My Personal Statement & Me – What is a Personal Statement & How do I get Started?

Essay WritingWriting a personal statement is an integral part of the business school application process; however, many applicants are not exactly sure as to what a personal statement is (or should be) or how to get started on their personal statement. A personal statement is a lot of things, but perhaps we should start with what a personal statement is not…

What a Personal Statement is NOT!

It might be easier to define what your personal statement should be in terms of what it should NOT be. A personal statement is NOT a generic application essay; it is an opportunity to showcase your talents as a writer and sell yourself to whatever institution or scholarship you are applying for. A personal statement is NOT an essay-format version of your resume; it is more than a simple enumeration of past accomplishments. A personal statement is NOT self-congratulatory, it is ambitious and enterprising; you should NOT talk about what you have accomplished so much as what you intend to accomplish.

Okay, okay. So, what is a Personal Statement?

A personal statement is a statement of purpose; think of it as your mission statement. It is an adroit articulation of dreams, goals, and plans. It is your personality, personal history, and everything else that makes you who you are, presented in an easy-to-read and readily relatable package.

Your personal statement is what, all else being equal, separates you from every other candidate or applicant.

How do I Start?

Like most things, a good personal statement requires a moderate amount of preparation. Before you start writing, it will be necessary for you to spend some time contemplating, ruminating, meditating, and otherwise brainstorming. Consider these questions:

  • What have you accomplished or been through that is undeniably noteworthy?
  • Do you have any personal experiences that have made you a better person?
  • Do you have any demonstrable skills that simply make you better than your competition?
  • What are the most compelling personality traits you possess?
  • What are your goals, and what steps have you taken towards accomplishing them?

This type of information will form the backbone of your personal statement; however, it is important to note that you must present this information in a way that incorporates it within the larger logical conclusion that attending this school, winning this scholarship, or getting this job is the perfect next step for both you and institution.

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