A Complete Guide to a Perfect Personal Statement Format
The process of applying to jobs, internships, and graduate programs often require each applicant to submit a personal statement about their skills and career goals. A personal statement is usually written in response to a specific question.
Personal statements always vary and depend on which institution you are writing for. But all types of personal statements require you to follow a specific format as you do in writing other academic papers.
In this blog, we will discuss how to write a personal statement following the correct format.
What is a Correct Personal Statement Format?
Like other academic papers, personal statements should also be formatted and structured according to a standard set of guidelines. In this way, you can make sure all the information in your personal statement is in an organized manner.
Here are the basic guidelines that you can follow if you don’t know how to format a personal statement.
- Personal statements are usually limited to 500 words no matter what type of statement you are writing. So, it is better to finish your personal statement within 495 – 505 words.
- Paragraphs should be single-spaced throughout with an extra line of space from the next.
- Times New Roman is an appropriate font style to use.
- The size of the font must be 12pt.
- Include your name and page number in the header of your page.
A standard formatting convention should be used to make your personal statement readable. Keep in mind that review committees go through hundreds of personal statements so it is important to make sure your personal statement stands out.
How to Format a Personal Statement?
The requirements for writing a personal statement vary but generally, a personal statement includes certain information in the following format.
Many personal statements start with an interesting opening statement as a way to grab the reader’s attention. In this paragraph, you can provide a highlight about yourself and connect it to the program for which you are applying.
Don’t forget to mention the program name as well as the title of the degree or position you are applying for.
In the body paragraphs, address any specific question which might deal with your qualifications, your long term goals, or your compatibility with the program.
Each body paragraph should start with a topic sentence and inform the readers what it is focusing on. Also, provide examples from your experience and make sure these are relevant and should support your argument.
Sum up all the points discussed in the body paragraphs and reiterate your interest in the specific program or position. Mention how this degree or position is a step towards your long term goal.
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Personal Statement Format Examples
If you are looking for helpful personal statement format examples, you are at the right place. Going through examples is one of the best practices to get an idea of how to write a perfect personal statement.
That’s why we have provided you with some good personal statement format examples to help you know what specific details should be included. Do not copy the following examples. You should only use them as an inspiration for your own statement.
Personal Statement Format Medical School
Medical school personal statements are a great chance to tell your story to the admission committee and provide your context on why you want to pursue medicine.
You can also review the below-mentioned example to stimulate your creativity and see what a winning medical school personal statement looks like.
Graduate School Personal Statement Format
Graduate school applications often require students to submit personal statements. This helps admission committees to get to know more about the person behind the application.
Know more about the graduate school personal statement format in the example below. This example will help you learn how to format a personal statement for graduate school.
Personal Statement Law School Format
The personal statement is your chance to reflect upon your life and show the law admission committee who you are as an individual. So, it is important to make sure your personal statement is written well and formatted correctly.
Don’t know how to format a law school personal statement? Refer to the following law school personal statement format example and learn how you can write a perfect law school personal statement.
Personal Statement Format for Masters
Looking for a format example of a personal statement for a master’s? Here is one to help you learn how to describe your reasons for wanting to study in a particular course.
Personal Statement Format for Job
Personal statement for a job is the best opportunity for you to sell yourself and highlight what makes you stand out from the others. So, it is important to make it specific, engaging, and show what you have to offer.
Take a look at this example of a personal statement format for a job to guide you throughout the writing process.
Personal Statement Format College
A personal statement for college is written to show admission officers who you are and why you deserve to be admitted to their school. In this personal statement, you need to mention your experiences and major accomplishments in high school.
Get help from the following example of personal statement format and learn how to format a personal statement for college.
Nursing School Personal Statement Format
The nursing personal school statement is an important part of the nursing school application. It is a great opportunity for you to express yourself personally and address any question that admission committees might have.
You can also browse the following example to gain inspiration and make sure you are on the right track when writing your personal statement.
Personal Statement Format for University
A personal statement for university is an important document to show to the admission committee why you are a suitable candidate to study in their university.
Here is an example format for a university personal statement that you can follow to write a perfect one on your own.
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MBA Personal Statement Format
Wondering how to write a personal statement for the MBA program? Get help from this easy MBA personal statement format example and tell the admission committee why you want to pursue their MBA degree.
Refer to the above guidelines and relevant personal statement examples whenever you start writing a personal statement. In this way, you can make sure your personal statement is well-written and follows the required formatting guidelines.
Once you are done with writing, don’t forget to read your personal statement a number of times before you submit.
Writing a winning personal statement is not an easy task for many reasons. It is not easy to write an application essay knowing that any mistake means losing your opportunity to be admitted to the college or university of your choice or getting the scholarship you need.
People often fail to make a good impression through their application forms and statements and eventually miss this great opportunity. But there is a way out – buy a custom personal statement written by a professional personal statement writer.
Professional writers know what to include, how to make your personal statement flow well and interesting throughout.
Getting help from the best paper writing service will enhance your chances to get enrolled in the desired college or university or even the job you are applying for.
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Personal Statement: Examples & How to Write (+Format Tips)
You’re determined, passionate, and skilled. But the admissions office sees you as a faceless applicant. Fix that with a personal statement that shows this is your life’s mission.
A personal statement is most often a letter that goes with your application for med school, law school, or other higher learning institutions. It’s a special cover letter for college, designed to show the great passion needed to get into one of the toughest school experiences on the planet.
Sometimes the term “personal statement” has other meanings and uses, such as a business cover letter or resume summary (UK). Most often, though, it’s proof positive that you deserve to be in a highly-selective school.
Sound daunting? You’ve got this. You’ve already got the drive. You just need to show it so the admissions office understands.
This guide will show you:
- How to write a personal statement that proves Helene-Gayle-level passion.
- Interview-getting personal statement examples you can use and adapt.
- The right personal statement format to look your most professional.
- Answers to FAQs like how long should a personal statement be and how to start a personal statement.
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[I used] a nice template I found on Zety. My resume is now one page long, not three. With the same stuff.
But—what if you’re writing a personal statement for business, for a resume in the UK, or for a cover letter? In that case, see these guides:
- For the UK: Personal Statement/Personal Profile for Resume/CV: Examples
- For a resume summary: Professional Resume Summary Examples (25+ Statements)
- For a cover letter: How to Write a Cover Letter for a Job (12+ Examples)
Now let’s get you into the interview room with a personal statement example you can use:
Personal Statement Template
BS in Biology, Boise State University
265 Fantages Way
Dean of Admissions
Oregon University of Health Sciences
Portland, OR 97205
When my neck broke, everything went numb. I’d been having fun with friends at the lake, and like the not-so-careful 16-year-old I was, doing sailor dives in shallow water with my hands down by my sides. The deck was 8 feet off the water and getting wetter by the moment. Predictably, I slipped, and my scalp connected with the sand with devastating force. I cracked two vertebrae and tore several ligaments, but my problems were just beginning. The surgeon at the local hospital said an operation was too dangerous. My mother, an ER nurse, sought a second opinion from a neurosurgeon at the Mayo Clinic. His opinion? I could sneeze or turn my head and suffer instant paralysis or death.
Three days later the surgeon, named of all things Dr. Albert Spine, skillfully rebuilt my cervical spine, taking bone from my hip, shaving off four spinous processes, and using wire and titanium bolts to hold it all together while it healed. His deft spinal fusion saved my life, and in the process taught me there’s a vast range of expertise within the medical community. I became fascinated by stories of medical success and failure, and that interest led me to my lifelong passion—medicine.
I’m frequently amazed by how much the human body can endure. My best childhood friend, Sarah Locklin, was shipwrecked in an attempt to sail around the world in the South Seas, but survived without food for 38 days before being rescued by a merchant marine vessel. That’s an astounding feat of survival, yet something as simple as a tiny stem cell mutation can be lethal. During my time as a lab research assistant at the University of Texas Anderson Cancer Center, my work on the Leukemia Research Team gave me great respect for the power of research to shine a light into the apparently mysterious inner workings of the body’s systems. Identifying cell changes under the microscope and using hemocytometers to determine cell counts was an eye-opening experience that kindled a growing excitement for potential medical advancements. As a physician, the analytical and creative thinking skills I learned will help me build on increasing advancements to create an upward spiral of quality of life for my patients.
When Dr. Spine explained my broken neck as three fractured vertebrae, torn ligaments, and worsening kyphosis, I had no idea what he meant. He quickly showed me on a model of the c-spine, in a way that made sense to my 16-year-old self. That experience underscores one of the most important skills a physician can have—patient education. As an undergraduate teacher assistant at Columbia University, I provided feedback and guidance to 100+ students. I graded over 800 papers, using insights from that task to guide the students toward deeper understanding. In my future career as a surgeon, those communication and interpersonal skills will be invaluable to help me cut through fear and confusion and gain patient trust and buy-in for complex procedures and crucial rehabilitation practices. This communication and education step is one of the most misunderstood and overlooked parts of modern medicine.
Recovering from a broken neck wasn’t easy, but with persistence and the right guidance from the Mayo Clinic medical team, I quickly recovered my full range of motion and ability. Last month, I competed in the Portland Triathalon for the third time, achieving a personal best. Now that I’ve been through the recovery process personally, I know the job of helping patients regain their quality of life doesn’t end after a procedure. This deeply-ingrained lesson has given me a commitment that will motivate me to follow through until the job is done. My focus is to build relationships with patients, not just fix their immediate structural problems.
It took a massive injury for me to understand my life’s goal—to end the suffering and to increase and prolong the quality of life of others. I can never pay back the gift Dr. Spine gave me, but I can pay it forward. More, from my teacher’s assistant position, I’ve felt the intense motivation and reward of helping others. It’s a fuel that will carry me through my entire professional life. The neurology program at Harvard Medical School is the ideal place to temper that passion into the skill to bring my dream of helping others to fruition. Harvard’s legendary program and faculty have the know-how to re-form my raw passion and ability, shaping me into the skilled surgeon I know I can become. I’ll likely never take an unnecessary risk again, but with persistence and with your help, I’ll build the expertise to help others who’ve been broken in some way, to make as dramatic a recovery as I have made.
That’s a standout medical school personal statement. If you’re writing a law school personal statement or other college application essay, use the same convincing logic. In short, make a case for your passion for law, your skills, and why this school matters out of all the rest.
Need the anatomy of how this works? Keep scrolling for tips, formatting, and a template.
What Is a Personal Statement?
A t for college is a letter with your college application, often for law or medical school. It shows you have the intense passion to succeed in the toughest educational environment on earth. It also spotlights your skills, why you like this school, and what you bring to the table.
A personal statement can also be a CV summary for a job—if you’re a job seeker in the UK. Some people also confuse a personal statement with a resume summary. That’s a short paragraph at the top of a resume the sums it up. Others mix up personal statements with cover letters.
How long should a personal statement be?
A personal statement should be at least three paragraphs, but successful statements are 5 to 8 paragraphs long. For word count, they’re about 700 to 1,000 words. The key factor isn’t length though, but whether you convey your passion in a way that proves you’ll overcome any obstacle in your path.
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How to Write a Personal Statement
The best personal statements do a few things right. First, they show passion through a personal story. Second, they highlight skills needed to succeed in the school and/or career. Third, they tie your skills to the personal story. Fourth, they explain how this school will help you reach your goal.
There’s a tried and tested way to write a standout statement. One that makes the admissions board say, “Wow. This candidate will make us proud.” Ready to see how it’s done?
1. Format Your Personal Statement Correctly
- Single-space your personal statement with standard cover letter spacing.
- Write 5 to 8 paragraphs and 700 to 1,000 words.
- Choose a respected cover letter font like Arial, Helvetica, or Cambria.
- Put your name and contact info in a cover letter heading at the top.
- Add a blank line, the date, and another blank line.
- Add the dean’s contact info, then a cover letter greeting, then the body of your letter.
- End with “Best regards” (or similar) and then your name, phone, and email.
Format a personal statement just like a cover letter. See more: How to Format a Cover Letter?
2. Stand Out With a Strong Opening
The best schools get 70,000+ applicants per year. To stand out in the glut of applications, your personal statement needs to grab them from the first sentence. So—start with a strong hook, but ground it in your personal story. Why do you want this life so much? Set the hook in your life’s passion.
This personal statement example shows how:
When my neck broke, everything went numb.
That sample works only if you can then tie it to your passion. If you use it to tell the story of what made you decide to go into medicine, you win.
Starting a personal statement is just like starting a cover letter. Read more: How to Begin a Cover Letter
3. Focus On Skills in the Body of Your Personal Statement
Knowing what to write in a personal statement is tricky—until you find your focus. That focus is the driving force that will make you the best student who’s ever graduated from their program. It may take you a few days to find a focus, so don’t panic if you don’t know it right away. The rest will follow.
Once you have the central theme, hang two things on it—the skills and qualities you’ve built so far, and the ones you will build in school. Show how your BS degree has given you the tools to get high scores in their curriculum. But—tie that to your personal story.
Here’s a personal statement sample snippet that shows how:
When Dr. Spine explained my broken neck as three fractured vertebrae, torn ligaments, and worsening kyphosis, I had no idea what he meant. He quickly showed me on a model of the c-spine, in a way that made sense to my 16-year-old self. That experience underscores one of the most important skills a physician can have—patient education. As an undergraduate teacher assistant at Columbia University, I provided feedback and guidance to 100+ students. I graded over 800 papers, using insights from that task to guide the students toward deeper understanding. In my future career as a surgeon, those communication and interpersonal skills will be invaluable to cut through fear and confusion and gain patient trust and buy-in for procedures and crucial rehabilitation practices. This communication and education is one of the most misunderstood and overlooked parts of modern medicine.
That personal statement example works because it uses your passion to showcase a central skill.
Pro Tip: Academic factors are 3x more likely to matter than personal matters for college admissions. Except—at the most selective schools like Harvard or Berkeley.
4. End With a Summary
There are many ways to end a personal statement. One of the best is to refer back to the hook that started off the statement. Use your final paragraph to sum up the case you’ve made for why the school should let you in. You can also use your ending paragraph to explain why this school matters.
See this sample personal statement ending for a clue:
It took a massive injury for me to realize my life’s goal is to end the suffering and increase and prolong the quality of life of others. I can never pay back the gift Dr. Spine gave me, but I can pay it forward. More, from my teacher’s assistant position, I’ve felt the intense motivation and reward of helping others. It’s a fuel that will carry me through my entire professional life. The neurology program at Harvard Medical School is the ideal place to temper that passion into the skill to bring my dream of helping others to fruition. Harvard’s legendary program and faculty have the skill to re-form my raw passion and ability into the skilled surgeon I know I can become. I’ll likely never take an unecessary risk again, but with persistence and with your help, I’ll build the expertise to help others who’ve been broken in some way, to make as dramatic a recovery as I have made.
That personal statement example works because it comes full-circle to your letter’s hook. In short, it shows where you can take your life, if they’ll only let you in. It conveys a burning desire to help others. As a bonus, it explains that a poor choice made in your younger years will not repeat.
Ending a personal statement is like ending a cover letter. Read more:Best Ways to End a Cover Letter
5. Answer the questions they ask
One caveat—don’t get too caught up in the tale of your own passion right away. If they ask questions in the personal statement assignment on the application form, answer them. One of the biggest mistakes on college applications is failing to answer the stated questions.
The good news? You can use their questions to find the focus of your statement. Don’t see application questions as restrictive. See them as guidance to help narrow down your options.
6. Freewrite before you write
“But I don’t have a driving passion!” Yes, you do. Otherwise you wouldn’t be on this path. To find it—spend a few days journaling. Most people didn’t go into medicine or law because they broke their neck or lost their home in a foreclosure. That’s okay! Trust me, you have worthwhile dreams and career goals.
The problem? You don’t know why you have your goals yet, because you haven’t analyzed it. So—spend a few days digging into why. Journal it. Freewrite it. Why do you want this education so badly? Spending a few mornings at this will focus your thoughts. That’ll save you hours or days when it’s time to write your personal statement.
Pro Tip: Don’t kill yourself freewriting. Do it in short, frequent bursts. Journal for 10 minutes in short morning, afternoon, and evening sessions, or whenever you find time.
7. Research the school
Oh-oh. Your personal statement for college failed. What went wrong? You didn’t know what the school wants in their perfect student. That blunder cost you a slot, because you told them you have all the wrong skills. Or you said you want to build the skills they don’t know how to teach.
The solution? Know before you go. Look into their curriculum. What do they excel at? What can they teach you? What do you already know that will help you shine after they let you in? How can you tie those things to your personal story? The answers to these questions are your passkey through admissions.
When writing a personal statement, remember to:
- Use a personal statement template so you don’t have to start from scratch.
- Think hard about your passion. Why do you want this career so much?
- Start your statement with a hook that draws the reader in.
- Tell the story of your driving force. That will prove to the admissions team you have the strength to make it through the long, hard years of work ahead.
- Tie your skills and achievements to your story. What have you accomplished so far in your education that will help you if they let you in?
- Add the things the school can teach you. How can you connect their curriculum to your personal story of drive and passion?
- End your personal statement by coming full circle to your hook.
Plus, a great cover letter that matches your resume will give you an advantage over other candidates. You can write it in our cover letter builder here. Here’s what it may look like:
Questions? Concerns? We’re here for you. If you still have questions about how to write a personal statement for college that lands the interview, drop me a line in the comments.
Resume Header: 3+ Best Heading Examples
Your resume header may seem insignificant, but it’s actually one of the most important parts of your resume. Get yours right with our example resume headers and in-depth breakdown.
A resume header is one of the most basic things to put on your resume. However, it’s also one of the most important.
Your header is the very first thing a hiring manager will see on your resume. So it needs to look professional, match your cover letter header, and quickly convey your contact information.
If you aren’t sure where to begin, don’t worry. We have examples of various resume headers, and tips to help you format your own.
Resume header examples
Before choosing a resume header, consider the level of formality required for the job you want, as well as the layout of your resume.
Think about it: is the job you’re applying for professional or casual? Does your resume design need to be creative or traditional?
After you’ve decided what level of formality is appropriate, you have three basic types of resume headers to choose from:
The most formal type of resume header (and also the most common) is the standard left-aligned horizontal header.
Here’s an example of a professional horizontal resume header:
A horizontal header is a safe choice that suits any level of formality. It’s basic, readable, and highlights your name.
Don’t title your resume “resume” or “[name]’s resume”. Resume headers only require you to include your name, as well as your contact details.
Two page resume header
If you have over a decade of relevant work experience, your resume may require a second page. If it does, repeat your header on both pages.
This makes your resume look consistent, and helps the hiring manager remember your name.
By using the header feature in Google Docs resume templates, you can ensure consistency across your entire resume.
Vertical header for resume
Most resume templates have a horizontal resume header. Some resume layouts, however, place the header in a vertical bar along one side of the resume.
Here’s an example:
A vertical resume heading is a great way to make your resume stand out and add a creative, modern flair to your application.
However, keep in mind that a vertical resume header is less formal. If you’re applying for work in a serious industry (law, medicine, etc.), use a horizontal header instead.
How to format your resume header
How you format your resume header is important, because it needs to be concise enough that it doesn’t take up unnecessary space, but must still fit all the basic information hiring managers need to know about you.
At a minimum, your resume header should include the following information:
- Your first and last name
- Current job title
- Phone number
Optionally, you can also include your LinkedIn profile or a link to your personal website.
In many European countries, including a resume picture in your header is also common. However, make sure to do a quick search about what is normal in your country before adding one to your resume.
Type your first and last name
Include your first and last name as the “title” of your resume.
If you’ve changed your name (whether through marriage or another legal process) or go by a nickname, use your most searchable name (the one a hiring manager would use to find you on the internet).
For example, if your name is “Macie Green” on Facebook and LinkedIn, but you’re recently married and now go by “Macie Pink”, choose the name that appears on your online profiles.
Here’s an example of how one candidate emphasizes his name in his resume header:
List your job title
In a smaller font, include your current job title. For example, if you’re a restaurant manager, simply put “Restaurant Manager” underneath your name.
You can also add your years of work experience here, to create an eye-catching resume headline.
Additionally, don’t forget to note any certifications or licenses you hold in your header. If you’re a Certified Nursing Assistant, put “Patient Care Assistant, CNA” or “Home Hospice Caregiver, CNA” as your resume header title.
Write your mailing address (Optional)
Next, include your mailing address. If you add “open to relocation,” it tells the hiring manager that you’re willing to move if needed.
However, if you live far away and are afraid it may hurt your chances of getting the job, just put the name of the city in which you live, or — better yet — simply don’t put your address on your resume.
List your email address
Are you submitting your resume online? Include a clickable email address to provide a quick way for hiring personnel to contact you.
Avoid using unprofessional email addresses such as “LionQueen347@gmail.com”. If necessary, use a free email service such as Gmail and create a professional email address for the job search.
If you’re submitting your application by email, make sure you pair your resume with a strong email cover letter as well.
Type your phone number
Next, list your cell phone or home number in your resume header. Hiring managers usually prefer to contact candidates by phone to set up interviews, so include your most commonly used phone number.
How to write resume headers that stand out
While the main purpose of a resume header is to convey basic information about yourself, it’s also an opportunity to include links to additional information about you and your work.
Depending on your work history and the description of the role you’re applying for, you can add other relevant information to help your application stand out, such as:
Include your LinkedIn profile
LinkedIn is the ultimate online platform for the business world. Many hiring managers use LinkedIn to hire or vet new personnel.
A great way to make your resume stand out is by adding a personalized LinkedIn address to your resume header.
To personalize your LinkedIn web address, click “Edit public profile & URL” in the upper right-hand corner on your profile page.
Before including your LinkedIn profile on your resume, update your page with a well-written LinkedIn summary.
Add a link to your Twitter
Only include your Twitter handle if you use it for business purposes.
For writers, designers, and other creative job seekers, your Twitter account can show potential managers that you care about the industry you work in.
Are you applying for a marketing job? Include your Twitter handle to show that you’re up-to-date on the latest news and trends.
Include your personal website
If you’re a web designer, photographer, interior designer, or writer, a professional online portfolio is a valuable way to highlight your work.
If you want to include a link to your personal website, your resume header is a great place to put it.
How to make a resume header in Word
If you’re making your resume in Microsoft Word, there are a few things to keep in mind when you create your resume header:
- Avoid using the document header to ensure your resume is ATS-friendly. Applicant tracking systems can’t read Word document headers.
- Stick to one or two different resume fonts at a maximum. Calibri, Arial and Cambria are good options.
- Make your name stand out by using a large font size or writing in all caps.
- Choose a point size of 10-12 for the rest of your contact information.
Written by Ida Pettersson
Ida is a Content Writer at Resume Genius, where she assists job seekers as they plan their next career moves. She graduated from New College of Florida with a double major. more
Quite often, students face difficulties when writing a paper that supports their application to study in a college or university. They want to succeed, but they usually do not know where to start and what to include in the document. To make things worse, apa format for personal statement confuses the applicants. They are unsure of the formatting aspects that should be surely considered while crafting the work. A friend of mine once complained that in his work he had to show who he really was, without egoistical claims; at the same time he had to sound confident but not too self-reliant. In addition, he had to present an engaging opening sentence. On top of that, he had to visit the library to find out about the apa format for personal statement. “Is it really possible?” he wondered. Yes, it is. In this article you will find all the needed info to craft a good paper and to be enrolled in the desired program.
How to Start a Personal Statement: Expert Hints and Tips
Writing a personal statement is a must when you apply to a certain college or university. This paper has to introduce you in the best way so that the application officers could claim, “Wow, he/she should definitely become our student!”
When sharing information about yourself, you should emphasize your skills, qualifications, and competencies that are making you a good fit for this position.
However, if you do not know how to start a personal statement, feel free to read our simple guide that will help you boost your writing talent.
Before starting the writing process, reflect upon your experiences, both personal and professional, to understand which ones should be described in your paper. Make some notes that will serve as the guideline for your work. When the notes are ready, create a simple outline. It will help you to organize your thoughts and define the structure of your personal statement.
Then, you may start writing. When developing your notes into the well-structured sentences, do not forget to use vivid language. For instance, the sentence “I always wanted to become a nurse” is rather vague. To express your interest in nursing, you may say: “I always considered a nursing career as the instrument for doing good for people, as well as reaching the inner balance. That is why this field is a perfect fit for my career goals and interests.” Keep in mind that your narrative story should stand out from other stories. Therefore, you need to make language choices accordingly. There should be no slang, no profanity, no inappropriate jokes, etc. Moreover, you need to pay attention to the overall tone of your message. As such, we recommend you to stay confident without seeming arrogant.
To bring you the expected result, your personal statement should be very interesting and engaging. We assure you that the application officers are tired of looking through the standard application papers. To make your statement truly outstanding, you need to present your candidacy from different perspectives. Keep in mind that your personal statement is your opportunity to introduce yourself and influence the decision of the admission committee.
Your personal statement opening lines should be funny, personal, and engaging. They should also contain some “hook” that will grab the reader’s attention and make him/her read your story until the very last lines. You may start your introduction by describing some of your previous experiences in an engaging way, telling the anecdote, or writing a quote that characterizes you. In any way, keep in mind that your introduction should be well-written because it starts your personal statement.
The personal statement introduction is always followed by the main body, in which you will explain your interest in this educational institution and tell the application committee what helped you make this choice. In this section, you also need to tell about your experiences in detail. However, you do not need to include everything you remember from your childhood and adolescence. Make sure to select two or three the most meaningful episodes and explain how they influenced the development of your personality. Divide your main body into several paragraphs and make sure to discuss one episode in one paragraph.
Finally, when writing your conclusion, you should restate your motivation and express your gratitude for reviewing your statement.
Common Personal Statement Tips
Try to make your personal statement appealing and persuasive. Keep in mind that your goal is to convince the application committee that your skills, interests, qualifications, and hobbies are a good fit for this particular educational institution.
Emphasize your scientific interests. You need to show that you are a determined and goal-oriented person ready to broaden the horizons and push the limits. After all, a great student is not only about the study. A great student is a leader, who inspires and motivates others gradually moving to reach the short-term and long-term goals.
Please, note that every program has its own requirements. Even the personal statements can have different titles such as “Statement of Purpose” or “Admission Essay.” If you want to reach success with your paper, you should not only make it engaging and appealing but also follow the requirements precisely.
Three Elements of a Good Start
Basically, the opening of your personal statement should include the following parts:
- The Why Part: Start from explaining the situation that made you think about the future career. For instance, if you want to be a nurse, present some episode from your childhood when you failed to help someone because of the lack of knowledge and skills.
- The Surprise Part. The shocking personal statement opening lines are always good in attracting the reader’s attention. For instance, when writing an essay about being a vegetarian, you may start it with the words, “Since childhood, I was taught to be a killer.”
- The Confession Part. We assure you that revealing something personal info about yourself, you establish warm relations with your reader on the basis of trust.
Common APA Personal Statement Format Guidelines
So, how do you format a personal statement? Students are often puzzled by the fact that this kind of paper should be in line with APA rules. Of course, this is not a research work and not a doctoral dissertation so, you do not need to present a running head. Similarly, there will be no reference or abstract pages. Meanwhile, some aspects should be considered while formatting a personal statement:
- Your paper should be double-spaced unless your instruction requires something else;
- Your text should have one-inch margins at the top, bottom, left, and right sides;
- The first word of every paragraph in your personal statement should be indented one-half inch.
- The APA requires using Times New Roman size 12 font.
Personal Statement for Residency: Common Rules
A residency personal statement should answer the following questions:
- What specifically draws you to the area chosen? Keep in mind that you should clearly understand the specific features of your personality and your motivation should be very strong;
- What qualities or skills will help you succeed during residency? (do you have good communication skills? Do you have specific skills that will help you deal with patients? Do you have efficient leadership skills or experience in research?);
- What are the specific attributes that will help you in the position chosen? Why your candidacy is a good fit for residency training?
- What are your long-term goals? What setting you are going to practice in? What kind of professional nurse you are going to become?
- Are you a team player? Can you make important decisions when the situation demands? What can your colleagues tell about you?
- If you are applying to a specific program, make sure to explain what attracts you in this program.
How to Make a Personal Statement Interesting and Convincing?
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All in all, writing a personal statement for residency may be rather challenging especially if you do not possess a set of good writing and research skills. However, practice makes perfect! Follow our advice and become a good personal statement writer!
Peculiarities of Writing a Personal Statement which Best Reflects You
The steps to writing an effective personal statement are:
- choose a suitable topic which you are interested in;
- grab the attention of your audience;
- show the aim behind your chosen topic;
- read your paper aloud.
What about the length of the paper? If you are wondering how long should a personal statement be, our answer is that you should strictly follow the requirements given by admission officers. It seems not that hard, right? Read them attentively and stick to them while writing. Usual limits are 1 or 2 pages and 500 to 800 words.
If you desire to go through the grad school application process on your own, our writers have created the list of requirements or clues that will be useful in writing:
Pay attention to the requirements
All personal statements need to be crafted and adjusted according to the requirements of each school. If you mention details like why the program interests you the most, you are welcome to include some specific facts about this program. Admission officers will see that you are indeed interested in the enrollment and carried out a research to learn more about this educational establishment.
Details about your personality should be mentioned
A graduate school application process is oftentimes difficult to experience because one has to mention some key details about his/her personality. Some students think “I do not have any prominent features that make me better than others” or anything of this sort, but it is actually not true. You simply have to brainstorm the most engaging situations that influenced your development. You can show that your worldview was shaped with, for example, one strange occurrence in the bus. Try not only to enumerate the facts from your life but also relate them to your experience and the formation of personal opinions.
Show that you are a goal-oriented person
While reading your personal statement, admission officers must feel that you are highly committed to reaching your goals. Show them that you have a direction that guides you towards pursuing some professional qualities. At the same time, you must mention that you are an open-minded person that is always eager to learn something new, no matter how difficult it will be. Here you have to reach the “golden mean” – do not sound to confident that you will definitely overcome all studying hurdles, but show that you will go to great lengths to cope with them.
All writing directions must be strictly followed
Professional application paper should include the exact amount of words that was mentioned in the requirements. If you was asked to write 900, do not make it 901. This one excessive word will show that you are not able to adhere to the basic writing requirements. Admission officers are not high school teachers who will put an A+ regardless of some small paper flaws.
Avoid long sentences
Do not include too long sentences because you have to prioritize the content. Usually, personal statements are short, but you will have to include a big number of details. Therefore, get rid of some too elaborate sentences that do not reflect any significant value.
Introduction must catch reader’s attention
You can write about a funny situation from your life that will interest the reader. However, too personal/emotional details must be excluded because the aforementioned writing presumes a high degree of formality.
Answer the questions from the application form
Some students ask “What is a personal statement?” or “How to write main body paragraphs in a personal statement?” The main body paragraphs should provide answers to the questions mentioned in the application form. If you were not given this questionnaire, you have to mention personal and academic experiences.
Main ideas should be summarized in the ending
The key discussed aspects from the main body paragraphs should be summarized in the conclusion. In addition, you can also mention how the desired job position will help you attain professional goals.
Statement of Purpose vs. Personal Statement
Statement of Purpose
Includes the student’s personal motivation for applying to the specific educational institution. Explains how the applicant developed his/her research interests. Indicates relevant experiences, challenges, or accomplishments.
Includes information about academic background, skills, research interests, as well as career goals. Explains why the applicant is interested in a certain program.
Level of Formality
The typical length for both essays is approximately 1-3 double-spaced pages
A personal statement is a biography-type paper. When working on this piece, you need to include information about your previous experiences and current research interests. Such an essay should sound appealing and engaging proving that you are a good fit for the program chosen. A good personal statement should focus on the applicant’s personal accomplishments, as well as academic strengths that may help the applicant become a valuable asset in the college or university chosen. Moreover, this paper should clearly explain what has helped the applicant to make such a choice. Providing the admission committee members with information about relevant life experiences, you will be able to write a winning personal statement. As for the tone, it is usually not formal.
Statement of Purpose
This paper is similar to a cover letter. Although you may start with an introduction that is less formal, the overall tone of your paper should be rather formal. Such an essay focuses on specific career interests, as well as the reasons why you can succeed in the position chosen. Basically, you need to explain why are you going to pursue a career in the specific field and what professional qualities will help you to do that.
Many students often confuse these two papers, though it is not quite right. Whereas both of these essays should tell about your interest in the specific position, they usually contain different information. The statement of purpose highlights the academic background, mentioning the key accomplishments and career goals. In other words, you need to explain why are you fitting a specific position.
A personal statement, on the contrary, focuses mainly on what kind of person you are and what personal skills will help you reach the desired outcome.
A vast majority of programs will ask you to submit only one of the essays. However, there are some structured programs that will require both of them.
So, let us summarize:
When working on a personal statement, you need to:
- Tell your personal story;
- Indicate your motivation;
- Explain what challenges you had to overcome to understand your career aspirations.
When working on a statement of purpose, you need to:
- Explain your future career goals;
- Research information about the specific educational institution and career opportunities offered there;
- Explain why you are a good match for this academic environment;
- Make an emphasis on your accomplishments.
UC Personal Statement Example
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