Your Guide to Personal Statement Format

Your Guide to Personal Statement Format

What you need to know about personal statement format

If you do not know the kind of personal statement format to follow or what it entails, there are a couple of things you need to know. First, the purpose of the personal statement is to describe who you are and what makes you unique or stand out from others. It is supposed to serve as your advocate to get you an interview.

Secondly, while writing a personal statement, sticking to the right format can make a huge difference in determining whether you get picked from the thousands of other people interested in the same spot as you.

Ideally, requirements for personal statements vary but generally, it should include certain information and follow the format below:


Most of the personal statement start with catchy openings. This is for the purpose of capturing the attention of the reader and been able to connect with them so they can understand why you are interested in the position you have applied for. You should mention the specific name of company or program and the position or degree you seek in your first paragraph as seen here.

Supporting Paragraphs

All your subsequent paragraphs are supposed to address specific questions that are related to the application and which might be related to your qualifications, strengths of the position/program you are interested in as well as your long-term goals.

Each paragraph must be focused and it should have topic sentences that inform the reader of the emphasis in the paragraph. However, you need to remember that examples from your personal experience should be relevant and they are supposed to support any arguments you made regarding your qualifications.


Work on tying together various issues that arose in the process of writing your essay. Reiterate your interests in the specific position or program. Towards your closing paragraph, you can mention why the position is a major contributor towards accomplishment of your long term goals.

Step by step guide to personal statement format

Now that you already have a general idea of the personal statement format, it is important to look at some of the things that will help you get it right:

Step 1

  • State what is unique, special , impressive of distinct about your life
  • When did you show interest in your selected field of study?
  • What career goals do you have?
  • Does your academic record have any discrepancies or gaps? Explain them
  • What are some of the unusual obstacles you have overcome?
  • What compelling reasons can you share with the admission committee to spark their interest in you?

Step 2

Review your answers and see whether there is any repeated positive theme. If you do not find any, ask someone you trust to go through your answers and provide any suggestions they might have. Bear in mind that the personal statement format you use will be that of a story and as such, you need not only to catch the attention of the reader but also maintain it.

Step 3

  • Be on the lookout for spelling errors as well as poor English use.
  • Avoid starting your personal statement with the sentence, “I’ve always wanted to be a…”
  • When providing dates for activities, make sure that they are not all brand new as they are cause for raising a red flag.
  • Do not dwell on past excuses or deep personal problems of your past performance. Majority of students make this mistake. Your personal statement should not only be upbeat but convincing and persuasive as well.
  • Avoid writing a personal statement that is too long as it shows lack of discipline.

It is important to ensure the admissions committee has a sense of who you are, what makes you unique from other applicants and why they should settle on you. Consider the personal statement here.

Step 4

While you might get the personal statement format to use, there are instances when the content included in the statement can be damaging. In this case, you should avoid making inclusions of high school accomplishment references or other subjects that might raise controversy.

It is important that you come across as someone who is honest hence, you should bear that in mind while writing your statement. Also, remember that what you say, the manner in which you say it and the writing are of great concern. If there was a question asked by your department or school as part of the requirements for your personal statement answer the same and stick to the word limits.

Step 5

Before submitting your statement, ask someone to read it then ask them the questions listed below:

  • Was their attention captured by your opening paragraph?
  • Did they find your statement interesting?
  • Did they find the statement to be well/properly written?
  • Was the statement positive, upbeat?
  • Does the statement sound like you?
  • Do they consider the statement a forthright and honest presentation of who you are?
  • Did you answer pressing questions in your statement?
  • Can they think of something that you might have omitted inadvertently?
  • Is there any material in the statement that they find inappropriate?
  • By reading the statement, did they get insights into who you are?
  • Were there any errors or typos in the statement?
  • Do they think the statement will, in any way distinguish you from other applicants?
  • Do they think of your application as a logical one?

By following these basic steps, you should be able to write a statement that adheres to the desired personal statement format and increase your chances of getting the position you applied for. It is very important that you stick to the basics at all times.

The personal statement found here is an ideal example of one that sticks to the guidelines mentioned above. Review it before you start writing your own statement.

The importance of following a personal statement format

Majority of students begin writing away without giving much thought to what they are writing. However, if you want to impress your readers, you have to plan and follow a format that is suitable for the position you are applying for.

A personal statement format is important because:

  • It keeps you focused on the subject at hand
  • Ensures that you do not deviate from your subject
  • Increases your chances of keeping your statement short, sweet and simple
  • Reduces chances of leaving out important information
  • Boosts your confidence

Always make sure that you review all the options you have before you start writing your statement. Remember that you are supposed to portray qualities such as positivism, clarity of thought, passion, integrity and honesty, leadership, insightful, individuality and commitment in your essay. The secret is to understand your target audience and tailor your personal statement format to match what they are looking for.

There are certain things you need to avoid as well while writing your statement and these include the following:

  • Clichés- These will not win you any awards and should be avoided at all costs. Clichés include statement such as, “I want to become a doctor because I love helping people”
  • Do not turn your statement into a narrative-You are not supposed to rehash your achievements and activities while writing your personal statement. It is advisable to pick one or two distinguishing and significant experiences then elaborate on them.
  • Avoid negativity-There is no one who likes someone who is always complaining. Therefore, do not show any sort of negativity towards your research mentors or professors as this would reflect poorly on you.
  • Avoid stating that you are special. While this might be true, it makes you come across as someone who is arrogant and untrue.

Stick to your personal statement format

Once you decide on the personal statement format to follow, it is important to stick to it to the end. This will ensure you do not end up repeating yourself or omitting information that is important. What is more, it will also increase your chances of keeping the statement at the desired length.

Therefore, identify a format, ensure that it is in line with the statement you are writing and stick to it. By doing this, you should be able to deliver an impressive statement that will capture the attention of your readers. More importantly, it will get rid of the stress that accompanies the task of writing a personal statement.


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