Last places remaining for June 30th, July 14th and July 28th courses . Enrol now and join students from 175 countries for the summer of a lifetime

Other languages

  • The World’s Worst Personal Statement: Why It Fails and How to Fix It

personal statements are stupid

Writing a personal statement is never an easy thing to do, but some students fall so spectacularly short of the mark that their efforts can be a lesson to us all.

Sometimes the easiest way to figure out how to write a personal statement is to look at someone else’s efforts and see how not to write one. In this article, we present to you a superbly bad (fictional) personal statement and show you just how many ways in which it misses the mark. We’ll also explain what our hapless fictional student should have done in order to write a personal statement that stands out for the right reasons, not the wrong ones.

The personal statement:

“Only the very weak-minded refuse to be influenced by literature and poetry.” – Cassandra Clare, .I feel this quote reflects my own thrist for knowledge and that’s why I’ve had a love of reading from a young age, right from the time I could read These days my literary interests are rather more sophisticated, after all there’s nothing like to show off one’s superior intelligence when indulging in my favourite activity (reading) in a coffee shop.I’m never happier than when I’m reading, and that’s why I want to study BA English Language and Literature at – that and the G&D’s ice cream! (Jokes!)
Oddly enough it was actually the film that made me decide for sure that I wanted to study English. All my friends kept saying how much I remind them of Julia Stiles in that film with her passion for poetry.Its true, I do adore poetry and I have won quite a few awards for my own poems and everyone says how good they are. Poets I especially admire include John Keats, Sylvia Plath, William Wordsworth, Philip Larkin, Seamus Heany, John Milton and William Blake.I love novels too, my favourites being , and I’m not a one-trick pony though. I also enjoy history, especially the Edwardians, as I’m a big fan of . has given me an interest in the First World War, as we see its impact on the Crawley family. It seems especially pertinent to be thinking about the First World War in this centenary year.
I am best in my class for all my subjects, so I think I’d fit right in at Oxford. When I’m writing an essay I have a steely determination to get the best grade, not unlike a hunter whose only thought is to catch the biggest, most impressive stag he can set his sights on.
My AS grade in history wasn’t as good as I’d have liked, but my teachers say that was only because I got sidetracked by spending too much time reading and writing poetry!! I’d love to study it at university and it’s my joint favourite subject with English.
When I’m not winning poetry competitions or reading sophisticated books in my local cafe, I enjoy socialising with my mates and going to the cinema.
I’m applying for deferred entry as I’m having a gap year. 🙂

So what was wrong with it?

Let us count the ways!

1. The pretentious quote

Image shows a design for Cassandra Clare's 'Clockwork Angel' novel.

The personal statement opens with a pretentious-sounding quote, which, let’s face it, the student probably found from Googling “quotes about English literature”. It doesn’t even come from a great work of literature – it’s from a novel for young adults, which is unlikely to command the respect of the admissions tutors. The student then proceeds to say that this quote reflects their own “thirst for knowledge” (though they mistyped it as “thrist”) – but this doesn’t really relate to the quote at all. What’s more, starting with a quote is a bad idea anyway; it’s pompous, and the admissions tutors want to know what you have to say, not what someone else says.

2. The clichés, the controversial analogy and the Hungry Caterpillar

Image shows the eponymous caterpillar from The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

“Thirst for knowledge”. “From an early age”. The opening of this personal statement is littered with clichés that far too many students use and that admissions tutors have seen countless times before. This student goes a step further down the “loved reading from an early age” route by citing The Very Hungry Caterpillar as an early literary enjoyment. They probably think it sounds cute, but when said children’s book is a picture book with virtually no words, it’s hardly worth taking up valuable characters on a personal statement with. Later in the statement we hear clichés such as “one-trick pony”, “steely determination”, and even a rather embarrassing comparison between their determination to achieve the best grades in an essay and the determination of a hunter to slay an impressive beast. This singularly fails to impress in the way the student clearly wants it to. What’s more, you never know what the beliefs are of the person reading your statement, and it might turn out that they’re passionately against hunting – in which case this comparison with a hunter is going to go down especially badly.

3. Questionable motives

Image shows Marilyn Monroe reading Ulysses.

The student’s mention of James Joyce’s Ulysses reveals a rather questionable motive for wanting to read it: to “show off one’s superior intelligence” in front of other people. This sounds major alarm bells. It’s hardly going to tell the admissions tutor that the student wants to study the subject because they have a deep interest in it; they’ll pick up from this that they want to study English for the wrong reasons.

4. Mentioning texts and writers with no comment on them

The student has name-dropped a few novels and poets, but offers no insight into why they are interested in them or what they’ve got out of reading them. The mention of Ulysses seems calculated to make them appear clever for reading such an advanced text, but the fact that they offer no commentary on it has the opposite effect. The same goes for later in the personal statement with the list of poets – a random jumble of poets, modern and older, with no explanation as to why they appeal (and they misspelt Seamus Heaney’s name!). It comes across as a list of poets whose names the student happened to be able to rattle off, without any thought put into it. As for the novels mentioned, these are three incredibly famous novels that virtually everyone has read and loved. Leaving aside the fact that they haven’t said why they like these novels, it doesn’t show much depth or academic pursuit of knowledge to name-drop three very famous novels rather than demonstrating interest in or knowledge of less well-known literature.

5. Naming the course and university

Image shows King's College, Cambridge, at sunset.

The student has committed a huge faux pas in naming the course and university for which they are applying. This reveals that the only university they’re interested in is Oxford. They’re unlikely to be applying for just this university, but they’ve immediately alienated admissions tutors from all the other universities they’ve almost certainly put on their UCAS form.

6. Jokes and slang

The student jokes that they are partly applying for Oxford because of G&D’s ice cream, a famous ice cream parlour in Oxford. Quite apart from the fact that they shouldn’t have mentioned Oxford in the first place, the use of humour in this way does the student no favours. To make matters worse, they then add “Jokes” in brackets. Slang is a big no-no in a personal statement, and when combined with an attempt at humour, it’s frankly disastrous.

7. Hollywood inspiration

The admissions tutors are not going to be impressed that the reason you decided to study English at university because your friends commented on your similarity to a character in a film.

8. Unnamed awards

The student attempts to indicate their talent for poetry, stating that they have “won quite a few awards” for their own poems. However, this claim is too vague to be impressive. Which awards were they? “Everyone says how good” the student’s poems are, but how many people have actually read them, and was it just the student’s parents and grandparents who were impressed by them? These statements would have more weight if the student named the exact awards they’ve won and who has deemed their poetry to be good.

9. Downton Abbey and history

Image shows graves from the First World War.

The student goes on to talk about their other academic interest: history. The only problem is, it seems a bit out of place in a personal statement for English, making one wonder whether they might also be applying for an English and History course elsewhere. To make matters worse, they talk about Downton Abbey as the inspiration for their love of history, and in particular their interest in the First World War, commenting on the fact that it’s the centenary of the start of the First World War. The latter is hardly an insightful comment, while the mere mention of Downton Abbey is enough to discredit the student’s supposed interest in history. What’s more, they go on to say how much they love history, that it’s their joint favourite subject with English, and that they’d love to study it at university. This is inevitably going to make English Literature admissions tutors question the student’s commitment to their subject. What if the student changes their mind and wants to switch to history? It’s a big warning sign against this student.

10. Bragging

Nobody likes people who brag. The student claims to be “best in their class” and someone who’d “fit right in at Oxford” (that name again!) – though, judging by the poor quality of their personal statement, one wonders whether this could possibly be true. Later, they casually drop in “when I’m not winning poetry competitions”, a flippant remark that smacks of arrogance.

11. Negativity about one of their grades

Image shows a woman walking down a street reading a book.

The student attempts to explain a less-than-perfect grade by laughing it off with a comment about reading and writing too much poetry. One can see what they were aiming for here: they wanted to show that they’re so enthusiastic about English Literature that they get carried away and can’t stop reading and writing. However, it’s not going to look good to an admissions tutor, who’ll see someone who is unable to juggle their workload or apply themselves to succeed in all their subjects. What’s more, the student doesn’t attempt to explain what they’re doing about the bad grade – for instance, they could be taking on extra history lessons to bring the grade up, but there’s no such reassurance in their statement.

12. Boring interests

The student gives their interests as “socialising with their mates and going to the cinema”, interests that are so universal and boring that they are not worth mentioning at all. The point of mentioning interests in a personal statement is to demonstrate that there’s more to you than your academic interests. Proper hobbies and so on show you to be a well-rounded person with a range of interests, and those interests help develop skills that you can’t learn in the classroom, and that make you a good person to have around.

13. An unexplained gap year

Image shows a boat on a sea.

The student ends on a rather dull note by stating that they are taking a gap year. However, there’s no explanation of what activities they have planned for this. This would have been a good place to highlight course-related activities planned for the year out, which would have made them more suitable for the course (such as embarking on a writing workshop). This was also a lacklustre way to end the statement; a couple of sentences summarising why they want to study the course and why they’re so suitable for it would have been a good closing remark.

14. The smiley face

They’ve tried to look friendly by putting a smiley face at the end. There’s only one word for this: don’t!

15. General shortfallings

Image shows a book with its pages forming the shape of a heart.

In addition to the specific faults outlined above, there were a few general shortfallings worth highlighting.

  • Poor grammar – such as “its” when they meant “it’s”, and even an instance of double exclamation marks.
  • Typos – “thrist for knowledge”, for example.
  • Not long enough – the statement uses 2,289 characters out of an available 4,000. If you have that many characters to play with, it makes sense to use them by demonstrating even more reasons why you should be given a place.
  • Odd spacing – mostly with one sentence per paragraph, perhaps to make it look longer than it really is.
  • Very little focus on why they want to study English – which is, after all, the entire point of the statement.

Overall, it felt that very little effort had gone into writing this personal statement, leaving one questioning the student’s commitment to the course. Now that you’ve seen a disastrous personal statement first-hand, you’ll have a better idea of how not to write yours. Good luck!

Image credits: banner ; caterpillar ;  Clockwork Angel ; Ulysses ; Cambridge ; WWI ; reading ; boat ; love .

Personal statements: What not to do

Sometimes I will unexpectedly stumble across an item I wrote at some point in the distant past, and upon rereading, I’ll be thrilled to discover I still like it. That’s a wonderful feeling—very self-affirming.

That is not the feeling I get when rereading my law school personal statement. More accurate adjectives include “shame,” “revulsion,” and “horror.”

After a couple of seasons in this position, way back in 2003 or so, I got up the nerve to go dig out my application file from the huge storage room hidden deep in the recesses of Hutchins Hall . Given the weight I put on personal statements when I read them, going back to check out my own seemed like a clever idea. Without actually remembering, I’m going to guess that I expected a nice self-affirming experience, but alas, no. I loathed my personal statement to such a degree that I had the Looper -style existential crisis of realizing that if I had been my own dean of admissions, I would not have admitted myself. I returned my personal statement to the vault, resolving never to speak or think of it again.

But as Freud got famous for observing, repressed thoughts have a tricky way of coming back on you. My stupid personal statement would worm its way into my brain every once in a while, and finally, about a year and a half ago, I got the idea of tearing it apart for this blog: part philanthropic, educational gesture; part exorcism. It took me another year or so to get the nerve to go dig out my application file folder again, and yet another six months to beat back the waves of nausea that washed over me every time I peeked at the essay inside. But here we are. I think I’m ready. Let’s just tackle this horrifying task bird by bird . 1

Often I am asked, “What’s a good subject for a personal statement? Do I have to explain why I want to attend law school?” No!, I unambiguously respond. (I say it just like that, with an exclamation mark.) While your life path to law school might very well be in the background of whatever you write, it is certainly not necessary—and usually not desirable—to make it an explicit rendering. Often, even well-considered reasons behind wanting to attend law school are fairly mundane and simply expressed, not to mention shared by many candidates, with the result that any essay focusing principally on them is not particularly compelling. Occasionally, candidates will have very targeted, well-established career interests (e.g., the emergency room doctor who wants a career in health law; the school superintendent who wants a career in education law), and those make for compelling essays. But “I would like to have intellectual challenge in my career; I like unraveling problems; I like research and writing,” are such bland—though completely valid—explanations that they inevitably fail to engage the “personal” part of the personal statement mission. So, while those motivations might be the undercurrent of a personal statement, constructing the essay as an explicit “because A, then B” endeavor is not likely to be riveting.

Another bit of advice I frequently give along those lines is that people who have had experiences very early in life that set them on the path toward law should focus instead on something of more recent vintage. Don’t tell me about how you got an idea as a child about wanting to be a lawyer—I would prefer to know why, now that you’re an adult, your application is in front of me.

Given my standard advice, how much, on a scale of 1 to 10, do you think I loved reading this opening line? “My interest in law school began when I was eight.” Really, just terrible.

From there, my long-ago self went on to explain that that was the year my mother went to law school. Now, my mother’s move was a pretty bold one in 1972 for a 38-year-old mother of three in Main Line Philadelphia, and 40 years later, I still find it admirable and inspiring. I may have just finished generally criticizing this sort of theme (and this shows the danger of general advice), but it seems not impossible that this could have been an interesting topic. Yet, for reasons mysterious to me now, I seem to have made a deliberate choice back in 1989 to explore my topic in the most ham-handed imaginable way. (And let’s just politely avert our gazes from my having identified my mom’s degree, in the second sentence, as a juris doctorate .)

Mostly, my personal statement is hard to read because of the hyper-formal tone I took. I can dimly remember writing with my unknown audience in mind, and picturing them as super, super, super stiff and humorless and scary—also, for some reason, I pictured at least 10 of them simultaneously reading my application. Unsurprisingly, writing to please an audience like that turns out to make for clunky prose—not to mention really awkward, unnatural phrasing.

The whole thing is peppered with words that seem a little—off. I don’t remember doing this, but it reads as if wrote it out normally and then went back to up the syllable count, substituting five-dollar words for my daily quotidian vocabulary, like some horrible Google translate feature gone awry. Here’s a little writing advice from Stephen King on that score: “Any word you have to hunt for in a thesaurus is the wrong word. There are no exceptions to this rule.” 2 (I would have been better served to use a dictionary, given that on at least one occasion I misused a word completely: “disinterest,” which means “lack of bias,” when in fact I meant “lack of interest.”)

Doubtless, it was this same classing-it-up impulse that led me to quote Judge Learned Hand, whose work I had never actually read. Again, I don’t remember doing this, but I presumably combed through a book of quotations to find something inspiring. (Remember, this debacle occurred pre-Internet; I actually had to go to a lot of effort to produce such an unreadable mess.) I’m going to take as an article of faith that, however much you may love the one sentence you have stumbled upon, quoting people whose work you do not actually know is always a bad idea.

My personal statement is also tedious; it is totally expositive, completely devoid of detail or anecdote. I could have told the funny story about the time I got dragged along to a meeting my mom had with her scariest professor, and announced upon exiting (while still in the doorway, mind you) in my loudest eight-year-old voice, “ I think he’s NICE !,” and segued from that to something about how I should be admitted because I had already gotten over Paper Chase -style neuroses. Or I could have told the story about how I once got dragged along to class and sat in the back row next to one of her classmates, another non-traditional student (Episcopal priest turned Vietnam War protester turned would-be lawyer), who gave me whispered explanations of everything that was going on in the discussion, and credited him with some inspirational force. Or I could have told the story about her very young study group partner, who pulled me aside one day (in our living room, mind you) and whispered, “Go away, kid; you bother me,” and explained that I was devoted to the cause of a jackass-free law school. And so on. But I chose instead to explicate in ponderous prose that I was Called To The Law. Shudder.

The flaws are not merely stylistic and thematic. The specific content stinks, too. I veered wildly between being braggy in a quite direct, unnuanced way, and talking excessively about other people, without clearly explaining the significance of those other people to me. And, as if I had never, ever been taught anything about constructing an essay, every paragraph is essentially a stand-alone endeavor. I did not seem to have any particular point I wanted to build to—I was, instead, largely throwing out separate thoughts that seemed potentially persuasive. Focusing on one particular thought or event, and developing that thoroughly, would have been likely to be more productive.

Have I mentioned it was awful?

In retrospect, I have a pretty good idea of how I came to write something so misguided. What I intended to write was something like this: My mom went to law school when I was young. It was an unusual move, and I admired her. In fact, though, she ended up absolutely hating being a lawyer, and then she died when I was in college, still hating it. That combination of circumstances made me really second-guess my previous certainty that The Law Was For Me. I therefore took some time to work in a law office and experiment with some other activities, and consider what I wanted from a career. Mission accomplished, and here I am, Michigan Law School. So, why didn’t I just write that? Because at the time, I was really uncomfortable with the idea of writing about my mom to strangers; even four years after she died, it was still very much an open wound for me, and I was leery of in any way exploiting it. So, instead, I wrote in a completely elliptical way, and never connected the dots—to the extent, weirdly, that I never even said that she had died, just that she had gotten sick. There were two possible solutions for my fundamental writing problem: either pick some less-fraught subject or force myself to be direct.

The good news is, the hot waves of mortification that wash over me when I read it carry with them some helpful perspective. The personal statement is very important, but it is just one piece of the puzzle, balanced by the considerable amount of information elsewhere in the application. (At a completely practical level, this is one of the great virtues of the optional essay prompts we provide; for people tormented by the task of writing a free-form personal statement, the direct, focused questions often lead to a much better result.) Even though I retain a hard little nugget of disdain in my heart for my 24-year-old self, I have learned to be more generous to others. Knowing how badly I flubbed it makes me very admiring of those who don’t, but also more forgiving of those who do. (And very thankful to Allan Stillwagon for having been forgiving of me.) Approach your personal statement as a five-minute conversation with a normal human being, at the end of which you hope the normal human being is thinking, “This person would be well-suited to be at XYZ law school when fall (or, perhaps, summer) comes.”

And for heaven’s sake, go easy with the thesaurus and Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations .

-Dean Z. Senior Assistant Dean for Admissions, Financial Aid, and Career Planning

1 Bird by Bird by Annie Lamott is my all-time favorite book on writing. Shout-out to Lisa Rudgers , who recommended it.

2 Stephen King’s On Writing is my second-favorite book about writing. I have to dissent a bit from his anti-thesaurus edict, though. As one blogger noted , “Actually, I can think of one exception to this rule. I generally don’t pluck words I don’t know out of a thesaurus unless I’m trying to be funny, but if a word is on the tip of my tongue and I can’t for the life of me think what it is, the thesaurus is a good way to find it.”

Article type icon

13 Mistakes Students Make When Writing a Personal Statement


Need help writing a personal statement? You came to the right place!

We've seen everything here at Scribendi, which means we know what makes a good personal statement and what makes a bad one. The bad news is that there's a very fine line. The good news is that we've compiled a list of common mistakes that students make when writing a personal statement. Now, you can learn from the mistakes of others so you don't have to learn them the hard way.

1. Ignoring the rules

If there's one time to think inside the box when writing a personal statement, it's with the technical rules. If there's a required word count, stay inside of it, whatever you do. If they want a specific font type or size, don't try to wow them with your downloaded font pack. If they need a specific file type, make sure your document is in it.

It sounds obvious, but little details like these can be easily overlooked. They're also the first step to getting your foot in the door and onto the desks of the application committee, so color inside of the lines. Doing so will prove that you know how to follow guidelines. Not doing so will get your personal statement a reserved spot in the trash.

2. Failing to answer the question

It's easy to derail from the topic at hand or to answer a question with which you feel more comfortable than the original question posed. However, it's so important to stay on track and show that you are more than equipped to deal with whatever is thrown at you. First, provide an interesting hook—a succinct and engaging sentence to draw readers in and make them want to read more. Then, ensure you follow a clear structure and present a logical flow of thoughts. When answering the question, get to the point as quickly as you can, and stay relevant. If you're not sure whether to include something, keep rereading the question or topic to make sure you're not off track.

3. Making it "one size fits all"

"One size fits all" isn't just a lie in the fashion industry; it's also a lie for personal statements. You shouldn't submit the same personal statement to multiple different schools, just changing the school and program names. Even though the application committee won't know this for sure, they'll get a sense that the whole statement is just a little too generic. Worse, you're proving to yourself that you don't have what it takes to write a different statement for each school, which is a little lazy and pretty insulting to the addressee. So don't do it!

Many hopeful students, especially at the post-grad level, make it a point to show they've done their homework, mentioning particular researchers at the school whom they'd love to work with. Remember that one size never fits all.

4. Taking the "personal" out of "personal statement"

Let's be honest. Nobody wants to hear about the rising tuition costs in America or how the field you're in is progressing at a steady pace. Generalized statements are a killer in personal statements because, of course, the focus should be on you. Talk about how these things affect you specifically. Make your personal statement personal!

Home in on a level of specificity, and keep zooming in until all of the broad statements are vanquished. Instead of talking about rising tuition costs, talk about how you worked two jobs to feed your cat.

On that note, though . . .

5. Telling a sob story

Don't tell a sob story. Everybody has one; it's part of being human.

But you can't let something bad that's happened to you become an excuse. You don't want to rely on it, and you don't want the application committee to think you're trying to gain pity, so it's important that you remain professional. If you have overcome a struggle or a tragedy and it has genuinely influenced or changed you, of course you can and should talk about it. However, try to put a new or positive spin on it when possible. Talk about how working those two jobs was worth it, the different things you learned from your two bosses, or how your experiences made you who you are today.

6. Blasting to the past

In writing a personal statement , you should present yourself as a well-rounded individual but outline your achievements in different areas like academics, athletics, the arts, and your work, volunteer, and social experiences. Make sure, though, that you've moved on from high school. Your experiences should be current and professional.

What you did last weekend is more important than a project you completed three years ago. The application committee wants to know who you are now, not who you once were. What will you do in your free time today, tomorrow, and in the future? It's important that the application committee gets a sense of who you really are.

7. Apologizing and making excuses

Maybe you lack experience. Maybe you've never had a job in your field, or you haven't volunteered enough. Maybe your marks fell halfway through school, or you lost a scholarship. Maybe you don't have any extracurricular activities to list, or you've been out of the game for a while. The worst thing you can do, when faced with these common problems, is to make excuses. Don't even make excuses when they're valid, and don't apologize. There are always explanations for doing poorly, doing nothing, or just not doing the right thing, but they should never be used as excuses. If you absolutely feel the need to address your mistakes, try to talk about what you've learned or how you've grown and changed for the better.

8. Putting on a show

Another common mistake on the flip side of the last is putting on a great big show. Drop the dramatics. If you haven't found a cure for the common cold, then don't act like you have. Can the over-the-top descriptors, adjectives, and adverbs, and let your accomplishments speak for themselves. Similarly, the jargon, the overly academic language, and the stuffy personality have all got to go. It's okay to keep your personal statement simple because that will make it genuine. Write like yourself, and the personal statement will not turn into a drama.

9. Taking the backseat

It's important, though, that you don't take the backseat. This is your personal statement. What is it about you that the application committee needs to know to understand who you are and how you function? How can you best demonstrate your strengths, achievements, and ability to overcome challenges? Which ones have made you the person you are? These are all worth considering.

There will be points where you have to brag a little bit, but do so subtly. Mentioning your achievements is important. Explaining how you made them and what you learned is more important.

10. Forgetting give and take

There's a very fine balance to strike in your personal statement, and it's one that's often overlooked. This is probably the most important tip! Here it is: you need to balance how you can benefit the school in question and how the school in question can benefit you. If you focus too much on the first, you'll come across as arrogant. If you focus too much on the second, you'll come across as desperate. So make sure you balance it out.

What does the school gain from accepting you? That's important to answer, and that's the whole point of writing a personal statement. Answering that question well will get you accepted. At the same time, you have to thoroughly explain what it is about the school that makes it so desirable. Without that, the application committee may believe that you don't think you need its school and that any school will suit your purposes fine. Make sure you give and take!

11. Failing to convey excitement

If you're enthusiastic about the prospect of attending a school, say so! Most students decide to apply for a program because they are excited about the material and the prospect of using the knowledge they'll gain in their future careers. You can also add a touch of altruism by explaining how you hope to harness your passion to help others. For example, if applying to a business program, express your excitement to take advantage of its prestigious alumni roster as well as your hope to help a particular nonprofit. Be specific about why you're excited about the opportunities a school or program will provide.

12. Turning into a cliche

Focus on highlighting unique experiences that could have only happened to you. This will help get your personal statement remembered and cared about. Show that you have energy and passion, that you are committed, and that you are unique (because you are). However, be humble. Unique does not mean "the best." There's always room for improvement, so instead of trying to sound like the best, try to sound irreplaceable. What makes your point of view your very own? That's what you want to demonstrate. Everybody's different, so make sure the application committee understands how you're different by the end of your essay.

13. Thinking it's finished when it's not

Here's the hard truth: one typo can make or break your personal statement. You need to have your personal statement edited and proofread, whether professionally or by a friend or colleague. Seriously, just do it. There's always, always room to improve. Even if you have flawless grammar and spelling (and no typos), perhaps you can work on clarity, tone, structure, or flow. Having others look at your document for you can provide a fresh perspective not unlike that of the application committee. An editor will not only improve the language in your piece but will also give you pointers on how to improve the content. Your personal statement isn't complete unless it's been edited!

Time to start writing!

Now that you know the common mistakes students make, you can avoid them. Writing a personal statement can be a little more than intimidating, but following these suggestions will at least put you ahead of the others. Here's to getting your personal statement on the top of the pile!

Image source: HalfPoint/

Invest in Your Future. Get Professional Editing.

Get the help of one of our expert editors , or get a free sample.

Have You Read?

"The Complete Beginner's Guide to Academic Writing"

Related Posts

How to Write a College Admissions Essay

How to Write a College Admissions Essay

How to Write a Thesis or Dissertation

How to Write a Thesis or Dissertation

School's Out! Now What? 10 Tips for the Recently Graduated and Unemployed

School's Out! Now What? 10 Tips for the Recently Graduated and Unemployed

Upload your file(s) so we can calculate your word count, or enter your word count manually.

We will also recommend a service based on the file(s) you upload.

File Word Count  
Include in Price?  

English is not my first language. I need English editing and proofreading so that I sound like a native speaker.

I need to have my journal article, dissertation, or term paper edited and proofread, or I need help with an admissions essay or proposal.

I have a novel, manuscript, play, or ebook. I need editing, copy editing, proofreading, a critique of my work, or a query package.

I need editing and proofreading for my white papers, reports, manuals, press releases, marketing materials, and other business documents.

I need to have my essay, project, assignment, or term paper edited and proofread.

I want to sound professional and to get hired. I have a resume, letter, email, or personal document that I need to have edited and proofread.

 Prices include your personal % discount.

 Prices include % sales tax ( ).

personal statements are stupid

personal statements are stupid

  • The Magazine
  • Newsletters
  • Managing Yourself
  • Managing Teams
  • Work-life Balance
  • The Big Idea
  • Data & Visuals
  • Reading Lists
  • Case Selections
  • HBR Learning
  • Topic Feeds
  • Account Settings
  • Email Preferences

How to Write a Strong Personal Statement

  • Ruth Gotian
  • Ushma S. Neill

personal statements are stupid

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.

personal statements are stupid

  • 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

Partner Center

  • Search All Scholarships
  • Exclusive Scholarships
  • Easy Scholarships to Apply For
  • No Essay Scholarships
  • Scholarships for HS Juniors
  • Scholarships for HS Seniors
  • Scholarships for College Students
  • Scholarships for Grad Students
  • Scholarships for Women
  • Scholarships for Black Students
  • Scholarships
  • Student Loans
  • College Admissions
  • Financial Aid
  • Scholarship Winners
  • Scholarship Providers

Student-centric advice and objective recommendations

Higher education has never been more confusing or expensive. Our goal is to help you navigate the very big decisions related to higher ed with objective information and expert advice. Each piece of content on the site is original, based on extensive research, and reviewed by multiple editors, including a subject matter expert. This ensures that all of our content is up-to-date, useful, accurate, and thorough.

Our reviews and recommendations are based on extensive research, testing, and feedback. We may receive commission from links on our website, but that doesn’t affect our editors’ opinions. Our marketing partners don’t review, approve or endorse our editorial content. It’s accurate to the best of our knowledge when posted. You can find a complete list of our partners here .

How to Write an Amazing Personal Statement (Includes Examples!)

personal statements are stupid

Lisa Freedland is a Scholarships360 writer with personal experience in psychological research and content writing. She has written content for an online fact-checking organization and has conducted research at the University of Southern California as well as the University of California, Irvine. Lisa graduated from the University of Southern California in Fall 2021 with a degree in Psychology.

Learn about our editorial policies

Zach Skillings is the Scholarships360 Newsletter Editor. He specializes in college admissions and strives to answer important questions about higher education. When he’s not contributing to Scholarships360, Zach writes about travel, music, film, and culture. His work has been published in Our State Magazine, Ladygunn Magazine, The Nocturnal Times, and The Lexington Dispatch. Zach graduated from Elon University with a degree in Cinema and Television Arts.

personal statements are stupid

Bill Jack has over a decade of experience in college admissions and financial aid. Since 2008, he has worked at Colby College, Wesleyan University, University of Maine at Farmington, and Bates College.

personal statements are stupid

Maria Geiger is Director of Content at Scholarships360. She is a former online educational technology instructor and adjunct writing instructor. In addition to education reform, Maria’s interests include viewpoint diversity, blended/flipped learning, digital communication, and integrating media/web tools into the curriculum to better facilitate student engagement. Maria earned both a B.A. and an M.A. in English Literature from Monmouth University, an M. Ed. in Education from Monmouth University, and a Virtual Online Teaching Certificate (VOLT) from the University of Pennsylvania.

How to Write an Amazing Personal Statement (Includes Examples!)

The personal statement. It’s one of the most important parts of the entire college application process. This essay is the perfect opportunity to show admissions officers who you are and what makes you stand out from the crowd. But writing a good personal statement isn’t exactly easy. That’s why we’ve put together the ultimate guide on how to nail your personal statement, complete with example essays . Each essay was reviewed and commented upon by admissions expert Bill Jack. Let’s dive in!

Related: How to write an essay about yourself  

What is a personal statement? 

A personal statement is a special type of essay that’s required when you’re applying to colleges and scholarship programs. In this essay, you’re expected to share something about who you are and what you bring to the table. Think of it as a chance to reveal a side of yourself not found in the rest of your application. Personal statements are typically around 400 – 600 words in length. 

What can I write about? 

Pretty much anything, as long as it’s about you . While this is liberating in the sense that your writing options are nearly unlimited, it’s also overwhelming for the same reason. The good news is that you’ll probably be responding to a specific prompt. Chances are you’re applying to a school that uses the Common App , which means you’ll have seven prompts to choose from . Reviewing these prompts can help generate some ideas, but so can asking yourself meaningful questions. 

Below you’ll find a list of questions to ask yourself during the brainstorming process. For each of the following questions, spend a few minutes jotting down whatever comes to mind. 

  • What experiences have shaped who you are? 
  • What’s special or unique about you or your life story? 
  • Who or what has inspired you the most? 
  • What accomplishments are you most proud of? 
  • What are your goals for the future? How have you arrived at those goals? 
  • If your life was a movie, what would be the most interesting scene? 
  • What have been some of the biggest challenges in your life? How did you respond and what did you learn? 

The purpose of these questions is to prompt you to think about your life at a deeper level. Hopefully by reflecting on them, you’ll find an essay topic that is impactful and meaningful. In the next section, we’ll offer some advice on actually writing your essay. 

Also see:  How to write a 500 word essay

How do I write my personal statement? 

Once you’ve found a topic, it’s time to start writing! Every personal statement is different, so there’s not really one formula that works for every student. That being said, the following tips should get you started in the right direction:  

1. Freewrite, then rewrite 

The blank page tends to get more intimidating the longer you stare at it, so it’s best to go ahead and jump right in! Don’t worry about making the first draft absolutely perfect. Instead, just get your ideas on the page and don’t spend too much time thinking about the finer details. Think of this initial writing session as a “brain dump”. Take 15-30 minutes to quickly empty all your thoughts onto the page without worrying about things like grammar, spelling, or sentence structure. You can even use bullet points if that helps. Once you have your ideas on the page, then you can go back and shape them exactly how you want. 

2. Establish your theme 

Now that you’ve got some basic ideas down on the page, it’s time to lock in on a theme. Your theme is a specific angle that reflects the central message of your essay. It can be summarized in a sentence or even a word. For example, let’s say you’re writing about how you had to establish a whole new group of friends when you moved to a new city. The theme for this type of essay would probably be something like “adaptation”. Having a theme will help you stay focused throughout your essay. Since you only have a limited number of words, you can’t afford to go off on tangents that don’t relate to your theme. 

3. Tell a story

A lot of great essays rely on a specific scene or story. Find the personal anecdote relevant to your theme and transfer it to the page. The best way to do this is by using descriptive language. Consult the five senses as you’re setting the scene. What did you see, hear, taste, touch, or smell? How were you feeling emotionally? Using descriptive language can really help your essay come to life. According to UPchieve , a nonprofit that supports low income students, focusing on a particular moment as a “ revised version of a memoir ” is one way to keep readers engaged. 

Related: College essay primer: show, don’t tell  

4. Focus on your opening paragraph

Your opening paragraph should grab your reader’s attention and set the tone for the rest of your essay. In most cases, this is the best place to include your anecdote (if you have one). By leading with your personal story, you can hook your audience from the get-go. After telling your story, you can explain why it’s important to who you are. 

Related:  How to start a scholarship essay (with examples)

5. Use an authentic voice 

Your personal statement reflects who you are, so you should use a tone that represents you. That means you shouldn’t try to sound like someone else, and you shouldn’t use fancy words just to show off. This isn’t an academic paper, so you don’t have to adopt a super formal tone. Instead, write in a way that allows room for your personality to breathe. 

6. Edit, edit, edit…

Once you’re done writing, give yourself some time away from the essay. Try to allow a few days to pass before looking at the essay again with fresh eyes. This way, you’re more likely to pick up on spelling and grammatical errors. You may even get some new ideas and rethink the way you wrote some things. Once you’re satisfied, let someone else edit your essay. We recommend asking a teacher, parent, or sibling for their thoughts before submitting. 

Examples of personal statements 

Sometimes viewing someone else’s work is the best way to generate inspiration and get the creative juices flowing. The following essays are written in response to four different Common App prompts: 

Prompt 1: “Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.”

When I was eight years old, I wanted a GameCube very badly. For weeks I hounded my dad to buy me one and finally he agreed. But there was a catch. He’d only get me a GameCube if I promised to start reading. Every day I played video games, I would have to pick up a book and read for at least one hour. At that point in my life, reading was just something I had to suffer through for school assignments. To read for pleasure seemed ludicrous. Needless to say, I wasn’t exactly thrilled about this proposed agreement. But I figured anything was worth it to get my hands on that shiny new video game console, so I bit the bullet and shook my dad’s hand. Little did I know that I had just made a life-changing deal. 

At first, the required hour of reading was a chore — something I had to do so I could play Mario Kart. But it quickly turned into something more than that. To my complete and utter surprise, I discovered that I actually enjoyed reading. One hour turned into two, two turned into three, and after a while I was spending more time reading than I was playing video games. I found myself captivated by the written word, and I read everything I could get my hands on. Lord of the Rings , Percy Jackson , Goosebumps — you name it. I was falling in love with literature, while my GameCube was accumulating dust in the TV stand. 

Soon enough, reading led to writing. I was beginning to come up with my own stories, so I put pen to paper and let my imagination run wild. It started out small. My first effort was a rudimentary picture book about a friendly raccoon who went to the moon. But things progressed. My stories became more intricate, my characters more complex. I wrote a series of science fiction novellas. I tried my hand at poetry. I was amazed at the worlds I could create with the tip of my pen. I had dreams of becoming an author. 

Then somewhere along the way my family got a subscription to Netflix, and that completely changed the way I thought about storytelling. My nose had been buried in books up until then, so I hadn’t really seen a lot of movies. That quickly changed. It seemed like every other day a pair of new DVDs would arrive in the mail (this was the early days of Netflix). Dark Knight, The Truman Show, Inception, Memento — all these great films were coming in and out of the house. And I couldn’t get enough of them. Movies brought stories to life in a way that books could not. I was head over heels for visual storytelling. 

Suddenly I wasn’t writing novels and short stories anymore. I was writing scripts for movies. Now I wanted to transfer my ideas to the big screen, rather than the pages of a book. But I was still doing the same thing I had always done. I was writing, just in a different format. To help with this process, I read the screenplays of my favorite films and paid attention to the way they were crafted. I kept watching more and more movies. And I hadn’t forgotten about my first love, either. I still cherished books and looked to them for inspiration. By the end of my junior year of high school, I had completed two scripts for short films. 

So why am I telling you all this? Because I want to turn my love of storytelling into a career. I’m not totally sure how to do that yet, but I know I have options. Whether it’s film production, creative writing, or even journalism, I want to find a major that suits my ambitions. Writing has taken me a long way, and I know it can take me even further. As I step into this next chapter of my life, I couldn’t be more excited to see how my craft develops. In the meantime, I should probably get rid of that dusty old GameCube. 

Feedback from admissions professional Bill Jack

Essays don’t always have to reveal details about the student’s intended career path, but one thing I like about this essay is that it gives the reader a sense of the why. Why do they want to pursue storytelling. It also shows the reader that they are open to how they pursue their interest. Being open to exploration is such a vital part of college, so it’s also showing the reader that they likely will be open to new things in college. And, it’s always fun to learn a little bit more about the student’s family, especially if the reader can learn about how the students interacts with their family. 

Prompt 2: “The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?”

I remember my first impression of Irvine: weird. It was foggy, stock-full of greenery and eucalyptus trees, and reminded me of my 5th grade trip to a “science camp” which was located in the San Bernardino mountains. Besides Irvine, that was one of the few places in Southern California where you’d find so many non-palm trees. 

Of course, perhaps my initial impression of Irvine was biased, motivated by a desire to stay in my hometown and a fear of the unknown. While that was true to an extent, Irvine was certainly still a little peculiar. The city itself was based on a “master plan” of sorts, with the location of each of its schools, parks, shops, and arguably its trees having been logically “picked” before the foundation was poured. Even the homes all looked roughly the same, with their beige, stucco walls almost serving as a hallmark of the city itself.

Thus, this perfectly structured, perfectly safe city seemed like a paradise of sorts to many outsiders, my parents included. I was a little more hesitant to welcome this. As I saw it, this was a phony city – believing that its uniformity stood for a lack of personality. My hometown, although not as flawlessly safe nor clean as Irvine, was where most of my dearest memories had occurred. From the many sleepovers at Cindie’s house, to trying to avoid my school’s own version of the “infamous” cheese touch, to the many laughs shared with friends and family, I shed a tear at the prospect of leaving my home.

Moving into the foreign city, remnants of the hostility I held towards Irvine remained. Still dwelling in my memories of the past, I was initially unable to see Irvine as a “home.” So, as I walked into my first-ever Irvine class, being greeted by many kind, yet unfamiliar faces around me, I was unable to recognize that some of those new faces would later become some of my dearest friends. Such negative feelings about the city were further reinforced by newer, harder classes, and more complicated homework. Sitting in the discomfort of this unfamiliar environment, it started to seem that “change” was something not only inevitable, but insurmountable.

As the years went on, however, this idea seemed to fade. I got used to my classes and bike racing through Irvine neighborhoods with my friends, watching the trees that once seemed just a “weird” green blob soon transform into one of my favorite parts of the city. While I kept my old, beloved memories stored, I made space for new ones. From carefully making our way over the narrow creek path next to our school, to the laughs we shared during chemistry class, my new memories made with friends seemed to transform a city I once disliked into one I would miss. 

Through this transformation, I have come to recognize that change, although sometimes intimidating at first, can open the door to great times and meaningful connections. Although Irvine may have once seemed like a strange, “phony” place that I couldn’t wait to be rid of, the memories and laughs I had grown to share there were very real. As I move onto this next part of my life, I hope I can use this knowledge that I have gained from my time in Irvine to make the most of what’s to come. Even if the change may be frightening at first, I have learned to embrace what’s on the other side, whether green or not.

One huge plus to writing an essay that focuses on a place is that you might have it read by someone who has been there. Yet, what’s really helpful about this essay is that even if someone hasn’t been there, a picture is painted about what the place is like.  Admission officers have the hard task of really understanding what the student sees, so the use of adjectives and imagery can really help.  It’s also really clever to see that the green that’s mentioned at the beginning is mentioned at the end.  It’s a nice way to bookend the essay and tie it all together.

Prompt 6: “Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more?”

I like getting lost. Not literally, of course, but figuratively. Whether it be in the story of a love song by Taylor Swift, or in the memories brought back by listening to my favorite childhood video game’s background music, I’ve always appreciated music’s ability to transport me to another place, another time, another feeling. 

Alas, I cannot sing, nor have I practiced an instrument since my middle school piano class days. So, perhaps Kurt Vonnegut was right. As he puts it, “Virtually every writer I know would rather be a musician.” While I cannot speak for others, I have certainly not debunked his theory. Writing allows many, including myself, to attempt to mimic the transformative power of music – even if our singing voices aren’t exactly “pleasant.” Just as you can get lost in music, you can do so in a story. Whether it is in George Orwell’s totalitarian Oceania, or Little Women’s Orchard House, the stories outlined in novels can provide an amazing look into the lives and worlds of others, and an escape from the worries and problems of those in your own.

While I am certainly not claiming to have the storytelling abilities of the Orwells or Alcotts before me, I’ve had fun trying to recreate such transformative feelings for others. When I was nine, I attempted to write a story about a little girl who had gotten lost in the woods, only managing to get a couple pages through. As I got older, whenever I was assigned a creative writing assignment in school, I wrote about the same pig, Phil. He was always angry: in my 8th grade science class, Phil was mad at some humans who had harbored his friend captive, and in my 9th grade English class, at a couple who robbed him. 

Thus, when I heard about a writing club being opened at my school in 11th grade, I knew I had to join. I wanted to discern whether writing was just a hobby I picked up now and then, or a true passion. If it was a passion, I wanted to learn as much as possible about how I could improve. Although my high school’s writing club certainly wasn’t going to transform me into Shakespeare, I knew I could learn a lot from it – and I did. The club challenged me to do many things, from writing on the spot, to writing poetry, to even writing about myself, something that’s hopefully coming in handy right now. 

From then on, I started to expand into different types of writing, storing short ideas, skits, and more in appropriately-labeled Google Drive folders. At around the same time, I became interested in classic literature, which largely stemmed from a project in English class. We had been required to choose and read a classic on our own, then present it to the class in an interesting way. While my book was certainly interesting and unique in its own right, nearly everyone else’s novels seemed more captivating to me. So, I took it upon myself to read as many classics as I could the following summer.

One of the books I read during the summer, funnily enough, was Animal Farm, which starred angry pigs, reminiscent of Phil. I had also started going over different ideas in my head, thinking about how I could translate them into words using the new skills I learned. While the writing club helped reaffirm my interest in writing and allowed me to develop new skills, my newfound affinity for classics gave me inspiration to write. Now, I am actually considering writing as part of my future. In this endeavor, I hope that Phil, and the music I inevitably listen to as I write, will accompany me every step of the way.

Admission officers might read 70 (or more!) essays in one day. It’s not uncommon for them to start to blend together and sound similar. This essay might not make you laugh out loud. But, it might make the reader chuckle while reading it thanks to the subtle humor and levity. Being able to incorporate a little humor into your essay (if it is natural for you to do… do not force it), can really be a great way to shed additional light into who you are. Remember, the essay isn’t merely about proving that you can write, but it should also reveal a little bit about your personality.

Prompt 5: “Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.”

I learned a lot of things during the summer I worked at Tropical Smoothie. I discovered the value of hard work. I figured out how to save money. I even mastered the art of the Mango Magic smoothie (the secret is lots of sugar). But most importantly, I learned the power of perspective. And I have Deja to thank for that. 

Deja was my shift supervisor, and one of Tropical Smoothie’s best employees. She was punctual, friendly, and always willing to lend a helping hand. She knew the store from top to bottom, and could handle pretty much any situation thrown her way. She made everyone around her better. On top of all that, she was four months pregnant! I was always impressed by Deja’s work ethic, but I gained an entirely new level of respect for her one day.

It was a Friday night, and Deja and I were working the closing shift together. It was very busy, and Deja and I were the only ones on shift. We managed to get by, but we were exhausted by the end of the evening. After wiping down the counters and mopping the floors, we closed up shop and went our separate ways. I was eager to get home. 

I walked a couple blocks to where I had parked my car. Well, it wasn’t my car actually. It was my dad’s ‘98 Chevy pickup truck, and it was in rough shape. It had no heat or A/C, the leather seats were cracked beyond repair, and the driver’s side door was jammed shut. I sighed as I got in through the passenger side and scooted over to the driver’s seat. The whole reason I was working at Tropical Smoothie was to save up enough money to buy my own car. I was hoping to have something more respectable to drive during my senior year of high school. 

I cranked the old thing up and started on my way home. But soon enough, I spotted Deja walking on the side of the road. There was no sidewalk here, the light was low, and she was dangerously close to the passing cars. I pulled over and offered her a ride. She got in and explained that she was on her way home. Apparently she didn’t have a car and had been walking to work every day. I couldn’t believe it. Here I was complaining about my set of wheels, while Deja didn’t have any to begin with.

We got to talking, and she confessed that she had been having a tough time. You would never know from the way she was so cheerful at work, but Deja had a lot on her plate. She was taking care of her mother, her boyfriend had just lost his job, and she was worried about making ends meet. And of course, she was expecting a baby in five months. On top of all that, she had been walking nearly a mile to and from work every day. The whole thing was a real eye opener, and made me reconsider some things in my own life. 

For one, I didn’t mind driving my dad’s truck anymore. It was banged up, sure, but it was a lot better than nothing. My mindset had changed. I appreciated the truck now. I began to think about other things differently, too. I started making mental notes of all the things in my life I was thankful for — my family, my friends, my health. I became grateful for what I had, instead of obsessing over the things I didn’t. 

I also gained more awareness of the world outside my own little bubble. My encounter with Deja had shown me first-hand that everyone is dealing with their own problems, some worse than others. So I started paying more attention to my friends, family members, and coworkers. I started listening more and asking how I could help. I also gave Deja a ride home for the rest of the summer. 

These are all small things, of course, but I think they make a difference. I realized I’m at my best when I’m not fixated on my own life, but when I’m considerate of the lives around me. I want to keep this in mind as I continue to grow and develop as a person. I want to continue to search for ways to support the people around me. And most importantly, I want to keep things in perspective.

Too often we can be focused on our own problems that we fail to realize that everyone has their own things going on in their lives, too.  This essay showcases how it’s important to put things in perspective, a skill that certainly will prove invaluable in college… and not just in the classroom.  Another reason I like this essay is because it provides deeper insight into the student’s life.  Sure, you might have mentioned in your activities list that you have a job.  But as this essay does, you can show why you have the job in the first place, what your responsibilities are, and more.

A few last tips

We hope these essay examples gave you a bit of inspiration of what to include in your own. However, before you go, we’d like to send you off with a few (personal statement) writing tips to help you make your essays as lovely as the memories and anecdotes they’re based off of. Without further ado, here are some of our best tips for writing your personal statements:

1. Open strong

College admissions officers read many, many essays (think 50+) a day, which can sometimes cause them to start blending together and sounding alike. One way to avoid your essay from simply fading into the background is to start strong. This means opening your essay with something memorable, whether an interesting personal anecdote, a descriptive setting, or anything else that you think would catch a reader’s attention (so long as it’s not inappropriate). Not only might this help college admissions officers better remember your essay, but it will also make them curious about what the rest of your essay will entail.

2. Be authentic

Perhaps most important when it comes to writing personal statement essays is to maintain your authenticity. Ultimately, your essays should reflect your unique stories and quirks that make you who you are, and should help college admissions officers determine whether you’d truly be a good fit for their school or not. So, don’t stress trying to figure out what colleges are looking for. Be yourself, and let the colleges come to you!

3. Strong writing

This one may seem a little obvious, but strong writing will certainly appeal to colleges. Not only will it make your essay more compelling, but it may show colleges that you’re ready for college-level essay writing (that you’ll likely have to do a lot of). Just remember that good writing is not limited to grammar. Using captivating detail and descriptions are a huge part of making your essay seem more like a story than a lecture.

4. Proofread

Last but not least, remember to proofread! Make sure your essay contains no errors in grammar, punctuation, and spelling. When you’re done proofreading your essay yourself, we would also recommend that you ask a teacher, parent, or other grammatically savvy person to proofread your essay as well.

Final thoughts 

With those in hand, we hope you now have a better sense of how to write your personal statement. While your grades and test scores are important when it comes to college admissions, it’s really your essays that can “make” or “break” your application. 

Although this may make it seem like a daunting task, writing an amazing personal statement essay is all about effort. Thus, so long as you start early, follow the advice listed above, and dedicate your time and effort to it, it’s entirely possible to write an essay that perfectly encapsulates you. Good luck, and happy writing!

Also see:  Scholarships360’s free scholarships search tool

Key Takeaways

  • It may take some people longer than others to know what they want to write about, but remember that everyone, including you, has something unique to write about!
  • Personal statements should be personal, which means you should avoid being too general and really strive to show off what makes you “you”
  • Time and effort are two of the most important things you can put into your personal statement to ensure that it is the best representation of yourself
  • Don’t forget to ask people who know you to read your work before you submit; they should be able to tell you better than anyone if you are truly shining through!

Start your scholarship search

  • Vetted scholarships custom-matched to your profile
  • Access exclusive scholarships only available to Scholarships360 members

Frequently asked questions about writing personal statements 

How do you write a powerful personal statement, what makes an amazing personal statement, how do you start an amazing personal statement, scholarships360 recommended.

personal statements are stupid

10 Tips for Successful College Applications

personal statements are stupid

Coalition vs. Common App: What is the difference?

personal statements are stupid

College Application Deadlines 2023-2024: What You Need to Know

Trending now.

personal statements are stupid

How to Convert Your GPA to a 4.0 Scale

personal statements are stupid

PSAT to SAT Score Conversion: Predict Your Score

personal statements are stupid

What Are Public Ivy League Schools?

3 reasons to join scholarships360.

  • Automatic entry to our $10,000 No-Essay Scholarship
  • Personalized matching to thousands of vetted scholarships
  • Quick apply for scholarships exclusive to our platform

By the way...Scholarships360 is 100% free!

Have a language expert improve your writing

Run a free plagiarism check in 10 minutes, generate accurate citations for free.

  • Knowledge Base
  • Applying to graduate school
  • How to Write Your Personal Statement | Strategies & Examples

How to Write Your Personal Statement | Strategies & Examples

Published on February 12, 2019 by Shona McCombes . Revised on July 3, 2023.

A personal statement is a short essay of around 500–1,000 words, in which you tell a compelling story about who you are, what drives you, and why you’re applying.

To write a successful personal statement for a graduate school application , don’t just summarize your experience; instead, craft a focused narrative in your own voice. Aim to demonstrate three things:

  • Your personality: what are your interests, values, and motivations?
  • Your talents: what can you bring to the program?
  • Your goals: what do you hope the program will do for you?

This article guides you through some winning strategies to build a strong, well-structured personal statement for a master’s or PhD application. You can download the full examples below.

Urban Planning Psychology History

Table of contents

Getting started with your personal statement, the introduction: start with an attention-grabbing opening, the main body: craft your narrative, the conclusion: look ahead, revising, editing, and proofreading your personal statement, frequently asked questions, other interesting articles.

Before you start writing, the first step is to understand exactly what’s expected of you. If the application gives you a question or prompt for your personal statement, the most important thing is to respond to it directly.

For example, you might be asked to focus on the development of your personal identity; challenges you have faced in your life; or your career motivations. This will shape your focus and emphasis—but you still need to find your own unique approach to answering it.

There’s no universal template for a personal statement; it’s your chance to be creative and let your own voice shine through. But there are strategies you can use to build a compelling, well-structured story.

The first paragraph of your personal statement should set the tone and lead smoothly into the story you want to tell.

Strategy 1: Open with a concrete scene

An effective way to catch the reader’s attention is to set up a scene that illustrates something about your character and interests. If you’re stuck, try thinking about:

  • A personal experience that changed your perspective
  • A story from your family’s history
  • A memorable teacher or learning experience
  • An unusual or unexpected encounter

To write an effective scene, try to go beyond straightforward description; start with an intriguing sentence that pulls the reader in, and give concrete details to create a convincing atmosphere.

Strategy 2: Open with your motivations

To emphasize your enthusiasm and commitment, you can start by explaining your interest in the subject you want to study or the career path you want to follow.

Just stating that it interests you isn’t enough: first, you need to figure out why you’re interested in this field:

  • Is it a longstanding passion or a recent discovery?
  • Does it come naturally or have you had to work hard at it?
  • How does it fit into the rest of your life?
  • What do you think it contributes to society?

Tips for the introduction

  • Don’t start on a cliche: avoid phrases like “Ever since I was a child…” or “For as long as I can remember…”
  • Do save the introduction for last. If you’re struggling to come up with a strong opening, leave it aside, and note down any interesting ideas that occur to you as you write the rest of the personal statement.

Once you’ve set up the main themes of your personal statement, you’ll delve into more detail about your experiences and motivations.

To structure the body of your personal statement, there are various strategies you can use.

Strategy 1: Describe your development over time

One of the simplest strategies is to give a chronological overview of key experiences that have led you to apply for graduate school.

  • What first sparked your interest in the field?
  • Which classes, assignments, classmates, internships, or other activities helped you develop your knowledge and skills?
  • Where do you want to go next? How does this program fit into your future plans?

Don’t try to include absolutely everything you’ve done—pick out highlights that are relevant to your application. Aim to craft a compelling narrative that shows how you’ve changed and actively developed yourself.

My interest in psychology was first sparked early in my high school career. Though somewhat scientifically inclined, I found that what interested me most was not the equations we learned about in physics and chemistry, but the motivations and perceptions of my fellow students, and the subtle social dynamics that I observed inside and outside the classroom. I wanted to learn how our identities, beliefs, and behaviours are shaped through our interactions with others, so I decided to major in Social Psychology. My undergraduate studies deepened my understanding of, and fascination with, the interplay between an individual mind and its social context.During my studies, I acquired a solid foundation of knowledge about concepts like social influence and group dynamics, but I also took classes on various topics not strictly related to my major. I was particularly interested in how other fields intersect with psychology—the classes I took on media studies, biology, and literature all enhanced my understanding of psychological concepts by providing different lenses through which to look at the issues involved.

Strategy 2: Own your challenges and obstacles

If your path to graduate school hasn’t been easy or straightforward, you can turn this into a strength, and structure your personal statement as a story of overcoming obstacles.

  • Is your social, cultural or economic background underrepresented in the field? Show how your experiences will contribute a unique perspective.
  • Do you have gaps in your resume or lower-than-ideal grades? Explain the challenges you faced and how you dealt with them.

Don’t focus too heavily on negatives, but use them to highlight your positive qualities. Resilience, resourcefulness and perseverance make you a promising graduate school candidate.

Growing up working class, urban decay becomes depressingly familiar. The sight of a row of abandoned houses does not surprise me, but it continues to bother me. Since high school, I have been determined to pursue a career in urban planning. While people of my background experience the consequences of urban planning decisions first-hand, we are underrepresented in the field itself. Ironically, given my motivation, my economic background has made my studies challenging. I was fortunate enough to be awarded a scholarship for my undergraduate studies, but after graduation I took jobs in unrelated fields to help support my parents. In the three years since, I have not lost my ambition. Now I am keen to resume my studies, and I believe I can bring an invaluable perspective to the table: that of the people most impacted by the decisions of urban planners.

Strategy 3: Demonstrate your knowledge of the field

Especially if you’re applying for a PhD or another research-focused program, it’s a good idea to show your familiarity with the subject and the department. Your personal statement can focus on the area you want to specialize in and reflect on why it matters to you.

  • Reflect on the topics or themes that you’ve focused on in your studies. What draws you to them?
  • Discuss any academic achievements, influential teachers, or other highlights of your education.
  • Talk about the questions you’d like to explore in your research and why you think they’re important.

The personal statement isn’t a research proposal , so don’t go overboard on detail—but it’s a great opportunity to show your enthusiasm for the field and your capacity for original thinking.

In applying for this research program, my intention is to build on the multidisciplinary approach I have taken in my studies so far, combining knowledge from disparate fields of study to better understand psychological concepts and issues. The Media Psychology program stands out to me as the perfect environment for this kind of research, given its researchers’ openness to collaboration across diverse fields. I am impressed by the department’s innovative interdisciplinary projects that focus on the shifting landscape of media and technology, and I hope that my own work can follow a similarly trailblazing approach. More specifically, I want to develop my understanding of the intersection of psychology and media studies, and explore how media psychology theories and methods might be applied to neurodivergent minds. I am interested not only in media psychology but also in psychological disorders, and how the two interact. This is something I touched on during my undergraduate studies and that I’m excited to delve into further.

Strategy 4: Discuss your professional ambitions

Especially if you’re applying for a more professionally-oriented program (such as an MBA), it’s a good idea to focus on concrete goals and how the program will help you achieve them.

  • If your career is just getting started, show how your character is suited to the field, and explain how graduate school will help you develop your talents.
  • If you have already worked in the profession, show what you’ve achieved so far, and explain how the program will allow you to take the next step.
  • If you are planning a career change, explain what has driven this decision and how your existing experience will help you succeed.

Don’t just state the position you want to achieve. You should demonstrate that you’ve put plenty of thought into your career plans and show why you’re well-suited to this profession.

One thing that fascinated me about the field during my undergraduate studies was the sheer number of different elements whose interactions constitute a person’s experience of an urban environment. Any number of factors could transform the scene I described at the beginning: What if there were no bus route? Better community outreach in the neighborhood? Worse law enforcement? More or fewer jobs available in the area? Some of these factors are out of the hands of an urban planner, but without taking them all into consideration, the planner has an incomplete picture of their task. Through further study I hope to develop my understanding of how these disparate elements combine and interact to create the urban environment. I am interested in the social, psychological and political effects our surroundings have on our lives. My studies will allow me to work on projects directly affecting the kinds of working-class urban communities I know well. I believe I can bring my own experiences, as well as my education, to bear upon the problem of improving infrastructure and quality of life in these communities.

Tips for the main body

  • Don’t rehash your resume by trying to summarize everything you’ve done so far; the personal statement isn’t about listing your academic or professional experience, but about reflecting, evaluating, and relating it to broader themes.
  • Do make your statements into stories: Instead of saying you’re hard-working and self-motivated, write about your internship where you took the initiative to start a new project. Instead of saying you’ve always loved reading, reflect on a novel or poem that changed your perspective.

Your conclusion should bring the focus back to the program and what you hope to get out of it, whether that’s developing practical skills, exploring intellectual questions, or both.

Emphasize the fit with your specific interests, showing why this program would be the best way to achieve your aims.

Strategy 1: What do you want to know?

If you’re applying for a more academic or research-focused program, end on a note of curiosity: what do you hope to learn, and why do you think this is the best place to learn it?

If there are specific classes or faculty members that you’re excited to learn from, this is the place to express your enthusiasm.

Strategy 2: What do you want to do?

If you’re applying for a program that focuses more on professional training, your conclusion can look to your career aspirations: what role do you want to play in society, and why is this program the best choice to help you get there?

Tips for the conclusion

  • Don’t summarize what you’ve already said. You have limited space in a personal statement, so use it wisely!
  • Do think bigger than yourself: try to express how your individual aspirations relate to your local community, your academic field, or society more broadly. It’s not just about what you’ll get out of graduate school, but about what you’ll be able to give back.

You’ll be expected to do a lot of writing in graduate school, so make a good first impression: leave yourself plenty of time to revise and polish the text.

Your style doesn’t have to be as formal as other kinds of academic writing, but it should be clear, direct and coherent. Make sure that each paragraph flows smoothly from the last, using topic sentences and transitions to create clear connections between each part.

Don’t be afraid to rewrite and restructure as much as necessary. Since you have a lot of freedom in the structure of a personal statement, you can experiment and move information around to see what works best.

Finally, it’s essential to carefully proofread your personal statement and fix any language errors. Before you submit your application, consider investing in professional personal statement editing . For $150, you have the peace of mind that your personal statement is grammatically correct, strong in term of your arguments, and free of awkward mistakes.

A statement of purpose is usually more formal, focusing on your academic or professional goals. It shouldn’t include anything that isn’t directly relevant to the application.

A personal statement can often be more creative. It might tell a story that isn’t directly related to the application, but that shows something about your personality, values, and motivations.

However, both types of document have the same overall goal: to demonstrate your potential as a graduate student and s how why you’re a great match for the program.

The typical length of a personal statement for graduate school applications is between 500 and 1,000 words.

Different programs have different requirements, so always check if there’s a minimum or maximum length and stick to the guidelines. If there is no recommended word count, aim for no more than 1-2 pages.

If you’re applying to multiple graduate school programs, you should tailor your personal statement to each application.

Some applications provide a prompt or question. In this case, you might have to write a new personal statement from scratch: the most important task is to respond to what you have been asked.

If there’s no prompt or guidelines, you can re-use the same idea for your personal statement – but change the details wherever relevant, making sure to emphasize why you’re applying to this specific program.

If the application also includes other essays, such as a statement of purpose , you might have to revise your personal statement to avoid repeating the same information.

If you want to know more about college essays , academic writing , and AI tools , make sure to check out some of our other language articles with explanations, examples, and quizzes.

College essays

  • College essay examples
  • College essay format
  • College essay style
  • College essay length
  • Diversity essays
  • Scholarship essays

Academic writing

  • Writing process
  • Avoiding repetition
  • Literature review
  • Conceptual framework
  • Dissertation outline
  • Thesis acknowledgements
  • Burned or burnt
  • Canceled or cancelled
  • Dreamt or dreamed
  • Gray or grey
  • Theater vs theatre

Cite this Scribbr article

If you want to cite this source, you can copy and paste the citation or click the “Cite this Scribbr article” button to automatically add the citation to our free Citation Generator.

McCombes, S. (2023, July 03). How to Write Your Personal Statement | Strategies & Examples. Scribbr. Retrieved June 18, 2024, from

Is this article helpful?

Shona McCombes

Shona McCombes

Other students also liked, how to write a graduate school resume | template & example, how (and who) to ask for a letter of recommendation, master's vs phd | a complete guide to the differences, get unlimited documents corrected.

✔ Free APA citation check included ✔ Unlimited document corrections ✔ Specialized in correcting academic texts

Wisteria around a window

How to write a personal statement

How to approach writing your personal statement for graduate applications.

If you’re applying for a grad course that requires a personal statement (sometimes also called a ‘statement of purpose’), it can be difficult to know where to start and what to include. Read on for tips from some of our masters’ students about their process and what they found helpful.

1. Before you start

The academic work is the most important reason why we’re here, but that also translates into work experiences, internships, volunteering. I think a big part of the personal statement is crafting that narrative of academic self that fits alongside your professional experiences, to give that greater picture of who you are as an academic. Lauren (MSc Modern Middle Eastern Studies)

Start by thinking about the skills, knowledge and interests you’ve acquired over time and how the course at Oxford will take them forward.

Your statement is the story you want to tell about yourself and your academic work to the department you are applying to.

Most of your application and its supporting documents communicate plain facts about your academic career so far. Your personal statement is your best opportunity to put these facts into context and show assessors how you’ve progressed and excelled.

Make sure you highlight evidence of your achievements (a high grade in a relevant area, an award or scholarship, a research internship).

Presenting yourself

When I was writing my personal statement, I went onto my course website. I looked at what they emphasised and what kind of students they were looking for, and I wrote about my experiences based on that. Kayla (MSc in Clinical Embryology)

Make it easy for an assessor to see how you meet the entry requirements for the course (you can find these on each course page ).

Don’t make any assumptions about what Oxford is looking for!

Get to know your department

You want to study this particular subject and you want to study at Oxford (you’re applying here, so we know that!) but why is Oxford the right place for you to study this subject? What interests or qualities of the academic department and its staff make it attractive to you?

Use your academic department’s website for an overview of their research, academic staff and course information (you'll find a link to the department's own website on each course page ).

I said, ‘why do I actually want to be here? What is it about being at Oxford that’s going to get me to what I want to do? Sarah (Bachelor of Civil Law)

Talk it out

Talking to others about your statement can be a great way to gather your ideas and decide how you’d like to approach it. Sarah even managed to get benefit out of this approach by herself:

“I spent a lot of time talking out loud. My written process was actually very vocal, so I did a lot of talking about myself in my room.”

2. The writing process

Know your format.

Make sure you’ve read all the guidance on the How to Apply section of your course page , so you know what’s needed in terms of the word count of the final statement, what it should cover and what it will be assessed for. This should help you to visualise roughly what you want to end up with at the end of the process.

Make a start

When it comes to writing your personal statement, just getting started can be the hardest part.

One good way to get around writer’s block is to just put it all down on the page, like Mayur.

First - write down anything and everything. In the first round, I was just dumping everything - whatever I’ve done, anything close to computer science, that was on my personal statement. Mayur (MSc Computer Science)

You’ll be editing later anyway so don’t let the blank page intimidate you - try writing a little under each of the following headings to get started:

  • areas of the course at Oxford that are the most interesting to you
  • which areas you’ve already studied or had some experience in
  • what you hope to use your Oxford course experience for afterwards.

3. Finishing up

Get some feedback.

Once you’ve got a draft of about the right length, ask for feedback on what you’ve written. It might take several drafts to get it right.

This could involve getting in touch with some of your undergraduate professors to ask them to read your draft and find any areas which needed strengthening.

You could also show it to people who know you well, like family or friends.

Because they’re the first people to say, ‘Who is that person?’ You want the people around you to recognise that it really sounds like you. It can be scary telling family and friends you’re applying for Oxford, because it makes it real, but be brave enough to share it and get feedback on it. Sarah (Bachelor of Law)

Be yourself

Finally - be genuine and be yourself. Make sure your personal statement represents you, not your idea about what Oxford might be looking for.

We have thousands of students arriving every year from a huge range of subjects, backgrounds, institutions and countries (you can hear from a few more of them in our My Oxford interviews).

Get moving on your application today

To find out more about supporting documents and everything else you need to apply, read your course page and visit our Application Guide .

Applicant advice hub

This content was previously available through our  Applicant advice hub . The hub contained links to articles hosted on our  Graduate Study at Oxford Medium channel . We've moved the articles that support the application process into this new section of our website.

  • Application Guide: Statement of purpose

Can't find what you're looking for?

If you have a query about graduate admissions at Oxford, we're here to help:

Ask a question

Privacy Policy

Postgraduate Applicant Privacy Policy

Add Project Key Words

personal statements are stupid

30 of the Worst Personal Statement Topics We’ve Ever Seen

InGenius Prep

September 7, 2017

personal statements are stupid

Writing a strong personal statement is no easy undertaking. With endless potential personal statement topics , where do you begin? In 650 words, you must create a compelling essay that captures who you are as a person. Oh, and it would be great if it was the best piece of writing you have ever produced!

No pressure, but without a powerful and persuasive personal statement, you will not stand out, and you will not be accepted by your dream school.

Often, students don't know how to approach the personal statement. In English class, the 5-paragraph essay is practiced year after year, but personal writing is a different challenge. How do you get an admissions officer to connect with you in just over a page?

This all starts with selecting a strong topic. Much of the success of your personal statement hinges on this first step. But it's often where students go astray. There are common mistakes to avoid when picking personal statement topics ,   but there are still many places to get tripped up.

At InGenius Prep, we've seen the good, the bad, and the ugly. But we work with students to avoid bad topics, one personal statement at a time! To really understand what NOT to do, here are 30 of the worst personal statement topics we have ever seen.

Is this actually adversity?

1. “I was really scared about giving a big speech (and then I gave the speech!)”

Though one of the personal statement prompts asks you about struggles you have encountered in the past, writing about something you were initially afraid to do is one of the most c liché personal statement topics . Overall, this is a pretty common feat. The “overcoming adversity” narrative is typical, so be sure to ask yourself: “Is it actually impressive that I did that?” A topic like this simply will not stand out, and should be avoided.

2. “I made it through trials and tribulations on the links (so I’ve grown as a person!)”

An entire essay about persevering through a particularly windy day out on the golf course won’t impress others. First off, this “struggle” showcases the applicant’s privilege. An admissions officer will not see the difficulty in having access to a golf course. This essay concluded with a reflection on how much the student had grown up, as evidenced by their willingness to continue playing golf, rather than quit and leave. The central flaw was that this was painted as "overcoming a challenge" rather than being about building up a skill set over time. Don’t try to come up with personal statement topics about adversity — if you’re passionate about golf, frame your personal statement differently.

Whose story is this anyway?

3. “my teacher got really sick and i held a bake sale (and it was so hard for me)”.

Writing about someone else’s heartache, illness, or tragedy is almost always a mistake.  If the suffering belongs to someone else, it is their story — not yours. The same goes for family crises that happened when you were too young to remember or to have responded in a significant way. Write about yourself. Personal statement topics do not have to be dramatic or tragic; it’s more important that you own your topic.

4. “My friends had to move away because their parents lost their jobs (and it was so hard for me!)”

You never want to sound as though you are claiming another’s adversity as your own. You do not have to write about hardship if you have not experienced something incredibly life changing. Write about something that actually happened to you!

5. “My mother’s cousin is a famous actress (and I know her!)”

After reading an essay like this, an admissions office might want to admit your mother’s cousin, not you! It’s cool to know famous people, but it doesn’t have any significance for your application. Knowing a star is not impressive. In your application, you have to be the star.

6. “My parents are diverse (so I’m diverse!)”

This essay emphasized the diverse background of her parents, but the student grew up in a wealthy U.S. household. This demonstrated how out-of-touch the student was with the types of experiences her parents had over-coming challenges to access education. She didn’t think about diversity in her own lifetime, but tried to argue for her uniqueness because of her family’s background. Your personal statement needs to be about YOU, not your parents.

7. “Everyone at my high school is mean and stupid (but I am better than all of them!)”

Degrading others is off limits — an arrogant tone will instantly rub an admissions officer the wrong way. Not only does this topic put fellow classmates down, but this essay falls into the common trap of writing about others, not YOU. At the end of the day, details about your peers are irrelevant to an admissions officer. The main message of your personal statement should always be about you.

Personal statement topics should be personal!

8. “I have won a lot of debate awards (let me list them for you!)”

Listing your awards is fine — in other parts of the Common Application .  These can go in your honors list and in your activities list. The personal statement is where admissions officers want to get to know you as a person. When you tell admissions officers about your experiences, they want to see through your eyes. They want to understand what you were feeling and what you did in response. Use your personal statement to reflect on who you are, not to regurgitate your resume.

9. “Here’s a historical event I’m really interested in and have researched throughout high school!”

This is your chance to show who you are! Don’t spend time talking about a topic you like and describing it in detail. That’s application space other students will have used to demonstrate their talents, achievements, maturity, and interesting ideas. If you’re really passionate about a historical event, talk about how your research has changed your worldview.

10. “I came to the U.S. and saw the value of freedom of speech (wish my mother country had that!)”

It’s great that you’re enjoying the freedom America offers, but your American admissions officers don’t need to be told how great America is. You should strive to pick a more personal topic. In the end, this more of a policy statement than a personal essay.

Hear a Yale writing expert talk about prompts like these and other common personal statement mistakes here:

Privileged Pity Party

11. “While on vacation, I broke my leg waterskiing (and lived to tell the tale!)”

Just think about this scenario. If you were on a tropical vacation and broke your leg waterskiing behind a boat (which your family probably rented), then you must’ve spent a lot of money. Traveling for vacation is something that a lot of students have never experienced. Overcoming a leg break is not overcoming a challenge, especially if the leg was broken while on vacation. Really compare yourself to your peers and ask yourself: “Is this considered a real challenge?” In the end, this story reeks of privilege.

12. “I was surrounded by poverty in Africa (but lived in a gated community!)”

Overall, this makes the student look privileged and sheltered. Talking about how you have avoided poverty because you have money will be seen as extremely spoiled by admissions officers. Instead, talk about how the place you grew up changed your opinions or views of the world. Colleges want to take students from all different backgrounds, but looking pampered will ruin your chances of admission.

Be likable, admirable, humble

13. “i started a food fight and got suspended (but i learned such a valuable lesson)”.

Even though this essay topic is funny and memorable, it shows the student in the wrong light. In the end, it doesn’t give us any new positive impressions of their persona. On the other hand, as an additional informational essay explaining why the student has a suspension on their record, it could have been a decent approach!

14. “Accept me because you need some not exceptional students too (!)”

Promoting your shortcomings is not playing with the best odds.  If your grades or test scores are below average, use other parts of the application to highlight your strengths. Showcase your dynamic personality, leadership, and impact on your community. In order to be compelling, you need a personal statement that sheds light on your assets.

15. “I’ll teach my roommates combat (and force them to adapt to my ways!)”

A student answered Yale’s “what will you teach your suitemates” question by saying that he would teach them the art of close-quarter combat, “force” them to adapt to foreign cuisine and language, and engage in regular bouts of unscheduled airsoft weaponry games. Unlike this student, you want to come off as positive and very, very stable. You never want an admissions officer to worry about you.

16. “Blood-soaked. 3am.”

That was the first line of one personal statement. And while the writer definitely grabbed the reader’s attention, this ended up being an essay about how much time this student spent playing video games. This is not a great attribute to highlight in a personal statement. Be sure your topic is a flattering one, and that your hook makes sense with the topic to follow.

Middle School Agony

17. “i was a great soccer player until 8th grade (then i got injured)”.

The injured athlete story is very hard to pull off.  Sadly, it is too common. It doesn’t stack up well against students who have overcome shocking hardships. You also don’t want to talk about your middle school trials and tribulations. Tell us what is great about you now, not what might have been!

18. “I chose the wrong middle school in 5th grade (and I’m still thinking about it!)”

Bottom line: you should not be writing about your middle school self! Admissions officers want to hear about who you are now, not five years ago. Focusing on the pre-teen era makes it seem as though nothing of interest has happened to you since! If you gesture to middle school because a sustained interest started then, or you met the President and it had a profound impact on your life path, okay. But the general rule of thumb: do not write about middle school.

Controversial Concepts

19. “China is the best country in the world for the following reasons!”

Or any other country. It’s always best to stay away from things that are controversial like nationalism, politics, or religion. Nationalism showing through an essay can make a student seem like less of a global citizen (which is what schools would really want). You never know who is reading your application, and what opinions they have on these ideas. Steer clear of disputed personal statement topics !

20. “I was shocked that most of my classmates weren't phased by the prospect of accidentally breaking their hymen by using a tampon!”

While this essay dove deep into cultural differences between the East and West, mainly regarding feminine hygiene products, its graphic nature was a little too graphic. Toning down the details would allow the reader to focus on the student’s passion for different cultures, values, and practices, rather than be distracted or uncomfortable. Don’t rub an admissions reader the wrong way with gory specifics!

21. “I helped children with autism for three weeks (and realized that they are human just like me!)”

Overall, this takeaway makes the student seem immature and ignorant. While it’s always good to give back to your community and volunteer, students should dig deeper for a more meaningful takeaway. What did that experience make you think about volunteerism in general? How would you continue to make more long-lasting changes? You do not want it to appear that you previously looked down upon people with Autism.

22.“Volunteering in Haiti made me wonder why didn’t they help each other more?”

This is was in a personal statement to Stanford, and the admissions reader happened to be Haitian. As you can imagine, this came across as incredibly ignorant and offensive. Moral of the story: You never know who your audience is! Think about personal statement topics  that would appeal to anyone.

Immature Ideas

23. “i had a temper tantrum (that ultimately led to my parents’ divorce)”.

A student wrote his personal statement about how he refused to leave his current school, and thus when his father took a new job in a city four hours away, his parents had to separate, which ultimately led to their divorce. Nothing says “I can't handle four years away from home” like a temper tantrum that ultimately culminates in your parents’ divorce. Avoid all topics that could make you look immature!

24. “I want to attend your school because my parents have agreed to move across the country to be with me!”

It’s fine to show how important your family is to you, but not at the cost of your development into an independent young adult. At the end of the day, this personal statement comes across as immature. Explain that you want to go to an institution because of your intellectual interests and passions, not because of mom and dad.

Artsy Attempts

25. “I spliced lyrics of Billboard Top 40 songs (into motivational lessons!)”

This original essay draft read like a cross between a poorly written motivational speech and the lyrics of 4-5 then-current Billboard Top 40 songs in the Pop category. Not only were these songs corny and overplayed, but writing to an Ivy League school about how your life is as profound as a Top 40 Pop song’s chorus will almost never land you in the acceptance pile. When you’re an 18-year-old waxing lyrical about how Disney’s Frozen theme song changed your life (and not in the way that a writer for The Onion might), you need to rethink your admissions strategy.

26. “Don’t give up, just be you, ‘cause life is too short to be anybody else."

Whenever possible, avoid starting with a quote or a corny life lesson — especially a cheesy one like this. Opening with a quote will immediately strike an admissions officer as cliché. A quote that wasn’t written by you is not worth including - an admissions officer wants to read your own words!

27. “I am a defender of truth. Let me show you deep thoughts (that you have never thought of!)”

Remember that the people evaluating your personal statement are much older than you are! Professing profundity is likely to make you seem immature instead of wise. This attempt to be profound comes across as arrogant.

28. “Let me tell you about confusing metaphors my grandfather taught me (that have philosophical lessons!)”

A student wrote an essay about a rock that came out of a cast-iron pot of boiling water from a coal mine. The rock was given to the student by his grandfather, and he said some confusing words when handing it to him (in another language). After spending 450 words describing this difficult-to-follow story, the student surmised as to its meaning and ended with “And, that’s what I hope to learn in college.” Adding esoteric confusion to your essays will not improve them. Your personal statement is not the place to be overly philosophical. Be sure an admissions officer would be able to follow your story, and get to your point quickly.

What Could Have Been

29. “There’s this research opportunity I almost got to do (but I screwed up the dates!)”

Achievements that didn’t actually happen have no place in your application. If anything, this essay portrays you as a scattered, disorganized person. Focus on your concrete achievements when thinking about personal statement topics ! You want to talk about how certain opportunities have made you the person you are today, so don’t talk about hypotheticals or what could have been.

30. “Art has always been in my blood. I’ve never taken an art class (but at your school my inner artist will burst forth!)”

If you want to pursue art in college, good for you! However, the personal statement is a place to talk about who you are today and how you currently see the world. If your inner artist has not yet emerged, don’t talk about this interest. Things that could be don’t have a place in your personal statement.

Tags : college admissions , college admissions essays , college admissions essay , college personal statement , common app personal statement , Personal Statement , personal statement topics , worst personal statement topics , College

Schedule a free consultation

to find out how we can help you get accepted.

  • PeopleSoft HR
  • PeopleSoft Campus Solutions
  • PeopleSoft Financials
  • Business Ops
  • Cardinal Careers

University of Louisville

  • Undergraduate
  • International
  • Online Learning

University of Louisville Writing Center

  • University Writing Center FAQs
  • Virtual Writing Center FAQs
  • HSC Writing Center FAQs
  • Writing FAQs
  • Handouts and Videos
  • Graduate Student Writing
  • Spring Dissertation Writing Retreat
  • Graduate Student Writing Workshops
  • Faculty and Graduate Student Writing Group
  • Creative Writing Group
  • Accessibility and Accommodations
  • LGBTQ+ Writing Group
  • The University Writing Center and Your Students
  • Request a Presentation about the University Writing Center
  • Resources for Teaching Writing
  • The Writing Center and Your Writing
  • University Writing Center Mission Statement
  • Meet Our Staff
  • Statement on Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity
  • Research at the University Writing Center
  • How I Write Blog Posts
  • Our Community Writing Values and Approaches
  • Community Writing Internships and Volunteering
  • Family Scholar House
  • Western Branch Library


  • / Resources for Students
  • / Handouts and Videos
  • / Personal Statements - Graduate

Personal Statements - Graduate

PDF document icon

Conceptualizing Trauma-Informed Consulting in the University Writing Center Apr 17, 2024

Creating Art: A Painter’s Journey Into the World of Writing Mar 25, 2024

Getting Comfortable with Directive Practices in the Writing Center Mar 08, 2024

International Mother Language Day 2024 Mar 04, 2024

University and High School Writing Centers Feb 26, 2024

How Time Affects a Writing Center Session Feb 16, 2024

UofL Writing Center Blog - More…

University Writing Center

Ekstrom Library 132

Kornhauser Library 221

University of Louisville

Louisville, Kentucky 40292

Summer 2024

Ekstrom Library

M -F 9 am - 4 pm

Closed on student breaks and holidays  

(502) 852-2173

[email protected]

Social Media

Funny/Hilarious Personal Statements . . .

Avatar for wizard101

Quick Reply

Related discussions.

  • Do you find Reginald D Hunter funny?
  • Is there anyone less funny than Miranda Hart?
  • Do you like horror movies?
  • Whose the most famous person you have met?
  • Antifa activist murdered in NYC
  • What uni should I choose (physics)
  • My best friend almost got me raped
  • Best Frapes :)
  • Percy Jackson discussion thread!
  • Gintama (2)
  • calculate the energy per gram of glycogen.
  • A short guide to writing a Personal Statement...
  • My Mum got into a punch up in my local uni town
  • girl being a koreaboo
  • Is personality subjective in dating?
  • Volunteering at 16 related to medicine??
  • Crazy things that have happened at your school
  • Pre interview rejection of Cambridge Land Econ
  • what are good shows to watch?

Last reply 3 minutes ago

Last reply 2 hours ago

Last reply 3 hours ago

Last reply 4 hours ago

Last reply 5 hours ago

Last reply 6 hours ago

Last reply 8 hours ago

Last reply 1 day ago

Last reply 3 days ago

Last reply 5 days ago

Last reply 6 days ago

Last reply 1 week ago

Articles for you

How to write a personal statement that universities will love

How to write a personal statement that universities will love

How to get your personal statement sorted fast

How to get your personal statement sorted fast

Personal statement examples by subject: complete list

Personal statement examples by subject: complete list

Adding your personal statement to the library

Adding your personal statement to the library

Get the Reddit app

Reddit's home for wholesome discussion related to pre-medical studies.

What are some kick-ass examples of hooks to start your personal statement?

I’m so lost of how to start my PS. So if you have any ideas, please let me know. Specially if you are already admitted

personal statements are stupid

Clearing Universities & Courses

Clearing advice.

Recommended Clearing Universities

Popular Course Categories

Take our quick degree quiz.

Find the ideal uni course for you with our Course Degree Quiz. Get answers in minutes!

Take our full degree quiz

Get more tailored course suggestions with our full Course Degree Quiz and apply with confidence.

Search by Type

Search by region.

Recommended Universities

personal statements are stupid

Swansea University

Wales · 100% Recommended

personal statements are stupid

University of Surrey

South East England · 98% Recommended

personal statements are stupid

University of Portsmouth

Search open days.

What's new at Uni Compare

personal statements are stupid

University of Law

Ranked Top 20 amongst English universities in the 2023 National Student Survey!

personal statements are stupid

Northeastern Uni London

Want to earn two globally recognised degrees simultaneously? Look no further!

Ranking Categories

Regional rankings.

More Rankings

personal statements are stupid

Top 100 Universities

Taken from 131,500+ data points from students attending university to help future generations

personal statements are stupid

About our Rankings

Discover university rankings devised from data collected from current students.

Guide Categories

Advice categories, recommended articles, popular statement examples, statement advice.

personal statements are stupid

What to include in a Personal Statement

personal statements are stupid

Personal Statement Tips

Nail your uni application with our personal statement examples.

Discover personal statements by subject, from A to Z. Find inspiration for your own application with these successful personal statement examples from real students.

A-Z of Personal Statements

Learn from previous student personal statements here. We have collated over 700 personal statement examples to help you on your university journey and to help you with how to write a personal statement.

These personal statement examples will show you the kind of thing that universities are looking for from their applicants. See how to structure your personal statement, what kind of format your personal statement should be in, what to write in a personal statement and the key areas to touch on in your statement.

A personal statement is a chance to tell your university all about you - a good personal statement is one that showcases your passion for the subject, what inspired you to apply for the course you’re applying for and why you think you would be an asset to the university.

Our collection includes personal statement examples in Mathematics, Anthropology, Accounting, Computer Science, Zoology and more.

Writing a personal statement has never been easier with our vast collection of personal statement examples.

Personal Statement

15 Accounting statements have been submitted.

Aerospace Engineering

2 Aerospace Engineering statements have been submitted.

American Studies

1 American Studies statements have been submitted.


2 Anthropology statements have been submitted.


4 Architecture statements have been submitted.


3 Biochemistry statements have been submitted.

26 Biology statements have been submitted.

Biomedical Science

7 Biomedical Science statements have been submitted.


1 Biotechnology statements have been submitted.

Business Management

6 Business Management statements have been submitted.

Business Studies

23 Business Studies statements have been submitted.

3 Chemistry statements have been submitted.

Civil Engineering

2 Civil Engineering statements have been submitted.

4 Classics statements have been submitted.

Computer Science

14 Computer Science statements have been submitted.


5 Criminology statements have been submitted.

2 Dentistry statements have been submitted.

6 Design statements have been submitted.

1 Dietetics statements have been submitted.

3 Drama statements have been submitted.

17 Economics statements have been submitted.


9 Engineering statements have been submitted.

English Language

5 English Language statements have been submitted.

English Literature

13 English Literature statements have been submitted.


1 Environment statements have been submitted.

Event Management

1 Event Management statements have been submitted.

1 Fashion statements have been submitted.

4 Film statements have been submitted.

1 Finance statements have been submitted.

Forensic Science

2 Forensic Science statements have been submitted.

6 Geography statements have been submitted.

1 Geology statements have been submitted.

Health Sciences

1 Health Sciences statements have been submitted.

9 History statements have been submitted.

International Studies

2 International Studies statements have been submitted.

3 Languages statements have been submitted.

50 Law statements have been submitted.

2 Management statements have been submitted.

7 Marketing statements have been submitted.

7 Maths statements have been submitted.

5 Media statements have been submitted.

10 Medicine statements have been submitted.

1 Midwifery statements have been submitted.

10 Nursing statements have been submitted.


9 Pharmacology statements have been submitted.

3 Pharmacy statements have been submitted.

5 Philosophy statements have been submitted.

Physical Education

1 Physical Education statements have been submitted.

3 Physics statements have been submitted.


5 Physiotherapy statements have been submitted.

14 Politics statements have been submitted.

23 Psychology statements have been submitted.

Religious Studies

2 Religious Studies statements have been submitted.

Social Policy

1 Social Policy statements have been submitted.

Social Work

3 Social Work statements have been submitted.

6 Sociology statements have been submitted.

Sports Science

1 Sports Science statements have been submitted.

Teacher Training

8 Teacher Training statements have been submitted.

2 Veterinary statements have been submitted.

1 Zoology statements have been submitted.

Want to learn more about a university?

Get your questions answered by sending them an enquiry now.

Personal Statement Help

What is a personal statement.

A personal statement is an essay written by a student applying to either a college or university. A personal statement is written and then uploaded to UCAS and is then attached to any university applications that the student may then make.

If you need more information check out our personal statement advice articles .

How to write a personal statement

There isn't a clearly defined personal statement template for you to use as each person's statement is different.

When it comes to writing a personal statement for universities, your personal statement should touch on your passions, your interest in the course, why you're applying for the course and why you would be an asset to the university you're applying to.

Talk about the clubs and societies that you belong to, any work experience you may have and any awards you might have won.

If you're still looking for information check out our article on how to write a personal statement .

How to start a personal statement

When it comes to starting your personal statement, the best thing to do is to be succinct and to have enough tantalising information to keep the reader informed and eager for more.

Your introduction should touch on your personal qualities and why you are applying for the subject you're applying for. Keeping things short and sweet means that it also allows you to break your personal statement up, which makes it easier for the reader.

We have plenty of advice for students that are wondering about what to include in a personal statement .

undergraduate Universities

Undergraduate uni's.

Photo of Swansea University

Swansea Uni

1324 courses

Photo of University of Surrey

Uni of Surrey

736 courses

Photo of University of Portsmouth

Uni of Portsmouth

753 courses

Photo of University of Chester

Uni of Chester

629 courses

Photo of University of Sunderland

Uni of Sunderland

328 courses

Photo of West London Institute of Technology

West London IoT

Photo of ARU Writtle

ARU Writtle

Photo of Escape Studios

Escape Studios

Photo of University of East London

Uni of East London

569 courses

Photo of University of Winchester

Uni of Winchester

257 courses

Photo of SOAS, University of London

467 courses

Photo of University for the Creative Arts

Uni for Creative Arts

614 courses

Photo of Goldsmiths, University of London

Goldsmiths, UOL

319 courses

Photo of Northeastern University - London

Northeastern Uni

Photo of Middlesex University

Middlesex Uni

656 courses

Photo of The University of Law

114 courses

Photo of Cardiff Metropolitan University

Cardiff Met Uni

501 courses

Photo of University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD)

884 courses

Photo of Coventry University

Coventry Uni

729 courses

Photo of University of Roehampton

Uni of Roehampton

469 courses

Photo of New Model Institute for Technology and Engineering, NMITE

Uni of Bradford

385 courses

Photo of University of Hertfordshire

Uni of Hertfordshire

584 courses

Photo of Bangor University

723 courses

Photo of University of Leicester

Uni of Leicester

435 courses

Photo of University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI)

Highlands & Islands

454 courses

Photo of University of Bedfordshire

Uni of Bedfordshire

654 courses

Photo of Heriot-Watt University

Heriot-Watt Uni

334 courses

Photo of Leeds Beckett University

Leeds Beckett Uni

Photo of Nottingham Trent University

Nottingham Trent

911 courses

Photo of Staffordshire University

Staffordshire Uni

472 courses

Photo of Queen's University, Belfast

Queen's Uni

634 courses

Photo of University of Westminster

Uni of Westminster

496 courses

Photo of University of Suffolk

Uni of Suffolk

216 courses

Photo of University of the West of England (UWE), Bristol

UWE, Bristol

497 courses

Photo of University of Huddersfield

Uni of Huddersfield

642 courses

Photo of University Academy 92, UA92

Leeds Arts University

Photo of University of South Wales

709 courses

Photo of University of Kent

Uni of Kent

583 courses

Photo of University of Reading

Uni of Reading

683 courses

Photo of Wrexham University

Wrexham Uni

287 courses

Photo of University of Central Lancashire

Uni of C.Lancashire

793 courses

Photo of University of Essex

Uni of Essex

1398 courses

Photo of Kingston University

Kingston Uni

616 courses

Photo of LIBF


103 courses

Photo of Anglia Ruskin University

Anglia Ruskin Uni

823 courses

Photo of University of Hull

Uni of Hull

Photo of Edge Hill University

Edge Hill Uni

Photo of University of Brighton

Uni of Brighton

510 courses

Photo of Bath Spa University

Bath Spa Uni

513 courses

Find the latest from Uni Compare

Image of University of Law

Bangor University

Find the perfect Criminology degree which allows you to specialise in your interests

Image of University of Sussex

University of Sussex

Choose Sussex for cutting-edge degrees in Finance, Banking, and Digital Finance.

  • Entertainment
  • Newsletters


A rip current statement in effect for Coastal Broward and Coastal Miami Dade Regions

‘don’t do anything stupid’: man accused of armed kidnapping outside miami club, cops seek additional suspects.

Ryan Mackey , Digital Journalist

MIAMI – Police arrested a man who they say kidnapped a victim outside a downtown Miami nightclub after holding him at gunpoint over a money dispute.

At approximately 3:15 a.m. Monday, the victim was asked to speak with acquaintances outside of The Trip, located at 28 NE 14th St., when he was eventually coerced into getting inside a white BMW sedan after being threatened, according to investigators.

Recommended Videos

Before ordering the victim to get in his vehicle, police said Arnolys Rodriguez, 28, of Miami Beach, told him, “Give me my $40,000. You’re not leaving until I get it,” the report stated.

The victim explained he did not have the money and was driven against his will to an unknown house, according to an arrest report.

After arriving at the house, police said Rodriguez pointed a gun at him and said, “Don’t do anything stupid,” the report stated.

Police said the victim was assaulted by Rodriguez and multiple offenders inside the house and one of the assailants threatened the victim with a heated knife sparked by a blowtorch.

After being held against his will, police said the victim managed to escape when the opportunity arose and sought refuge in a nearby building, where he called police.

Authorities said they obtained surveillance footage captured the victim’s escape and subsequent pursuit by two of the assailants.

Police apprehended Rodriguez, who was identified as the driver of the vehicle. Authorities confirmed he was found in possession of a handgun at the time of his arrest.

Rodriguez, whose identity was confirmed by a witness through a photograph, invoked his right to an attorney upon questioning, detectives said.

Jail records show he is facing charges of kidnapping or battery while using a weapon and armed robbery with a firearm or deadly weapon.

As of Tuesday, Rodriguez is being held at the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center, where his bond has not yet been determined.

Miami police said they will continue to search for other individuals involved in the incident.

Anyone with information is urged to call them at 305-603-6640 or Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-8477.

Copyright 2024 by WPLG - All rights reserved.

About the Author

Ryan mackey.

Ryan Mackey is a Digital Journalist at WPLG. He was born in Long Island, New York, and has lived in Sunrise, Florida since 1994.


Wolves set to sign Pedro Lima, beating Chelsea to Brazilian prospect

BELO HORIZONTE, BRAZIL - APRIL 30: Pedro Lima of Sport Recife (L) fights for the ball with Guilherme Arana of Atletico Mineiro (R) during Copa Do Brasil match between Atletico Mineiro v Sport Recife at Arena MRV on April 30, 2024 in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. (Photo by Gledston Tavares/Eurasia Sport Images/Getty Images)

Wolverhampton Wanderers have reached an agreement with Sport Recife to sign Pedro Lima .

The 17-year-old had been heavily linked with a host of top clubs, most prominently Chelsea , who had been pursuing a deal for the right-back.

But Wolves have managed to strike a deal with Sport Recife for Lima in what would represent a major coup for the club.


Personal terms are in place on a five-year contract that includes the option to extend by a further 12 months.

If all goes to plan he would arrive at Wolves on July 1 to undergo a medical and complete the proposed move.

A Sport Recife statement read: “Sport Club do Recife announces that it has signed a binding agreement to transfer the economic and federative rights of athlete Pedro Lima to Wolverhampton Wanderers, from England.

“The agreement is subject to customary conditions, including the athlete’s approval of medical examinations conducted by the English club.

“President Yuri Romao and the football management committee will detail the operation in a statement when all acts related to the business have been completed.”

Chelsea had stepped up their efforts to sign Lima last week after scheduling further talks, with a view to him initially joining fellow BlueCo-owned Strasbourg.

However, he is set to be Wolves’ second new signing of the summer after they completed a deal for wide player Rodrigo Gomes from Braga last week .

The Athletic reported the 20-year-old Portugal youth international would move to Molineux in a €15million (£12.7m) deal on a five-year contract with the option to extend by 12 months.

Lima broke into the Sport Recife first team in January 2024, aged 16, and has featured eight times in Serie B this season.

He has also represented Brazil at youth level and featured for the side at last year’s Under-17 World Cup.

(Gledston Tavares/Eurasia Sport Images/Getty Images)

Get all-access to exclusive stories.

Subscribe to The Athletic for in-depth coverage of your favorite players, teams, leagues and clubs. Try a week on us.

David Ornstein

David Ornstein joined The Athletic in October 2019 after 12 years as a sports journalist and correspondent at the BBC. In the role of Football Correspondent, he is responsible for producing exclusive and original stories and interviews, offering unique insight and analysis. He works across video, audio and the written word. Follow David on Twitter @ David_Ornstein


  1. Craig Benzine Quote: “Blanket statements are always stupid. NO EXCEPTIONS!”

    personal statements are stupid

  2. Craig Benzine Quote: “Blanket statements are always stupid. NO EXCEPTIONS!”

    personal statements are stupid

  3. Personal Statements & SOPs: Top 10 Mistakes to Avoid

    personal statements are stupid

  4. Craig Benzine Quote: “Blanket statements are always stupid. NO EXCEPTIONS!”

    personal statements are stupid

  5. Craig Benzine Quote: “Blanket statements are always stupid. NO EXCEPTIONS!”

    personal statements are stupid

  6. Craig Benzine Quote: “Blanket statements are always stupid. NO EXCEPTIONS!”

    personal statements are stupid


  1. Why is Modi making these stupid statements?#dhruvrathee

  2. 50 Stupid Moments That Tested People’s Patience Online (New Pics)

  3. Why is Modi making these Stupid Statements? #dhurvrathee

  4. short strending Why is Modi making these Stupid Statements?

  5. Why is Modi making these Stupid Statements? #dhurvrathee #ytshorts #study 12 May 2024

  6. Why is Modi making these Stupid Statements? #dhurvrathee #shorts #shortsfeed #youtubeshorts #bjp


  1. The World's Worst Personal Statement: Why It Fails and How to Fix It

    1. The pretentious quote. Not exactly highbrow literature. The personal statement opens with a pretentious-sounding quote, which, let's face it, the student probably found from Googling "quotes about English literature". It doesn't even come from a great work of literature - it's from a novel for young adults, which is unlikely to ...

  2. Personal Statements feel so fake : r/GradSchool

    My first personal statement said nothing about my insane home life, and didn't have a word about my stupid human trick. I did, however, tell a story about the biology teacher who gave me extra credit in the fetal pig lab for jump roping intestines on game day (meaning I was in full cheer uniform) being my inspiration.

  3. Are personal statements really supposed to be so over the top ...

    The vast majority of personal statements I read for people this cycle start with the "attention grabbing device" we were so often told of to use in high school English classes and usually start with a story. Most of the time I've rolling my eyes, and telling people to get to the point faster. ...

  4. 9 Common College Essay Mistakes To Avoid in Your Personal Statement

    Start from a blank canvas to make sure you get to the personal right away. No cliched "inspirational" quotes either, please. 7) Writing a Cliched Conclusion. Another major personal essay mistake is that your closing paragraph feels cliche and just repeats information you've already said earlier in the essay.

  5. Personal statements: What not to do

    My stupid personal statement would worm its way into my brain every once in a while, and finally, about a year and a half ago, I got the idea of tearing it apart for this blog: part philanthropic, educational gesture; part exorcism. It took me another year or so to get the nerve to go dig out my application file folder again, and yet another ...

  6. 13 Mistakes Students Make When Writing a Personal Statement

    Now, you can learn from the mistakes of others so you don't have to learn them the hard way. 1. Ignoring the rules. If there's one time to think inside the box when writing a personal statement, it's with the technical rules. If there's a required word count, stay inside of it, whatever you do. If they want a specific font type or size, don't ...

  7. 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 ...

  8. How to Write an Amazing Personal Statement (Includes Examples!)

    5. Use an authentic voice. Your personal statement reflects who you are, so you should use a tone that represents you. That means you shouldn't try to sound like someone else, and you shouldn't use fancy words just to show off. This isn't an academic paper, so you don't have to adopt a super formal tone.

  9. How to Write Your Personal Statement

    Strategy 1: Open with a concrete scene. An effective way to catch the reader's attention is to set up a scene that illustrates something about your character and interests. If you're stuck, try thinking about: A personal experience that changed your perspective. A story from your family's history.


    The Free Guide to Writing the Personal Statement. Kick things off with the two greatest brainstorming exercises ever, learn about options for structuring a personal statement + example outlines, check out some amazing example personal statements, and get on your way to writing your own killer personal statement for university applications.

  11. How to write a personal statement

    Make a start. When it comes to writing your personal statement, just getting started can be the hardest part. One good way to get around writer's block is to just put it all down on the page, like Mayur. First - write down anything and everything. In the first round, I was just dumping everything - whatever I've done, anything close to ...

  12. 30 of the Worst Personal Statement Topics We've Ever Seen

    24. "I want to attend your school because my parents have agreed to move across the country to be with me!". It's fine to show how important your family is to you, but not at the cost of your development into an independent young adult. At the end of the day, this personal statement comes across as immature.

  13. How to Write a Personal Statement

    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 ...

  14. Everything sounds stupid for my personal statement

    Try asking people close to you at that time you want to write about what you were like as a person then. Remind yourself of the parts of the story that aren't the resume points or why law narrative, as once you're in application mode those are easy to edit in to an existing draft. 1. Reply. 48 votes, 20 comments. true.

  15. 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.

  16. Personal Statements

    Personal Statements - Graduate. Personal Statements - Graduate.pdf — PDF document, 282 KB (288863 bytes) UofL Writing Center Blog. Upcoming Events.

  17. 16 Winning Personal Statement Examples (And Why They Work)

    Here are 16 personal statement examples—both school and career—to help you create your own: 1. Personal statement example for graduate school. A personal statement for graduate school differs greatly from one to further your professional career. It is usually an essay, rather than a brief paragraph. Here is an example of a personal ...

  18. Funny/Hilarious Personal Statements

    theJdog. Now is the time of year most, if not all, year 13 students will be dreading and literally pulling their hair out, trying to perfect that beloved personal statement. So in order to lighten the mood (and also make us feel a tiny bit better about our own statements ), I thought maybe you lot could share some funny or absolutely atrocious ...

  19. The High Road: How to Respond to Rude Comments

    6. Leverage nonverbal cues. Sometimes, the best response for a situation might not be verbal. Instead, you can try to make them see how their words made you feel. For example, you could try ...

  20. What are some kick-ass examples of hooks to start your personal statement?

    Some of my favorite hooks, at least two of which inspired parts of my personal statement: David Sedaris: "London is five hours ahead of Washington, D.C., except when it comes to gay marriage. In that case, it's two years and five hours ahead, which was news to me." ... Mine starts off immediately with a personal anecdote (i.e. a retelling of ...

  21. 500+ Personal Statement Examples

    A-Z of Personal Statements. Learn from previous student personal statements here. We have collated over 700 personal statement examples to help you on your university journey and to help you with how to write a personal statement.

  22. Fact check: A look at Biden's first year in false claims

    Biden never came close to making a dozen false claims in a single speech, let alone five dozen false claims in one address, as Trump once did. In fact, the total number of Biden false claims so ...

  23. 'Don't do anything stupid': Man accused of armed kidnapping outside

    MIAMI - Police arrested a man who they say kidnapped a victim outside a downtown Miami nightclub after holding him at gunpoint over a money dispute. At approximately 3:15 a.m. Monday, the victim ...

  24. Carr Announces Indictment of Hall County Solicitor General Stephanie

    ATLANTA, GA - Attorney General Chris Carr today announced the indictment of Hall County Solicitor General Stephanie Woodard on 11 counts of Theft by Taking and 13 counts of False Statements and Writings. On several occasions from July 2018 through September 2022, the defendant is alleged to have unlawfully acquired funds from Hall County and the Prosecuting Attorneys' Council of Georgia (PAC ...

  25. Wolves set to sign Pedro Lima, beating Chelsea to Brazilian prospect

    Personal terms are in place on a five-year contract that includes the option to extend by a further 12 months. If all goes to plan he would arrive at Wolves on July 1 to undergo a medical and ...