Personal statement

Applicants in the 2020 cycle must attend the November 4 personal statement workshop.

Register here

Your personal statement is a critical component of your primary application. It is the one area where you are fully in control of the content and message. While specific personal statement prompts vary by profession, all are designed to elicit responses that will help professional schools determine your motivations and fit for pursuing your chosen career. Most applicants will write one personal statement that will be sent to all of the professional schools to which they apply. School-specific essays may be written for secondary applications

The personal statement is an excellent opportunity to:

  • Tell “your story”
  • Explain your motivations to enter your intended career
  • Provide insight into you and your personality
  • Discuss what distinguishes you from other applicants
  • Expand on what you mentioned elsewhere
  • Offer context for anything unusual in your application: a weak semester, a break in your academic trajectory, etc.
  • Demonstrate your proficiency with written English

Personal statement do's and don't's

In your personal statement, DO:

  • Answer the question
  • Tell a compelling story
  • Grab your reader’s attention
  • Show, don’t tell
  • Avoid inconsistencies or errors
  • Write, review, revise, refine
  • Make it memorable
  • Remain professional

And DO NOT:

  • Bore your reader
  • Get too personal
  • Write about someone else
  • Recite your resume
  • Exaggerate or generalize
  • Use the phrases: I am passionate, I am compassionate, I want to help people

Tips for getting started

  1. Consider your message: What are the top 2-3 things that professional schools should understand about you after reading your personal statement?
  2. Reflect upon experiences you have had—personal, work, volunteer, research, etc.—and when you are deciding whether or not to write about them in your essay, consider the following questions: Why did I do it? What did I get out of it? What did I give to it? What did I learn, and how do I understand myself better now? Writing about what an experience means to you is powerful. Simply describing an experience usually is not.
  3. Draft an essay that weaves a few experiences together into a well-structured story.
  4. Solicit feedback from people you trust.