD Program will be incomplete and will not be considered. It is your responsibility to ensure that OMSAS receives your references by the deadline, so we advise you to confirm submission with all of your referees prior to the deadline.

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  • Writing Tips

How to Write an Academic Personal Statement

How to Write an Academic Personal Statement

4-minute read

  • 24th May 2022

Academic personal statements can be daunting.

Many students find it challenging to write about themselves, and putting pen to paper (or finger to keyboard) to show off why you’re the perfect candidate for an academic program isn’t always easy.

Don’t fret, though. Writing a personal statement doesn’t have to be scary. There are steps you can take to make sure that your statement is the best it can be.

Here are five tips to help you write an excellent academic personal statement. Good luck!

Read the Brief

Before you get started, read the brief, reread it, take a break, and reread it again.

It’s all too easy to miss specific instructions from the school when you’re in the throes of writing. It’s not uncommon for schools to ask you to answer specific questions in your personal statement, so it’s essential that you answer them.

If you don’t answer questions, follow a theme, or give certain pieces of information you’ve been asked to, it will give the admissions board the impression that you’re not attentive and can’t follow instructions.

Once you’ve finished your personal statement, read the brief again to make sure you’ve followed it. This is possibly the most important step to follow.

Do Your Research

Before you start writing, research the school and the program you’re applying to. You’ve probably already done this, but if you haven’t, you’re not the first and you won’t be the last, and it can be really obvious to the admissions board.

Personal statements should be just that: personal. If you’re copying and pasting your writing and using it to apply for multiple programs, chances are, people will be able to tell.

By researching the program and the school, you’ll be able to completely customize your statement. You can write about how your personal experiences and interests relate to specific parts of the program. If the school has certain values or expectations, you can write about how you meet them.

Make Sure it’s Accurate

Everything in your statement should be true. Of course, it can be tempting to embellish details to make yourself look better, but if you get caught, it will be embarrassing at best, and at worst, it could damage your career.

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As well as being true and honest, your grammar, spelling, and tone should be accurate. Even the smallest spelling or grammar error can make your personal statement look sloppy and careless.

Properly proofreading and editing your admissions statement is an essential step. It’s amazing how easy it is for mistakes to creep in, especially if you’re proofreading your own work. If you can, ask someone you trust to check your statement before you submit it.

Keep it Formal

An academic personal statement is a great opportunity to show the admissions board that you have strong writing skills and are knowledgeable in your subject. You might have a brilliant sense of humor and a quirky personality, but this is not the time for those to shine!

Academic personal statements should be formal and straightforward. Writing anything that is too out there could make you stick out in a bad way by giving the impression that you’re not taking your application seriously.

With that in mind, don’t write anything controversial for the sake of catching their attention. It’s great to show personality and flair, but you should be using academic and formal language throughout your personal statement.

Read Examples

Finally, read other people’s statements for inspiration. There are plenty of examples of academic personal statements that you can read online ( like these ).

Spending some time reading other people’s statements will give you a good idea of what is expected of you in terms of language and format.

Are you writing a personal statement or admission essay? We can help you with that.

We offer a proofreading and editing service that can help students reach their full potential. Our team of experts will thoroughly proofread your statement of purpose to make sure you put your best foot forward.

Discover our personal statement proofreading and editing services for students .

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