What Is A Personal Statement For College And How To Write One

This article will basically cover what personal statement for college students are and how to write one. After reading this, you will have a vivid picture of how a personal statement is to be structured.

The table of content is below to see all we will discuss.

What is a personal statement?

A personal statement is a chance for you to explain why you want to study a particular course or subject and what skills and experience you have that show your enthusiasm for your chosen field.

You have the chance to make a first strong impression on universities and the sooner you start writing your personal statement, the more opportunities you give yourself to polish and refine it.

A great personal statement can help set you apart from other candidates with comparable grades and experience. Don’t leave your chances of getting into your university of choice to luck – make a plan for crafting a winning personal statement. 

Most people think that your personal statement will only count for about 10% of your overall university application, but that’s not true. Your personal statement can actually account for 30% of how well you are accepted! Why?

Rejected applicants who were accepted later on were almost guaranteed to have been offered a place with their personal statement. For example, there was a student named Bob.

He applied to university three times before he finally got in because his grades weren’t the greatest and he wasn’t the most extroverted person around.

During the last year of school, Bob kept getting in touch with the admissions team and asking them questions about what they liked about his application.

He eventually asked for help with his personal statement, and after working with the admissions team for a few months, he made an incredible transformation from an average applicant to one whose GPA was perfect and could hold his own during interviews on Skype.  

See Also: 8 Tips On How To Write A Personal Statement For College In 2022 | Examples

What’s the purpose of a personal statement?

Your personal statement should tell the admissions committee something unique about you that your resume or transcript cannot express.

It’s important to give colleges a sense of who you are and what you bring to the table. That’s why it can be more effective to tell a story or give examples rather than just list accomplishments.

Your personal statement should complement the other parts of your application, and it should tell a story about who you are.

Planning ahead will help you make the most of your personal statement, and not repeat the same ideas in your college essay and short essays. 

How do you start writing a personal statement?

1. Plan what you want to cover

The first thing you need to do is commit to the project. If you write your personal statement off the top of your head, you’re likely to get writer’s block.

Start by making some notes and answering the following questions: 

  • What do you want to study? 
  • Why do you want to study it? 
  • What is there about you that shows you’re suited to studying this subject at university? Think about your personality, as well as your experiences. 
  • What are your other interests and skills? 

Use these points to form the backbone of your personal statement. You might compile them as a bulleted list or as part of a mind map.

The aim is to get it clear in your own head why a university should offer you a place on its course. jotting down notes can help with that, and some people find it helpful to carry a notebook with them or set up a memo on their phone.

When inspiration comes, jot it down. Inspiration sometimes comes more easily when you’re thinking about something else entirely. 

2. Show off your experience

Some things are just not worth adding to your personal statement.

Your qualifications and hobbies, for example, should be left out of your personal statement since they haven’t been selected by the admission tutors as a topic for your personal statement.

Also, it is not the topic of your hobby or qualification that interests an admissions tutor, but the experience you have in this field.

Be sure to share your past experiences about how these hobbies or qualifications have affected you in some way and what you’ve learned from them.

Do not focus on writing an essay about what you’re studying at school. Instead, demonstrate your passion for your chosen subject by discussing the things you’re doing outside of school.

Use the following checklist: 

  • Your interest in the course.  
  • Why do you want to spend three years studying this subject at university? 
  • What have you done outside school or college that demonstrates this interest?  
  • Think about things like building tree forts, camping or hiking trips and visits to museums or historical sites that are relevant to your subject.  
  • Skills and qualities required for that career if appropriate (medicine, nursing and law as obvious examples). 

See Also: Copy our Physician Assistant Personal Statement Examples and Make it even Better

Check this out: 

Throughout adolescence, I’ve been consistently interested in biology. One of my most memorable experiences with biology began when I decided to start a school science journal club at my middle school.

Through this club, I was able to nurture my interest in biology, which led me to continue to explore the subject through advanced placement classes in high school.

During high school, I became very interested in animal behavior and completed several independent studies on a variety of topics ranging from bird flocking and mating rituals to the effects of environmental stimuli on habituation behavior in zebrafish.

My naturally inquisitive nature led me to acquire skills such as critical thinking and problem solving, both essential for successful completion of college-level coursework. When applying for university programs, I was attracted to the field of biological sciences because it combines many of my strengths and interests into one major area.

Additionally, I have always held a deep appreciation for animal life and hope to pursue zoology as a career after completing my undergraduate degree. 

See Also: Copy Our Medical School Personal Statement Examples (Make It Even Better)

3. Be bold about your achievements

Readers are drawn to people who are self-confident and assertive. To get their attention in your personal statement, you need to be bold.

Don’t shy away from building yourself up – that’s what you need to do to get the edge over other candidates.

Remember, this is your chance to sell yourself to the university of your dreams. Remember that you can only go up once you’ve been accepted so don’t be afraid to talk about your strengths. 

4. How to start your personal statement

In your first sentence, be straight to the point,  

“I want to do a course in X because I feel my passion for X has developed into a passion for the subject, and it is my belief that is what will help me to further develop my academic skills and the knowledge that I have gained from previous experience”.

See Also: How to Write a Powerful Personal Statement

5. Focus your writing on why you’ve chosen that subject

You’ve got your introduction done and you’re raring to go – time to nail the rest of it. Remember that you have to be a little careful when following a biography template.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of copying someone else’s style, and in the process lose all of your own voice and personality from your writing. After your opening paragraphs describing what you are like, get into your work experience.

Discuss any extracurriculars: hobbies, interests, volunteering. Touch on what you want to get out of this course – where do you see yourself in five years? Next mention how much you enjoy your current studies.

Show off your skills and qualities by explaining how you’ve used them in the past. 

6. How long should a personal statement be?

You have to be selective when writing your personal statement. It can be up to 4,000 characters long but the line count is important because you can only have a maximum of 47 lines.

You should put line breaks in between paragraphs (to make it more readable) and you’ll probably end up with something that is far too long.

This is where you get to do some polishing and pruning. Focus on the course that you want to apply for, why you want to do it and why you’re perfectly suited to it. Look through what you’ve written so far – has each point been snappy and succinct? 

See Also: Copy Our Medical School Personal Statement Examples (Make It Even Better)

7. Keep it simple

Don’t feel you need to write long and flowery descriptions – in fact, simple, punchy sentences are best. Make sure you include all the things that make you suited to this degree.

If you have leadership experience or interned at a newspaper or whatever, talk about that. And when you’re writing about your future plans and aspirations, remember it’s okay to be ambitious and dream big.

You don’t need to sound modest and embarrassed if you want to end up as an astronaut or prime minister! 

8. Sharp ways to end your personal statement

Your closing line should be bold and memorable, as it gives you the opportunity to emphasize all of the good stuff you’ve already covered.

Use this space to make it clear why you should get a place on the course. 

See Also: How to write a successful statement of purpose for grad school in 2022

Frequently asked questions about personal statements

A personal statement is an account of your achievements, talents, interests and goals often included in job or university applications or on resumes. Personal statements for university and jobs have similar content, but university personal statements are usually longer and more detailed 

‘The best personal statements get to the point quickly. ‘ ‘Start with a short sentence that captures the reason why you are interested in studying the area you are applying for and that communicates your enthusiasm for it. 

Your personal statement length can be up to 4,000 characters long. This may sound a lot, but it’s a word limit of around 550–1000 words with spaces and only about 1 side of typed A4 paper. You need to keep it concise and make sure it’s clear and easy to read. 

  • Read about the course you’re applying to. What does it involve? 
  • Make a plan 
  • Why have you chosen to apply for this course?  
  • What makes you suitable? 
  • Make sure it’s well written. 
  • Explain your examples. 
  • Structure it clearly. 
  • Explain the reason for your choice and how it fits in with your aspirations for the
  • Give examples of any related academic or work experience. 
  • Show you know what the course will involve and mention any special subjects you’re interested in. 

7 Things to Avoid in Your Personal Statement are: 

  • Whining. Don’t whine in your essay! 
  • No one else should be a hero in your personal statement 
  • Lack of focus. 
  • Leaves out personal growth 
  • Overcomplicated language. 
  • Incorrect grammar or spelling. 

A personal statement should detail both academic achievements and extracurricular activities in a 75/25 split, with a focus on education. This will show that you’re a well-rounded person. Activities that you enjoy outside of the classroom can be used to support your subject choice 

Firstly- don’t wait to get started! 

Make a plan BEFORE you start writing. 

Know what’s expected. 

Perfect the format. 

Let your personality shine. 

Show real interest in the subject. 

Tell them why should they choose you. 

Get someone to proofread your writing. 

Firstly, and most crucially: never, ever lie in your personal statement. If you do, it will almost certainly come back to haunt you. Don’t make up qualifications or pretend you’ve read books when you haven’t (even if you’ve read little bits of them). 


In conclusion, you will be hurting your chances of getting into university if you submit a personal statement with errors in grammar and spelling. You have months to finish this assignment, so there is no excuse for submitting something that looks like a rush job.

Ask your teachers to look over it and prepare to take their feedback without arguing. After following the advice in this guide, you are well on your way to completing your personal statement. Congratulations!

You should have ample time to make last-minute changes before it is due. Why not spend the next week doing something entirely different? Take a break from your personal statement and refresh your mind before diving back in to make final edits. 



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