Barbara P.
Barbara P.

How to Write a Compelling Personal Statement for Colleges

12 min read

Published on: Aug 4, 2020

Last updated on: Dec 25, 2022

Personal Statement

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A personal statement essay is a type of essay to state your skills, expertise, and achievements. It is a crucial part of college applications.

Most students lose the chance of getting admission to their desired college because they aren’t able to write this essay well.

Therefore, everyone needs to understand the complete writing process. It is better to divide this task into manageable steps that will help you write a strong statement.

Here is what you will learn about writing a personal statement for college in this blog;

  • College personal statement explanation
  • Importance of a personal statement for college admission process
  • The reasons colleges ask for personal statements
  • Good personal statement for college examples
  • Analysis of the personal statements that why those work

Have a look at this guide with examples to get an idea of how to start a personal statement.

What is a College Personal Statement?

A personal statement is a special type of college essay. It is typically written when a student is applying for admission and scholarship programs in universities. It is used to support your admission application.

This statement provides a great opportunity for students to share about who you are and why you fit for a particular program. The main aim is to highlight the skills, accomplishments, goals, and interests of a student in a job or college application. It helps to make the candidate stand out from other applicants.

Writing a convincing statement requires proper planning and preparation. Through this type of essay, the admission committee gets to know the student better by analyzing his/her personality.

A college or university application is more detailed as it consists of three to four paragraphs. However, the statements written for CVs and jobs comprise a single paragraph.

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Purpose of a Personal Statement

A statement tells the reader about the life experiences, qualities, or beliefs that can not be found in a resume. A student should clearly know its purpose while writing it. Moreover, the content must be clear, organized, well-written, and in the applicant’s own voice and words.

The following is the primary purpose of a statement.

For Colleges: The personal essay is the best way for the college admission committee to know you better. It is better to tell a story or provide examples rather than a list of accomplishments.

For Scholarship applications: This type of statement clearly shows why you are capable of getting the scholarship. Thus, highlight your academic performance and goals to show why you deserve the scholarship.

For Both: It must show your strengths and positive aspects. However, you can also add weaknesses but make sure not to focus more on the negative characteristics. It is your chance to show the real you in front of the admission committee.

Supplemental Essay: It is an additional essay that the students sometimes submit along with a personal statement. Sometimes, the college asks for both kinds of essays. Therefore, it is better to check the college’s requirements before beginning with your application.

A personal statement tells the admission officers about the following things;

1. Personal statements give a good idea of your personal and academic history.

Finally, your academic, personal, and professional histories may all influence your acceptance to a college program. However, there is a significant difference between a personal statement and a resume or CV.

2. It gives college admissions personnel a clear picture of your academic objectives.

Your background should be discussed in your college personal statement, and it must be integrated into the program and goals you've chosen.

The tools, resources, and background you bring to the table must be integrated with your institution's profile. In the business world, this idea is known as "vertical alignment."

In other words, the way you describe your background should set you apart from other college candidates while also connecting with your objectives. Your background provides you with all of the skills you'll need to achieve your goals!

Small advances may lead to significant results in admissions essays.

3. Personal statements are tailored to answer very specific questions.

Frequently, your college application will need you to apply to a certain program and ask very detailed questions. Applying to your university's business school, for example, would require you to respond to distinct application essay prompts than applying to a performing arts school.

Also, be sure to research not only the university's profile but also your chosen field of study and professors in that area.

Personal Statement Format

A personal statement is like a cover letter that shows your passion for getting a job or admission to a college. It also highlights your skills and explains how this job or college will help you to reach your goal.

When you start writing the personal statement, the first thing you should know is its format. Below-given is a personal statement format that you can use.

  • It should be five to eight paragraphs.
  • Times New Roman font is used.
  • Font size must be 12pt.
  • The word limit should be 500 to 700.
  • Single-space is used for paragraph spacing.
  • It must include a page number and a header.

Below we have mentioned a detailed template for you to get an idea.

How to Write a Personal Statement for College to Impress?

“How do you write a powerful personal statement?”

Writing a good personal statement is a crucial task for some students. You can easily write a statement by breaking it into three main sections, i.e., introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. The following is a detailed description of what to add in all of these sections.

1. Show or Reflect Your Personality

“How do you begin a personal statement?”

Your personal statement’s introduction is an important part of your application and must reflect your personality. It explains why you are interested in the respective college and program.

However, where your GPA and transcripts tell the admissions committee about your academic expertise, a college personal statement will give them a sense of your personality.

Your SAT score or GPA would be the same as many other students but no two students are the same and the admission officers know this. Therefore, they look for other things beyond these to determine whether they would be a good fit for the college.

Start by mentioning the relevant skills or experience that you have. It is the best way to capture the audience's attention in the opening paragraph.

While writing a personal statement for a common app, describe the college’s general elements that align with your passion.

2. Personal Statement Body Paragraphs

In the main body of the statement, state your relevant skills, interests, and experiences. You should also write about academic goals, achievements, and talents. Also, describe why you are a suitable candidate for their college or university.

Also, find the perfect words for your statement that sound professional and impose a great impression of your personality. Keep in mind, two paragraphs are enough for writing a college statement.

Here are some key elements that you should mention in the body paragraphs:

  • Write about your degrees, certifications, awards, and positions you have held related to the college or job.
  • State the skills and extracurricular activities that you learned in high school or career life.
  • Mention the academic and professional experience that makes you the perfect candidate.
  • Describe how a particular course program will help you achieve your future career goals.
  • Give valid reasons why this college or job is right for you.

Additionally, if your academic record is reflecting any gap, the admission officers want to know the reasons for it and how you overcame it.

Since diversity and inclusivity are now more than welcome, colleges are interested to know about your story and how you came out of difficult situations.

3. Personal Statement Conclusion

“How do I end a personal statement?”

Write a conclusion that leaves a lasting impression on the admission officers. Moreover, discuss the following elements:

  • Discuss your short and long-term academic or career goals.
  • Summarize the main points of the personal statement.
  • Link the conclusion with the introduction paragraph.
  • State your enthusiasm for the opportunity.

The conclusion paragraph for a college personal statement is one paragraph. However, for the job, it must be a single sentence.

4. Proofread and Edit before Final Submission

Once you are done writing your personal statement, it is time to fine-tune it properly. No matter what kind of assignment it is, you must not hit that ‘Submit’ button before editing and proofreading it properly.

When proofreading, check your personal statement for the following things;

  • Spelling and grammar
  • Relevancy
  • Specificity
  • Passive voice
  • Clear phrasing
  • Simple and easy-to-understand language

Review your personal statement properly before the final submission. This will make sure that your final document is free from all kinds of errors and irrelevant content.

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College Personal Statement Examples

Here is a detailed personal statement example for a university application;

My name is Samantha and I am a recent graduate of the University of Southern California's Marshall School of Business, where I earned my BBA. In addition to my degree, I have also gained valuable experience working in the financial services industry.

I am now interested in pursuing a career in investment banking and I believe that an MBA will give me the skills and knowledge I need to be successful in this field. I am confident that I have what it takes to excel in an investment banking career and I am eager to put my skills to the test.

I have always been interested in finance and the stock market, and I believe that working in investment banking will allow me to combine my interests with my business skills.

I am excited to begin my career in investment banking and I believe that an MBA will give me the best possible foundation on which to build my future. Thank you for your consideration.

Why did this Personal Statement Work?

  • It is well-organized

The applicant has laid out all the important details in the start. She has detailed both about her education and work experience. She has added how an MBA would help her meet her goal of working in her chosen field.

It is properly organized and it answers all the questions properly.

  • It has a personal touch

Instead of presenting all the academic and work details like a resume, the candidate has to present them in a conversational manner. Her academic background is very strong and in line with the career, she wants to pursue. This presents her as a strong candidate

Holistic Profile Personal Statement Example for a College Application

I am a senior in high school and have been working hard to get into college. I have always had a passion for learning and helping others, and I hope to pursue a career in the medical field. I have taken many challenging courses throughout my high school career and have maintained a high GPA.

In addition to my academic achievements, I have also been involved in extracurricular activities and have held leadership positions in several organizations. I am confident that I have the skills and determination to succeed in college and beyond.

I am a highly motivated, energetic, and hardworking individual with an excellent academic record. I have been able to learn new skills quickly and apply them to accomplish specific tasks. My years of experience working in academia have sharpened my analytical thinking, creativity, and problem-solving abilities.

I believe that continuous learning has always been crucial to my academic success. Furthermore, I have good communication and interpersonal skills that allow me to easily connect with people from diverse backgrounds. My proven leadership skills allow me to effectively manage others during group projects and activities.

I am a natural leader who is able to motivate and inspire others to achieve common goals. In addition, I possess excellent written and verbal communication skills that have been honed through years of academic writing and presentation.

These skills have allowed me to effectively communicate my ideas and thoughts to others, as well as provide constructive feedback when needed. My additional experiences in customer service and sales have also taught me the importance of providing excellent service and creating positive relationships with customers.

I am a highly organized and detail-oriented individual who is able to handle multiple tasks simultaneously. I have excellent time management skills that allow me to prioritize my work and meet deadlines. My years of experience working in a fast-paced environment have taught me how to effectively manage my time and resources. Furthermore, I am able to adapt quickly to new situations and thrive in a dynamic environment.

I believe that I have the necessary skills to excel in a demanding, fast-paced environment and am confident that my skills and experiences can be utilized by your organization. Thank you for taking the time to consider my application. I look forward to hearing from you soon!

Why did this Personal Statement Work?

It answered the questions directly

It informs the readers about the academic background and skills of the candidate. By doing this, he has positioned himself as a suitable candidate that possesses the required qualities and skills.

It is brief and easy to skim through

The word count is just under the 500-word limit. It is important to abide by the rules given by the colleges if you want to leave a positive impression. This personal statement is perfect as it has just enough word count and it answers the necessary points.

It hits multiple points in a single attempt

Now this is something difficult to achieve because in doing so, the students end up listing down the skills. This leaves a negative impression. Interestingly, this personal statement presents multiple skills and qualities of the student while not feeling like a mundane list.

Here are some more examples of personal statements for you to understand better.

Tips for Writing a Personal Statement

Here are some essay tips for the students to follow while writing a good personal statement.

  • Take Your Time: If you want to bring quality to your essay, take your time and then start writing. It will help you come up with unique ideas.
  • Reveal Something New about Yourself: It is one of the important elements in the statement. Grab the reader’s attention by adding something new about yourself. It will help to add dimension to your application.
  • Highlight your Strengths: Highlighting your strengths is the main purpose of this essay. Thus, you should impress the reader with your strengths and avoid mentioning the weaknesses.
  • Use Dialogue: Use dialogue in your statement to break the long paragraphs. This strategy will bring some action to the story. However, do not add excessive dialogues, as it will make your essay sound like a movie script.
  • Don’t Repeat: Avoid repetition as it will lose the charm of your essay and the interest of the reader. Also, do not add unnecessary and boring information.
  • Looks Professional: Keep in mind, do not casually describe your personal experience. Instead, your statement must look professional and formal.
  • Proofread: Proofread your statement and revise it. Make sure that your writing piece is free of all grammar, spelling, and punctuation mistakes.

Every student has to submit such a personal statement when applying to a college, medical, or graduate school. Thus, writing an impressive one is a difficult and challenging task.

If you are facing trouble in the writing process, consult It is the best essay writing service with a professional team of experts.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What should you not write in a personal statement?

These are the things you should not write in a personal statement:

  1. Negative discussions
  2. Not mentioning your abilities
  3. Exaggerations
  4. Poor grammatical mistakes
  5. Stating obvious facts
  6. Very much childhood connotations
  7. Monotonous words

How do you brag about yourself in a personal statement?

Although it is recommended not to brag about yourself in a personal statement. However, you can try telling your skills and achievements in the essay. Also, mention your future aspirations and how you plan to achieve them.

Can you end a personal statement with thank you?

No, you should not end a personal statement with thank you. Instead, you should write an impactful conclusion that summarizes the whole statement.

Barbara P.


Barbara P., Literature, Marketing

Dr. Barbara is a highly experienced writer and author who holds a Ph.D. degree in public health from an Ivy League school. She has worked in the medical field for many years, conducting extensive research on various health topics. Her writing has been featured in several top-tier publications.

Dr. Barbara is a highly experienced writer and author who holds a Ph.D. degree in public health from an Ivy League school. She has worked in the medical field for many years, conducting extensive research on various health topics. Her writing has been featured in several top-tier publications.

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