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10 Things to Include in your Personal Statement - Undergraduate, Graduate & Beyond

By Kristie Lorette

Writing your personal statement is your opportunity to shine. It is your opportunity to describe yourself, list the reasons you are interested in becoming part of the institution you are applying for, and the goals that you have set for yourself to achieve. The personal statement is also your platform for elaborating on the abilities that you possess that are not reflected in the standard form questions that you complete on an application. Finally, by completing your personal statement, you are showing the review board that you have the ability to organize your thoughts and that you can write clearly and effectively.

10 Things you should include in a personal statement:

1. List and thoroughly explain your personal experiences and qualifications. Be as specific as possible. Your experiences may be related to school, extracurricular activities, community service, or work experience.

2. Explain what makes you special, unique or impressive. Set yourself apart from your competition. Explain why you should be chosen over the other applicants that are volleying for your position in the institution.

3. List and fully explain the specific reasons that you are interested in attending this institution. It may be that they offer a course of study that no other institution does. It may be that they have the top medical school in the country and you want to me the top brain surgeon in the country. Also include how you came to know of the institution and/or field of study that you are interested in pursuing.

4. Explain and describe any work experience that you may have as it applies to your interest in your course of study. Relevant work experience may be what sparked your interest in pursuing this line of study or the line of work that you would eventually like to take on as a career. For example, maybe you volunteered in a battered women's shelter and this has sparked your interest in becoming a social worker. You feel that studying social work will prepare you for a career in social work, which will allow you to help try and change or better certain aspects of society.

5. Describe your career goals. Be as specific as possible. For example, don't just say that you want to be a doctor, when what you really want to be is a pediatric researcher. Explain the rationale behind you choosing to set these career goals for yourself. Maybe what sparked your goal was that your baby cousin died of a rare disease and you want to be able to conduct medical research, specifically for children, to try and find new and innovative cures for certain diseases that affect kids.

6. List the skills and achievements that you have accomplished. Provide supporting evidence as to how you accomplished the achievements or why you received the awards that you have listed.

7. Describe your most prominent characteristics and attributes. Again, provide supporting evidence to show how these attributes are beneficial to your growth and to their organization.

8. Fully describe some responsibilities that have you taken on and what you learned from them.

9. Describe some difficulties in life that you managed to overcome. Describe how you were able to overcome these difficulties and what you learned from these difficult times or incidents.

10. Make sure that you have written a complete personal statement that includes a strong and attention grabbing opening paragraph. This should be followed by the main section of your personal statement, spelling out all of the details that are listed above. Finally, you should have a strong conclusion which ties the entire essay together. Also be sure to reiterate your interest on becoming part of their institution.

Remember that having to write a personal statement is your opportunity to shine like the sun. Be sure to include these 10 items to ensure that you submit a complete personal statement. And most importantly, be sure to put a positive spin on everything that is on your list to include. You are painting a picture of yourself with words and you need them to impress the reader enough to see you in the positive light that you are standing in!

About the Author

Review more industry related articles by Kristie Lorette at CareersandEducation.com. Kristie Lorette is a CareersandEducation.com feature writer that often covers topics relating to Campus and Online Degree Programs and Career Planning.

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