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.

Personal Statements Overview: this UWC resource introduces types of personal statements, surveys a common structure, and identifies pitfalls.

Annotated Personal Statement: this UWC-created companion piece to the personal statements overview above points out the moves and choices in a student's personal statement for a graduate school application.

Two-part UWC video series 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 Bryan Malenke 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. Although 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)

Drafting your statement of purpose: the guidelines here are part of a suite of Purdue OWL resources focused on graduate school applications (but applicable to other purposes). Check out the menu links to the left of the page.

"How to Write a Great Statement of Purpose": an introspective piece complete with a checklist.

General Guidelines for the Personal Statement: dos and don'ts for writing an effective statement.

Personal Statements and Application Letters: a discussion of how to prepare, draft, format, and revise your work, featuring a sample statement.

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