Barbara P
Barbara P

How to Write a Personal Statement That Gets Noticed

8 min read

Published on: Apr 1, 2021

Last updated on: Jan 30, 2024

Personal Statement

One of the biggest challenges that students face when applying to universities or colleges is writing a compelling personal statement. 

It's the one chance to showcase your personality, skills, and achievements to the admissions committee. Plus you need a winning statement to convince them that you're the perfect fit for their institution. 

That's a lot of pressure! Luckily, we've got you covered. 

In this blog, we'll provide you with all the tips and tricks you need to craft a standout statement.

From brainstorming ideas to editing and polishing your final draft, we'll walk you through every step of the process. This will ensure that you're submitting the best possible personal statement with your application. 

So, let's get started!

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What is a Personal Statement?

A personal statement is a written document that provides insight into who you are as an individual. It is commonly required as part of college or university applications and sometimes for job applications as well.

It allows you to explain your motivations, goals, and how your background has shaped your interests and ambitions.

Think of it as a personal marketing tool that helps you stand out among other applicants. It gives admissions committees or potential employers a deeper understanding of your character, values, and suitability.

Purpose of Personal Statement

When you are writing a personal statement, you should know its purpose clearly. When you know its purpose, you can write it perfectly. 

A personal statement basically serves the following purposes:

  • Providing Insights: This statement provides an opportunity for the college admission committee to know you better. Reading about your life experiences, and factors that contributed to your personality building leaves an impression before getting into college.
  • Showcasing Uniqueness: As it talks about your personality, a personal statement also helps in highlighting your unique and interesting attributes and characteristics. An applicant presents himself in this statement with determination, enthusiasm, and a focused way that lets the audience know about you.
  • Demonstrating Priorities in Life: A personal statement also presents your priorities in life. These priorities help readers know about your goals and your commitment to important things in life.

How Long is a Personal Statement

Usually, the institute where you are writing your personal statement decides the length of it. This is the reason it is recommended to read and understand the guidelines provided. 

Generally, 500 to 1000 words are required to draft your personal essay. But it differs from college to college and country to country. 

If you are not given a word limit, it is advised not to go beyond 500 words. Lengthy essays get boring to read, and the audience gets bored. 

Also, the committee instantly wants to know you by quickly skimming through your essay. Keep it short to not annoy the readers. 

How to Start a Personal Statement?

A personal statement is a type of writing that your entire career depends on, so it should be well planned and executed. 

Instead of jumping on to the writing process instantly, spend some time planning and outlining your essay.

Take the following steps to start with your personal statement:

Understand the Guidelines 

The first step to writing a personal statement is to know what to write. There are always some guidelines provided by the institute in which they prefer the applicant’s college applications. Understand those instructions and guidelines. 

The guidelines will dictate a word count for your statement and also the format style. 

Choose a Strong Personal Statement Topic 

Think about a catchy personal statement prompt that you will give to your personal statement to impress the judges. Plan out your whole essay and make a rough draft of all the points you think will best work for your statement. 

Expert Tip

If you’re struggling to find a topic, check out these ideal personal statement prompts for inspiration.

Gather Ideas and Information 

Once you have a topic in hand, brainstorm ideas, and gather information to answer the specific question. Make sure to form sensible and logical points to impress the audience. 

The content of your personal statement essay should reflect the best of your personality and image. 

Personal Statement Outline 

No matter which college you are writing your application essay for, a universal outline suits all personal statements.

A basic outline or format includes the following:

  • Introduction
  • Body paragraphs
  • Conclusion

Let’s take a look at each of them in detail.


An introduction is the first part of a college application essay. Here, an applicant introduces the topic to grab the reader’s attention. 

An introduction is written with an opening sentence that is a hoo, which is used to grab attention. It is followed by some interesting background information and the thesis statement or the main argument or idea of the essay.

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Remember that the opening paragraph is just an introduction, not a detailed explanation of ideas and points. Do not give away everything to the readers in this section. Just give an introduction about your personality, interests, and interesting personal experience.

Body Paragraphs

The body paragraphs of your personal statement contain everything you need to share and explain your introduction. 

This section talks about your achievements, problem-solving techniques, strengths, and weaknesses that justify your personality.

To draft this section successfully, make sure each paragraph you write should have a topic sentence and transitions to all the previous paragraphs. This is to maintain a logical flow in your statement to hold your audience intact to your essay. 


The conclusion is the last and final section that sums up the applicant’s ideas and important points. All the paragraphs written in the body section should be leading up to this section. 

The committee doesn’t want an abrupt and inappropriate ending to your statement. Your conclusion should summarize all the important points, including your goals, career paths, and objectives.

Expert Tip

For more detailed information, be sure to explore our blog on personal statement format.

How to Write a Personal Statement?

Writing a personal statement can be a challenging task, but with the right approach, you can create a compelling and effective statement. 

Here are some steps to help you write a strong personal statement:

  • Highlight Your Strengths and Experiences

Focus on your key strengths, skills, and experiences that are relevant to your chosen field. Provide specific examples to illustrate your abilities and demonstrate how they align with your goals.

  • Show Your Passion and Motivation

Clearly express your passion for the subject or field you are applying to. Explain why you are interested in it and how your experiences have shaped your commitment and determination.

  • Be Genuine and Reflective

Be authentic and genuine in your writing. Reflect on your personal growth, challenges overcome, and lessons learned. Admissions committees and employers appreciate self-awareness and the ability to learn from experiences.

  • Address Potential Weaknesses

If there are any weaknesses or gaps in your application, such as lower grades or limited experience, use your personal statement to address them. Explain how you've worked to overcome these challenges and emphasize your strengths.

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  • Keep it Concise and Well-Structured

Stay within the specified word limit and ensure your statement is well-structured. Use clear and concise language, and avoid excessive jargon. Make sure your paragraphs flow logically and transition smoothly.

  • Seek Feedback and Revise

After completing your first draft, seek feedback from trusted mentors, teachers, or friends. Revise your statement based on their suggestions, ensuring clarity, coherence, and proper grammar and spelling.

  • Proofread and Edit

Before submitting your personal statement, thoroughly proofread it for any errors or typos. Pay attention to grammar, punctuation, and sentence structure. Consider reading it aloud to catch any awkward phrasing.

Good Personal Statement Examples 

Analyzing personal statement examples will equip you with valuable inspiration and guidance in creating your own. 

Let’s take a look at some good personal statement examples.

Expert Tip

Looking for more examples? Here's our comprehensive blog filled with a plethora of personal statement examples!

Still struggling to write a compelling personal statement? Check out this video below for detailed information!

Dos and Don’ts for Writing Personal Statements

The following are the dos and don’ts for writing personal statements. 



Be positive and honest

Avoid writing too much detail

Write about what really excites you

Don’t write fake information

Grab your reader's attention with an attention-grabbing hook

Do not use complex words and sentences

Show your interests and achievements

Avoid writing negative things 

Proofread it carefully

Don’t use spellchecker 

In conclusion, writing a personal statement may seem like a daunting task. However, by following the steps outlined in this blog, you can create a powerful and impactful statement.

Remember, your personal statement is your chance to shine and make a lasting impression. Be authentic, reflective, and passionate in your writing. 

Use specific examples to illustrate your strengths and experiences, and convey your motivation and dedication to your chosen field.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How do you stand out in a personal statement?

Below are some tips that help you stand out in a personal statement. 

  • Be original. 
  • Show the knowledge that you have. 
  • Never add irrelevant and fake details about yourself. 

What should you not say in your personal statement?

Here are some things that you do not include in your personal statement.

  • Fake stories
  • Negative image of your life
  • Incorrect information
Barbara P


Barbara P (Literature, Marketing)

Barbara is a highly educated and qualified author with a Ph.D. in public health from an Ivy League university. She has spent a significant amount of time working in the medical field, conducting a thorough study on a variety of health issues. Her work has been published in several major publications.

Barbara is a highly educated and qualified author with a Ph.D. in public health from an Ivy League university. She has spent a significant amount of time working in the medical field, conducting a thorough study on a variety of health issues. Her work has been published in several major publications.

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