Personal Statement

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

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

  • sell your abilities 
  • show aspects of yourself that will not be developed in other areas of your application
  • serve as your pitch for what makes you an ideal applicant

Types of Personal Statements

These are two types of personal statement prompts:
  1. One that is general and comprehensive. This type of essay is usually for Medical or Law School. For example, "Write a personal statement describing your experiences and goals."
  2. A response to specific questions. This type of essay is usually for business and graduate School. For example, "Explain why this program is a best fit for you" or "Tell us about an accomplishment that is important to you."
More specific prompt examples include the following:
  • Medical School - Use this section of the application to compose a personal essay explaining why you want to study the field of medicine. 
  • Law School - Please provide a separate essay not to exceed two double-spaced typed pages using 12 point font. In this essay you may discuss attributes, experiences, or interests that would enable you to make a distinctive contribution to the law school and/or legal profession. 
  • Business School 
    • In 600 words or less, briefly assess your career progress to date. Elaborate on your future plans and motivation for pursuing an MBA.
    • Complete the following statement, 'people may be surprised to learn that I...'
    • Tell us about an accomplishment you are proud of and how it relates to the person you are. 

Examples of Personal Statements

Read the dos & don'ts of personal statements here

3 Basic Parts of Successful Personal Statements

1. Tell your story

  • include pertinent background and qualifications
  • skills
  • experiences
  • personal attributes

2. Discuss your future

  • tie your qualifications and past experiences to your future short-term and long-term goals
  • allow for change and adaptability

3. Explain how the graduate program connects your story to your future

  • articulate this clearly and think about your fit to the particular program and how this opportunity will help you achieve your academic and/or professional goals