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How to Write a Great Personal Statement

How to Write a Great Personal Statement

International universities attract the top talent from all over the world, and the competition for securing admission there is so exorbitant that even the tiniest of a mistake can push you out of the contest.  No matter how diverse and towering your academic achievements are, and how compelling your research findings are, it is vital to present them in a clear, orderly and compelling manner. Otherwise, no positive outcome can be expected. 

In the end, it all comes down to your Personal Statement or Motivation Essay. A personal statement is the chance to make your case that you belong in a certain university. Doing it clearly and effectively can promote a positive change, which is as important as your achievements. 

Most of the students get stumped at this stage, and are not able to perform in this portion of application. The key is not to panic.

Crafting a convincing personal statement doesn’t require one to be an outstanding writer.  An applicant’s task is to provide the institute with the information they are looking for. 1500 words are enough to achieve that goal.  

Students should always keep it in mind that universities are looking to get to know the applicants on a personal level. So, always write an honest statement that gets your true character and motivations across. It is wise to break-down your personal statement into three areas – your past, present, and future.

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Past: Background Relevant to the Proposed Degree Program

A good place to start is by introducing yourself. Most applications call for providing a CV or Resume, and personal statement’s first part is a chance to put your experience in context. Describe how and why you became interested in a particular field, the skills you developed over the time while working in that particular field, and the academic and professional achievements that make you. Always remember to humanise and personalise the personal statement. 

Key Points:

  • Previous academic and professional experience
  • Relevant exposure to related field and research
  • Areas of interest in related filed and why they interest you

An excerpt from the personal statement of a student who got enrolled in a Public Health program:

“Throughout my years at University and recent postgraduate studies, I have worked in a pharmacy as a pharmacy/ dispensing assistant, in both community and hospital settings with the latter being involved with cancer clinical trials. These roles have greatly advanced my knowledge of patient care, different treatment options and health awareness strategies within the NHS and local CCGs. I also worked on a retrospective study to examine the trends and outcomes of aortic valve replacements performed on veterans from 2005 to 2015. Prior coursework in statistics equipped me to interpret data analyses. I co-authored two abstracts. I often considered how researchers contribute towards reducing health inequities in specific populations.”

An excerpt from the personal statement of a student who got admission in Graduate Electrical Engineering Program:

My experience as a research assistant in Research and Development departments of both public and private sector companies enabled me to contract key technical, analytical, and research skills. My knowledge of research practices enabled me to understand the importance of collaborative work in a development-focused environment. I have learned a lot about the cutting edge research being done on embedded systems, Internet of Things, IIoT, Autonomous Vehicles, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Machine Vision. I collaborated on the project regarding implementation of Convolutional Neural Networks on FPGAs in order to enable consumer electronics to support AI. 

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Present: Reason to Apply for a Particular Program

After a brief introduction encompassing related experience and achievements, explain your motivation for applying to a particular degree program. Explain the driving force behind your passion to pursue a particular course, how taking up this course will take your career to a next level, and why this course from the particular university is important for you. The goal is to make compelling case regarding your motives to apply in a particular course, and convincing why it is the right time for you to do it. 

Key Points:

  • Motivation for your career in a particular field
  • Reasons to apply for the particular program specifically

An excerpt from the personal statement of a student who got enrolled in a Public Health program in Imperial College of London:

 “My healthcare background has given me the drive to move my career from disease treatment to increasing awareness of disease prevention. With an increasing life expectancy and an uncertain national healthcare budget, prevention of poor health from preventable diseases has never been more imperative.

I am particularly interested in studying at Imperial College London due to its Public Health Policy Evaluation Unit, as the research areas of the unit match my own areas of interest for future research which include big healthcare data, healthcare access and health policy; within these areas I have an interest in mental health, cancer and primary and secondary care.”

An excerpt from the personal statement of a student who got admission in Graduate Electrical Engineering Program in MIT:

My research background encouraged me to move my career forward from operations and design oriented work to research-focused work. A graduate degree is the gate-way to pursue a career in academics and scientific research.

I am particularly interested in studying at MIT due to its state of the art Artificial Intelligence Lab. Researchers from this lab have won Turing Awards which is considered to be the Nobel Prize of Computing. MIT is leading the world in the research regarding AI, and it is such a field that those who stay ahead of their peers are the ones truly successful.”

Future: Career and Research Goals

The show-down happens in the final part of your personal statements, where students are required to present a specific and clear vision regarding their time at a particular university and post-graduation career. It is always a good idea to include a short research proposal of 150 words or less for a project that you would be interested in carrying out as part of your dissertation over approximately a three month period. The research proposal should be related to the areas overlapping university’s research scope. If you are accepted, you will not be pushed to carry out the proposal from your application.

Key Points:

  • Future career goals
  • Proposed research area

An excerpt from the personal statement of a student who got enrolled in a Public Health program:

 “I believe the course will be able to provide an opportunity to obtain a more in-depth knowledge within these areas, but also developing a strong theoretical understanding of health policy, epidemiology and research methods, which I will give me the underpinning knowledge to undertake a PhD in Public health evaluation and policy in the future.

I aim to perform research to evaluate and improve the effectiveness and accessibility of health services for chronic conditions in low-income communities.”

An excerpt from the personal statement of a student who got admission in Graduate Electrical Engineering Program:

This program will provide me the opportunity to obtain more expertise related to this oncoming age of AI and Smart appliances. The strong theoretical understanding of machine learning methods and models, cloud and parallel computing, and embedded systems will allow me to continue my research in consumer electronics and the subsequent adoption of artificial intelligence.”

If you are still confused, you can avail the help from professional admission counsellors. CounsellingX.com has put together a team of highly accomplished counsellors from the top-notch global universities. The counsellors not only provide end-to-end counselling, but also topic-related help regarding application review, Statement of Purpose review, or just a general discussion regarding your academic goals.

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