How to Write a Personal Statement to Get Into a University


In your personal statement for an application to a college or university, you must briefly outline your qualifications, experiences and goals. Keep in mind that the personal statement is also a writing sample and you must make sure that you produce an error-free, compelling piece. This is your initial introduction to the institute of higher learning of your choice, so write a statement that commands the attention of the admissions officers.

Things You'll Need

  • Transcript
  • List of honors and awards
  • List of employment
  • Make sure you know something about the college or university and that you are aware of exactly what is being asked by reading the question a few times. Prepare your materials before you begin to write. Keep your transcript and the college application in front of you along with a list of points you would like to make in the personal statement. Be sure to also include employment skills relevant to your major, any honors or scholarships you may have had, leadership positions you held such as editor of the high school newspaper and club memberships you have had over the years.

  • Craft your personal statement, so that it is unique and memorable. Start with an attention-grabbing opener in your introduction such as a personal anecdote that explains why you decided on that particular college or university. Let your voice shine through, so that you let the reader know who you are. Remember, college admissions officers read hundreds of applications. Make yours stand out.

  • Mention the name of the university and the program you wish to pursue in the introduction. It is acceptable, and even preferable, to use the first person (I) in your statement. After all, this is your personal statement. However, be careful to avoid overuse of the pronoun.

  • Write organized, detailed supporting paragraphs that detail your compatibility with the university and the program to which you are applying. Outline your personal qualifications and list your long-term goals and how becoming a member of the school community will help you to achieve them. Show that you are an active, interesting person who intends to contribute to the student body. Paragraphs should have focus with a topic sentence and relevant details that support your qualifications.

  • Reiterate your interest in the university in your conclusion and tie the major points of your personal statement together in the conclusion. Show the admissions officer how attendance at this university will help you reach your long-term goals.

  • Remember that you must edit your first and subsequent drafts until you are satisfied that you have said all that you intended to say, your personal statement is error-free and compelling, and you have sufficiently answered the question.

Tips & Warnings

  • Keep the personal statement brief and concise while including all the necessary details telling why you qualify for acceptance to the university. Limit your statement to 500 words or one typed page.
  • Outline your personal statement before you begin to write.
  • Be sure to focus each paragraph on one idea with supporting details. For example, one paragraph might talk about your academic excellence and another about your extracurricular activities.
  • Spend time on your word choice to add punch to your style and make your statements more precise.


  • Photo Credit student image by Ivanna Buldakova from
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