How to Write a Personal Statement?


Mrunmayai Bobade
Updated on May 13, 2022 03:22 PM IST

In this article, we will learn what is a Personal Statement (PS) and delineate what differentiates a PS from a Statement of Purpose (SOP) or a Letter of Motivation (LOM), what's the purpose of a personal statement (for both colleges and applications), and how to write a killer personal statement for universities abroad.

How to Write a Personal Statement?

A personal statement is a piece of writing that you submit with your study abroad application. The sooner you get started, the higher the chances of success. It is a declaration of academic interests and any further information about your achievements to date, and therefore, it should not include any autobiographical information about your personal life.

You may think that a personal statement is not as important to universities as your academic credentials and work experience, but a superb personal statement can mean life or death between you and another candidate with the same academic grades. It is critical to note that you may only write one personal statement — the same one for each course you apply to, and thus, you must frame your skills and experiences to a great degree.

Through a personal statement, you demonstrate your dedication to the university, as well as motivation for pursuing the course. It can turn out to be a fair chance to show the university how the course is designed for you and how a personal statement is fitting the last part of the puzzle.

Our Study Abroad Experts have assisted numerous students in writing a perfect LOR as well as SOP. Almost all of our guided students have received acceptance into the universities of their choice.

Need Help Writing an Effective Personal Statement? 

What is a Personal Statement?

A personal statement is the part of your application to attend a particular college or university. It provides the opportunity to explain why you wish to study the course or subject you want, and what skills and experience you have that show you are passionate about the field of study you have chosen. It should demonstrate competence in your field of study and why you wish to apply to a particular program.

When you have given this information, if there is still room left, you can mention some achievements or qualities that are not academic or related to the field in which you plan to study. 

In the application process, the Personal Statement plays an important role, as it is the primary means of communicating the academic appropriateness of the proposed program of study as well as whether the applicant is prepared to live and learn abroad.

Before submitting the personal statement, you should proofread it, ensure it is free of errors, and make sure there are no typos. The essay should be typed in single-spaced format, and it should not exceed two pages in length.

What is the Purpose of a Personal Statement?

The personal statement should add some insight into who you are that cannot be found on your resume or transcript.

For Scholarship Applications:

  • The essay should demonstrate why you deserve the scholarship. Often, this means you should make sure that your essay revolves around the scholarship provider's goals. 

For Colleges:

  • This should paint a picture of what we are like and what we contribute to the table. That's why it's often better to tell a story or demonstrate an accomplishment, rather than merely listing them.

  • You should use it in conjunction with other parts of the application. Think of it as part of the whole process. All of your supporting documents, including the personal statement and application short answers, should tell a story about you. Both the personal statement and short essay should not be overly repetitive.

For Both:

  • Your resume should highlight the strengths you have gained. It is not that it would not acknowledge weaknesses, but it should not solely focus on just the negatives.

What Differentiates a Personal Statement from an SOP or a Letter of Motivation?

How does an SOP differ from a Personal Statement? This question is on the minds of those who are considering studying abroad. A Personal Statement and Statement of Purpose are similar in many respects, except for a few details.

SOPs include a two-page essay about extracurricular activities, motivation, goals, achievements, etc. A Personal Statement, on the other hand, is a short one-page essay about goals, motivation, and achievements. Personal Statements are more personal than SOPs, so they should elaborate on your distinctive motivations and aspirations. 

Basis of Distinction Statement

Statement of Purpose

Personal Statement

Type of Content

Motivations, goals, professional experiences, extracurricular activities

Personal motivation, inspiration, goals, and achievements

Type of document


Can be informal

Length of the document

2 pages

1 page

In basic terms, the Statement of Purpose outlines what you intend to do, as opposed to the Personal Statement, which identifies you and who you are as a person. Both of these play a distinct role in admission to the graduate college programme for which you are applying.

When it comes to graduate/undergraduate school statements of purpose versus personal statements, the two are quite distinct yet very similar. While both serve the same objective of persuading the graduate admissions committee to trust in you, they offer quite different information.

The Statement of Purpose outlines your academic strengths and background, research interests and long term goals, as well as why you are qualified for that program, whereas the personal statement discusses any achievements you have experienced or challenges you have overcome, as well as what you have learned from them.

In comparison to a personal statement, the statement of purpose is more official. A personal statement is less formal and focuses on who you are as a person and a student.

Personal Statement vs Motivational Letter

After you have clarified the differences between an SOP and a Personal Statement, let us further examine the differences between a Personal Statement and a Motivational Letter. The Letter of Motivation is a letter that explains significant objectives, motivation, and future goals about the course, and is addressed to the admission committee/department faculty. It is important to understand the differences between these two types of documents as sending the wrong kind of document could result in your application being rejected. 

As opposed to this, a Personal Statement does not address anyone specifically, but rather it describes the motivation, inspiration, and accomplishments. In a personal statement, you promote yourself by explaining why you are the best candidate for a particular undergraduate degree. A motivation letter focuses on how the bachelor's degree to which you are applying will aid you in achieving the career goals you set for yourself.

The Study Abroad Consultants' study abroad professionals have helped a great number of Indian students to craft an acceptable SOP as well as LOR. The fact that so many of our students have attended the colleges to which they aspire is quite pleasing to us.

Yet to Figure Out How to Write an Impressive Personal Statement? 

How to Write a Personal Statement?

A personal statement should typically be between one page in length unless otherwise specified on the admissions website. A personal statement is typically 1.5 or double spaced with one-inch margins. Make sure the document you write is easy to read by selecting common fonts (Calibri, Times New Roman, etc.). Here are some helpful questions to ask yourself before you start writing.

  • Who are you? What makes you special or unique?

  • What are your main influences or role models?

  • What fascinates you about the field you have chosen?

  • Where do you see yourself in the future?

  • Are there any additional explanations (GPA, gaps in education, etc.) that you need to make?

  • What obstacles have you overcome?

  • What are some of the strongest traits/skills you possess?

  • What makes you an ideal candidate for admission?

Writing Tips for a Personal Statement for Top Universities

A personal statement is hard to write if you do not know where to begin. Here are some helpful tips to follow before you start writing.

1. Write With Your Voice

Make sure you do not become a human thesaurus. It is better to make this essay look like a record of scholarly and personal accomplishments rather than a compilation of ancient philosophical quotes! 

When you rattle off achievements or quotes from other people, you can easily lose track of personal identity in a personal statement. The act of demonstrating enthusiasm with a straightforward sentence is much more effective than trying to capture their attention with an ancient statement or quotation.

For example: "I have always enjoyed creating digital media, from cringe-worthy creations in my earlier years to my near-professional publications today. I have always been fascinated by digital media and its potential for creative expression."

2. Initial Attack - Writing the Opening Paragraph

Assuming you have done all the above steps, let us get to the point: be short, concise, and personal in the opening sentence. The biggest point is to show you are passionate and interested in the course. In one or two sentences, explain how and why you chose it. 

Mentioning personal experiences is a great way to attract attention. Whenever possible, avoid overused openings, quotes, and clichés like "when I was a kid..." Employers are looking for information about you right now, not about a Shakespeare.

3. Divide and Conquer

Initially, the entire personal statement may seem overwhelming, so break it into more manageable chunks. You do not need to fully write any paragraph; in fact, we recommend brainstorming ideas before you start writing! Divide or break the into sections and take each one at a time. Be sure to stay organized. Create a list of what you would like to include and why you love the subject you are writing about.

For example: "This venture led to the creation of my clothing line called ‘APEX’, which has gained a following of over 1000 people on APEX's Facebook page and has shipped over 80 products globally. One of my greatest achievements was organizing and casting a photoshoot involving both products and models.."

4. Back Up the Claims With Examples!

Do not leave the centre of the topic. Remember to answer the question, ‘Why should we give you a spot on the course?’ If you do not want to write about yourself haphazardly, ensure that each word is answering the question. Thus, whenever possible, use examples to support the claims. 

5. Double-Check Everything

As soon as you have begun writing the first draft, have someone else read and critique it, particularly if you know someone doing the same course you are applying for. Alternatively, you could ask a teacher or professional. Ensure that the vocabulary and grammar you use are appropriate. Make sure you use specific words; do not use pretentious language or sound as though you just swallowed a dictionary. Make sure you read it out loud to yourself - and ask a friend or a sibling read it as well.

Note: Be sure you align your experiences and qualifications with the university in question. Describe why you have chosen to attend that particular institution. It is imperative that you answer all of the questions the school has provided in their essay prompt. 

Handed Over to You!

We have made it to this point. Now it is time to craft your personal statement! These writing strategies, brainstorming techniques, and example essays should ease some of the anxiety associated with writing a personal statement. With all the tools in hand, you can start writing now.

Still, if this task seems daunting, please do not hesitate to contact us at Our well-versed study abroad consultants have assisted numerous students to write effective Personal Statements.

Have Trouble Writing a Convincing Personal Statements, LOM, or SOP? 

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