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Personal Statements & Essays

Introduce Yourself

Show the world who you are.

Who are you? A personal statement is your chance to stand out from the crowd and explain why you are a good fit for the program and the field of study.  

Personal Statement Guide (PDF)

Writing a professional letter

Tips for Personal Statements & Essays

  • Think about what sets you apart from other applicants and make your statement distinctive.
  • Demonstrate your written communication skills, motivation, energy level, creativity, commitment and depth of response.
  • Provide specific examples as appropriate.
  • Tailor your statement to each school; highlight key points.
  • The first-person pronoun "I" is acceptable because your experiences are the focus of the essay, but be sure you’re not starting every sentence with it.
  • Personal statements may be limited to 250-500 words or one typed page, so include detail, but be concise.
  • Avoid unnecessary duplication from other application materials like your transcript or application form.
  • Invite critiques by faculty and staff members in Career Planning.

Personal Statement Format


Catch the reader’s attention by making a strong opening, using a personal example. Be sure that this will connect with the content of your personal statement. Mention the specific name of the program and the degree you are seeking.

Detailed Supporting Paragraphs

Subsequent paragraphs should address any specific questions from the application which might target strengths of the program, your own qualifications, your compatibility with the program, as well as your long-term goals or a combination thereof. Use specific examples and make certain that they are relevant and support your stated qualifications, skills and/or experience.


Connect the various areas that you have discussed in the statement and reiterate your interest in this specific program. You might also mention how this degree is a step towards your long-term goal.

Revising Your Personal Statement

Due to the importance placed on personal statements, it’s important you allow yourself enough time to thoroughly write and revise your statement. Not only will you want to critique your statement for content (Do I answer the questions that are asked?) but also to examine for spelling and grammar (Is the writing clear? Are the mechanics and punctuation correct?). You may need to read and revise your statement several times. Additionally, it is wise to have others read and provide input about your statement.

Get a consultation

get a second opinion

Want feedback about your personal statement or essay?

You can schedule an appointment with your career advisor in Navigate, or by calling 920-465-2163. To allow our staff time to effectively critique your statement, please email it to us at least 2 full business days before your appointment. We also ask that you email a copy of the questions or guidelines that the program has provided for candidates.

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Have Questions?

You may have questions about applying to grad school. Don't hesitate to ask us.

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