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Written by Jennifer Bevan

This is an example personal statement for a Masters degree application in Biology. See our guide for advice on writing your own postgraduate personal statement .

Over the time I have been studying Biology the importance of the subject has been repeatedly highlighted to me. From the development of novel treatments for medical conditions to the optimisation of crop growth, biological research has saved and improved millions of lives. Thoroughly understanding Biology is essential to continue developing and improving our current methods and I hope to be involved in this process in a microbiological setting. Since learning about the increasing antibiotic resistance in common bacterial pathogens, my interests have primarily been in microbiology.

I have applied for your MSc course as I hope to gain more in-depth knowledge into the pathogenicity of bacteria and the classes of antibiotics currently in development. Your modules in medical microbiology, host-microbe interactions, and microbial physiology and virulence would be ideal for developing the specialist knowledge I desire. I was also drawn to this programme for the opportunity to work in a cutting-edge microbiology laboratory on a piece of extended independent research. During my undergraduate research I read numerous papers from your research groups and the opportunity to work with some of these academics would be invaluable.

Throughout my Bachelors degree in Biology, for which I achieved a first, I developed a range of skills that would be an excellent foundation for the content covered in this programme. I gained experience with statistical packages including GraphPad InStat and Prism, particularly during my final year project to analyse my data. Several of my modules included laboratory experience including cell culture, Gram staining and pouring agar plates. During this time, I kept a laboratory book and developed excellent record keeping, which will be important for the independent research in a Masters. For my final year project, I assessed the susceptibility of Staphylococcus aureus to a mixture of vinegar and honey, both of which are known to have antimicrobial activity alone. This project allowed me to develop a range of new microbiology skills, particularly using checkerboard assays and improving my aseptic technique. Upon completion of my degree, I was awarded the Royal Society of Biology top student award to recognise my achievements and the skills I had developed.

Following my graduation, I worked as a laboratory technician at a school during term time. In this role excellent time management is essential to allow sufficient time to prepare experiments for the students and tidy up before the next class. I am responsible for cleaning, safely storing and keeping a catalogue of the equipment and consumables in the storeroom so being well organised is crucial. Since beginning this role, I have further developed my ability to work as part of a team through liaising with teachers regarding timetables or experiment plans and by supporting them during practical work.

While I enjoyed being a laboratory technician, I hope to use the valuable laboratory experience I gained to achieve a Masters in Biology and ultimately pursue a career in microbiology research.

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Biological Engineering Communication Lab

Graduate School Personal Statement

Criteria for success.

  • Your personal statement convinces a faculty committee that you are qualified for their program.
  • It convinces them that you are a good fit for their program’s focus and goals.
  • You show a select group of skills and experiences that convey your scientific accomplishments and interests.
  • Your experiences are concrete and quantitative.
  • Your personal statement is no more than 2 pages.

Structure Diagram

The graduate school personal statement tells your story and demonstrates that you are a good match for a particular department or program. Matching goes both ways: they should be interested in you, and you should be interested in them. Your personal statement should make this match clear.

Analyze Your Audience

Your personal statement will be read by a graduate committee, a handful of faculty from your program. They’re trying to determine if you will be a successful graduate student in their department, a positive force in the department’s intellectual life, and a successful scientist after you graduate. They are therefore interested in your qualifications as a researcher, your career goals, and how your personality matches their labs and department.

The graduate committee probably reads hundreds of applications a year. To make it easy for them to figure out that you are a good fit, make direct, concrete statements about your accomplishments and qualifications. To make it easy for them to remember you, create a narrative that “brands” you.

Create a personal narrative

PhD programs invest in the professional and scientific growth of their students. Get the committee excited about investing in you by opening your essay with a brief portrait of what drives you as a scientist. What research directions are you passionate about, and why? What do you picture yourself doing in 10 years?

Close your essay with a 2-3 sentence discussion of your career interests. No one will hold you to this; this just helps your committee visualize your potential trajectory.

Describe your experiences

Experiences are the “what” of your essay. What experiences led you to develop your skill set and passions? Where have you demonstrated accomplishment, leadership, and collaboration? Include research, teaching, and relevant extracurriculars. State concrete achievements and outcomes like awards, discoveries, or publications.

Quantify your experiences to show concrete impact. How many people were on your team? How many protocols did you develop? How many people were in competition for an award? As a TA, how often did you meet with your students?

Describe actions, not just changes in your internal mental or emotional state. A personal statement is a way to make a narrative out of your CV. It is not a diary entry.

During this project, my mind was opened to the possibility of using different programming languages together to create code that is faster to run and easier to understand and modify. During this project, I collaborated with other group members to develop a user-friendly Python wrapper for a 10,000-line Fortran library.
I showed initiative in my second project in the lab. Frustrated with the direction of my first project, I consulted with other faculty and proposed an entirely new project.
During my first year, I became a more curious and capable scientist. I explored the literature and proposed two alternative procedures to make the experiment efficient.
I won the physic department’s Laser Focus prize. I won the physics department’s prize for top student among my cohort of 20 students.
I learned about the role of enzymes in cancer. I quantified the kinetics of three enzymes implicated in cancer onset.

Explain the meaning of your experiences

Meaning is the “why” or “so what” of the document. Why was this experience important to your growth as a scientist? What does it say about your abilities and potential? It feels obvious to you, but you need to be explicit with your audience. Your descriptions of meaning should also act as transition statements between experiences: try to “wrap” meaning around your experiences.

Demonstrate match to your target program

Demonstrate an understanding of the program to which you’re applying and about how you will be successful in that program. To do this:

  • Read the program’s website. See what language they use to describe themselves, and echo that language in your essay. For example, MIT Biological Engineering’s website lists the department’s three objectives.
  • Get in contact with faculty (or students) in your target program. If you have had a positive discussion with someone at the department, describe how those interactions made you think that you and the department may be well-matched.
  • State which professors in the program you would plan to work with. Show how their research areas align with your background and your goals. You can even describe potential research directions or projects.

Resources and Annotated Examples

Annotated example 1.

These are selected sections from the personal statement that an MIT BE graduate student wrote in their successful application to MIT BE. 675 KB

Annotated Example 2

This is the personal statement from an MIT BE graduate student’s successful application to the MIT BE program. 11 MB

BrightLink Prep

Sample Personal Statement in Biology (Admitted to JHU)

masters personal statement biology

by Talha Omer, MBA, M.Eng., Harvard & Cornell Grad

In personal statement samples by field.

Here is the personal statement of a student who made it to John Hopkins University with a 100% scholarship in the field of cancer biology.

I want to emphasise that you must be honest in writing your personal statements. If you borrow content from other places, refer to them in your personal statement. Admissions officers in the US read many essays each year and can easily detect plagiarism.

Sample Personal Statement in Biology

“Raise your hand if your first memory was at age five,” prompted the professor on the first day of my classes. By the time he reached age two, most hands had lowered, but mine remained high. When I was two, I vividly remember when my aunt hugged her daughter tightly and exclaimed to her, “Someone is really brave and is soon going to become even braver!” 

I must have looked bewildered because then my aunt started to sob uncontrollably. How could I have known then what she meant? A couple of days later, my cousin was on an operating table, screaming and crying, with bright lights and nurses poking at her – she never came out of that operation theatre. 

However, it was not until I was in grade 8 that I learned that she had breast cancer, but I have long considered it a defining characteristic. Now years later, I wonder about the rareness of this disorder, the steadfast will of her parents throughout the hardship, and the failure of medicine to save her. From this experience as an onlooker, my passion for medicine emerged.

During my primary education, I expressly recall interacting with several people in the late stages of cancer. I knew my actions would not cure them at that point, yet I endured and persevered with patience. The immovable barriers of affliction I encountered during my academic years were far too menacing to be left unaddressed; during this time, I learned about the staggering number of deaths due to breast cancer alone. After realizing the cost of inaction, I decided to search for a career involving action against affliction.

Since R&D provides a vehicle for such action, I delved into several research efforts at the Molecular Biology (Human Genetics) Lab under the supervision of Dr Brown. Although I wanted to work in the area of breast cancer since I had taken several courses in cancer biology, due to a lack of research in the area of my interest, I decided to get involved in a similar domain called “hereditary hypotrichosis” or research on hair related diseases; also a genetic disease with research techniques similar to that of cancer biology. These experiences have drawn me to research as I have seen its potential to engage disease. 

But could I pursue research for the rest of my life? This question resonated in my head countless times and is still faintly heard. I am attracted to research by its potential for action but am detracted by its distance from the afflicted and its consequent neglect of presence. Unsatisfied, I looked for a vocation involving both presence and action.

Being born and raised in a remote rural village 130km away from the nearest city, I used to walk 6km every day to a shelter home school when I was in grade 5. Later, at the age of 12, I left my home permanently to study at another rural school 30km away – but these efforts and hardships paid off; as I stood ranked 1st in my enrollment. With the help of the Education Scholarship, I could continue my education. 

During these years, I also focused on teaching and ensuring that my rural village benefited from my expertise. However, what drew me to teaching was the capacity to love with both presence and action. This became evident over the years as I have spent countless hours counselling and mentoring those afflicted with educational concerns, both in my home city and places I have been to for work. 

Beyond teaching at various schools, where I taught about biological disorders, genetics, biochemistry, and nutrition to teachers from an arts background, I have also extended my efforts to community work by disseminating scholarship information to our community. Being associated with a village-based development organization as a community mobilizer, I have won rewards for my role in completely eradicating drug addiction in my area. I have also extended my philosophy to social, economic, and emotional affliction by wholeheartedly working on schemes such as “Water Supply”, “Don’t Let Our Environment Get Contaminated”, “Stitching and Handicraft”, and “Try to Boast Economy” – projects that engage in a struggle against poverty, mortality, and social injustice. As my conception of affliction broadened, I began to see many exciting career paths in various fields. However, thought, prayer, and counsel have revealed that my efforts would be best spent focusing on one form of affliction.

This circuitous path has thus brought me back to medicine. In considering teaching, volunteering, and social work as potential vocations, I have confirmed my desire to become a researcher in the field of breast cancer and to focus on physical affliction. Nonetheless, my experiences in these fields have helped me to forge a new conception of medicine that I can uphold as a future researcher. 

From my study and interactions with cancer patients, I have learned about the capacity to love when facing a terminal illness. In addition, my research pursuits have revealed the importance of action in combination with presence. Finally, my experiences with teaching and social service have stretched my conception of affliction.

A further degree will amalgamate my existing knowledge and experiences with a command of the causes and effects of illness, yielding an acute insight into the field of breast cancer. A multidisciplinary approach that involves collaboration across the fields of basic science, medicine, and public health can tackle the roots of problems with a high rate of breast cancer. I believe I can make a significant difference in the health of our society, and I cannot wait for the opportunity to do so actively.


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A Guide to Writing Biology Master’s Personal Statement Example

Table of Contents

When it comes to writing a personal statement for a Master’s in Biology, you may be wondering where to start. How do you sum up your entire academic career and experience in just a few paragraphs? And most importantly, what should you include to ensure that the admission committee pays attention to your application?

This article outlines a biology master’s personal statement example to get you started on your personal statement and provides tips to make it effective.

What Is a Biology Master’s Personal Statement?

A biology master’s personal statement is a document that students write to accompany their applications for admission into graduate-level programs in the biological sciences. The purpose of a personal statement is to give admissions officers an overview of an applicant’s academic and research experiences. It also conveys a candidate’s motivation for pursuing a particular degree.

In writing a biology master’s personal statement, you must be specific about why you are interested in studying biology. Explain what you hope to gain from earning your master’s degree. You should highlight any relevant coursework or research experience that you have had.

Why Is a Biology Masters Personal Statement Important?

A personal statement is a critical component of an application to a Master’s in Biology program. The statement allows applicants to provide context for their academic and research backgrounds . It also lets candidates share their motivations for pursuing graduate study in biology.

Specifically, the statement allows admission committees to evaluate an applicant’s written communication skills and scientific reasoning ability. A thoughtfully composed personal statement can differentiate a strong application from others. And thus, it increases the chance of being admitted into a competitive graduate program.

One technician viewing a blot on a microscope while another is using a pipette

Tips to Write a Biology Masters Personal Statement

When writing your personal statement for a biology master’s program, it is essential to keep the following in mind:

  • Make sure your statement is clear and error-free in its writing. This document will be one of the first things that reviewers see, so make sure it represents you in the best light possible.
  • Be specific about why you are interested in studying biology at the graduate level. What interests you about this field? What makes you desire to pursue this career?
  • Show off your academic strengths and accomplishments. Highlight any research projects or publications you have been involved with and any awards or scholarships you may have received.
  • Discuss how your experience has prepared you for a career in biology. What skills and knowledge do you possess that would enable you to take on advanced coursework in this field?
  • Express your excitement about the opportunity to study biology at the graduate level and why you believe this program is ideal for you!

Biology Master’s Personal Statement Example

Below is an effective biology master’s personal statement example that you can use as inspiration for writing one on your own:

Personal Statement Sample

My interest in biology grew one summer when I volunteered at a research lab. I was working on extracting DNA from strawberries. And it fascinated me that we could study the genetic makeup of an organism by looking at a small piece of its DNA. Since then, I have been determined to pursue a career in biology.

During my undergraduate studies, I had the opportunity to conduct independent research with Dr. X studying the effects of UV-B radiation exposure on Arctic char populations in Canada. This experience helped me develop critical thinking skills and gain laboratory experience, which will be invaluable as I continue my education in molecular sciences.

I have participated in coursework and extracurricular activities, such as Model UN conferences and volunteering with extinction prevention NGOs. And I have developed strong communication and problem-solving skills, which will benefit me as a scientist. In addition, my passion for conservation drives me to work towards creating solutions for environmental problems. It makes me ideally suited for graduate study of Molecular Sciences, where these topics are explored more deeply.

From working with different scientists around the world, conducting original research, and taking numerous challenging courses tailored toward Biology majors. I believe that I am fully prepared to successfully pursue a Master’s degree in Molecular Sciences at the prestigious [University name].

Your personal statement is a lasting reflection of your personality, values, and ambitions . When applying to graduate school, provide the admission committee with an overview of your interest in the program and suitability for the course.

Your personal statement is an opportunity to demonstrate why you’re a good match for the course, and you shouldn’t miss it. This article provides effective tips and an example to help you write a personal statement for a biology Master’s degree.

A Guide to Writing Biology Master’s Personal Statement Example

Abir Ghenaiet

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

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Biology personal statements

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On this page you'll find a collection of real personal statements written by students applying to study biology and related courses at university.

These personal statements are written by real students - don't expect them all to be perfect! But by reading through a few of these samples, you'll be able to get some ideas and inspiration for your own personal statement. 

Biology personal statement examples

More help with your personal statement.

You can find personal statement examples for other courses by using this subject list, or by returning to our personal statements by subject page.

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Gre prep online guides and tips, 3 successful graduate school personal statement examples.

masters personal statement biology

Looking for grad school personal statement examples? Look no further! In this total guide to graduate school personal statement examples, we’ll discuss why you need a personal statement for grad school and what makes a good one. Then we’ll provide three graduate school personal statement samples from our grad school experts. After that, we’ll do a deep dive on one of our personal statement for graduate school examples. Finally, we’ll wrap up with a list of other grad school personal statements you can find online.

Why Do You Need a Personal Statement?

A personal statement is a chance for admissions committees to get to know you: your goals and passions, what you’ll bring to the program, and what you’re hoping to get out of the program.  You need to sell the admissions committee on what makes you a worthwhile applicant. The personal statement is a good chance to highlight significant things about you that don’t appear elsewhere on your application.

A personal statement is slightly different from a statement of purpose (also known as a letter of intent). A statement of purpose/letter of intent tends to be more tightly focused on your academic or professional credentials and your future research and/or professional interests.

While a personal statement also addresses your academic experiences and goals, you have more leeway to be a little more, well, personal. In a personal statement, it’s often appropriate to include information on significant life experiences or challenges that aren’t necessarily directly relevant to your field of interest.

Some programs ask for both a personal statement and a statement of purpose/letter of intent. In this case, the personal statement is likely to be much more tightly focused on your life experience and personality assets while the statement of purpose will focus in much more on your academic/research experiences and goals.

However, there’s not always a hard-and-fast demarcation between a personal statement and a statement of purpose. The two statement types should address a lot of the same themes, especially as relates to your future goals and the valuable assets you bring to the program. Some programs will ask for a personal statement but the prompt will be focused primarily on your research and professional experiences and interests. Some will ask for a statement of purpose but the prompt will be more focused on your general life experiences.

When in doubt, give the program what they are asking for in the prompt and don’t get too hung up on whether they call it a personal statement or statement of purpose. You can always call the admissions office to get more clarification on what they want you to address in your admissions essay.

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What Makes a Good Grad School Personal Statement?

A great graduate school personal statement can come in many forms and styles. However, strong grad school personal statement examples all share the same following elements:

A Clear Narrative

Above all, a good personal statement communicates clear messages about what makes you a strong applicant who is likely to have success in graduate school. So to that extent, think about a couple of key points that you want to communicate about yourself and then drill down on how you can best communicate those points. (Your key points should of course be related to what you can bring to the field and to the program specifically).

You can also decide whether to address things like setbacks or gaps in your application as part of your narrative. Have a low GPA for a couple semesters due to a health issue? Been out of a job for a while taking care of a family member? If you do decide to explain an issue like this, make sure that the overall arc is more about demonstrating positive qualities like resilience and diligence than about providing excuses.

Specific Examples

A great statement of purpose uses specific examples to illustrate its key messages. This can include anecdotes that demonstrate particular traits or even references to scholars and works that have influenced your academic trajectory to show that you are familiar and insightful about the relevant literature in your field.

Just saying “I love plants,” is pretty vague. Describing how you worked in a plant lab during undergrad and then went home and carefully cultivated your own greenhouse where you cross-bred new flower colors by hand is much more specific and vivid, which makes for better evidence.

A strong personal statement will describe why you are a good fit for the program, and why the program is a good fit for you. It’s important to identify specific things about the program that appeal to you, and how you’ll take advantage of those opportunities. It’s also a good idea to talk about specific professors you might be interested in working with. This shows that you are informed about and genuinely invested in the program.

Strong Writing

Even quantitative and science disciplines typically require some writing, so it’s important that your personal statement shows strong writing skills. Make sure that you are communicating clearly and that you don’t have any grammar and spelling errors. It’s helpful to get other people to read your statement and provide feedback. Plan on going through multiple drafts.

Another important thing here is to avoid cliches and gimmicks. Don’t deploy overused phrases and openings like “ever since I was a child.” Don’t structure your statement in a gimmicky way (i.e., writing a faux legal brief about yourself for a law school statement of purpose). The first will make your writing banal; the second is likely to make you stand out in a bad way.

Appropriate Boundaries

While you can be more personal in a personal statement than in a statement of purpose, it’s important to maintain appropriate boundaries in your writing. Don’t overshare anything too personal about relationships, bodily functions, or illegal activities. Similarly, don’t share anything that makes it seem like you may be out of control, unstable, or an otherwise risky investment. The personal statement is not a confessional booth. If you share inappropriately, you may seem like you have bad judgment, which is a huge red flag to admissions committees.

You should also be careful with how you deploy humor and jokes. Your statement doesn’t have to be totally joyless and serious, but bear in mind that the person reading the statement may not have the same sense of humor as you do. When in doubt, err towards the side of being as inoffensive as possible.

Just as being too intimate in your statement can hurt you, it’s also important not to be overly formal or staid. You should be professional, but conversational.


Graduate School Personal Statement Examples

Our graduate school experts have been kind enough to provide some successful grad school personal statement examples. We’ll provide three examples here, along with brief analysis of what makes each one successful.

Sample Personal Statement for Graduate School 1

PDF of Sample Personal Statement 1 – Japanese Studies

For this Japanese Studies master’s degree, the applicant had to provide a statement of purpose outlining her academic goals and experience with Japanese and a separate personal statement describing her personal relationship with Japanese Studies and what led her to pursue a master’s degree.

Here’s what’s successful about this personal statement:

  • An attention-grabbing beginning: The applicant begins with the statement that Japanese has never come easily to her and that it’s a brutal language to learn. Seeing as how this is an application for a Japanese Studies program, this is an intriguing beginning that makes the reader want to keep going.
  • A compelling narrative: From this attention-grabbing beginning, the applicant builds a well-structured and dramatic narrative tracking her engagement with the Japanese language over time. The clear turning point is her experience studying abroad, leading to a resolution in which she has clarity about her plans. Seeing as how the applicant wants to be a translator of Japanese literature, the tight narrative structure here is a great way to show her writing skills.
  • Specific examples that show important traits: The applicant clearly communicates both a deep passion for Japanese through examples of her continued engagement with Japanese and her determination and work ethic by highlighting the challenges she’s faced (and overcome) in her study of the language. This gives the impression that she is an engaged and dedicated student.

Overall, this is a very strong statement both in terms of style and content. It flows well, is memorable, and communicates that the applicant would make the most of the graduate school experience.


Sample Personal Statement for Graduate School 2

PDF of Sample Graduate School Personal Statement 2 – Musical Composition

This personal statement for a Music Composition master’s degree discusses the factors that motivate the applicant to pursue graduate study.

Here’s what works well in this statement:

  • The applicant provides two clear reasons motivating the student to pursue graduate study: her experiences with music growing up, and her family’s musical history. She then supports those two reasons with examples and analysis.
  • The description of her ancestors’ engagement with music is very compelling and memorable. The applicant paints her own involvement with music as almost inevitable based on her family’s long history with musical pursuits.
  • The applicant gives thoughtful analysis of the advantages she has been afforded that have allowed her to study music so extensively. We get the sense that she is insightful and empathetic—qualities that would add greatly to any academic community.

This is a strong, serviceable personal statement. And in truth, given that this for a masters in music composition, other elements of the application (like work samples) are probably the most important.  However, here are two small changes I would make to improve it:

  • I would probably to split the massive second paragraph into 2-3 separate paragraphs. I might use one paragraph to orient the reader to the family’s musical history, one paragraph to discuss Giacomo and Antonio, and one paragraph to discuss how the family has influenced the applicant. As it stands, it’s a little unwieldy and the second paragraph doesn’t have a super-clear focus even though it’s all loosely related to the applicant’s family history with music.
  • I would also slightly shorten the anecdote about the applicant’s ancestors and expand more on how this family history has motivated the applicant’s interest in music. In what specific ways has her ancestors’ perseverance inspired her? Did she think about them during hard practice sessions? Is she interested in composing music in a style they might have played? More specific examples here would lend greater depth and clarity to the statement.


Sample Personal Statement for Graduate School 3

PDF of Sample Graduate School Personal Statement 3 – Public Health

This is my successful personal statement for Columbia’s Master’s program in Public Health. We’ll do a deep dive on this statement paragraph-by-paragraph in the next section, but I’ll highlight a couple of things that work in this statement here:

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  • This statement is clearly organized. Almost every paragraph has a distinct focus and message, and when I move on to a new idea, I move on to a new paragraph with a logical transitions.
  • This statement covers a lot of ground in a pretty short space. I discuss my family history, my goals, my educational background, and my professional background. But because the paragraphs are organized and I use specific examples, it doesn’t feel too vague or scattered.
  • In addition to including information about my personal motivations, like my family, I also include some analysis about tailoring health interventions with my example of the Zande. This is a good way to show off what kinds of insights I might bring to the program based on my academic background.


Grad School Personal Statement Example: Deep Dive

Now let’s do a deep dive, paragraph-by-paragraph, on one of these sample graduate school personal statements. We’ll use my personal statement that I used when I applied to Columbia’s public health program.

Paragraph One: For twenty-three years, my grandmother (a Veterinarian and an Epidemiologist) ran the Communicable Disease Department of a mid-sized urban public health department. The stories of Grandma Betty doggedly tracking down the named sexual partners of the infected are part of our family lore. Grandma Betty would persuade people to be tested for sexually transmitted diseases, encourage safer sexual practices, document the spread of infection and strive to contain and prevent it. Indeed, due to the large gay population in the city where she worked, Grandma Betty was at the forefront of the AIDS crises, and her analysis contributed greatly towards understanding how the disease was contracted and spread. My grandmother has always been a huge inspiration to me, and the reason why a career in public health was always on my radar.

This is an attention-grabbing opening anecdote that avoids most of the usual cliches about childhood dreams and proclivities. This story also subtly shows that I have a sense of public health history, given the significance of the AIDs crisis for public health as a field.

It’s good that I connect this family history to my own interests. However, if I were to revise this paragraph again, I might cut down on some of the detail because when it comes down to it, this story isn’t really about me. It’s important that even (sparingly used) anecdotes about other people ultimately reveal something about you in a personal statement.

Paragraph Two: Recent years have cemented that interest. In January 2012, my parents adopted my little brother Fred from China. Doctors in America subsequently diagnosed Fred with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD). My parents were told that if Fred’s condition had been discovered in China, the (very poor) orphanage in which he spent the first 8+ years of his life would have recognized his DMD as a death sentence and denied him sustenance to hasten his demise.

Here’s another compelling anecdote to help explain my interest in public health. This is an appropriately personal detail for a personal statement—it’s a serious thing about my immediate family, but it doesn’t disclose anything that the admissions committee might find concerning or inappropriate.

If I were to take another pass through this paragraph, the main thing I would change is the last phrase. “Denied him sustenance to hasten his demise” is a little flowery. “Denied him food to hasten his death” is actually more powerful because it’s clearer and more direct.

Paragraph Three: It is not right that some people have access to the best doctors and treatment while others have no medical care. I want to pursue an MPH in Sociomedical Sciences at Columbia because studying social factors in health, with a particular focus on socio-health inequities, will prepare me to address these inequities. The interdisciplinary approach of the program appeals to me greatly as I believe interdisciplinary approaches are the most effective way to develop meaningful solutions to complex problems.

In this paragraph I make a neat and clear transition from discussing what sparked my interest in public health and health equity to what I am interested in about Columbia specifically: the interdisciplinary focus of the program, and how that focus will prepare me to solve complex health problems. This paragraph also serves as a good pivot point to start discussing my academic and professional background.

Paragraph Four: My undergraduate education has prepared me well for my chosen career. Understanding the underlying structure of a group’s culture is essential to successfully communicating with the group. In studying folklore and mythology, I’ve learned how to parse the unspoken structures of folk groups, and how those structures can be used to build bridges of understanding. For example, in a culture where most illnesses are believed to be caused by witchcraft, as is the case for the Zande people of central Africa, any successful health intervention or education program would of necessity take into account their very real belief in witchcraft.

In this paragraph, I link my undergraduate education and the skills I learned there to public health. The (very brief) analysis of tailoring health interventions to the Zande is a good way to show insight and show off the competencies I would bring to the program.

Paragraph Five: I now work in the healthcare industry for one of the largest providers of health benefits in the world. In addition to reigniting my passion for data and quantitative analytics, working for this company has immersed me in the business side of healthcare, a critical component of public health.

This brief paragraph highlights my relevant work experience in the healthcare industry. It also allows me to mention my work with data and quantitative analytics, which isn’t necessarily obvious from my academic background, which was primarily based in the social sciences.

Paragraph Six: I intend to pursue a PhD in order to become an expert in how social factors affect health, particularly as related to gender and sexuality. I intend to pursue a certificate in Sexuality, Sexual Health, and Reproduction. Working together with other experts to create effective interventions across cultures and societies, I want to help transform health landscapes both in America and abroad.

This final paragraph is about my future plans and intentions. Unfortunately, it’s a little disjointed, primarily because I discuss goals of pursuing a PhD before I talk about what certificate I want to pursue within the MPH program! Switching those two sentences and discussing my certificate goals within the MPH and then mentioning my PhD plans would make a lot more sense.

I also start two sentences in a row with “I intend,” which is repetitive.

The final sentence is a little bit generic; I might tailor it to specifically discuss a gender and sexual health issue, since that is the primary area of interest I’ve identified.

This was a successful personal statement; I got into (and attended!) the program. It has strong examples, clear organization, and outlines what interests me about the program (its interdisciplinary focus) and what competencies I would bring (a background in cultural analysis and experience with the business side of healthcare). However, a few slight tweaks would elevate this statement to the next level.


Graduate School Personal Statement Examples You Can Find Online

So you need more samples for your personal statement for graduate school? Examples are everywhere on the internet, but they aren’t all of equal quality.

Most of examples are posted as part of writing guides published online by educational institutions. We’ve rounded up some of the best ones here if you are looking for more personal statement examples for graduate school.

Penn State Personal Statement Examples for Graduate School

This selection of ten short personal statements for graduate school and fellowship programs offers an interesting mix of approaches. Some focus more on personal adversity while others focus more closely on professional work within the field.

The writing in some of these statements is a little dry, and most deploy at least a few cliches. However, these are generally strong, serviceable statements that communicate clearly why the student is interested in the field, their skills and competencies, and what about the specific program appeals to them.

Cal State Sample Graduate School Personal Statements

These are good examples of personal statements for graduate school where students deploy lots of very vivid imagery and illustrative anecdotes of life experiences. There are also helpful comments about what works in each of these essays.

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However, all of these statements are definitely pushing the boundaries of acceptable length, as all are above 1000 and one is almost 1500 words! Many programs limit you to 500 words; if you don’t have a limit, you should try to keep it to two single-spaced pages at most (which is about 1000 words).

University of Chicago Personal Statement for Graduate School Examples

These examples of successful essays to the University of Chicago law school cover a wide range of life experiences and topics. The writing in all is very vivid, and all communicate clear messages about the students’ strengths and competencies.

Note, however, that these are all essays that specifically worked for University of Chicago law school. That does not mean that they would work everywhere. In fact, one major thing to note is that many of these responses, while well-written and vivid, barely address the students’ interest in law school at all! This is something that might not work well for most graduate programs.

Wheaton College Personal Statement for Graduate School Sample 10

This successful essay for law school from a Wheaton College undergraduate does a great job tracking the student’s interest in the law in a compelling and personal way. Wheaton offers other graduate school personal statement examples, but this one offers the most persuasive case for the students’ competencies. The student accomplishes this by using clear, well-elaborated examples, showing strong and vivid writing, and highlighting positive qualities like an interest in justice and empathy without seeming grandiose or out of touch.

Wheaton College Personal Statement for Graduate School Sample 1

Based on the background information provided at the bottom of the essay, this essay was apparently successful for this applicant. However, I’ve actually included this essay because it demonstrates an extremely risky approach. While this personal statement is strikingly written and the story is very memorable, it could definitely communicate the wrong message to some admissions committees. The student’s decision not to report the drill sergeant may read incredibly poorly to some admissions committees. They may wonder if the student’s failure to report the sergeant’s violence will ultimately expose more soldiers-in-training to the same kinds of abuses. This incident perhaps reads especially poorly in light of the fact that the military has such a notable problem with violence against women being covered up and otherwise mishandled

It’s actually hard to get a complete picture of the student’s true motivations from this essay, and what we have might raise real questions about the student’s character to some admissions committees. This student took a risk and it paid off, but it could have just as easily backfired spectacularly.


Key Takeaways: Graduate School Personal Statement Examples

In this guide, we discussed why you need a personal statement and how it differs from a statement of purpose. (It’s more personal!)

We also discussed what you’ll find in a strong sample personal statement for graduate school:

  • A clear narrative about the applicant and why they are qualified for graduate study.
  • Specific examples to support that narrative.
  • Compelling reasons why the applicant and the program are a good fit for each other.
  • Strong writing, including clear organization and error-free, cliche-free language.
  • Appropriate boundaries—sharing without over-sharing.

Then, we provided three strong graduate school personal statement examples for different fields, along with analysis. We did a deep-dive on the third statement.

Finally, we provided a list of other sample grad school personal statements online.

What’s Next?

Want more advice on writing a personal statement ? See our guide.

Writing a graduate school statement of purpose? See our statement of purpose samples  and a nine-step process for writing the best statement of purpose possible .

If you’re writing a graduate school CV or resume, see our how-to guide to writing a CV , a how-to guide to writing a resume , our list of sample resumes and CVs , resume and CV templates , and a special guide for writing resume objectives .

Need stellar graduate school recommendation letters ? See our guide.

See our 29 tips for successfully applying to graduate school .

Ready to improve your GRE score by 7 points?

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Author: Ellen McCammon

Ellen is a public health graduate student and education expert. She has extensive experience mentoring students of all ages to reach their goals and in-depth knowledge on a variety of health topics. View all posts by Ellen McCammon

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Biology Personal Statement

Biology, to me, is the most fascinating of all the sciences. The fact that biological sciences are ever changing and are constantly adapting to new discoveries really motivates me to study in this area. I would say that my interest in this subject originates from my family. My mother is a triplet and so as a child I was always intrigued as to why all my aunties looked identical. This interest has stemmed all through my life. As well as this my mother and both her sisters went on to complete degrees in biology so I would say that biology has always been a part of my life. In order to understand how biology can transfer from the classroom to the real world I completed a week’s work experience at the pathology department at Warrington Hospital. Within the department I was able to do some administrative work as well as observe trained pathologists collect and test samples. I witnessed the true complexity and accuracy at which these tests are carried out. I realised how integral biology is to human health and medicine which has inspired me to research further into this subject; particularly about how malaria is detected within samples and then treated.

Throughout my school life I was able to volunteer in particular events to help out within the school community. These include volunteering as a prefect to supervise younger students which taught me leadership and communication skills which were necessary in order to succeed in this authoritative role. I also have completed the language leader’s qualification. This required me to perform three French lessons to year seven pupils. As this involved public speaking I managed to build my confidence and I now feel comfortable presenting in front of others as a result of this. Also I developed my teamwork skills as I had to organise a language event one afternoon. As well as this I volunteered to help on the year 6 transition day.

Recently, I attended a biology field course to Wales. This gave me real experience of carrying out ecological tests which are an important part of biology. This certainly helped to further spark my enthusiasm for biology in a way that would not be possible in a classroom environment. I also learnt skills like how to write a report which I feel will be vital going forward into a degree course. I believe that this experience has not only assisted me in my A-Level studies but will also aid my work in the future at university because from my research I discovered that conservation and ecology topics contribute a lot to many courses.

Currently I am studying Biology, Geography and Chemistry. In Chemistry I have developed my ability to work with others as many times during experiments teamwork was vital to the success of the practical. This will help me to complete other biological experiments throughout my career. Chemistry also helped me to strengthen my mathematical skills which will support me in other scientific subjects as mathematics is becoming more intrinsic to the A-Level Biology course. Similarly, whilst studying Geography I have completed coursework which has bolstered my essay writing technique and this skill will be invaluable to me going into the future. Obviously Biology is the most vital for this course but is has also, unlocked within me, a keen interest in particular in biochemical aspects of biology like photosynthesis and protein synthesis.

In conclusion, I accredit my academic achievements to my hardworking and persevering nature; while being motivated by challenges. This is evidenced by the award I received in 2017 for outstanding endeavour in year 12. I find the prospect of creating new experiences which will, in turn, benefit both my academic and personal life enthralling. Therefore, I believe that a degree in Biology would be the perfect foundation for a career as a research scientist.

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  • 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.

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How To Write A Personal Statement For Masters (17 PDF Sample Examples)

Published: 14 Mar 2022 Study Abroad 104,272 views

How To Write A Personal Statement For Masters (17 PDF Sample Examples)

A personal statement for masters program is one of the most important parts of your college application and writing a good one is what’s the exception between receiving an offer and being rejected.

If you’ve been tasked with presenting a personal statement, you should keep in mind that whatever you submit must put you forward as the right candidate for the course. Additionally, it should convince the admissions officers that you deserve a place on your program of study.

Achieving the above, is a skill most postgraduate students are yet to acquire but thankfully this article on How To Write A Personal Statement For Masters covers everything you need to know on doing this.

In this article you’ll learn:

  • What is a personal statement?
  • Tips for making your personal statement for masters stand out
  • How to write a personal statement for masters
  • Personal statement for masters sample
  • Examples of personal statement for masters
  • Conclusion – things to avoid when writing a personal statement for masters

Read:  Admission Interview Tips .

What Is a Personal Statement?

A personal statement AKA admissions or application essay or statement of purpose is a type of essay or written statement a candidate presents to a college, university, or graduate school they are applying to, explaining why they want to attend that school, study a particular course, and why they would be a perfect fit for these things.

A personal statement for masters is an essay you submit specifically for your postgraduate application. Writing one presents the opportunity for you to promote yourself to a school and show the admissions teachers that you are the perfect candidate for a course.

Tips For Making Your Personal Statement For Masters Stand Out

Before we get into how you should write a statement of purpose for masters, we would first like to share with you certain tips to include in your essay to make it stand out from that of other applicants and be convincing enough to any admissions officer that reads it. The tips we have mentioned here, cover general things like starting and ending your personal statement, timing, length, and what to include and what not to include in the essay, etc.

1. Starting And Ending A Personal Statement

When starting a personal statement, you would want to right off the bat grab the reader’s attention. To do this, start the statement by writing about your degree of choice, next why you want to study it and then how you got interested in it.

The next 2 sentences after that should cover a summary of your background in the chosen field, and you conclude by saying what you plan to do once you acquire your graduate degree.

Also start with that the evaluators reading want to hear first, then every other information should come second. You will notice we’ve used in the sop examples for masters we will share with you later in this article.

2. Plan Ahead

A personal statement is not something you rush while writing, which means if you want to get something good before you application then you must start to decide things like the length and how long it should take to complete.

Let us throw more light on this…

For length, a personal statement should be brief ranging somewhere between 500 -700 words, although schools often detect how long it should be. So, this is dependent on the institution you are applying to.

In terms of what to say in a statement, you could include personal experiences like why you were driven to apply for the program, an experience you had with a scholar in your chosen discipline, a course you took that inspired you to pursue masters, or a key moment during your studies which further motivated you.

No matter what you decide to write, just keep in mind that you need to take your time to craft something good even if it means creating several drafts before the real thing and do not forget to proofread the statement for errors.

3. Research Your Program Of Study

Researching your program of study is one way to establish that you truly understand the discipline you’re getting into and prove to the admissions officer that you thoroughly thought about it before applying.

And because you want to put yourself forward as a serious candidate, one way to make you research easier is for you to visit the website of the department you are applying to. This page will contain information about faculty members, their specialisation, and publications.

From the intel, you gathered there you can now identify which professors match your interests and which ones you will benefit the most from learning under. After you’ve found this out, relate the same in a sentence or two in your statement of purpose for masters.

Example: “I would be honoured to study under the tutelage of Professor Nadia whose work I found resonated strongly with my beliefs and intended projects in this course”.

4. Avoid Clichés, Junks, And Many Details

When writing a statement of purpose for master degree try to avoid clichés, junks, and unnecessary details so that you don’t lose or bore your readers in between. Be as concise as possible, even if it’s your chance to express yourself.

A personal statement is an opportunity for the admissions committee to get information that tells the that you are suitable for the course. So, when you overpower your statement with too many words, stories, and useless details, you come off as someone who is just trying to meet the word count.

5. Include Your Personal History Only If It Adds To The Statement

Do not include your personal history in your statement of intent for masters if it is not relevant to your purpose of study. This means no need for you to tell that story about that time you helped someone treat a cut and immediately realised that you wanted to be a doctor or nurse or how you developed a taste for reading at a very young age.

We can guarantee you that the hundreds of other applications competing for the same spot you are felt the same way, so saying those things really doesn’t make you unique.

On the other hand, if you are going to add personal history to your statement, you can put in things like an internship you did and the experience you got from the job, a major research project you ran by yourself, publications you’ve read or published, conferences you’ve attended or presentations you’ve done. These experiences are more concrete and are directly related to your program of study. They also set you apart from other applicants.

6. Don't Use The Same Personal Statement For All Your Applications

One common mistake applicant make that you shouldn’t is using the same statement of purpose for master degree for all your applications. Using the same information repeatedly even if you are going to change the university names is risky and could land you in a big mistake on a day you forget to be thorough.

All programmes have their own unique set of questions they want to see answered and information they need in your personal statement.

And even if some of them like extracurricular activities, proposal for project, why you are applying to the school, your unique qualities, and research works you’re doing might appear the same, do not use one statement to respond to all of them.

Write a new unique personal statement every time you want to apply.

Check out:  How to Write a Good CV for Students - Resume Examples for Students (PDF).

How To Write A Personal Statement for Masters

When writing a personal statement for masters there are several steps and ground rules you need to follow to ensure that it comes out good enough to impress the admissions team of a school, and ultimately convince them to give you a spot on your program of study.

If writing one is something you are currently struggling with and can’t seem to get down the process of it right no matter what, this section on how to write a personal statement for masters, discusses in detail everything you need to get help with yours.

There are 4 parts to consider when writing your personal statement and we have listed them below:

1. Planning A Personal Statement

A personal statement is a piece of writing showing your academic interests and is only for application purposes which means there is no room for any autobiographical information in it about your personal life. Be as to-the-point as possible when writing it and stick to telling the school why you are the right person for the course, plus any other extra information detailing your achievements.

Before You Start:

Allot plenty of time to write your msc personal statement so that you don’t rush it. Remember, this simple piece of writing is your one shot at convincing a school that you are the best applicant they’ve seen and as such can either make or break your application.

Read the information expected of you from the university, rules and guidelines given, selection criteria and understand what they mean. Also research the institution.

Do a thorough research on the course you are applying for; this will help you explain better why you want to study it. The tutors interviewing you can tell when you are lying and presenting yourself as uninformed can cost you the admission.

Ensure that you don’t use the same personal statement for all your applications.

When Writing:

When writing the statement there are some questions to ask yourself that can help you plan it better. Those questions are:

  • Why you want to study a master’s and how does it benefit you in future?
  • How does the course you have chosen fit into your pre-existing skill set?
  • How do you stand out from the crowd as an applicant - e.g., work experiences you’ve had in the same field you are applying for?
  • What do you aspire to do or be as a future career and how will the course help you achieve that?
  • How can your work or skillsets contribute positively to the department/ university you are applying to, or society at large?

On the other hand, if you are applying for the masters to change from the field you studied in your undergraduate to another field, you should tell the school why you decided to take a different path in your studies.

Questions to ask yourself for this include:

  • Your reason for deciding to change your discipline.
  • How your undergraduate degree will be material for bringing fresh insights into your masters course.
  • How changing your study path will help you attain your future career.

2. Structuring A Personal Statement

Having good structure for your personal statement for master degree is important because it ensures that everything from the beginning, middle, and ending of the statement is written and equally falls in place perfectly.

We’ve left some tips for you below to help you:

Start your personal statement with an attention-grabbing introduction that is not dramatic or cliché. That means you should not begin with any of these over-used phrases we’ve listed out below:

For as long as I remember…

Since my childhood…

I want to apply to this course because I’ve always felt a strong connection to it…

All my life, I have always loved…

My interest in (course) always ran deeper than…

I’ve always been zealous about…

Ever since I was a child, I’ve always wanted to pursue a career in…

My past educational experiences have always…

'My passion for Child Psychology is influenced by my curiosity in how autism affects the personality of children living with this condition. That's why I dedicated the 3rd year of my undergraduate study interning with the Child Rehabilitation Centre in my community, which caters to the patients and work closely with their families in developing care plans that work for their child.

You would want to be as snappy as possible with your opening because the admission officer has over a hundred applications to read and can’t waste all their time on yours. This means you should avoid overpowering it with unnecessary facts, quotes, and stories from your life.

The middle part of your ma personal statement is where the main content of the write-up should be. This is where you show your dedication to the course you’ve chosen, what motivated you to choose it, and why you are the right candidate for it.

When writing the middle part of a graduate personal statement, you should:  

  • Give concrete reasons why you want to study a course at the University. The reason could be because of how the course is aligned to your future career or the University’s reputation in teaching that program.
  • Mention relevant things like projects, dissertations, or essays you’ve done, and any work experience you have.
  • Show proof of your core skills like and how they can contribute to the department.
  • Prove what makes you a unique candidate.
  • Discuss who your main influences for wanting to study the course are and why.
  • Add experiences like memberships to clubs that are related to your field, papers you’ve written before, awards, scholarships, or prizes.
  • Draw focus to how the course links to your past and future.
  • Mention your academic and non-academic skills and how they fit the course.

For Formatting:

  • Keep the statement length between 250 -500 words or as directed by the school.
  • Sentences should be no more than 25-30 words.
  • Use headings to break up the content – Why this university? Why this subject? Etc.
  • Make claims and provide evidence to back each of them up. This can be done by discussing your work experience and academic interests.

Language and tone to use:     

  • The tone for your masters application personal statement should be positive and enthusiastic, to show you eagerness to learn and so that you convince the evaluators that you have what it takes to succeed.
  • Use exciting and refreshing language, and an engaging opening line.
  • Ensure you grammar, punctuations, and spellings are accurate.
  • Avoid exaggerated claims you cannot backup.
  • Don’t use cliché generic terms and keep your focus on the course.

Keep the ending of your essay for master degree application concise and memorable, leaving no doubt in the admission officers mind that you deserve a spot on the program.

To create the best ending summarise all your key points without dragging it our or repeating yourself. The ending should be simple, end on a positive note and make it clear that the school will be lucky to have you on their program.

Personal Statement for Masters Sample

In this section, we have left a masters personal statement example for you, which you can use as material to write yours for any course of study you are applying to a school for.

My passion for Filmmaking, was influenced by my growing up reading novels and plays by my idols William Shakespeare, Tennessee Williams, and Maya Angelou, which graciously provided me with the opportunity to not just hear good stories, but also appreciate great storytellers whose plays still shake the foundations of the film industry.

Growing up, I loved movies and found myself fascinated by the stories, the characters and most importantly the realization that the human mind could create something so beautiful and gripping. I studied each film like a guide and whenever they ended, I would act out the scenes on my own, putting on a one-woman show for myself whenever I was alone at home. These things would later form the basis of me writing my first published book which was a drama titled The Reward of Evil Deed.

To me, loving literature and chasing it down all these years was something that made me different, but I also enjoyed it because films are more than something I just wanted to watch and forget, it is something that I wanted to be a part of. I didn’t just want to appreciate great films, I wanted to make them.

During my bachelor’s degree in India, I had the privilege of taking Literature classes stemming from British, American, and Indian literature to broaden my mind. I was also opportune to read great authors like John Donne, John Milton, Emily Dickinson, Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, Anton Chekov, Virginia Woolf, and of course Margret Atwood who I follow closely on Instagram. Three years later not only did I graduate as one of the best students in the school, but I did so with a first-hand knowledge of what it means to be a passionate storyteller whose art transcends time, language barrier, and location.

In addition to devouring Literature and watching satirical films like it’s the news, I am also an avid reader and prolific writer who throws herself into whatever she sets her heart on. I am the proud author of Forgetting Bangalore which is a personal memoir about my three years of studying in India, read amongst my closest friends who I shared those times with. In school, I also wrote the script for a short film for the class Psychology assignment titled The Ordeal which I uploaded to my YouTube page and uploaded to my application form.

Apart from writing for myself, I also function as a content creator/marketer for companies I have worked for in the past and is still working for now. I play the Bass guitar well and occasionally dabble in Lead guitar.

For far too long, I have aspired to be, but now I want to become a filmmaker and I strongly believe that through your institution that I would be able to learn and master all the aspects associated with filmmaking. I hope to attend Central Film School next year, enrolling in MA Practical Filmmaking under the tutelage of the amazing Faculty members.

Although I don’t have the professional skills or much of a background in filmmaking, I am passionate and have a zeal burning strongly that it will set the film industry on fire. I am a good storyteller, I am brilliant, resilient, and determined to succeed, and when I want something, I push until I get it, I am also a fast learner. I strongly believe that these attributes are what will help me successfully complete this master’s program.

Personal Statement PDF

You can also download this statement of purpose sample for masters degree pdf here and take your time to read it later – Personal Statement For Masters Sample .

See Also:  Student CV Template .

Examples of Personal Statement for Masters

We have taken the time to source for some of the best postgraduate personal statement examples, which you can use in addition to the personal statement for masters program example as a template to write yours.

While you scroll through our list, you will find the perfect masters essay example for any field you wish to apply for, from business administration, to Psychology, to information technology, and lots more.

1. msw personal statement

We have found one of the best msw personal statement examples out there for you.

social work masters personal statement .  

2. personal statement for masters in public health

mph personal statement examples

3. personal statement for masters in management

Personal statement for master degree sample for masters in management .  , 4. personal statement for masters in education example.

personal statement for masters in education example

5. psychology masters personal statement

psychology masters personal statement example

6. sample personal statement for masters in data science data science masters personal statement

7. speech and language therapy personal statement statement of purpose for masters sample: speech and language therapy

8. business administration personal statement personal statement for masters in business administration

9. personal statement for masters in cyber security pdf masters degree personal statement examples for cyber security

10. personal statement for masters in finance msc finance personal statement examples

11. statement of purpose for masters in information technology pdf msc personal statement examples for information technology

12. international development personal statement statement of purpose for masters example

13. msc international business management personal statement international business management personal statement examples

14. computer science masters personal statement

statement of purpose for masters in computer science pdf

15. personal statement for masters in economics statement of purpose sample for masters degree in economics

16. mha personal statement statement of purpose format for masters in health administration    

Conclusion – Things to Avoid When Writing A Personal Statement For Masters When writing a personal statement for university masters, there are some things you should avoid, so that you don’t ruin your essay. We have listed out those things below: •    Avoid negativity. •    Following an online template blindly. •    Do not include unnecessary course modules, personal facts, or extra-curricular activities in your personal statement. •    Do not lie or exaggerate an achievement or event. •    Do not include inspirational quotes to your statement. •    Avoid using clichés, gimmicks, humour, over-used word such as 'passion' or ‘driven’. •    Do not make pleading statements. •    Avoid mentioning key authors or professors in your field without any explanation. •    Avoid using sentences that are too long. •    Avoid flattering the organisation or using patronising terms. •    Do not repeat information in your statement that you have already listed in your application. •    Avoid waffling i.e., writing at length. •    Don’t start writing your personal statement at the last minute.  

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How to Write a Biology Personal Statement Worthy of Oxbridge!

By U2 Tutor, Holly (Cambridge Biological Natural Sciences graduate and current Graduate Medic at St George’s Hospital Medical School)

Writing a personal statement can be overwhelming - there’s so much pressure to ‘sell yourself’ to the universities in just 4000 characters. In this blog we’ll discuss how to structure your personal statement, as well as tips to simplify the writing process and make your personal statement stand out.

How to Structure your Biology Personal Statement

Paragraph 1: This should be motivation focused i.e. why you want to do Biology above any other course.

Paragraph 2: This should demonstrate your aptitude for the course - explore what you have done so far and the skills you’ve gained from it, in order to show that you’re suited to university learning.

Paragraph 3: This should be a continuation of paragraph 2, ideally discussing some other areas of biology or other skills.

Paragraph 4: Brief discussion of extra-curriculars, but only if they also demonstrate skills which suit you to the course.

Tips For a Biology Personal Statement

Writing the Perfect Biology Personal Statement Introduction

If you take anything from this guide, it’s to avoid clichés! The most important thing you can do is convey your genuine interest in the subject, and saying you’ve wanted to do biology since you were a child isn’t the way to do this (even if it is the case). Equally, try not to exaggerate with your wording, as this can also come across as less authentic. Just try and explain your motivations clearly and honestly, and focus on showing this motivation through your experiences and beyond syllabus knowledge.

Writing the opening sentence can be the hardest part, so is often best left until the end . There’s a misconception that you have to write a captivating, attention-grabbing opening sentence - this isn’t the case, especially not for the sciences! It’s completely fine to start simply, such as with ‘I was first drawn to Biology when I studied x…’ and go from there. Remember you have a character limit, so it’s best to just go straight in!

Forming a First Draft of Your Personal Statement

Don’t put pressure on yourself to write a full draft on your first attempt. There will be lots of redrafting and restructuring and that’s okay! Give yourself plenty of time to allow for this.

The best way to start is to write down everything you want to include in your personal statement - include everything you can think of from an academic and extra-curricular perspective. Try not to include anything beyond the last few years, as this is unlikely to be relevant . For each point, determine what skills you gained from these experiences and what you learnt from them .

Then compare this to the skills/ qualities most sought after for the courses you’re applying to (this is likely to be very similar between universities). Whilst it can seem overwhelming at first, it’s a quick way of narrowing down what is worth including in your personal statement. From there you can work out how to elaborate on these experiences. Try to group them together in themes if possible, so that you can organise your paragraphs accordingly.

Ideas to Show Your Interest

You might be thinking that your list of things to include in your personal statement is going to be rather short - you hopefully have plenty of time to rectify that! If you’ve not yet had a chance, it’s important to explore Biology in more depth - this is to distinguish you from your classmates doing the same subjects. Remember the universities will also see your grades through UCAS, so you’re wasting some of the precious word count by mentioning these. Instead, you need to discuss co-curriculars - evidence that you’ve explored the subject and have a genuine interest. Try and find 2-3 broad areas of Biology that you’re interested in and ideally match with some of the modules offered as part of the courses you’re applying to . There are plenty of ways you can do this…

Books - these have been divided into some broad topics within some of the popular Biology courses:


Do No Harm - Henry Marsh

Fragile Lives - Stephen Westaby

The Body: A Guide for Occupants - Bill Bryson

The Selfish Gene - Richard Dawkins,

The Epigenetics Revolution - Nessa Carey

Genome - Matt Ridley


Any of Oliver Sacks books, particularly The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat or Awakenings

The Psychopath Test - Jon Ronson

On the Origin of Species - Charles Darwin

Sapiens - Yuval Noah Harari

Epigenetics: The Wisdom of Whores - Elizabeth Pisani

Cognitive sciences: Daniel Kahneman - Thinking, Fast and Slow

Successful Biology Personal Statement Book Recommendations

Essay competitions

There are yearly competitions hosted by Minds Underground to allow you to explore topics you might not have encountered before.

Many Oxbridge colleges also run their own essay competitions , as well as biological societies e.g. Royal Society of Biology and British Society for Cell Biology . Essay competitions are particularly relevant to Oxbridge applications as supervisions often require you to write similar essays.

Biology Work Experience

It can be useful to get work experience, such as in a lab, but don’t feel like this is an essential - universities understand it can be very difficult to find, especially in the post-covid era. If you do have experience, be careful not to just list what you did during work experience. Focus on the skills you gained, and how you could use these at university e.g. familiarity with different lab-based techniques.

Research Projects (Minds Underground)

Similar to Extended Projects offered by some schools, you could write your own research project exploring a topic of your choice. It can be difficult to decide on a title - it might be easier to use your A-level content as a springboard, and design a project to investigate something you’ve learnt about. For example, you could design a literature review to analyse existing research on a topic, in order to identify gaps in current research and inform future research opportunities. You could also design your own experiment (although there obviously limits to this!) such as investigating conditions needed by different plants.

Minds Underground can guide you through this with a Biology expert… https://www.mindsunderground.com/work-research-experience

Biology Summer School (Minds Underground)

Summer schools can be an exciting way to get a taster of a variety of different university level biology subjects, from genetic engineering and cancer therapies to ecology and behaviour. Minds Underground hosts an amazing Biology summer school run by Oxbridge graduates, allowing you to broaden your knowledge of Biology whilst gaining useful personal statement and interview material.

Talks and podcasts

Online lectures can also give you a taste of university courses - these are widely available from universities and sites such as Ted Talks . Podcasts are increasingly popular, and are an easy way to keep up to date with current development in Biology. We recommend The Infinite Monkey Cage (less Biology specific, but very interesting!) and Radiolab .

Biological Sciences Personal Statement Podcasts


In the past there’s been a focus on the ‘all rounder’: someone who is academic, musical and sporty. This is not really the case any more, and so extracurriculars shouldn’t take up a significant proportion of your personal statement. The purpose of mentioning these should be to show what skills you’ve gained, and how you could apply these to your course or university life. For example, your weekly football match could have helped develop your team working skills and communication skills, something which is essential in a lab environment. Equally, it could allow you to switch off for a few hours and maintain your high work ethic - this is just as important, as universities (particularly high achieving ones) increasingly want to see that you can maintain a work-life balance.

Applying to Oxford for Biology? Here’s What You Should Also Do

To craft a standout personal statement for Oxford Biological Sciences specifically, it can be helpful to gear your personal statement to specific qualities and details that the university values. Here are some tips to enhance your Biology personal statement with an application for Oxford in mind:

1. Demonstrate Academic Rigour:

Highlight your passion for biology through academic achievements, relevant coursework, and independent research.

Discuss specific topics or scientific concepts that have captivated your interest and showcase your understanding of advanced material. You could have a look through the 1st year Oxford Biology modules and see if anything you have explored links to material you may cover at the university.

2. Emphasise Independent Thinking:

Discuss instances where you've independently pursued scientific inquiry or engaged in co-curricular activities related to biology.

Oxford values students who can think critically and contribute to discussions, so emphasise your ability to approach problems independently.

3. Reflect on Your Reading:

As detailed above, mention books, articles, or research papers that have influenced your understanding of biology. However, don’t just list them - make sure you give your independent analysis and opinion on everything you have included in your personal statement.

Oxford is known for its tutorial system, and demonstrating that you've engaged with challenging material beyond the standard curriculum can set you apart.

4. Discuss Your Practical Skills:

Describe any laboratory work, experiments, or field studies you've been involved in.

Showcasing hands-on experience is crucial, as it aligns with Oxford's emphasis on practical learning.

5. Showcase Interdisciplinary Interests:

Oxford appreciates interdisciplinary approaches. If your interest in biology connects with other disciplines, explain how and why.

Mention any relevant projects or coursework that spans multiple scientific domains.

6. Make It Personal and Reflective:

Share personal anecdotes or experiences that sparked your interest in biology.

Reflect on how your unique background or experiences contribute to your perspective as a future biologist.

7. Highlight Critical Thinking and Problem-Solving:

Illustrate instances where you've had to think critically, solve problems, or overcome challenges.

Oxford seeks students who can navigate complex issues and contribute meaningfully to academic discussions.

8. Address Your Motivation for Oxford:

Clearly articulate why you want to study biology at Oxford specifically, without mentioning the university explicitly as the personal statement also needs to be relevant to your other university choices.

Discuss the aspects of the Oxford programme (again, without mentioning the university explicitly) that appeal to you and how it aligns with your long-term goals.

9. Prepare for Interview Discussion:

Anticipate questions that might arise from your personal statement and be ready to discuss your ideas in-depth.

Consider how your experiences and perspectives can contribute to academic discussions at Oxford.

A standout personal statement for Oxford is not just a list of achievements but a narrative that demonstrates intellectual curiosity, a passion for biology, and the potential to thrive in Oxford's academic environment. View the personal statement as a springboard for engaging discussions during interviews!

Biological Science Personal Statement Example

Siddhartha Mukherjee's "The Gene: An Intimate History" ignited a profound curiosity in the intricate tapestry of genetic inheritance and molecular mechanisms. Mukherjee's narrative skilfully brought to life the historical context and societal impact of genetics, serving as a catalyst that fuelled my exploration into the foundational works of molecular biology. Inspired by Mukherjee's narrative, I expanded my exploration of genetics through literature, delving into Carl Zimmer's "She Has Her Mother's Laugh." This broadened my perspective on the broader implications of genetic inheritance, touching on topics from heredity and evolution to the societal impact of genetic discoveries. Zimmer's adept blend of scientific rigour and accessible storytelling not only deepened my understanding of genetics but also prompted me to critically analyse the ethical implications of manipulating genetic information, shaping my conviction to approach the rapidly advancing field of genetics with a thoughtful consideration of its societal ramifications. In delving into Watson and Crick's seminal paper on the structure of DNA, I also found myself captivated by the meticulous unravelling of the double helix. This exploration propelled me beyond textbook learning into an understanding of the molecular foundations that govern life. This foundational knowledge took on practical significance as I engaged in a genetic engineering project that utilised CRISPR-Cas9 technology to manipulate bacterial DNA. . This hands-on experience not only solidified my laboratory skills but also deepened my appreciation for the practical implications of gene editing, fueling my commitment to ethical scientific practices. I learn about the delicate balance between scientific innovation and responsible ethical practices, shaping my perspective on the potential impacts of cutting-edge technologies in the biological sciences. This awareness was further honed during a summer school class dedicated to the revolutionary CRISPR technology. Here, I explored the nuances of gene editing's potential applications, ethical implications, and the ongoing discourse in the scientific community. This exploration sparked a particular interest in the potential application of CRISPR technology for targeted gene therapy, a revolutionary avenue with transformative implications for treating genetic disorders at the molecular level. This newfound fascination with gene therapy, particularly in the context of CRISPR technology, has propelled my desire to contribute to the evolving landscape of biomedical research and therapeutic interventions, further solidifying my commitment to exploring the intersection of cutting-edge science and ethical considerations. My interest in biology extended beyond the microscopic realm into the intricate interplay of species within ecological systems. I recently watched an online lecture on ecosystem dynamics and biodiversity, which delved into the relationships that shape ecosystems. This exploration found resonance in a podcast episode titled "Ecology in Action," where real-world ecological projects illuminated the practical applications of ecological principles I had studied. I am particularly interested in the study of symbiotic relationships in ecosystems, exploring how mutualistic interactions between species contribute to the resilience and sustainability of ecological communities—a concept that I find particularly fascinating for its broader implications in conservation biology and ecosystem management. Each aspect of my exploration into the world of biology has added a layer to my understanding, creating a solid foundation for further academic pursuits and a future dedicated to advancing the frontiers of biological knowledge.

Looking for a Personal Statement Tutor or Support For Your Wider Biology or Biological Natural Sciences Application?

Biology personal statement support.


U2’s Oxbridge-educated mentors have a close insight into what admissions tutors like to see in a Biology personal statement, and can help students to convey their skills, motivations, and long term goals, in order to stand out from other applicants. The statement should be the candidates own work, but our mentors will provide direction and guide you through the process of content building and writing. We offer offline drafting as well as tuition sessions.

Oxbridge Biology Tuition

We offer Oxbridge Mentoring for students looking for support throughout the application process (book a free consultation to discuss options). We have a large team of Oxford Biology and Cambridge Biological Natural Sciences tutors including 1st Class, Master’s and PhD level graduates.

The Process:

1) We suggest an Oxbridge-educated Biology tutor and send their full CV for review. Our mentors are deeply familiar with the admissions process to study Biology at Oxford and Cambridge Biological Natural Sciences, and are well-placed to guide you through Biology personal statement curation and the interview process. We may suggest a range of application tutors to choose from with slightly differing rates depending on qualifications and level of experience.

2) We typically suggest beginning with a 1.5 hour diagnostic session , where the tutor will informally assess the student’s current performance level for application. Following this, we issue a report with feedback, and structure a plan to best prepare.

3) U2’s approach for regular Biology application sessions: The main focus of tutorial sessions will be to explore material that can be discussed in the personal statement and at interview - this may sometimes stretch from A-Level standard to First Year Undergraduate. Mentors ensure each student refines their interests within Biology, and is exposed to a range of key concepts and topics.

Frequency of sessions can be decided between student and tutor. Students can take either ad hoc sessions, or we structure a full programme for preparation, which may include further co-curricular opportunities such as our research projects , Biology Summer School and Oxbridge mock interview days . Honing the skills necessary to succeed for Oxbridge ideally requires long-term preparation and mentoring presents a wonderful opportunity to learn from some of the very best Oxbridge has produced.

Sessions from £75/h + VAT.

Your Ultimate Guide to the Oxbridge Admissions Process

How to write a biomedical science personal statement.


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26 October 2023

5 minutes read

Biology Personal Statement Examples: Crafting a Winning UCAS Application


Dirghayu Kaushik


Are you a prospective undergraduate student with a passion for biology, looking to create a compelling personal statement for your UCAS application? Crafting a biology personal statement that stands out is crucial in securing a spot at your desired university.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll provide you with biology personal statement examples and valuable advice to help you succeed in your application process.

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  • What is a Personal Statement?

Defining the Personal Statement

A personal statement is a crucial component of your UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service) application, giving you the opportunity to showcase your passion, skills, and suitability for your chosen course. It’s your chance to make a lasting impression on admissions tutors.

The Importance of the Personal Statement

Admissions tutors receive numerous applications, making the personal statement a vital tool for differentiating yourself from other candidates. It allows you to provide insights into your character, motivation, and suitability for the biology program you aspire to join.

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  • Biology Personal Statement Examples

Example 1: Expressing Passion

“Ever since I attended a biology field course in primary school, my love for biology has always captivated me. I am always intrigued by the microscopic world, from unraveling the secrets of DNA transcription to exploring the intricate processes of photosynthesis.”

In this example, the candidate expresses their lifelong fascination with biology, dating back to their primary school years. Their enthusiasm for delving into microscopic phenomena highlights their passion for the subject.

Example 2: Highlighting Relevant Experience

“Through volunteering and work experience, I’ve developed my ability to work as part of a team. My time management and leadership skills were honed while studying biomedical science, and I’m excited to apply them to my degree in biology.”

This example emphasizes the candidate’s practical experience and transferable skills gained through volunteering and work experience. It showcases their readiness to excel in a biology program.

Example 3: Going Beyond the Syllabus

“My A-level studies have fueled my thirst for knowledge. While the syllabus is essential, I’ve always been keen to explore topics beyond it, such as medical microbiology, viruses, and bacteria. I want to pursue exactly cutting-edge research in my undergraduate studies.”

In this example, the applicant demonstrates their academic curiosity and ambition by highlighting their willingness to explore topics beyond the standard curriculum. Their desire to engage in cutting-edge research aligns with the university’s emphasis on innovation.

Example 4: Showcasing Academic Dedication

“My dedication to biology and chemistry is evident in my essay writing and analytical skills. I’ve enjoyed studying biochemical components of life and analyzing complex biological processes.”

This example showcases the candidate’s academic commitment and analytical abilities, providing evidence of their preparedness for rigorous academic coursework in biology.

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  • Additional Considerations for Your Biology Personal Statement

The Role of Extracurricular Activities

Your extracurricular activities can play a significant role in strengthening your personal statement. While not every hobby or activity needs to be mentioned, those that demonstrate your commitment, leadership, or skills relevant to biology can be highlighted.

Consider discussing participation in biology-related clubs or societies, science competitions, or relevant volunteer work. These experiences can illustrate your dedication to the field and provide evidence of your suitability for a biology program.

Demonstrating a Holistic Interest in Biology

Admissions tutors appreciate candidates who display a holistic interest in biology. This means going beyond the classroom and textbooks to explore the subject independently. Mention books, documentaries, online courses, or conferences that have expanded your understanding of biology.

Discuss any personal projects, experiments, or research you’ve conducted outside of your academic curriculum. Highlight how these experiences have deepened your knowledge and passion for the subject.

Preparing for UCAS Applications

Understanding ucas.

Before diving into your personal statement, it’s essential to have a solid grasp of the UCAS application process. Familiarize yourself with UCAS deadlines, course codes, and entry requirements for your chosen biology programs. Research the universities you plan to apply to thoroughly, considering their course structures, facilities, and faculty expertise.

Tailoring Your Statement to Each University

While your personal statement serves as a general document, it’s advisable to tailor it slightly for each university you apply to. Highlight specific aspects of each program that align with your interests and goals. Mention any unique research opportunities or facilities that attract you to that particular institution.

Seek Guidance from Teachers and Advisors

Don’t underestimate the value of input from teachers, school advisors, or mentors. They can provide valuable insights into crafting a strong personal statement and may be familiar with successful strategies that have worked for past students.


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  • The UCAS Application Process

Filling Out Your UCAS Application

The UCAS application itself requires careful attention. Ensure that you complete all sections accurately and honestly. This includes entering your academic qualifications, personal details, and course choices correctly. Any errors or inaccuracies could jeopardize your application.

Personal Statement Length and Structure

The UCAS personal statement has a character limit of 4,000 characters or 47 lines of text. This constraint necessitates concise and focused writing. To create a well-structured statement, consider the following format:

  • Introduction: Begin with a compelling opening that grabs the reader’s attention. Introduce yourself and your passion for biology.
  • Body: Discuss your academic journey, relevant experiences, extracurricular activities, and why you’re a suitable candidate for the program.
  • Conclusion: Summarize your key points, reiterate your enthusiasm for biology, and explain why you’re excited to study it at the university of your choice.
  • Top Universities for Biology

University of Oxford

Renowned for its academic excellence, the University of Oxford offers various biology-related programs, including Biological Sciences, Biochemistry, and Experimental Psychology. The university’s cutting-edge research facilities and distinguished faculty make it a top choice for aspiring biologists.

University of Cambridge

The University of Cambridge is another prestigious institution with a strong emphasis on biological sciences. Students can pursue degrees in Natural Sciences with a specialization in biology, providing a comprehensive foundation in the field.

Imperial College London

Imperial College London offers a wide range of biology-related programs, including Biotechnology, Biology, and Biomedical Sciences. Its central location in London provides students with access to numerous research opportunities and industry connections.

University of California, Berkeley

For those considering international options, the University of California, Berkeley, is renowned for its biology programs. With a strong focus on research and innovation, it’s an attractive destination for students interested in the biological sciences.

  • Crafting Your Unique Biology Personal Statement

Tailoring Your Statement to Your Interests

Your personal statement should reflect your specific interests within biology. Whether it’s molecular biology, ecology, genetics, or any other subfield, make it clear why you’re passionate about that particular aspect of biology.

Conveying Your Long-Term Goals

Admissions tutors are interested in understanding your long-term aspirations. Discuss how a degree in biology will help you achieve your career goals, whether it’s conducting groundbreaking research, contributing to environmental conservation, or advancing healthcare.

Demonstrating Personal Growth

Reflect on your personal growth and development through your academic journey and experiences. Explain how challenges you’ve faced have strengthened your determination and ability to overcome obstacles.

Incorporating a Unique Narrative

Craft a narrative within your personal statement that engages the reader. Share anecdotes or personal stories that highlight your journey and connect with your passion for biology.

The Importance of Research

Show that you’ve researched the university and program you’re applying to. Mention specific courses, professors, or research projects that align with your interests. This demonstrates your genuine interest in the institution.

In conclusion, crafting a biology personal statement is a critical step in securing a spot at your desired university. By following the advice and examples provided in this guide, you can create a compelling and memorable personal statement that sets you apart from other applicants.

Remember to start early, seek feedback, and tailor your statement to each university’s unique offerings. With dedication and careful preparation, you can increase your chances of pursuing your passion for biology at a top university. Good luck with your UCAS application!

What should I include in my biology personal statement?

You should include your passion for biology, relevant experiences, academic dedication, and any unique qualities that make you a strong candidate.

How long should my personal statement be?

UCAS recommends a maximum of 4,000 characters or 47 lines of text, so keep it concise and focused.

Can I use biology personal statement examples as templates?

You can use them as inspiration, but make sure your statement is unique and reflects your personal experiences and goals.

Should I mention my extracurricular activities in my personal statement?

If they are relevant to biology or demonstrate skills that would benefit your studies, include them.

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Table of Contents

  • • What is a Personal Statement?
  • • Biology Personal Statement Examples
  • • Additional Considerations for Your Biology Personal Statement
  • • The UCAS Application Process
  • • Top Universities for Biology
  • • Crafting Your Unique Biology Personal Statement
  • • Conclusion

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Graduate Application Process

Writing a strong personal statement.

  • You should begin a draft of your personal statement the summer before you are applying to graduate school.
  • Finalize your draft in September and have your faculty advisor and other close faculty read your essay.
  • Spend the rest of September and some of October revising your essay and writing different versions tailored to each school.
  • Make your essay sincere but unique by mentioning how you found your own research opportunity, or published a paper when you were an undergraduate, or used a really awesome new technology that inspired you to continue doing research.
  • Your most important research projects in brief.  Explain the question(s) you addressed and what you accomplished.  Don’t be afraid to mention that your project didn’t work.  Graduate schools understand the trials and tribulations of research and above all respect honesty.
  • Your goals in graduate school and after you receive your doctorate.
  • Why you became interested in science and why you want to follow a research career in the immediate future.
  • Any professors that you are interested in working with, why you find their research interesting, and possibly a future project based on their current works.
  • Explain any discrepancies in your GRE scores, transcript, or disciplinary record.  If you have anything that really stands out, give a simple explanation for what happened.

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  • Avoid excessive detail on your personal background or research as well as flowery and verbose writing.  You have limited space; complicated vocabulary or sentence structure will detract from the important points of your statement and won’t impress anyone.
  • If you are interested in getting a job in industry after you get your Ph.D., it is not wise to blatantly state that in your essay.  Graduate programs want a significant number of their students to become faculty, so it is safer to mention that you are interested in continuing research post graduate school.
  • Don’t write anything that indicates you aren’t sure about graduate school.  If a school knows that you are highly qualified, but feels that you are just applying to have options after college, not because you truly want to attend their program, they will be disinclined to offer you admission. 
  • The length of your statement depends on what is specified in each application.  Thus you cannot get away with writing one personal statement and use it for every application.  Typically schools ask you to write a personal statement that is 1000-2000 characters long.
  • Make sure to carefully proof read your personal statement.  Typos or grammar mistakes make your essay seem sloppy and easily turn off your reader.  Have friends, faculty, or parents proof read your essay for typos. 
  • Look online for sample essays to view examples of strong personal statements.
  • Taylor your essay to each program.  You can include the core of your original essay for each school, but add an additional paragraph or two detailing why you want to attend that specific school, why you would thrive there, what professors you are interested in, etc. 
  • Most applications have one or two supplemental essays.  For instance, some schools ask you to explain your research in more detail, while others ask you to explain how you think you will fit into their program with respect to the students, faculty, and school community.

In this section:

When should I start writing?

What should I include?

What not to include?

How long should it be?

Supplemental essays

Application Process Links:

Choosing Programs

Application Content

Sample Checklist/Deadline Spreadsheets

Personal Statement


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  • How To Write Your Postgraduate Personal Statement

Postgraduate study

  • What are the differences between an undergraduate and postgraduate personal statement?
  • Why study postgraduate?
  • Modes of study

What's on this page?

What is a personal statement, preparing to write your personal statement, opening your personal statement, work experience and future plans, ending your personal statement.

Your postgraduate personal statement is your chance to get noticed for your expertise and experience you’ve gathered. It’s an important part of the application process as it allows you to talk about yourself and your passions and prove the value you can bring to your chosen university.

In this article, we’re going to talk you through how to write a postgraduate personal statement that stands out and gives you the best chance of being offered a place on the master’s programme you’re applying for. 

Shona Barrie – Director of Admissions, University of Stirling

You’ll have already written a personal statement for your undergraduate study, so you’ll know the importance of preparation. There are two things to think about when you’re planning:

  • The practical and factual information you need to get across.
  • Then, the more emotional, human parts of you that make you different to everyone else. 

Before you start writing, take some time to think about the key things you’d want your chosen university to know about you, and get them down on paper.

Questions to focus your mind

  • Why have you chosen this master’s programme?
  • Why are you passionate about this subject matter? 
  • How has your undergraduate study influenced your decision to apply?
  • Have you got any work experience that might help you?
  • What life experiences have you had that you could talk about?
  • What achievements can you talk about to support your application?
  • Why do you want to study at this particular university?
  • What plans and ambitions do you have for your future career?

masters personal statement biology

Three top tips

Be specific.

Remember that a postgraduate personal statement needs you to talk specifically about the university you’ve chosen.

Demonstrate experience

Universities will be looking for postgraduate students who are able to demonstrate expertise in a particular subject – so include that.

Show what you've learnt

Tell the university about your university life as an undergraduate and include any clubs or societies you were involved in.

Admissions tutors will be reading a lot of personal statements so it’s important to grab their attention right from the start. 

You can find a full guide on How to start a personal statement: The attention grabber but here are the main things for you to think about. 

  • Don’t overthink the opening . Just start by showing your enthusiasm for the subject, showcasing your knowledge and understanding, and sharing your ambitions of what you want to achieve.
  • Avoid cliches . Remember, this opening part is simply about introducing yourself, so let the admissions tutor reading your personal statement get to know you. 
  • Keep it relevant and simple . You’re limited on how much you can include so avoid long-winded explanations. Why use 50 words when ten can make your point?

Talking about the course

Now you’re ready to start talking about the course and subject you’re applying for.

There are four main areas you’ll need to cover in this section of your personal statement. 

  • Why are you applying for this master’s?  Think about your undergraduate study and how this master’s will develop your expertise further. Do you have career aspirations this course will help you achieve?
  • Why does the subject interest you? This is your chance to show your passion and really demonstrate who you are. If you have work or volunteering experiences related to the subject, include them here.
  • Why do you think you’ll be an asset to the university?  Your personal and practical skills combined together create a unique picture of who you are and why you’ll be a successful postgraduate student, so include both. 
  • How does your previous undergraduate study relate to the course? Showcase your enthusiasm for your current study and take the opportunity to demonstrate your skills and knowledge now, and how you want to build on that. 

Next, you’ll need to write about your personal skills and achievements.

Universities like to know the abilities you have that’ll help you on the course, or generally with life at university. Don’t forget to include evidence to back up why you’re so passionate about the programme you’ve chosen.

Your personal skills and achievements

Be bold and talk about the achievements you’re proud of., include positions of responsibility you hold, or have held, both in and out of school., what are the things that make you interesting, special, or unique .

Your work experience and future plans are important to include in your personal statement. You should share details of jobs, placements, work experience, or voluntary work, particularly if it's relevant to your course. 

  • Try to link any experience to skills or qualities that’ll make you successful on your course.
  • If you know what you’d like to do after as a career, explain how you plan to use the knowledge and experience you’ll gain.

It’s always good to connect the beginning of your statement to the end and a great way to reinforce what you said at the start. You want to see the ending as your chance to end in a way that’ll make the university remember you. 

This final part of your personal statement should emphasise the great points you’ve already made and answer the question of why you should be offered a place on the course. 

Read our full guide on How to finish your statement the right way .

Aakriti Labra – MSc Occupational and Organisational Psychology, University of Surrey

Now you’ve written your postgraduate personal statement, you’ll need to do a couple of final things before you submit it. 

  • Have you proofread your personal statement? Don’t just rely on spellcheckers. We’d recommend reading it out loud as that’s a great way to spot any errors as well as checking it sounds like you. 
  • Have you asked for feedback? Ask friends, family or your undergraduate university tutors to have a read through your personal statement and take their feedback on board.
  • Check out our personal statement dos and don'ts Have a look at the common pitfalls against your final draft to make sure you haven't made any obvious errors!


More advice.

Use the UCAS’ personal statement tool alongside this guide to help you structure your ideas.

Do you want to understand the differences between an undergraduate and postgraduate personal statement? Take a look at our guide here.

Why study a postgraduate course? Find out here.  

What funding is there for postgraduate courses?  

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Graduate Writing Center: Writing the Personal Statement

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Presenter: Jackie Davis, World Arts & Cultures, Graduate Writing ConsultantAndrew Malmuth, Sociology, Graduate Writing ConsultantThis workshop will cover strategies for writing personal statements for fellowship applications, residencies, and PhD programs. Among other topics, we will discuss organization, introductions and conclusions, and use of examples. Students from all schools and departments are welcome to attend.

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TicketMaster hack sees personal data of 560M for sale [U: Snowflake statement]

Avatar for Ben Lovejoy

Update: After reports that cloud storage provider Snowflake may have been compromised, the company said there is no evidence of this . Reading between the lines, the attack may have been made via Snowflake, but it appears to have been TicketMaster credentials that were compromised.

A TicketMaster hack has been confirmed by the company in an SEC security filing, stating that personal data of its users has been offered for sale on the dark web. The agency has not confirmed the scale of what appears to have been a massive breach …

The company’s filing is very light on details.

On May 20, 2024, Live Nation Entertainment, Inc. (the “Company” or “we”) identified unauthorized activity within a third-party cloud database environment containing Company data (primarily from its Ticketmaster L.L.C. subsidiary) and launched an investigation with industry-leading forensic investigators to understand what happened. On May 27, 2024, a criminal threat actor offered what it alleged to be Company user data for sale via the dark web. We are working to mitigate risk to our users and the Company, and have notified and are cooperating with law enforcement. As appropriate, we are also notifying regulatory authorities and users with respect to unauthorized access to personal information.

Companies are legally required to report data breaches to the SEC within four days .

HackRead (via Engadget ) says that the hackers claim to have obtained the personal data of 560 million users.

The notorious hacker group ShinyHunters has claimed to have breached the security of Ticketmaster-Live Nation, compromising the personal data of a whopping 560 million users. This massive 1.3 terabytes of data, is now being offered for sale on Breach Forums for a one-time sale for $500,000. ShinyHunters has allegedly accessed a treasure trove of sensitive user information, including full names, addresses, email addresses, phone numbers, ticket sales and event details, order information, and partial payment card data. Specifically, the compromised payment data includes customer names, the last four digits of card numbers, expiration dates, and even customer fraud details.

If confirmed, this would put TicketMaster users at risk of identity theft and convincing phishing attacks, where real personal data is used to convince victims that the email is genuine.

It appears that ShinyHunters are trying to ransom the data to TicketMaster, but they say the company hasn’t responded to its contact attempts.

May really wasn’t a good month for TicketMaster: It’s the same month the Department of Justice sued the company for alleged monopolistic behavior in the live concert industry.

The hackers should demand $500,000 *plus* service and order processing fees. https://t.co/plQqKRJOO2 — ᴺᴼᵀ Jony Ive (@JonyIveParody) June 2, 2024

Photo by  Roger Harris  on  Unsplash

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How to Write a Statement of Purpose for an MBA

Your personal statement is an opportunity to formally introduce yourself to an MBA admissions committee. Here's how to make your personality shine.

[Featured image] A student sits at a table in his living room working on his MBA statement of purpose on a tabled and pen and paper.

Your Master of Business Administration (MBA) application should tell the story of who you are as a student and professional teammate. Some materials, such as your GPA and GMAT or GRE score , are intended as data points that demonstrate gained knowledge. Other, more creative components can illuminate your personality and illustrate how you move within the business world. The MBA statement of purpose (SOP), also called a personal statement, serves the latter purpose.

In this article, we’ll offer tips on writing an effective MBA statement of purpose and provide an example that may help enhance your business school application.

What is an MBA statement of purpose?

An MBA statement of purpose is an academic essay included as part of the graduate application package. Often guided by broad prompts as determined by each school you’re applying to, these open-ended essays are your opportunity to directly tell the admissions committee why you want to join their program, how you’ll contribute to your cohort, and what you hope to gain from the experience of getting your MBA.

How to write an MBA statement of purpose

With your SOP, you are in complete control of your narrative. This is your chance to tell the aspects of your story that you think the admissions committee needs to know in order to make their most informed decision about your potential admissions offer.

This opportunity comes with a strong element of creative freedom. The only parameters you’re tied to are the ones set by the admissions committee in their essay prompts. Beyond the questions themselves, these often include total word or character count, and sometimes they include formatting preferences, such as double spacing.

How to plan your SOP

SOP prompts tend to be somewhat vague. You can react to questions like, “What matters most to you?” (from Stanford Graduate School of Business) and, “Tell us your story,” (from University of Illinois Gies College of Business) in a lot of different ways. Begin with what you know: the word count limit and the prompt.

Use the word limit to guide the way you tell your story. Some schools will separate prompts into a series of shorter responses, while others will expect one longer narrative. A maximum of 350 words will be a quicker version, whereas a maximum of 1,000 words will offer you space for more in-depth telling.

Next, turn to the prompt itself. Think about what’s at the heart of the question, and let that sink in. Pay attention to your initial reactions: your immediate answer, jogged memories, or any notable emotions that surface. 

Continue brainstorming around those initial reactions by asking yourself questions like:

Why did these reactions surface?

What values are behind them?

When have I incorporated those values into my career?

How does my goal of attending business school align with and enhance my expression of those values?

Specifically, how does this MBA program offer the further opportunity to pursue those values?

When you’re ready, begin writing your story at whatever point feels natural to you given the parameters. As long as your story follows a sensible flow and reaches your goal destination, there’s no right or wrong place to start. Remember: this is your narrative.

Tips for writing a successful MBA statement of purpose

As you write your SOP, here are a few things to keep in mind that can help your writing stand out:

Clearly state your goals: Openly communicate your short-term and long-term goals in earning your MBA. Clear statements around this crucial element of your SOP can help you avoid any potential confusion.

Express your interest: Be forthcoming about your interest in this particular MBA program. Show that you’ve researched their offerings and call out the aspects you are most excited about, and how those aspects align with your goals.

Demonstrate mutual fit: The institution plays a huge role in shaping the MBA experience, however it wouldn’t be complete without a student body. Show what you, and you alone, will bring to your MBA community.

Detail your action plan: How will you make your goals a reality? Use details from your past triumphs to show how you can be successful in the future.

Determining your strengths

Everyone has strengths. If you need help figuring out what yours are, the following questions may help:

What’s something you’ve done that you are proud of, and how did you do it? This question can help you narrow in on the skills you already possess and how you implement them in ways that align with your values.

What do people frequently ask you for? Whether it’s logical, emotional, or physical, this question may reveal the types of problems you’re often prepared to solve.

How do your friends, family, and colleagues describe you? Sometimes the quickest way to identify your positive attributes is to ask the people you trust. They may reveal an aspect of your personality that you wouldn’t have thought to highlight.

What are admissions officers looking for in an SOP?

Admissions officers use the SOP as a chance to learn about each prospective student from their own perspective. Some ways you can help them get to know you include:

Providing concrete examples: Rather than tell the admissions officer who you are, show them. If you are a problem solver, explain a difficult problem you solved; if you are compassionate, discuss a time your compassion led to a success.

Being honest: It can feel a little uncomfortable to tap into your vulnerability as you write, however your openness can have a huge impact on the reader. Honesty can help build connection and demonstrate self-confidence, and it can give you an opportunity to show how you’ve turned a perceived negative into an actionable positive.

Highlighting impact: Take your credentials one step further by expressing their potential impact. Staying impact-focused can be particularly useful for applicants with less traditional backgrounds. How is your unique background actually an asset?

Being concise: Say what you need to say—and nothing more. Admissions officers don’t always have time to savor prose. Often, they’ll appreciate a concise essay with proper grammar and an easy flow.

Writing tip: Read out loud

As you begin the editing process, reading your essay out loud may help you determine whether you are writing in a natural tone of voice and if the essay really sounds like you . It can also help you notice areas that might need additional clarification and catch typos that you may have missed during skimming. For added assurance, follow up your independent editing process by asking a trusted friend or advisor to review your SOP.

MBA statement of purpose example analysis

Reading examples of successful MBA SOPs can help you understand how to implement the above tips. However, keep in mind that you are telling your story, and so your final essay should look different from the samples you read.

US News & World Report published two examples of successful personal statements from accepted applicants to Temple University Fox School of Business and Yale School of Management. Read the full essays here .

What the Fox applicant does well: This applicant shares their unique path toward an MBA by recognizing that it’s atypical. Ultimately, they turn the narrative around by detailing how their background will be an asset to their career goals, and how Fox’s MBA program can help them succeed. This applicant remained open and honest about who they are, where they came from, and where they’re going.

What the Yale applicant does well: This applicant shows their proven ability to work toward their goals. They corroborate their vision of success with specific facts and details, and incorporate key business skills in their narrative, such as fundraising, long-term planning, and strategic thinking. This applicant expresses their values through their actions, while still maintaining an informative and authoritative tone.

Getting your MBA degree

Before you can start your MBA application process, you’ll need to narrow down the programs that meet your needs. Work on your degree from anywhere with an internet connection with the iMBA from University of Illinois Gies College of Business . If you’re looking for flexible learning at a breakthrough price, this could be one option for you.

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