Personal statements are short essays often written as part of an application (for graduate study, study abroad, a job, an internship, a scholarship....). Some personal statement instructions ask specific questions and offer specific length requirements; others leave the topic and length more open and allow you to figure it out yourself.

Resources:

Two-part UWC video series (available below) for anyone applying to a graduate or professional school: how to write thoughtful, eloquent personal statements that will help you stand out in a competitive field.

Part I: Writing Personal Statements: strategies for composing personal statements, including how to choose what to write about, how to break down essay writing into a manageable series of tasks, and how to avoid common pitfalls. UWC Writing Specialist Lucy Green anticipates your concerns in this video (full of useful slides along the way).

Part II: Faculty Panel Discussion: Personal Statements: JMU Graduate school faculty members who have served on selection committees share invaluable advice for applicants. They discuss what qualities most impress them, what they're tired of reading about, and tips for addressing poor academic performance in personal statements. Athough the panelists come from programs in health and behavioral fields, their reflections and suggestions will help anyone working on an application essay.

PowerPoint tutorial on writing personal statements (a UWC-created resource)

Overview of personal statements for graduate school

"How to Write a Great Statement of Purpose"

Types and purposes of personal statements; dos and don'ts

Drafting, formatting, and a sample statement 

_____________

Part I: Writing Personal Statements

Part II: Faculty Panel Discussion: Personal Statements

Back to Top