Writing Personal Statements

A personal statement is sometimes known as an “Application Essay” or “Statement of Purpose.” At the very basic, they are essays written that answer a question or series of questions.

Topics and questions in personal statements can vary widely from school to school. Questions can be broad or specific. It all depends on the particular school.

Follow these guidelines and you will be well on your way to successfully writing your personal statement.

  • Read the questions carefully and make sure that you address all aspects of the question(s).
  • Know what your limits are in terms of space, number of words/sentences, etc. Adhere to the guidelines carefully.
  • Always think about your essay as your “speech” to a potential graduate program.
  • Stay away from irrelevant or sensitive information.
  • Be careful to avoid any clichés, like “I have always wanted to be a…since I was a small child.”
  • Do not make any false claims or embellish the truth. 

It is also important that your essay contain absolutely no spelling errors, grammatical mistakes or anything of that nature. Utilize the University Writing Center for assistance with these items, and also for help in formulating the essay.

For a review of the non-grammatical structure of your essay, please schedule an appointment with your Career Consultant through Handshake or call the Center for Career Development at 412.396.6644.