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How to Write a Personal Statement (with Tips and Examples)

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Hannah Yang

How to write a personal statement

Table of Contents

What is a personal statement, 6 tips on how to write a personal statement, personal statement examples (for college and university), faqs about writing personal statements, conclusion on how to write a personal statement.

How do you tell someone who you are in just a few hundred words?

It’s certainly no easy task, but it’s one almost every college applicant must do. The personal statement is a crucial part of any college or university application.

So, how do you write a compelling personal statement?

In this article, we’ll give you all the tools, tips, and examples you need to write an effective personal statement.

A personal statement is a short essay that reveals something important about who you are. It can talk about your background, your interests, your values, your goals in life, or all of the above.

Personal statements are required by many college admission offices and scholarship selection committees. They’re a key part of your application, alongside your academic transcript, standardized test scores, and extracurricular activities.

The reason application committees ask you to write a personal statement is so they can get to know who you are. 

Some personal statements have specific prompts, such as “Discuss a period of personal growth in your life” or “Tell us about a challenge or failure you’ve faced.” Others are more open-ended with prompts that essentially boil down to “Tell us about yourself.”

No matter what the prompt is, your goal is the same: to make yourself stand out to the selection committee as a strong candidate for their program.

Here are some things a personal statement can be:

It can be funny. If you have a great sense of humor, your personal statement is a great place to let that shine.  

It can be vulnerable. Don’t be afraid to open up about hardships in your life or failures you’ve experienced. Showing vulnerability can make you sound more like a real person rather than just a collection of application materials.  

It can be creative. Candidates have got into top schools with personal statements that take the form of “a day in the life” descriptions, third-person short stories, and even cooking recipes.

Now we’ve talked about what a personal statement is, let’s quickly look at what a personal statement isn’t:

It isn’t a formal academic paper. You should write the personal statement in your natural voice, using first-person pronouns like “I” and “me,” not in the formal, objective language you would use to write an academic paper.

It isn’t a five-paragraph essay. You should use as many paragraphs as you need to tell your story instead of sticking to the essay structure you learned in school.

It isn’t a resumé. You should try to describe yourself by telling a clear and cohesive story rather than providing a jumbled list of all of your accomplishments and ambitions.

personal statement definition

Here are our top six tips for writing a strong personal statement.

Tip 1: Do Some Serious Self-Reflection

The hardest part of writing a personal statement isn’t the actual process of writing it.

Before you start typing, you have to figure out what to write about. And that means taking some time to reflect on who you are and what’s important in your life.

Here are some useful questions you can use to start your self-reflection. You can either answer these on your own by writing down your answers, or you can ask a trusted friend to listen as you talk about them together.

What were the key moments that shaped your life? (e.g. an important friendship, a travel experience, an illness or injury)

What are you proud of? (e.g. you’re a good listener, you always keep your promises, you’re a talented musician)

How do you choose to spend your time? (e.g. reading, practicing soccer, spending time with your friends)

What inspires you? (e.g. your grandmother, a celebrity, your favorite song)

Doing this self-reflection is crucial for figuring out the perfect topics and anecdotes you can use to describe who you are.

Tip 2: Try to Avoid Cliché Topics

College application committees read thousands of personal statements a year. That means there are some personal statement topics they see over and over again.

Here are a few examples of common personal statement topics that have become cliché:

Winning a tournament or sports game

Volunteering in a foreign country

Moving to a new home

Becoming an older sibling

Being an immigrant or having immigrant parents

If you want to make a strong impression in the application process, you need to make your personal statement stand out from the crowd.

But if your chosen personal statement topic falls into one of these categories, that doesn’t necessarily mean you shouldn’t use it. Just make sure to put a unique spin on it so it still delivers something the committee hasn’t seen before.

how to write a personal statement that will make you stand out

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Tip 3: Show, Don’t Tell

One common mistake you might make in your personal statement is to simply tell the reader what you want them to know about you, such as by stating “I have a fear of public speaking” or “I love to cook.”

Instead of simply stating these facts, you should show the committee what you’re talking about through a story or scene, which will make your essay much more immersive and memorable.

For example, let’s say you want the committee to know you overcame your fear of public speaking. Instead of writing “I overcame my fear of public speaking,” show them what it was like to be onstage in front of a microphone. Did your palms get clammy? Did you feel light-headed? Did you forget your words?

Or let’s say you want the committee to know you love to cook. Instead of writing “I love to cook,” show them why you love to cook. What’s your favorite dish to cook? What does the air smell like when you’re cooking it? What kitchen appliances do you use to make it?

Tip 4: Connect the Story to Why You’re Applying

Don’t forget that the purpose of your personal statement isn’t simply to tell the admissions committee who you are. That’s an important part of it, of course, but your ultimate goal is to convince them to choose you as a candidate.

That means it’s important to tie your personal story to your reasons for applying to this specific school or scholarship. Finish your essay with a strong thesis.

For example, if your story is about overcoming your fear of public speaking, you might connect that story to your ambition of becoming a politician. You can then tie that to your application by saying, “I want to apply to this school because of its fantastic politics program, which will give me a perfect opportunity to use my voice.”

Tip 5: Write in Your Own Voice

The personal statement isn’t supposed to be written in a formal tone. That’s why they’re called “personal” statements because you have to shape it to fit your own voice and style.

Don’t use complicated or overwrought language. You don’t need to fill your essay with semicolons and big words, unless that’s how you sound in real life.

One way to write in your own voice is by speaking your personal statement out loud. If it doesn’t feel natural, it may need changing. 

Tip 6: Edit, Edit, Edit!

It’s important to revise your personal statement multiple times in order to make sure it’s as close to perfect as possible.

A single typo won’t kill your application, but if your personal statement contains multiple spelling errors or egregious grammar mistakes, you won’t be putting your best foot forward.

ProWritingAid can help you make sure your personal statement is as clean as possible. In addition to catching your grammar errors, typos, and punctuation mistakes, it will also help you improve weaknesses in your writing, such as passive voice, unnecessary repetition, and more.

Let’s look at some of the best personal statements that have worked for successful candidates in the real world. 

Harvard Personal Statement Example

Love. For a word describing such a powerful emotion, it is always in the air. The word “love” has become so pervasive in everyday conversation that it hardly retains its roots in blazing passion and deep adoration. In fact, the word is thrown about so much that it becomes difficult to believe society isn’t just one huge, smitten party, with everyone holding hands and singing “Kumbaya.” In films, it’s the teenage boy’s grudging response to a doting mother. At school, it’s a habitual farewell between friends. But in my Chinese home, it’s never uttered. Watching my grandmother lie unconscious on the hospital bed, waiting for her body to shut down, was excruciatingly painful. Her final quavering breaths formed a discordant rhythm with the steady beep of hospital equipment and the unsympathetic tapping hands of the clock. That evening, I whispered—into unhearing ears—the first, and only, “I love you” I ever said to her, my rankling guilt haunting me relentlessly for weeks after her passing. My warm confession seemed anticlimactic, met with only the coldness of my surroundings—the blank room, impassive doctors, and empty silence. I struggled to understand why the “love” that so easily rolled off my tongue when bantering with friends dissipated from my vocabulary when I spoke to my family. Do Chinese people simply love less than Americans do?

This is an excerpt from a personal statement that got the applicant admitted to Harvard University. The applicant discusses her background as a Chinese-American by musing on the word “love” and what that means within her family.

The writer uses vulnerable details about her relationship with her grandmother to give the reader an understanding of where she comes from and how her family has shaped her.  

You can read the full personal statement on the Harvard Crimson website.

Tufts Personal Statement Example

My first dream job was to be a pickle truck driver. I saw it in my favorite book, Richard Scarry’s “Cars and Trucks and Things That Go,” and for some reason, I was absolutely obsessed with the idea of driving a giant pickle. Much to the discontent of my younger sister, I insisted that my parents read us that book as many nights as possible so we could find goldbug, a small little golden bug, on every page. I would imagine the wonderful life I would have: being a pig driving a giant pickle truck across the country, chasing and finding goldbug. I then moved on to wanting to be a Lego Master. Then an architect. Then a surgeon. Then I discovered a real goldbug: gold nanoparticles that can reprogram macrophages to assist in killing tumors, produce clear images of them without sacrificing the subject, and heat them to obliteration. Suddenly the destination of my pickle was clear. I quickly became enveloped by the world of nanomedicine; I scoured articles about liposomes, polymeric micelles, dendrimers, targeting ligands, and self-assembling nanoparticles, all conquering cancer in some exotic way. Completely absorbed, I set out to find a mentor to dive even deeper into these topics. After several rejections, I was immensely grateful to receive an invitation to work alongside Dr. Sangeeta Ray at Johns Hopkins.

This is the beginning of a personal statement by Renner Kwittken, who was admitted into Tufts University as a pre-medical student.

Renner uses a humorous anecdote about being a pickle truck driver to describe his love for nanomedicine and how he got involved in his field. You can feel his passion for medicine throughout his personal statement.

You can find Renner’s full essay on the Tufts Admissions page.

Law School Personal Statement Essay Example

For most people, the slap on the face that turns their life around is figurative. Mine was literal. Actually, it was a punch delivered by a drill sergeant at Fort Dix, New Jersey, while I was in basic training. That day’s activity, just a few weeks into the program, included instruction in “low-crawling,” a sensible method of moving from one place to another on a battlefield. I felt rather clever for having discovered that, by looking right rather than down, I eliminated my helmet’s unfortunate tendency to dig into the ground and slow my progress. I could thus advance more easily, but I also exposed my unprotected face to hostile fire. Drill sergeants are typically very good at detecting this type of laziness, and mine was an excellent drill sergeant. So, after his repeated suggestions that I correct my performance went unheeded, he drove home his point with a fist to my face. We were both stunned. This was, after all, the New Army, and striking a trainee was a career-ending move for a drill sergeant, as we were both aware. I could have reported him; arguably, I should have. I didn’t. It didn’t seem right for this good sergeant, who had not slept for almost four days, to lose his career for losing his temper with my laziness. Choosing not to report him was the first decision I remember making that made me proud.

These are the first three paragraphs of an anonymous personal statement by a Wheaton College graduate, who used this personal statement to get into a top-25 law school.

This statement describes a time the applicant faced a challenging decision while in the army. He ended up making a decision he was proud of, and as a result, the personal statement gives us a sense of his character.

You can find the full essay on the Wheaton Academics website.

Here are some common questions about how to write a personal statement.

How Long Should a Personal Statement Be?

The length of your personal statement depends on the specific program you’re applying to. The application guidelines usually specify a maximum word count or an ideal word count.  

Most personal statements are between 500–800 words. That’s a good general range to aim for if you don’t have more specific guidelines.  

Should Personal Statements Be Different for Scholarships?

Many scholarship applications will ask for personal statements with similar prompts to those of college applications.

However, the purpose of a personal statement you’d write for a scholarship application is different from the purpose of one you’d write for a college application.

For a scholarship application, your goal is to showcase why you deserve the scholarship. To do that, you need to understand the mission of the organization offering that scholarship.

For example, some scholarships are meant to help first-generation college students get their degree, while others are meant to help women break into STEM.

Consider the following questions:

Why is this organization offering scholarships?

What would their ideal scholarship candidate look like?

How do your experiences and goals overlap with those of their ideal scholarship candidate?

You can use the same personal anecdotes you’d use for any other personal statement, but you’ll have a better chance of winning the scholarship if you tailor your essay to match their specific mission.

How to Start a Personal Statement

You should start your personal statement with a “hook” that pulls the reader in. The sooner you catch the reader’s attention, the more likely they’ll want to read the entire essay.

Here are some examples of hooks you can use:

A story (e.g. When the spotlight hit my face, I tried to remind myself to breathe. )

A setting description (e.g. My bedroom floor is covered with dirty laundry, candy wrappers, and crumpled sheet music. )

A funny anecdote (e.g. When I was a little kid, my friends nicknamed me Mowgli because of my haircut. )

A surprising fact (e.g. I've lived in 37 countries .)

There you have it—our complete guide to writing a personal statement that will make you stand out to the application committee.

Here’s a quick recap: 

A personal statement is a short essay that shows an application committee who you are

Start with a strong hook that pulls the reader in

Tell a story to engage the reader 

Write in your own voice, not in a formal tone

Good luck, and happy writing!

Hannah is a speculative fiction writer who loves all things strange and surreal. She holds a BA from Yale University and lives in Colorado. When she’s not busy writing, you can find her painting watercolors, playing her ukulele, or hiking in the Rockies. Follow her work on hannahyang.com or on Twitter at @hannahxyang.

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How To Write a Personal Statement That Stands Out

How To Write a Personal Statement That Stands Out

Table of contents

how to write a personal statement that will make you stand out

Laura Jane Bradbury

A personal statement is a chance to highlight your unique qualities, skills, and experiences, all while showcasing your personality.

But whether you're applying for university, a job, or funding, it can be daunting to write about yourself. To increase your chances of getting accepted, it's important to know how to create an effective personal statement.

In my six years as a copywriter, I’ve written many personal statements that get results. In this article, I’ll guide you through what to include, what to avoid, and how to tailor a personal statement based on your application type.

Key Takeaways

  • A personal statement is an opportunity to share your unique qualities, experiences, and skills.
  • It should always relate to the course, job, or funding you are applying for.
  • Include accomplishments and experiences that demonstrate how suited you are to the position or course you are applying for.
  • Use clear and simple language to ensure your points are understood.

Your personal statement should be concise and demonstrate how you fit the position or opportunity you’re applying for. It’s important to keep information relevant, rather than listing all of your skills and accomplishments.

Follow these steps to accurately write and tailor your statement.

Understand your prompt

Before you start, make sure you understand what's expected of you. Are there specific instructions, keywords, or phrases that stand out in your prompt? Read through it thoroughly and note the requirements. You can then brainstorm ideas for each point.

Let's say I'm applying for a university journalism course. I've been asked to write a statement that shares why I'm interested and why I would be a good fit. I can use columns to plan my content:

how to write a personal statement that will make you stand out

Putting your ideas together first makes it easier to stay on track. Otherwise, you might lose focus and include irrelevant information. 

Show, don't just tell

Once you’ve listed your experiences, skills, and accomplishments, consider how you can demonstrate them with examples. Take a look at the list you created during the previous exercise and organize your points so you have clear examples and proof.

how to write a personal statement that will make you stand out

This technique helps you demonstrate your experiences and how they tie in with your application.

When telling anecdotes, use engaging stories that demonstrate your skills. For instance, a story about how I handled a fast-paced news internship proves I work well under pressure. 

Start strong

Recruiters, application tutors, and funders read lots of personal statements. You can make yours stand out with an engaging introduction.

Examples of a strong opening include:

A meaningful statistic

This draws readers in and increases credibility: 

"Communication is the key to marketing success, according to Business Marketing News. With five years of experience communicating and delivering campaigns to global clients, I have the skills and passion to add value to your team."

A personal story

Anecdotes connect the reader with the author’s real-life experience: 

"My first exposure to microbiology was during my time as a research assistant for a microbiologist. I was fascinated by the complex and intricate processes within cells."

An alarming statement

This piques the reader’s interest by making an issue seem urgent:  

“ The fashion industry churns out clothes at an alarming rate, causing mass production of synthetic fibers and harsh chemicals which have a detrimental impact on the planet. Funding my sustainability initiative is vital to mitigating this environmental impact." 

Avoid cliches such as "From a young age, I have always loved...." and "For as long as I can remember, I have had a passion for..."

Pro tip: Use Wordtune Editor 's Shorten feature to cut unnecessary fluff and make your intro sharper. Simply type in your sentence and click Shorten to receive suggestions.

how to write a personal statement that will make you stand out

Get Wordtune for free > Get Wordtune for free >

Admission committees and employers appreciate sincerity and authenticity. While it may be tempting, avoid exaggeration. You can better emphasize your skills and personality by being honest. For instance, rather than claiming I read every type of newspaper in my journalism application, I can focus on my dedication to reading The New York Times.

Your writing style should also feel genuine. Instead of trying to impress with complex language and fancy words, keep sentences simple and direct . This makes them more effective because they’re easier to read. 

Address weaknesses

Addressing weaknesses can show your willingness to confront challenges. It also gives you a chance to share efforts you have made for improvement. When explaining a weakness, exclude excuses.

Instead of saying "I didn't achieve my expected grades due to work commitments impacting my studies," try “While I didn't achieve my expected grades, I am now working with a tutor to help me understand my weak areas so I can succeed in your program.”

Wordtune’s Spices feature can help you develop counterarguments to weaknesses. In the Editor, highlight your text, click on Spices, and then Counterargument . Here’s an example:

Wordtune Editor’s Spices feature can provide a counterargument to help you address weaknesses in a personal statement.

Using Wordtune’s suggestion, I can highlight my eagerness to learn and provide examples to support my argument.

Highlight achievements

This is your chance to shine! A personal statement should highlight your best qualities — provided they relate to your prompt.

Ask yourself:

  • What are your skills and strengths? Identify both academic and non-academic abilities such as critical thinking, problem-solving, and teamwork.
  • What challenges have you faced? Reflect on how you have overcome significant challenges and how these experiences have helped you grow. For example, completing a course, learning a new language, or starting a business.
  • What are your unique selling points? Consider what sets you apart from other applicants. For example, you may have a unique set of technical skills or experience learning in a different country.
  • How have your achievements shaped your goals and aspirations? Sharing your goals shows that you think long-term and have taken the time to make sure you’re applying for the right opportunity.

Connect with the institution or company

Tailor your statement to the specific institution or company you're applying to — this shows you understand their values and have carefully considered where you want to seek opportunities.

To do this, head to the company or institution’s website and look for the About page. Many organizations include a mission statement on this page that conveys its purpose and values.

Princeton University’s “In service of humanity” page highlights that they value supporting society and giving back.

For example, universities often include their values under “Community” or “Student Life” sections. Here, Princeton University’s “In Service of Humanity” section highlights how they value using education to benefit society. Applicants can engage with this by explaining how they interact with their communities and seek to use their education to help others.

You can also research a company or institution’s social media. Look for similarities — maybe you both prioritize collaboration or think outside the box. Draw upon this in your personal statement. 

End with a strong conclusion

A strong conclusion is clear, concise, and leaves a lasting impression. Use these three steps:

  • Summarize the main points of your statement. For example, “My experience volunteering for the school newspaper, along with my communication skills and enthusiasm for writing, make me an ideal student for your university."
  • Discuss your future . Share your future ambitions to remind the reader that you’ve carefully considered how the opportunity fits into your plans.
  • Include a closing statement. End on a positive note and offer the reader a final explanation for why you would be a great match. For instance, “Thank you for reviewing my statement. I am confident my skills and experience align with the role and your company culture.”

Tip: Learn more about writing an effective conclusion with our handy guide . 

Different types of personal statements

Now you know how to write a personal statement, let’s look at what to focus on depending on your application type.

how to write a personal statement that will make you stand out

The length of your personal statement will vary depending on the type. Generally, it should be around 500 words to 650 words . However, a university application is often longer than a statement for a job, so it’s vital to determine what is expected of you from the beginning.

Whatever the length, it’s important to remove and edit content fluff , including any repetition or copy that does not relate to your prompt.

Personal statement checklist

Use this checklist to ensure that your statement includes: 

  • An engaging introduction.
  • Clear examples of your experiences, skills, and expertise. 
  • A commitment to improvement, if required.
  • Any applicable achievements. 
  • A direct connection to the company or institution’s values.
  • A strong conclusion that summarizes information without adding new content.
  • Authentic, simple language.

Personal statements are an opportunity to delve deeper and share who you are beyond your grades or resume experience. Demonstrate your ability with anecdotes and examples, address any weaknesses, and remember to use genuine and simple language. This is your place to shine, so follow our tips while displaying your unique personality, and you’ll be sure to stand out from the crowd.

Want to get started and create a powerful introduction? Read our step-by-step guide .

What is the difference between a cover letter and a personal statement?

A cover letter expresses your interest in a position and introduces you to an employer. It’s typically shorter and focuses on your qualifications, skills, and experience for a particular role. A personal statement, however, is common for a job, internship, funding, or university application. It explores your background, goals, and aspirations, as well as your skills and experience.

What is the purpose of a personal statement?

A personal statement is an opportunity to stand out by detailing your background, experiences, and aspirations. It should explain why you are interested in and a good match for the company or institution you are applying to.

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Whether you want to apply to colleges, graduate programs, or competitive jobs, writing a persuasive personal statement will give you a leg up over the other applicants. A personal statement gives you a chance to express your qualifications, motivations, and long-term objectives in a way that gets hiring managers and admissions boards excited to meet you.

No matter why you’re writing a personal statement, we’re here to help you stand out from the crowd.

Key Takeaways:

To write a personal statement, first brainstorm, then narrow down your ideas, and start with an intro that leads into your qualifications.

Make sure to proofread your personal statement before submitting.

Personal statements describe your interests, skills, and goals, with a particular focus on your passion.

Personal statements are typically found in academia, however some professional organizations may also request one.

How To Write A Personal Statement (With Examples)

What Is a Personal Statement?

How to write a personal statement, tips for writing a strong personal statement, questions to ask yourself when writing a personal statement, when do i need a personal statement, academic personal statement examples, professional personal statement example, personal statement faq.

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A personal statement is a written work that describes your skills, areas of interest, accomplishments, and goals. It is typically included with a college or scholarship application, and sometimes used as part of job applications as well.

Personal statements are a chance for you to show an admissions board or a hiring committee what makes you special outside of your resume . Think of it as an in-depth cover letter where you get to detail not only your skills, but why you’re so passionate about the subject.

Short of an interview, it’s the best way to show your personality in a way that (hopefully) convinces someone to hire or admit you.

When you’re ready to write your statement, there are a few ways you can approach it. We’re going to go over a seven-step process so you can keep your thoughts organized and work through a process. Feel free to switch up the method, so it works for you.

Understand the prompt. Before you put pen to paper, make sure you understand the prompt and what is being asked of you. If there’s a specific set of questions you need to respond to, make sure you frame your thinking that way instead of just choosing a topic.

Brainstorm. Think of some ideas and an outline before you start writing. Consider how you can answer the prompt you’re given and what unique experiences you can bring to the table. The more options you have, the better off you’ll be.

Narrow it down. An excellent way to pick your final approach to draft a statement would be to jot down a few sentences for each idea you had. This helps you tell what topic is easiest to write about or what you feel most confident. No matter how you narrow down your ideas, you need to settle on the strongest one to convey your qualifications.

Start with an intro. Once you’re ready to write, you’ll want to write your opening paragraph first. This is a chance for you to introduce yourself and let people know who you are. Try to keep this paragraph short since it’s just an intro, and you’ll have more space to get into your qualifications in the next paragraph.

Write about your qualifications. When you write about your skills, make sure you align them with the job description or the program’s goals or university.

You can expand this section to a few paragraphs (if word count allows) and be sure to cover your achievements, qualifications, skills, talents, goals, and what you can bring to the program or organization.

One to three body paragraphs should suffice, with scholarship and graduate school personal statements being the longest of the bunch, and job personal statements being the shortest.

Sum up your argument. Your statement is a persuasive argument for why the committee should pick you. It should be a compelling summary of your qualifications, and it should show that you have a clear desire to work for the company.

Proofread. Look for any spelling or grammar errors and check to make sure your writing is clear and concise. Cut out anything that doesn’t fit or help paint a good picture of what kind of student or employee you are. You might want to show your draft to a few people to ensure everything sounds right.

No matter what approach you take to writing your statement, a few things hold. We’ll give you some tips to make your statement stand out from the rest.

Write to your audience. Chances are you have a good idea of who will be reading your application and personal statement, so try to gear your writing toward them. Think of what will persuade or impress them and incorporate that into your writing.

Stay truthful. It might be tempting to exaggerate the truth or smudge a little bit, but make sure you stay truthful. If you claim to have skills or experience that you don’t have and land the job, it might be pretty easy to tell that your writing doesn’t exactly align with your experience.

Tell a story. If you can, try to weave your narrative into a story. Not only will it be more engaging for your reader, but it will also show if you can use your skill to create a story. It doesn’t need to be elaborate, but tying everything together into a narrative will impress your readers.

Use your voice. To make your statement more personal and unique, you should write in your voice. Don’t try to copy examples of statements you find or let your editor drown out what makes you unique. Make sure you keep your personality and qualifications front and center since it’s a personal statement.

Get specific. Instead of generally talking about skills you have, find ways to show your reader when you used those skills. Being specific and giving examples will make your argument more compelling and show your reader that you’re a master.

Use simple language. Since personal statements are so short, it’s not the time for long and complex sentences. Keep it concise and easy to read. You don’t want to risk confusing your reader since committees usually have a few minutes to consider your candidacy, and you don’t want to lose their attention.

Sometimes, especially during the brainstorm process, it can help to ask yourself questions to get your mind focused. These questions can help realize what you want to write in your personal statement.

Some questions you can ask yourself include:

“Why am I interested in this application? What about it makes me want to apply?”

“What are my strengths and weaknesses?”

“What type of work gets me excited and deeply engaged?”

“What is my life story and how does it relate to this application?”

“Where do I want to go?”

“Who do I want to be?”

“What have I learned from my past?”

“How can I explain my past experiences?”

“How would my friends and family describe me to a stranger?”

“What obstacles have I overcome and how does it make me who I am today?”

Asking yourself questions like these will open up your mind to new ideas on how to write your personal statement.

You may need to write a personal statement for a university, scholarship, or job application.

University application. When you’re writing a personal statement for a school application, you’ll usually have a few paragraphs to get your point across. These prompts tend to be more open-ended and give you a chance to explain why you want to attend that school, how you align with their program, and why you are an excellent fit for the school’s culture.

A personal statement for a graduate program needs to be much sharper and more focused. At this point in your education, you’re expected to know precisely where you’d like to turn your academic focus and be able to communicate that efficiently.

Scholarship application. When you need to write a personal statement for a grant or scholarship application, you want to make sure you align your values and purpose with the providers. These can be tricky to write, but they’re like a careful balance between personal statements for school and work.

Job application. For work-related personal statements, you’ll want to focus on your skills and qualifications more than your personality. Employers are more concerned with how you can meet their skill requirements. Professional personal statements tend to be shorter, so there’s less space to talk about anything but your qualifications.

Here are two examples of shorts personal statement for graduate program applications:

From the moment I stepped into the lab, smelled the clean scent of fresh lab coats, and saw the beakers glistening under the light, I felt an excitement to learn that hasn’t left me since. Each time I enter the lab, I feel the same flutter of my heart and a sense of purpose. I want to continue to chase this feeling while contributing to a broader scientific knowledge catalog, which I know the Graduate Biology Program at City University will allow me to do. I want to continue the research I started in college on communicable diseases while gaining a critical education. City University’s program emphasizes in-class and hands-on learning, a perfect combination for my learning style.
As a graduate of State University with a B.S. in Biology, I have the foundation to build my knowledge and experience. While at State University, I worked in a lab researching the efficacy of a new flu vaccine. There, I managed other student researchers, worked as a liaison between the professor running the lab and students and managed the data reports. I am ready to bring my extensive experience to City University classrooms while learning from my peers. I am eager to begin the coursework at City University, and I believe I am uniquely prepared to contribute to the campus culture and research efforts. I look forward to stepping into City University’s lab in the fall and feeling the familiar excitement that drives me to pursue a graduate program and learn more about public health.

If you need to write a professional personal statement, here’s a sample you can model yours after:

As a recent graduate of State University with a B.A. in Communications, I am prepared to take what I have learned in the classroom and bring my work ethic and go-getter attitude to ABC Company. I believe that I have the skills and experience to excel as a Marketing Coordinator from my first day. My classes in Digital Communication, Social Media Marketing, and Business Management and my work as Outreach Chair of the university newspaper have prepared me to take on responsibilities as I learn more about the field. I also believe that my dedication to animal welfare aligns with the ABC Company’s goal of finding loving homes for all of their foster pets and makes me especially interested in this position.

What do I write in a personal statement?

A personal statement should include an introduction, your relevant skills/experiences, and your goals. You want to keep your personal statement relevant for the program or job in question. Make sure to show your passion and indicate what you’d like to do with the degree or opportunity.

How do you start off a personal statement?

Start your personal statement by introducing yourself. Give a brief snapshot of your background that also describes why you’re passionate about this field or area of study in particular. Another powerful way to start off a personal statement is with a significant accomplishment that immediately speaks to your relevant skill set and experience.

What exactly is a personal statement?

A personal statement is a brief statement that sums up your qualifications. A personal statement is a brief written document that university admissions boards, scholarship programs, and sometimes hiring managers require from applicants. A personal statement’s purpose is to show the reader that you are qualified, fully invested in the aims of the program, and have plans for what you would do if granted the opportunity.

How do you write a 500-word personal statement?

To write a 500-word personal statement, start by writing without worrying about the word count. If your personal statement is too long, look for sentences that include skills, experiences, or qualifications that aren’t strictly related to the requirements or aims of the program/job you’re applying for and remove them.

If your personal statement is too short, go back to the program, scholarship, or job description. Make note of the preferred experiences and required skills. For example, if you’ve included a skill in your personal statement without experience to back it up, consider adding a brief story that shows you putting that skill into action.

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Amanda is a writer with experience in various industries, including travel, real estate, and career advice. After taking on internships and entry-level jobs, she is familiar with the job search process and landing that crucial first job. Included in her experience is work at an employer/intern matching startup where she marketed an intern database to employers and supported college interns looking for work experience.

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How to Write a Strong Personal Statement

  • Ruth Gotian
  • Ushma S. Neill

how to write a personal statement that will make you stand out

A few adjustments can get your application noticed.

Whether applying for a summer internship, a professional development opportunity, such as a Fulbright, an executive MBA program, or a senior leadership development course, a personal statement threads the ideas of your CV, and is longer and has a different tone and purpose than a traditional cover letter. A few adjustments to your personal statement can get your application noticed by the reviewer.

  • Make sure you’re writing what they want to hear. Most organizations that offer a fellowship or internship are using the experience as a pipeline: It’s smart to spend 10 weeks and $15,000 on someone before committing five years and $300,000. Rarely are the organizations being charitable or altruistic, so align your stated goals with theirs
  • Know when to bury the lead, and when to get to the point. It’s hard to paint a picture and explain your motivations in 200 words, but if you have two pages, give the reader a story arc or ease into your point by setting the scene.
  • Recognize that the reviewer will be reading your statement subjectively, meaning you’re being assessed on unknowable criteria. Most people on evaluation committees are reading for whether or not you’re interesting. Stated differently, do they want to go out to dinner with you to hear more? Write it so that the person reading it wants to hear more.
  • Address the elephant in the room (if there is one). Maybe your grades weren’t great in core courses, or perhaps you’ve never worked in the field you’re applying to. Make sure to address the deficiency rather than hoping the reader ignores it because they won’t. A few sentences suffice. Deficiencies do not need to be the cornerstone of the application.

At multiple points in your life, you will need to take action to transition from where you are to where you want to be. This process is layered and time-consuming, and getting yourself to stand out among the masses is an arduous but not impossible task. Having a polished resume that explains what you’ve done is the common first step. But, when an application asks for it, a personal statement can add color and depth to your list of accomplishments. It moves you from a one-dimensional indistinguishable candidate to someone with drive, interest, and nuance.

how to write a personal statement that will make you stand out

  • Ruth Gotian is the chief learning officer and associate professor of education in anesthesiology at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York City, and the author of The Success Factor and Financial Times Guide to Mentoring . She was named the #1 emerging management thinker by Thinkers50. You can access her free list of conversation starters and test your mentoring impact . RuthGotian
  • Ushma S. Neill is the Vice President, Scientific Education & Training at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. She runs several summer internships and is involved with the NYC Marshall Scholar Selection Committee. ushmaneill

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How to Write a Personal Statement

A personal statement can be a key part of your college application, and you can really make yours shine by following a few tips.

[Featured Image] A lady with pink hair is holding a piece of paper with a laptop on her lap.

When you're applying to college—either to an undergraduate or graduate program—you may be asked to submit a personal statement. It's an essay that gives you the chance to share more about who you are and why you'd like to attend the university you're applying to.  

The information you provide in your personal statement can help build on your other application materials, like your transcripts and letters of recommendation, and build a more cohesive picture to help the admissions committee understand your goals.

In this article, we'll go over more about personal statements, including why they're important, what to include in one, and tips for strengthening yours.

What is a personal statement?

A personal statement—sometimes known as a college essay —is a brief written essay you submit with other materials when applying to college or university. Personal statements tend to be most common for undergraduate applications, and they're a great opportunity for an admissions committee to hear your voice directly.

Many colleges and universities in the US, especially those using Common App , provide prompts for you to use. For example, "Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea" or "Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time" [ 1 ]. If the school you're interested in attending doesn't require prompts, you will likely want to craft a response that touches on your story, your values, and your goals if possible.

In grad school, personal statements are sometimes known as letters of intent , and go into more detail about your academic and professional background, while expressing interest in attending the particular program you're applying to.

Why is a personal statement important?

Personal statements are important for a number of reasons. Whereas other materials you submit in an application can address your academic abilities (like your transcripts) or how you perform as a student (like your letters of recommendation), a personal statement is a chance to do exactly that: get more personal.

Personal statements typically:

Permit you to share things that don't fit on your resume, such as personal stories, motivations, and values

Offer schools a chance to see why you're interested in a particular field of study and what you hope to accomplish after you graduate 

Provide an opportunity for you to talk about past employment, volunteer experiences, or skills you have that complement your studies 

Allow colleges to evaluate your writing skills 

Bring life to a college application package otherwise filled with facts and figures 

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How to write a personal statement.

As we mentioned earlier, you may have to respond to a prompt when drafting your personal statement—or a college or university may invite you to respond however you'd like. In either case, use the steps below to begin building your response.

Create a solid hook .

To capture the attention of an admissions committee member, start your personal statement with a hook that relates to the topic of your essay. A hook tends to be a colorful sentence or two at the very beginning that compels the reader to continue reading.

To create a captivating hook, try one of these methods:

Pose a rhetorical question. 

Provide an interesting statistic. 

Insert a quote from a well-known person.

Challenge the reader with a common misconception. 

Use an anecdote, which is a short story that can be true or imaginary. 

Credibility is crucial when writing a personal statement as part of your college application process. If you choose a statistic, quote, or misconception for your hook, make sure it comes from a reliable source.

Follow a narrative.

The best personal statements typically read like a story: they have a common theme, as well as a beginning, middle, and end. This type of format also helps keep your thoughts organized and improves the flow of your essay.

Common themes to consider for your personal statement include:

Special role models from your past

Life-altering events you've experienced

Unusual challenges you've faced

Accomplishments you're especially proud of

Service to others and why you enjoy it

What you've learned from traveling to a particular place

Unique ways you stand out from other candidates

Be specific.

Admissions committees read thousands of personal statements every year, which is why being specific on yours is important. Back up your statements with examples or anecdotes.

For instance, avoid vague assertions like, "I'm interested in your school counseling program because I care about children." Instead, point out experiences you've had with children that emphasize how much you care. For instance, you might mention your summer job as a day camp counselor or your volunteer experience mentoring younger children.

Don't forget to include detail and vibrancy to keep your statement interesting. The use of detail shows how your unique voice and experiences can add value to the college or university you're applying to.

Stay on topic.

It's natural to want to impress the members of the admissions committee who will read your personal statement. The best way to do this is to lead your readers through a cohesive, informative, and descriptive essay.

If you feel you might be going astray, ensure each paragraph in your essay's body supports your introduction. Here are a few more strategies that can help keep you on track:

Know what you want to say and do research if needed. 

Create an outline listing the key points you want to share.

Read your outline aloud to confirm it makes logical sense before proceeding. 

Read your essay aloud while you're writing to confirm you're staying on topic.

Ask a trusted friend or family member to read your essay and make suggestions.

Be true to your own voice.

Because of the importance of your personal statement, you could be tempted to be very formal with structure and language. However, using a more relaxed tone is better than you would for a classroom writing assignment. 

Remember: admissions committees really want to hear from you . Writing in your own voice will help accomplish this. To ensure your tone isn't too relaxed, write your statement as if you were speaking to an older relative or trusted teacher. This way, you'll come across as respectful, confident, and honest.

Tips for drafting an effective personal statement.

Now that you've learned a little about personal statements and how to craft them, here are a few more tips you can follow to strengthen your essay:

1. Customize your statement.

You don't have to completely rewrite your personal statement every time you apply to a new college, but you want to make sure you tailor it as much as possible. For instance, if you talk about wanting to take a certain class or study a certain subject, make sure you adjust any specifics for each application.

2. Avoid cliches.

Admissions committees are ultimately looking for students who will fit the school, and who the school can help guide toward their larger goals. In that case, cliches can get in the way of a reviewer understanding what it is you want from a college education. Watch out for cliches like "making a difference," "broadening my horizons," or "the best thing that ever happened to me."

3. Stay focused.

Try to avoid getting off-track or including tangents in your personal statement. Stay focused by writing a first draft and then re-reading what you've written. Does every paragraph flow from one point to the next? Are the ideas you're presenting cohesive?

4. Stick to topics that aren't controversial.

It's best not to discuss political beliefs or inappropriate topics in your essay. These can be controversial; ideally, you want to share something goals- or values-driven with an admissions committee.

Polish your writing skills on Coursera.

A stellar personal statement starts with stellar writing skills. Enhance your writing ability with a writing course from a top university, like Good with Words: Writing and Editing from the University of Michigan or Writing a Personal Essay from Wesleyan University. Get started for free to level up your writing.

Article sources

1. Common App. " 2022-2023 Common App Essay Prompts , https://www.commonapp.org/blog/2022-2023-common-app-essay-prompts." Accessed January 9, 2024.

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Personal Statement Examples: How to Make Yours Stand Out

A personal statement is an opportunity for you to showcase who you are and what you can bring to the table. It is a chance for you to stand out from the crowd and make a lasting impression. However, writing a personal statement can be a daunting task, especially if you don’t know where to start.

In this article, we will explore some of the best personal statement examples available online. We will examine what makes these examples effective and how you can use them to create your own winning personal statement. Whether you’re a high school student applying to college or a recent graduate looking for a job, this article will provide you with the tools you need to write a personal statement that will get you noticed.

Personal Statement Examples that Will Make You Stand Out!

how to write a personal statement that will make you stand out

Understanding Personal Statement

A personal statement is a document that highlights your strengths, achievements, and goals. It is a way for you to showcase your personality and convince the admissions committee that you are a good fit for their program.

A personal statement should be well-written, concise, and focused. It should also be tailored to the specific program you are applying for. This means that you should research the program and understand what they are looking for in a candidate. You should then use this information to craft a personal statement that highlights your strengths and aligns with the program’s goals.

When writing a personal statement, it is important to keep in mind that the admissions committee will be looking for specific qualities in a candidate. These qualities may include:

  • Strong academic record
  • Relevant work experience
  • Leadership skills
  • Communication skills
  • Passion for the field

Your personal statement should demonstrate that you possess these qualities and that you are a good fit for the program.

To write a strong personal statement, you should start by brainstorming ideas. Think about your strengths, achievements, and goals. Then, organize your ideas into a clear and concise outline. This will help you stay focused and ensure that you cover all the important points.

Once you have an outline, you can begin drafting your personal statement. Be sure to use clear and concise language, and avoid using jargon or technical terms that may be unfamiliar to the admissions committee. You should also proofread your personal statement carefully to ensure that it is free of errors and typos.

Purpose of Personal Statement

The purpose of a personal statement is to provide the reader with an insight into who you are, what you have accomplished, and what your goals are. It is an opportunity for you to showcase your personality, skills, and experiences that make you a unique candidate.

Your personal statement should highlight your strengths and address any weaknesses. It should demonstrate your passion for the subject or field you are applying for and show that you are a good fit for the program or position. A well-written personal statement can set you apart from other candidates and increase your chances of being accepted.

To write an effective personal statement, you need to understand the requirements of the program or position you are applying for. You should research the organization or institution and tailor your statement to their values and goals. Your personal statement should demonstrate that you have a clear understanding of their mission and that you are committed to contributing to their success.

Personal Statements

Personal statement for college applications.

If you’re applying to college, you’ll most likely need to write a personal statement as part of your college application. This is an opportunity for you to showcase your personality, achievements, and goals to the admissions committee. Writing a strong personal statement can increase your chances of getting accepted into your dream school.

How to Begin

Before you start writing your personal statement, take some time to brainstorm and reflect on your experiences, interests, and goals. You can start by answering these questions:

  • What makes you unique?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • What are your long-term goals?
  • What experiences have shaped you?

Once you have a clear understanding of your personal story, you can start outlining your personal statement.

What to Include

Your personal statement should be a well-written, concise, and engaging essay that highlights your strengths and achievements. Here are some tips on what to include:

  • Start with a strong opening sentence that grabs the reader’s attention.
  • Use specific examples to illustrate your points.
  • Show your passion and enthusiasm for your chosen field of study.
  • Explain how your experiences have prepared you for college.
  • Be honest and authentic.
  • Proofread your essay carefully for grammar and spelling errors.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Here are some common mistakes to avoid when writing your personal statement:

  • Don’t use clichés or generic statements.
  • Don’t exaggerate or make false claims.
  • Don’t use overly technical language or jargon .
  • Don’t focus too much on your grades or test scores.
  • Don’t use your personal statement as a place to complain or make excuses.

By following these tips and avoiding common mistakes, you can write a strong personal statement that will impress the admissions committee and help you get accepted into your dream school.

Personal Statement for Job Applications

When applying for a job, a personal statement can be the key to making a great first impression. It is an opportunity to showcase your skills, achievements, and qualifications that make you the best candidate for the job. In this section, we will discuss the essential elements of a personal statement for job applications.

Highlighting Achievements

One of the most critical aspects of a personal statement for job applications is highlighting your achievements. This is the opportunity to showcase your accomplishments and demonstrate why you are the best candidate for the job. When highlighting your achievements, make sure to use specific examples that demonstrate your skills and abilities. Use metrics and data to quantify your achievements and show the impact you have made in your previous roles.

Showcasing Skills

Another essential element of a personal statement for job applications is showcasing your skills. This is the opportunity to demonstrate your expertise in the field and show how you can bring value to the organization. When showcasing your skills, make sure to match them with the job requirements and use specific examples that demonstrate how you have used these skills in the past.

Avoiding Redundancies

One common mistake that job applicants make in their personal statements is using redundant language. Avoid using clichés and overused phrases that do not add value to your application. Instead, focus on using clear and concise language that showcases your unique skills and experiences.

Personal Statement for Graduate School

When applying to graduate school, one of the most crucial components of your application is your personal statement. This is your opportunity to showcase your personality, experiences, and research interests to the admissions committee. Here are some key things to keep in mind when crafting your personal statement:

Understanding the Prompts

Many graduate programs will provide a prompt or set of prompts for you to respond to in your personal statement. It is important to read and understand these prompts carefully, as they will give you a sense of what the admissions committee is looking for in a successful applicant. Make sure to address all aspects of the prompt in your statement, and use specific examples from your experiences to illustrate your points.

Structuring the Statement

A well-structured personal statement can make a big difference in how it is received by the admissions committee. Consider starting with an attention-grabbing introduction that hooks the reader and sets the tone for the rest of your statement. From there, you may want to include sections that discuss your background, experiences, research interests, and future goals. Be sure to use transitions between sections to make your statement flow smoothly.

Emphasizing Research Interests

For many graduate programs, research experience and interests are key factors in the admissions decision. Make sure to highlight any research experience you have, including specific projects you have worked on and any publications or presentations you have given. Additionally, be sure to discuss your research interests and how they align with the program you are applying to. This can help demonstrate your passion for the field and your potential as a researcher.

Personal Statement for Scholarships

When applying for scholarships, a personal statement is often required. This is your opportunity to showcase your strengths, achievements, and goals to the scholarship committee. To make your personal statement stand out, there are a few things you should keep in mind.

Discussing Financial Needs

One important aspect of your personal statement for scholarships is discussing your financial needs. This should be done in a respectful and honest manner. Be sure to explain your current financial situation and how the scholarship will help you achieve your educational goals. You can also mention any other sources of funding you are receiving, such as financial aid or loans.

Highlighting Academic Achievements

Another key component of your personal statement should be highlighting your academic achievements. This can include any honors, awards, or recognition you have received for your academic work. You can also discuss any research projects or publications you have been involved in. Be sure to explain how these achievements have prepared you for your future academic and career goals.

Describing Community Service

Finally, it is important to discuss your community service in your personal statement. This can include any volunteer work you have done, as well as any leadership roles you have held in community organizations. Be sure to explain how your community service has impacted your personal and professional growth, and how it has prepared you for your future goals.

Personal Statement for Internships

When applying for an internship, a personal statement can be a powerful tool to help you stand out from other candidates. Your personal statement should highlight your relevant experiences, skills, and goals, and demonstrate your enthusiasm for the internship opportunity.

Linking Coursework to Internship

One effective way to make your personal statement stand out is to link your coursework to the specific internship you are applying for. For example, if you are applying for a marketing internship, you could highlight relevant courses you have taken, such as marketing research or consumer behavior. This shows the employer that you have a strong academic foundation in the field and are passionate about pursuing a career in it.

Discussing Career Goals

Another important aspect of a personal statement for internships is discussing your career goals. This shows the employer that you are motivated and have a clear sense of direction. When discussing your goals, be specific and tie them back to the internship opportunity. For example, if you are applying for a finance internship, you could say that your long-term goal is to become a financial analyst and that you believe this internship will provide you with the skills and experience necessary to achieve that goal.

Conveying Enthusiasm

Finally, it is important to convey your enthusiasm for the internship opportunity in your personal statement. This can be done by highlighting specific aspects of the internship that excite you, such as the opportunity to work with a particular team or gain experience in a specific area. You could also mention any previous experiences or skills that make you particularly well-suited for the internship.

Personal Statement for Residency Programs

When applying for a residency program, your personal statement is an essential component of your application. It provides you with the opportunity to showcase your unique qualities and experiences that make you a strong candidate for the program. In this section, we will discuss some key elements to include in your personal statement for residency programs.

Discussing Clinical Experiences

One of the most important aspects of your personal statement is discussing your clinical experiences. This includes any hands-on experience you have had in the field, such as shadowing, research, or volunteer work. Be specific about what you learned from each experience and how it has prepared you for a residency program. Use concrete examples to illustrate your points and demonstrate your passion for the field.

Expressing Interest in Specialty

It is also important to express your interest in the specialty you are applying for. This shows the program directors that you have a clear understanding of the field and are committed to pursuing a career in it. Discuss what draws you to the specialty and how you plan to contribute to the field in the future. This can include any relevant research or projects you have worked on, as well as any mentors or role models who have inspired you.

Describing Long-Term Goals

Finally, your personal statement should include a discussion of your long-term goals. This can include both personal and professional goals, such as wanting to improve patient outcomes or becoming a leader in the field. Be specific about what you hope to achieve and how the residency program will help you get there. This demonstrates your commitment to the field and your willingness to work hard to achieve your goals.

In conclusion, your personal statement for residency programs should showcase your unique qualities and experiences that make you a strong candidate for the program. Be specific, use concrete examples, and demonstrate your passion for the field to impress program directors and stand out from other applicants.

Personal Statement Examples by Field

If you are struggling to write a personal statement, it can be helpful to see examples from others in your field. Here are a few personal statement examples by field to help you get started.

Example for Medicine

A personal statement for medical school should demonstrate your passion for the field, as well as your commitment to helping others. Here is an example:

“As a child, I was fascinated by the human body and how it works. This fascination only grew as I got older, and I knew that I wanted to pursue a career in medicine. Through volunteering at my local hospital and shadowing physicians, I have seen firsthand the impact that healthcare professionals can have on their patients’ lives. I am committed to using my skills and knowledge to make a difference in the world.”

Example for Law

A personal statement for law school should demonstrate your critical thinking skills and your ability to analyze complex issues. Here is an example:

“As an undergraduate, I studied political science and became interested in the legal system. I am passionate about social justice and believe that the law can be a powerful tool for change. Through internships at law firms and nonprofit organizations, I have gained experience in legal research and writing. I am excited to continue my education and use my skills to make a positive impact on society.”

Example for Business

A personal statement for business school should demonstrate your leadership skills and your ability to think strategically. Here is an example:

“As a business professional with several years of experience, I am excited to pursue an MBA to further my career. Throughout my career, I have demonstrated strong leadership skills and a talent for strategic thinking. I am passionate about driving growth and innovation within organizations and am excited to learn from and collaborate with other business professionals.”

Example for Engineering

A personal statement for engineering school should demonstrate your problem-solving skills and your ability to think creatively. Here is an example:

“As an engineer, I am passionate about solving complex problems and creating innovative solutions. Throughout my academic and professional career, I have demonstrated a strong aptitude for math and science, as well as a talent for creative thinking. I am excited to continue my education and use my skills to make a positive impact on society.”

Example for Social Sciences

A personal statement for social sciences should demonstrate your passion for understanding human behavior and your commitment to making a difference in the world. Here is an example:

“As a social scientist, I am passionate about understanding human behavior and the factors that shape our society. Through my research and work with nonprofit organizations, I have gained a deep understanding of the challenges facing our world today. I am committed to using my skills and knowledge to make a positive impact on society and create a more just and equitable world.”

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some effective ways to start a personal statement?

Starting a personal statement can be a daunting task, but there are several effective ways to begin. One strategy is to open with a concrete scene that illustrates something about your character and interests. You can also start with a personal experience that changed your perspective, a story from your family’s history, or a memorable teacher or learning experience. Another approach is to ask a thought-provoking question or make a bold statement that captures the reader’s attention.

What are some common mistakes to avoid when writing a personal statement?

When writing a personal statement, it’s important to avoid common mistakes that can undermine your credibility and effectiveness. Some common pitfalls include using cliches or platitudes, focusing too much on achievements rather than personal growth, failing to explain why you are interested in the field or program, and being too vague or general in your language. It’s also important to proofread carefully and avoid errors in grammar, spelling, or punctuation.

What are some tips for writing a personal statement for graduate school?

Writing a personal statement for graduate school requires a different approach than writing for other purposes. One key tip is to focus on your academic and professional goals, and how the program you are applying to will help you achieve them. It’s also important to demonstrate your knowledge of the field and your passion for it, and to be specific and concrete in your language. Finally, make sure to tailor your statement to each program you are applying to, highlighting the unique aspects of each one.

What are some key elements to include in a personal statement for an internship?

When writing a personal statement for an internship, it’s important to emphasize your relevant skills and experiences, as well as your enthusiasm for the field and the organization you are applying to. You should also explain why you are interested in the internship and what you hope to gain from it, and provide specific examples of how you have demonstrated your commitment and work ethic in the past. Finally, make sure to proofread carefully and follow any specific guidelines or requirements provided by the organization.

What are some examples of successful personal statements for law school?

Successful personal statements for law school vary widely in content and style, but they all share certain key elements. These include a clear and compelling narrative that explains why you are interested in law and what you hope to achieve with your degree, as well as specific examples of your academic and professional achievements. It’s also important to demonstrate your knowledge of the field and your commitment to social justice and public service, and to avoid cliches or platitudes.

How can I make my personal statement stand out to potential employers or admissions committees?

To make your personal statement stand out, it’s important to be specific, concrete, and authentic in your language and content. You should focus on your unique strengths and experiences, and explain how they make you a good fit for the program or organization you are applying to. It’s also important to proofread carefully and avoid errors in grammar, spelling, or punctuation. Finally, make sure to tailor your statement to each specific opportunity, highlighting the ways in which you are uniquely qualified and passionate about the position.

Last Updated on August 29, 2023

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Personal Statement Examples That Will Get You Writing

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Whether you're aiming for a job, university program, or scholarship, the value of an effective personal statement is vital to success. However, writing a personal statement that will make your application stand out can be challenging.

This post will help you put your best foot forward by providing examples and tips for crafting your personal statement. By the end, you will be able to write a standout personal statement with confidence.

What is a personal statement?

A personal statement is a written document that gives an overview of who you are, your experiences, achievements, and goals. It is typically required as part of a job, university program, or scholarship application. The purpose of a personal statement is to convince the reader that you are the right candidate for the opportunity by showcasing your strengths, experiences, and aspirations.

The content of a personal statement will vary depending on the context. Still, it generally includes information about your educational and professional background, achievements and accomplishments, skills and strengths, and goals and aspirations. It is an opportunity to highlight your unique qualities and what sets you apart from other applicants.

Personal statements are often limited to a certain word count or page limit, so it is important to be concise and focus on the most relevant information. Additionally, it is important to tailor your statement to the specific opportunity you are applying for, highlighting the skills and experiences most relevant to the role or program.

A well-crafted personal statement can be a powerful tool in the application process, demonstrating your passion, motivation, and suitability for the opportunity.

There are several reasons why you may need to write a personal statement:

  • To apply for a job A personal statement is often required as part of a job application, allowing candidates to showcase their skills, experience, and personality to potential employers.
  • To apply to a university Universities often require a personal statement as part of the application process, which allows the applicant to demonstrate their suitability for the program, their passion for the subject, and their goals for the future.
  • To apply for a scholarship Personal statements are often required for scholarship applications. They allow the applicant to explain why they deserve the scholarship and how they plan to use it to achieve their goals.
  • To promote oneself Personal statements can be used to promote oneself as an expert in a particular field or to showcase one's achievements and experience to a wider audience.

In all of these cases, a personal statement can effectively communicate your strengths and goals and make a compelling case for why you are the right candidate for a particular opportunity.

Why are personal statements important?

Crafting a killer personal statement can elevate your application to new heights! It can set you apart from the crowd and is a powerful tool to showcase your strengths, passion, and unique experiences. By weaving a compelling story about yourself, you help the reader understand what makes you tick and how you are prepared for the opportunity.

Beyond this, a captivating personal statement can provide valuable insights into your personality and values, making you an even more attractive candidate to employers and admissions officers. Trust us - a powerful personal statement is a game-changer for any successful application!

Personal statement examples

It's important to understand what to include in each personal statement. Here are some examples to consider:

Personal statement for a university application

As a passionate programmer and creative problem-solver, I am eager to pursue a degree in computer science and unleash the endless possibilities it offers me. Through this degree, I can acquire the skills and knowledge that will allow me to create meaningful solutions to real-world problems, something I strive for each day. With great excitement, I look forward to furthering my expertise in this field in a university setting and exploring the exciting opportunities ahead.

In high school, I was a dedicated student who took the initiative and maintained a strong work ethic. I earned high grades and actively participated in extracurricular activities such as the Computer Science Club and Robotics Team. My ambition has been to use my knowledge and skills to help build a better future. That is why I am confident that pursuing a career in computer science is the right decision for me.

Personal statement for job application

As a highly motivated and results-oriented professional, I am eager to contribute my skills and experience to an organization that values innovation and teamwork. Throughout my career, I have developed a reputation for being a problem-solver and effective communicator, with a keen eye for detail and the ability to work under pressure.

I have experience leading teams and coordinating tasks to ensure successful outcomes. Additionally, my communication skills enable me to effectively interact with colleagues, vendors, and customers to ensure that projects are completed on time. I am confident that my passion for my work and dedication to excellence will make me a valuable asset to any team.

Personal statement for scholarship application

Receiving this scholarship would be a life-changing opportunity for me. As a first-generation college student, I have faced many obstacles in pursuing my education, but I have never let these challenges hold me back. When my parents told me they could not help pay for my college tuition, I felt a wave of uncertainty wash over me. But I quickly realized that if I worked hard enough and never gave up, I could make my dreams come true.

With this scholarship, I can continue my studies and achieve my goals, including becoming a role model for other students in my community. I am committed to giving back to my community and using my education to impact the world positively.

Tips for crafting a personal statement

While crafting a standout personal statement can seem daunting, with the right guidance, you can create a compelling document that showcases your unique qualities and sets you apart from other applicants. This section will provide tips and strategies to help you write a powerful personal statement that effectively communicates your skills, experiences, and aspirations.

From tailoring your statement to the opportunity to using specific examples and demonstrating authenticity, these tips will help you create a personal statement that makes a lasting impression.

Here are some tips for writing a strong personal statement:

  • Research: Before writing your personal statement, research the opportunity you are applying for. This will help you to understand the requirements and tailor your statement to the specific role or program.
  • Be concise: Personal statements are often limited to a certain word count or page limit, so it is important to be concise and focus on the most relevant information. Ensure each sentence and paragraph adds value and contributes to your overall message.
  • Use specific examples: Specific examples can be used to illustrate your skills and experiences. This will help to bring your statement to life and provide evidence to support your claims.
  • Tailor your statement: Tailor your statement to the specific role or program. Highlight the skills and experiences that are most relevant to the opportunity and demonstrate how they make you a strong candidate.
  • Show, don't tell: Instead of stating that you are a good fit for the opportunity, provide specific examples and evidence to tangibly demonstrate your skills and experience.
  • Be authentic: Be true to yourself and your experiences. Your statement should reflect your personality, values, and motivations and provide insight into who you are.
  • Proofread and edit: Finally, proofread and edit your statement carefully. Check for spelling and grammar errors, and make sure your message is clear and concise. A well-written and error-free personal statement can make all the difference in a competitive application process.

By following these tips, you can create a personal statement that effectively showcases your strengths and makes a compelling case for why you are the ideal candidate for the opportunity. Remember to tailor your statement to the specific requirements of the opportunity, use specific examples to illustrate your achievements and experiences, and be authentic to yourself. With these tips in mind, you'll be well on your way to crafting a powerful personal statement that will help you stand out from the competition.

Unlock your future

Writing a personal statement can be challenging, but it can also be a rewarding experience with the right approach. A well-crafted personal statement can be the key to unlocking exciting new opportunities, whether it's a job, a university program, or a scholarship. Following the tips outlined in this blog post, you can create a personal statement that showcases your strengths, experiences, and aspirations and demonstrates why you are the ideal candidate for the opportunity. Good luck!

Header image by Akira Kaelyn .

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Craft a compelling personal statement with professional editing

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how to write a personal statement that will make you stand out

How to Write a Stand-Out Personal Statement for Your Graduate School Application

How to write a personal statement for grad school

While deciding to embark on the path to graduate school is an exciting first step toward advancing your career, the application process can sometimes feel daunting and confusing.

One major part of the application that most schools require is a personal statement. Writing a personal statement can be an arduous task: After all, most people don’t necessarily enjoy writing about themselves, let alone at length.

A compelling personal statement, however, can help bring your application to the top of the admissions pile. Below, we’ve outlined what you need to know about crafting a personal statement to make your application shine.

What Is a Personal Statement?

The point of a personal statement is for the admissions board to gain a deeper understanding of who you are apart from your education and work experience. It explains why you’re the right fit for the program and a worthwhile applicant. It’s also an opportunity to highlight important factors that may not be readily available in the rest of your application.

A personal statement is different from a statement of purpose (if you’re asked for that as well). A statement of purpose will touch on your academic and career goals, as well as your past credentials. While those should also be discussed in your personal statement, it’s more about your life experiences and how they’ve shaped you and your journey to graduate school.

Questions to Ask Yourself Before Writing a Personal Statement

Before you start crafting your essay, there are a few prompts you can ask yourself to help clarify what you want to accomplish.

  • What are the key points you want to communicate about yourself?
  • What personal characteristics or skills do you have that make you a strong candidate for this field?
  • What exactly are your career goals, and how does graduate school play into them?
  • What have you learned about this field already? When did you first choose to follow this path, and what do you enjoy about it?
  • What do you think is important for the admissions board to know specifically about you?
  • Are there any discrepancies or causes for concern in your application you need to address? For example, is there a career and schooling gap, or a low GPA at one point? This is the time to discuss whether a personal hardship may have affected your academics or career.
  • Have you dealt with any unusual obstacles or difficulties in your life? How have they affected and shaped you?
  • What sets you apart and makes you unique from other graduate school applicants?
  • What factors in your life have brought you to where you are today?

Top Tips for Writing a Graduate School Personal Statement

Pick a few points to emphasize about yourself . Introduce yourself to the admissions board. Select key factors about your background that you want the university to know — elements that reveal what kind of person you are and demonstrate why you’re a strong candidate for the school and field of study.

Be very specific . Again, a personal statement is all about communicating what distinguishes you from other applicants. To accomplish that, you need to share specific anecdotes that underscore your statements. If you say you’re a strong leader, present an example of a time you’ve proven that skill through work, school or your personal life. These specific, personal stories provide a deeper understanding of who you are and prove your intentions.

Do your research . Demonstrate what attracted you to the program. If there is a specific faculty member or class that caught your attention, or another aspect of the program that greatly interests you, convey it. This shows you’ve truly researched the school and have a passion for the program.

“Whatever the topic may be, I would recommend writing in a manner that reflects or parallels the institution’s and/or department’s missions, goals and values,” said Moises Cortés, a graduate/international credentials analyst for the Office of Graduate Admission at USC .

Address any gaps or discrepancies . Explain any factors that may have impacted your academic career. If you had an illness or any other personal hardships that affected your grades or work, discuss them. If there is a discrepancy between your grades and your test scores, you can also take the time to go over any extenuating circumstances.

Strike the right tone . While it’s important to give readers a glimpse of your personality, avoid oversharing or revealing intimate details of your life experiences. You should also avoid making jokes or using humorous cliches. Maintain a professional tone throughout your writing.

Start strong and finish strong . As with any piece of writing, you want to draw in your readers immediately. Make sure to start off with an interesting and captivating introduction. Similarly, your conclusion should be a well-written, engaging finish to the essay that highlights any important points.

“ For a personal statement, I think the first and last paragraphs are most important and should always relate the program they are applying to their own experiences and ideas,” Hoon H. Kang, a graduate/international credential analyst with the Office of Graduate Admission, told USC Online.

Proofread, proofread and proofread again . We can’t emphasize enough the importance of rereading your work. Your personal statement is also an analysis of your writing skills, so ensure you have proper grammar and spelling throughout. In addition, we recommend having multiple people look over your statement before submission. They can help with the proofreading (a second person always catches a mistake the writer may miss), give advice about the statement’s structure and content, and confirm it’s the proper recommended length.

Once you’ve considered all of the above and reviewed and edited your personal statement to perfection, it’s time to submit and check off any remaining application requirements, including your resume and letters of recommendation .

Personal statements are arguably one of the most challenging aspects of applying to graduate school, so make sure to revel in this accomplishment and acknowledge your successes.

For more information, visit the  Office of Graduate Admission at USC  and explore  USC Online ’s master’s degrees, doctoral programs and graduate certificates.

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how to write a personal statement that will make you stand out

The time has come to write a personal statement, but you do not know where to begin. No worries, writing about yourself is no easy task. After all, there’s only so much you can fit when writing a personal statement.

What is a Personal Statement?

A personal statement is a required essay done by a prospective candidate in an educational setting whether they are applying for a scholarship, graduate school admission, studying abroad, fellowship program, etc. However, it should not be confused with being the same as a statement of purpose. A statement of purpose strictly focuses on how your achievements, such as professional or academic, can benefit the program you are applying to . In contrast, a personal statement allows more creativity and freedom to develop within the applicant. Occasionally, personal statements may come with specific questions about what to write about.

Why Should They Choose You?

Although it is important to emphasize your achievements, whether it be academic or professional, the person reading your statement wants to get to know you better through your background information and what inspired you to pursue your goals. Overall, it’s important to ask yourself these questions when considering writing a personal statement:

●  What exact moment led you to be where you are today?

●  What separates you from the rest of the candidates?

●  What personal traits or qualities do you have that will help you succeed?

●  What do your story, goals, or skills obtained bring to the table?

Are You the Right Fit?

Although the focus of a personal statement is yourself, you must consider that you’re applying to a specific institution or program that offers specific opportunities. Not everyone will be the right fit and that’s okay, there are many opportunities for you to join. However, if you truly want to get in and be accepted, you must try to make a connection with your audience. Mention how the school or program will help you succeed and accomplish your goals. This goes back to what you bring to the table.

The unique trait about personal statements is that no two are alike. Everybody’s story is different. The requirements for each application vary in length, format, and topics. Nevertheless, having a concrete idea of how to organize your thoughts and ideas before you submit your final draft saves a lot of stress and time when the deadline comes. If you need an idea of where to start, brainstorm, or organize your thoughts, below is an example of a structure for your layout that may help you in getting out of that writing block:

Introduction:

-   Introduce a memory that leads back to where your interest or passion started or motivated you be where you are today

-   Give a sneak peek to your reader in a quick summary as to what you’re going to be talking about in your body paragraph (background information, accomplishments, & future aspirations from being admitted into the school or program)

*Note: Introductions should be a brief paragraph of everything you’re going to be writing about, leave the details for your body paragraphs.

A) 1 st Paragraph (Background Information)

What’s your undergraduate major/degree or other educational history?

What part of your demographic information is relevant? (hometown, heritage, family

history, etc.)

What’s an obstacle or challenge that changed the way you viewed your life?

Make sure be able make one connection to all three, it’ll make it easier for your

reader to follow through with your story and understand your goals

If deciding to write about an obstacle or challenge, remember to not solely focus on

the negative experience of it. Instead, try thinking about what you were able to take

from the experience and how did it change you as a person.

B) 2nd Paragraph (Academic and Professional Achievements)

Any organizations you’ve joined or rewards you’ve obtained? (The more you have

done, the better)

What skills have you’ve obtained through participating in any organizations, events,

jobs, etc.? C) 3 rd Paragraph (Future Goals and Accomplishments)

What is the next step after being admitted?

What do you hope to learn or take from being part of the program?

How will you apply it to your desired goal?

Conclusion:

Restate your goals in one or two sentences

Talk about what you envision for your future, what do you hope to gain from all of this?

What will you benefit from being on the program?

What do you contribute to the program?

How will you apply everything you learned?

*Note: Your concluding/closing paragraphs are usually short with a maximum of three or four sentences, leave out any details.

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, there are several things to remind yourself of when writing a personal statement: focus on answering the main questions, tell your story, and use examples of any challenge or obstacle that you faced throughout your life. If you decide to focus on a challenge or obstacle, think about the tone you will use. Writing about this challenge or obstacle focuses on the learning experience or the opportunity rather than solely on the negative parts. Remember, you’ve worked hard enough to get where you are today. Hopefully, you can get started on that personal statement you’ve been procrastinating on, and good luck on whatever path you decide to pursue.

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How to write a personal statement to make you stand out

A sparky personal statement tells admissions tutors more about you than your grades do.

What do you put in and what do you leave out? What if you haven’t got enough to say?

S ixth-formers applying to university are facing exceptionally tough competition, fuelled by a record number of 18-year-olds in the population, post-pandemic demand and increased interest from international students.

The pressure will only increase. Ucas projects that there could be up to a million higher education applicants by 2030, up from more than 750,000 in 2022.

So standing out from the crowd is important. But writing about yourself can be daunting. What do you put in and what do you leave out? What if you haven’t got enough to say? Don’t worry: take a deep breath and follow our guide to navigating your way to a stellar personal statement.

This is the only part of the application process where you get to tell universities why they should

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Writing a Winning Personal Statement for a Job

Table of Contents

When you walk into a new place, your immediate instinct is to greet and introduce yourself to the people around you. This is the same way a job application works; you don’t want to shove your resume into the employer’s face. Let them know who you are and what you can do first by introducing your skills with a personal statement for a job . 

A personal statement is often the first thing employers read when reviewing your application, so it’s your opportunity to make an excellent first impression. This guide will teach you how to write an exceptional personal statement that will intrigue the recruiter.

What Is a Personal Statement?

A personal statement is a short document you write as part of your job application. It is a summary of your skills, experience, and accomplishments , often the first thing employers read when reviewing your application. This document highlights the qualities and experiences that make you a good fit for the job and explains why you’re interested in the position. 

A well-written personal statement can help you stand out from other job applicants and make a positive impression on potential employers. It also enables you to make a strong impression on employers and increase your chances of landing an interview and, ultimately, the job.

How Long Should a Personal Statement Be?

There is no standard length for a personal statement for a job. In general, it should be as long as it needs to be to highlight your skills, experience, and accomplishments effectively. But not so long that it becomes boring or challenging to read.

Your personal statement can be between one and two pages long. This should allow you to include enough information that provides an overview of your skills and experiences. But not so much that you overwhelm the reader.

It’s essential to keep in mind that a personal statement is not a replacement for your resume. It should complement your resume and provide enough information that showcases your skills and experiences without overwhelming the employer.

How to Write and Structure a Personal Statement

person walking holding brown leather bag

It’s essential to structure your statement in a clear, direct, and easy-to-read manner. The structure of your statement will depend on the specific requirements of the job you are applying for.

Here are some tips to note.

1. Start With an Introduction.

The introduction is your chance to grab readers’ attention and encourage them to keep reading. Start with something interesting, unique, and catchy to engage the employer and get them to read the entire piece.

2. Provide an Overview of Your Skills and Experience

Briefly summarize your skills and experiences. This could include any relevant education, training, or experience that makes you a good fit for the job. Keep it brief and to the point. Avoid including unnecessary detail.

3. Write Your Achievements

In your personal statement, you should also highlight your accomplishments. This could include any awards or recognition you have received, projects you have worked on. Or specific skills or experiences that set you apart from other candidates.

4. Write About Your Interest in the Job.

The next thing to write in your statement is why you are interested in the job and the company. This could include any specific reasons you are drawn to the industry, the company’s mission or values. Or any other factors that make the job appealing.

5. Write a Compelling Conclusion.

The conclusion of your statement is your final opportunity to make an impression on the employer. End with something memorable, such as a call to action or a statement of your future goals.

Tips for Writing a Personal Statement for a Job

Here are some important tips for writing a personal statement for a job:

  • Research the company and the job. Before you begin writing your personal statement, it’s essential to do some research on the company and the job you are applying for. This will help you understand the company’s culture and values. And give you a better idea of what the recruiter is looking for in an applicant.
  • Tailor your statement to the job. 
  • Be direct in your statement 
  • Use specific examples to engage the employer.
  • Always proofread and edit your statement to ensure it is spelling and grammar error-free. 

Examples of Personal Statements for a Job

I am a highly motivated and organized individual with a passion for problem-solving and great attention to detail. A graduate of Administration with over five years of experience in customer service. Confident in my capability to excel in a fast-paced work environment. Skilled in communication, time management, and conflict resolution, and I am always looking for ways to improve processes and exceed expectations. I am excited about the privilege of joining your team and contributing to the success of your organization.

I am a graduate of [university name] with a degree in English Language and Literature. I have always been passionate about language and its ability to communicate ideas and emotions. During my time at the university, I developed strong writing skills and an understanding of the nuances of rhetoric. My experiences working as a proofreader for a publishing company have given me valuable experience dealing with different types of text production. From academic essays to brochures.

I am applying for the Output position at your company because it combines two things close to my heart: communication and technology. In this role, I would ensure that all material output from the company is error-free and meets established standards regarding style, grammar. My educational background and previous work experience make me perfectly suited for this job. I look forward to using my skills to contribute positively to your organization.

I am a highly accomplished and results-driven sales manager with over ten years of experience. I have a proven track record of driving growth and profitability in global and regional businesses. This is through innovative sales strategies, strong team leadership, and effective customer management.

My skills encompass all aspects of the sales process, from lead generation to contract negotiation and closing. I am also an expert at optimizing channel partnerships to maximize market reach. In addition to my technical expertise, I possess excellent communication skills that enable me to build relationships with clients. Driven by challenge and success, I am looking for a new opportunity to utilize my skill set to achieve my desired goals.

I am a highly motivated and skilled professional with over five years of experience in the retail industry. Eager to apply for the position of Manager at your company. My strong background in customer service and team leadership, and my passion for exceeding sales targets, make me a perfect fit for this role.

As Assistant Manager at XYZ Retail, I successfully implemented several initiatives that increased customer satisfaction and boosted sales. I developed and implemented a new training program for our sales team. This led to a 20% increase in sales within the first three months. Additionally, I was consistently recognized for building and maintaining solid relationships with customers, vendors, and other stakeholders.

I am excited to bring my experience and skills to your team and contribute to your company’s success. Thank you for considering my application. 

Wrapping Up

Your personal statement is your first impression on the employer , and a wrong first impression ruins everything. So take care to write a compelling and intriguing personal statement. Highlight your unique skills and capabilities that distinguish you from other applicants.

Ensure that your statement is direct, professional, and catchy enough to make the employer consider you for the job.

Writing a Winning Personal Statement for a Job

Abir Ghenaiet

Abir is a data analyst and researcher. Among her interests are artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing. As a humanitarian and educator, she actively supports women in tech and promotes diversity.

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Here is what Stormy Daniels testified happened between her and Donald Trump

A sketch shows Susan Necheles cross-examining Stormy Daniels as former President Trump looks on.

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Porn performer Stormy Daniels took the witness stand Tuesday in the hush money case against former President Trump, who looked on as she detailed their alleged sexual encounter and the payment she got to keep it quiet.

Prosecutors allege Trump paid Daniels to keep quiet about the allegations as he ran for president in 2016. Her testimony aired them very publicly as the presumptive Republican presidential nominee seeks to win the White House again.

Trump denies having sex with Daniels , and his lawyers unsuccessfully pushed for a mistrial midway through her testimony.

It was a major spectacle in the first criminal trial of a former American president, now in its third week of testimony in Manhattan.

Here are some takeaways from Daniels’ testimony:

Who is Stormy Daniels?

Stormy Daniels walks through barricades out of court.

The case centers on a $130,000 payment to Daniels from Trump’s then-lawyer, Michael Cohen, in the final weeks of Trump’s 2016 campaign. Prosecutors say it was part of a scheme to illegally influence the campaign by burying negative stories about him.

In this courtroom sketch, Stormy Daniels testifies on the witness stand as Judge Juan Merchan looks on in Manhattan criminal court, Tuesday, May 7, 2024, in New York.. A photo of Donald Trump and Daniels from their first meeting is displayed on a monitor. (Elizabeth Williams via AP)

Stormy Daniels describes meeting Trump in occasionally graphic testimony

The porn actor’s testimony, even if sanitized and stripped of tell-all details, has been the most-awaited spectacle in Donald Trump’s hush money trial.

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His lawyers have sought to show that Trump was trying to protect his reputation and family — not his campaign — by shielding them from embarrassing stories about his personal life.

Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, told jurors that she started exotic dancing in high school and appearing in adult films at age 23, eventually moving to direct more than 150 films and winning a roster of porn industry awards.

FILE - Former President Donald Trump attends jury selection at Manhattan criminal court in New York, April 15, 2024. Trump's criminal hush money trial involves allegations that he falsified his company's records to hide the true nature of payments to his former lawyer Michael Cohen, who helped bury negative stories about him during the 2016 presidential campaign. He's pleaded not guilty. (Jeenah Moon/Pool Photo via AP, File)

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Meeting Trump

Daniels testified she first met and chatted with Trump at a 2006 Lake Tahoe celebrity golf outing where her studio was a sponsor.

He referred to her as “the smart one” and asked her if she wanted to go to dinner, she said. Daniels testified that she accepted Trump’s invitation because she wanted to avoid dinner with her co-workers and thought it might help her career. Trump had his bodyguard get her number, she said.

When they met up later in his penthouse, she appreciated that he seemed interested in the business aspects of the industry rather than the “sexy stuff.” He also suggested putting her on his TV show, “The Apprentice,” a possibility she hoped could help establish her as a writer and director.

She left to use the bathroom and was startled to find Trump in his underwear when she returned, she said. She didn’t feel physically or verbally threatened but realized that he was “bigger and blocking the way,” she testified.

“The next thing I know was: I was on the bed,” and they were having sex, Daniels recalled. The encounter was brief but left her “shaking,” she said. “I just wanted to leave,” she testified.

STORMY -- Pictured: Stormy Daniels -- (Photo by: Peacock)

Stormy Daniels alleges in new documentary that Donald Trump cornered her the night they met

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March 7, 2024

Payments for silence

Daniels was asked if Trump ever told her to keep things between them confidential, and said, “Absolutely not.” She said she learned in 2011 that a magazine had learned the story of their encounter, and she agreed to do an interview for $15,000 to make money and “control the narrative.” The story never ran.

In 2016, when Trump was running for president, Daniels said she authorized her manager to shop the story around but did not initially receive interest from news outlets. She said that changed in October with the release of the “Access Hollywood” tape in which Trump bragged about grabbing women sexually without asking permission . She said she learned that Cohen wanted to buy her silence.

Former President Donald Trump reacts while meeting with construction workers at the construction site of the new JPMorgan Chase headquarters in midtown Manhattan, Thursday, April 25, 2024, in New York. Trump met with construction workers and union representatives hours before he's set to appear in court. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura)

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Mistrial push

Midway through her testimony, Trump’s lawyers moved for a mistrial.

Defense lawyer Todd Blanche argued that Daniels’ testimony about the alleged encounter and other meetings with him had “nothing to do with this case,” and would unfairly prejudice the jury.

The judge rejected it, and he faulted defense attorneys for not raising more of their objections while she was testifying.

Before Daniels took the stand, Trump’s lawyers had tried to stop her from testifying about the encounter’s details, saying it was irrelevant in “a case about books and records.”

Prosecutors countered that Daniels’ testimony gets at what Trump was trying to hide and they were “very mindful” not to draw too much graphic detail. Before Daniels took the stand, they told the judge the testimony would be “really basic,” and would not “involve any details of genitalia.”

While the judge didn’t side with Trump’s lawyers, he acknowledged that some details were excessive. The objections could potentially be used by Trump’s lawyers if he is convicted and they file an appeal.

FILE - In this photo taken from video provided by the Russian Defense Ministry Press Service on Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2022, The Russian army's Iskander missile launchers take positions during drills in Russia. The Russian Defense Ministry said that the military will hold drills involving tactical nuclear weapons – the first time such exercise was publicly announced by Moscow. (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP, File)

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Cross-examination

Trump’s lawyers tried to attack Daniels’ credibility, suggesting she was motivated by money and that her account has shifted over the years.

“Am I correct that you hate President Trump?” defense lawyer Susan Necheles asked Daniels at one point. Daniels acknowledged she did.

“And you want him to go to jail?” the lawyer asked.

“I want him to be held accountable,” Daniels said. Pressed again whether that meant going to jail, she said: “If he’s convicted.”

The defense pressed Daniels on the fact that she owes Trump hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees stemming from an unsuccessful defamation lawsuit, and on a 2022 tweet in which she said she “will go to jail before I pay a penny.” Daniels dug in at times in the face of pointed questions, forcefully denying the idea that she had tried to extort money from Trump.

Trump whispered frequently to his attorney during Daniels’ testimony, and his expression seemed to be pained at one point as she recounted details about the dinner she says they shared. He shook his head and appeared to say something under his breath as Daniels testified that Trump told her he didn’t sleep in the same room as his wife.

On the way out of the courthouse, Trump called it “a very revealing day.” He didn’t address Daniels’ testimony explicitly but claimed the prosecutors’ case was “totally falling apart.”

Red Bull Racing's Dutch driver Max Verstappen drives during the third practice session of the Saudi Arabian Formula One Grand Prix at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit in Jeddah on March 8, 2024. (Photo by Giuseppe CACACE / AFP) (Photo by GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP via Getty Images)

With oil funds and Formula One, Saudi Arabia steamrolls its way onto sports’ hallowed grounds

Saudi Arabia’s oil riches have rocked soccer, golf, even esports, and the autocratic kingdom is expanding in Formula One car racing. What’s behind the push?

May 2, 2024

Jarring split screen

Trump’s appearance in court Tuesday, like all other days he’s stuck in the courtroom, means he can’t be out on the campaign trail as he runs for president a third time. It’s a frequent source of his complaints, but Daniels’ testimony in particular might underscore how much of a distraction the trial is from the business of running for president.

While Trump was stuck in a Manhattan courthouse away from voters and unable to speak for much of the day, President Biden was attending a Holocaust remembrance ceremony and condemning antisemitism .

It’s an issue Trump has sought to use against Biden in the campaign by seizing on the protests at college campuses over the Israel-Hamas war .

Associated Press writer Price reported from New York, Whitehurst from Washington. AP writers Michael Sisak, Jennifer Peltz, Jake Offenhartz and Alanna Durkin Richer contributed to this story.

More to Read

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IMAGES

  1. 10 Best Personal Statement Examples (How to Write)

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VIDEO

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COMMENTS

  1. How to Write a Personal Statement (with Tips and Examples)

    Tip 4: Connect the Story to Why You're Applying. Don't forget that the purpose of your personal statement isn't simply to tell the admissions committee who you are. That's an important part of it, of course, but your ultimate goal is to convince them to choose you as a candidate.

  2. How To Write a Personal Statement That Stands Out

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  3. How To Write a Good Personal Statement (With Examples)

    Include information that describes more about you than the details in your transcript. 5. Identify your plans for the future. Part of your personal statement can include future goals and ambitions. Explain what can happen if you gain acceptance to the university of your choice or you receive the job you want.

  4. How To Write A Personal Statement (With Examples)

    No matter why you're writing a personal statement, we're here to help you stand out from the crowd. Key Takeaways: To write a personal statement, first brainstorm, then narrow down your ideas, and start with an intro that leads into your qualifications. Make sure to proofread your personal statement before submitting.

  5. How to Write a Strong Personal Statement

    Address the elephant in the room (if there is one). Maybe your grades weren't great in core courses, or perhaps you've never worked in the field you're applying to. Make sure to address the ...

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    Paragraph 3: Why you're interested and how you've demonstrated this. Paragraph 4: Hobbies and interests (including relevant work experience) Paragraph 5: Conclusion. 3. Make your introduction clear and direct. Grab the attention of your reader from the start, with a strong opening sentence highlighting your main skills, as well as outlining ...

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    Use emotive language. Your personal statement is intended to make you stand out from the crowd - and one of the most effective ways of doing that is by using language which strikes a chord with the reader. Put them in your shoes and make them feel what you felt when describing past experiences or actions.

  8. How To Write a Standout Personal Statement [Video + Transcript]

    Step 1: Understand that a college wants to know who you are as an individual, not just who you are as a student. Step 2: Identify a topic with an arc and personal relevance. Step 3: Write a body that addresses accomplishments, experience, academic achievement and your reasons for applying to the degree, major or program.

  9. How to Write a Personal Statement

    Watch out for cliches like "making a difference," "broadening my horizons," or "the best thing that ever happened to me." 3. Stay focused. Try to avoid getting off-track or including tangents in your personal statement. Stay focused by writing a first draft and then re-reading what you've written.

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    Writing a personal statement can be one of the most challenging aspects of applying to graduate or professional school. This article helps you write a personal statement that stands out!

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    This part should include how you plan to use the knowledge you gain as you graduate. Offer thanks and discuss your hopes, intentions, and dreams. Make it memorable, but don't boast too much! If you already have a personal statement prompt to follow, this personal statement outline will help you see what to include.

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    Use your closing couple of lines to summarise the most important points in your statement. 9. Check your writing thoroughly and get someone else to check it, too. 10. Give your brain a rest by forgetting about your personal statement for a while before going back to review it one last time with fresh eyes.

  13. Personal Statement Examples: How to Make Yours Stand Out

    To write a strong personal statement, you should start by brainstorming ideas. Think about your strengths, achievements, and goals. Then, organize your ideas into a clear and concise outline. ... To make your personal statement stand out, it's important to be specific, concrete, and authentic in your language and content. You should focus on ...

  14. Personal Statement Examples That Will Get You Writing

    A personal statement is a written document that gives an overview of who you are, your experiences, achievements, and goals. It is typically required as part of a job, university program, or scholarship application. The purpose of a personal statement is to convince the reader that you are the right candidate for the opportunity by showcasing ...

  15. How to make your personal statement stand out

    To stand out, an admissions tutor needs to be able to see you, your interests and experiences, your thoughts expressed in your own words. Keep it simple. Explain what attracts you to your chosen course and how the course may help shape your future. Ditch the templates. An effective personal statement should be first and foremost - personal to ...

  16. How to Write a Powerful Personal Statement

    For a university application, discuss what parts of the program or school align with your passions. Your university introduction should be a full paragraph. 2. Expand on relevant skills, interests and experiences. The body of your personal statement lets you share more about your relevant skills, interests and experiences.

  17. 12 Outstanding Personal Statement Examples + Why They Work 2024

    Example #3 - 12. Example #4 - Flying. Example #5 - Arab Spring in Bahrain. Example #6 - Poop, Animals and the Environment. Example #7 - Entoptic Phenomena. Example #8 - The Builder & Problem Solver. Example #10 - The Little Porch and a Dog (With Spanish Translation) Example #10 - Life As an Undocumented Student.

  18. How to Write a Stand-Out Personal Statement for Your Graduate School

    Top Tips for Writing a Graduate School Personal Statement. Pick a few points to emphasize about yourself. Introduce yourself to the admissions board. Select key factors about your background that you want the university to know — elements that reveal what kind of person you are and demonstrate why you're a strong candidate for the school ...

  19. How to write a PERSONAL STATEMENT

    The timestamps:1. 00:46 - What is a personal statement?2. 01:25 - What to include in your personal statement?3. 03:35 - How to structure a personal statement...

  20. Personal Statements: Examples, Do's and Don'ts

    Include tangibles - always try to give additional details that add value to your application, for instance, quantifying something always makes it sound better. 'Increased sales by 35%' sounds better than just saying 'increased sales'. Hit key points - a good personal statement will be able to give the employer a quick summary of you and ...

  21. Writing A Personal Statement

    Final Thoughts. Ultimately, there are several things to remind yourself of when writing a personal statement: focus on answering the main questions, tell your story, and use examples of any challenge or obstacle that you faced throughout your life. If you decide to focus on a challenge or obstacle, think about the tone you will use.

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    What if you haven't got enough to say? Don't worry: take a deep breath and follow our guide to navigating your way to a stellar personal statement. This is the only part of the application ...

  23. How To Start a Personal Statement in 5 Steps (With Tips)

    Personal mission, ethics or core values. Academic or professional goals. Volunteer or work experience. 2. Include relevant background information. After dividing the elements of your personal statement, you can write about your experience, accomplishments and any goals you have regarding your education.

  24. Writing a Winning Personal Statement for a Job

    A well-written personal statement can help you stand out from other job applicants and make a positive impression on potential employers. It also enables you to make a strong impression on employers and increase your chances of landing an interview and, ultimately, the job. ... Tips for Writing a Personal Statement for a Job. Here are some ...

  25. Here is what Stormy Daniels testified happened between her and Trump

    May 7, 2024 4:50 PM PT. NEW YORK —. Porn performer Stormy Daniels took the witness stand Tuesday in the hush money case against former President Trump, who looked on as she detailed their ...

  26. Hello GPT-4o

    Prior to GPT-4o, you could use Voice Mode to talk to ChatGPT with latencies of 2.8 seconds (GPT-3.5) and 5.4 seconds (GPT-4) on average. To achieve this, Voice Mode is a pipeline of three separate models: one simple model transcribes audio to text, GPT-3.5 or GPT-4 takes in text and outputs text, and a third simple model converts that text back to audio.