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Master of Social Work Personal Statement Example

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If you’re applying to your Master of Social Work, you probably know that the personal statement is one of the most important documents in your application. It’s also usually the most daunting.

Most people don’t know how to write a personal statement that stands out. As a result, applicants struggle to show admissions committees their unique skills, strengths, and experience.

In this article we will be reviewing best practices and a social work personal statement example. You can also get a copy of the MSW Personal Statement Template to help you brainstorm for your personal statement.

What Schools of Social Work are looking for

The vast majority of schools of social work are looking for you to talk about the following in your personal statement:

Your personal experiences (from your life, professional experiences, schooling etc).

A discussion of a social problem and how social workers can work towards solving it.

Your motivation or goals for becoming a social worker

Schools may also often ask about things like ethics, alignment with the school, values, conflict, and how you intend to manage the demands of the program, but almost every school asks the above two questions, so this is a great place to start.

Create cohesion in the personal statement

Create cohesion in the personal statement

One way to really stand out in your personal statement is to create cohesion between your experiences and the social justice issue you discuss. This gives the admissions committee the impression that you're driven by your mission to become a social worker and contribute to the field in a meaningful way.

MSW personal statement example

Discussing personal experiences.

Schools often ask applicants to talk about their personal and professional experiences in the personal statement.

What you need to do is think about the insights you gained from your experiences. Many applicants make the mistake of regurgitating their roles and responsibilities from their resume, but admissions committees are looking for you to take it deeper in your personal statement.

Example: “As a South Asian woman, my depression and anxiety went on a lot longer than it should have because the stigma and shame I experienced from my family and the inability to find a therapist who understood my culture prevented me from getting the help I needed.”

In this example, instead of just talking about the fact that she has personal experience with depression and anxiety, she was able to draw insights about challenges faced by people in her culture.

Example: “As a volunteer at a community centre, I noticed that the clients who used our services did not match the demographic in the community as a whole. This led me to believe that certain groups faced barriers to accessing services because of stigma and a lack of culturally relevant services.”

Whether you are talking about personal or professional experiences be sure to connect your experience to the “big picture.” When thinking about your experiences, what is really going on at the micro, mezzo, and macro level?

The social justice issue:

How to talk about the social justice issue in the personal statement

Once you’ve uncovered insights, you can talk about a social justice issue related to your experience and goals.

Example: “The research shows that people from South Asian cultures are more receptive to social workers from the same background who understand their needs, yet, there is a lack of South Asian social workers to meet this need.”

Using research in your personal statement shows the admissions committee that there is a need for social workers in your area of interest, and that you have the critical thinking skills they are looking for as an academic.

Keep in mind that the personal statement is not meant to be a research paper. 1-2 points to back up your insights is perfect when writing a personal statement. I also recommend citing your paper properly with APA Formatting (or whatever formatting style you are used to).

Your goals as a social worker:

Finally, you should connect your experience and social justice issue with your goals as a social worker.

Example: “My goal is to become a clinical social worker who specializes in working with people from South Asian cultures, and to use my lived experience to connect with clients and fill this gap.”

When you create cohesion between your experiences by discussing your insights, and using those insights to inform your social justice issue and goals as a social worker, you’ll create a compelling personal statement, and you’ll make it a no-brainer to admissions committees that you’ll make a meaningful contribution to the field of social work.

Why it’s important to create cohesion in your personal statement

The importance of creating cohesion in the personal statement

When Master of Social Work applicants answer the personal statement prompts in a random and unplanned manner, it gives the reader the impression that the applicant doesn’t have strong reasoning behind why they want to pursue a Master of Social Work.

For example , don’t talk about children's mental health if your goal is to become a hospice social worker.

Master of Social Work Template

If you are applying to your Master of Social Work grab a copy of the Master of Social Work Personal Statement Template. This easy to fill template was designed to help you identify your insights, potential social justice issues, and your goals in a cohesive way.

MSW personal statement template and example

Click here to get the personal statement template.

Designed to help you brainstorm your experiences and insights, develop your social justice issue and goals as a social worker in minutes!

Happy writing!

sample personal statement for graduate school social work

Michelle Bruxer is the Founder & CEO of MSW Helper, and a Registered Social Worker in Ontario.

MSW Helper is a resource hub designed to help future social workers get accepted to their dream MSW programs. Through our personal statement editing services and free resources, we’re here to help you write your MSW personal statement with confidence.

MSW Helper is the ONLY grad school application service designed specifically for students who are applying to social work programs. Learn more about MSW Helper here.

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Guide to Crafting a Perfect Social Work Personal Statement

As you prepare to write your social work personal statement, remember that it’s not just about your personality. The goal of this statement is to offer insight into your skills and experiences. It’s your opportunity to demonstrate how well-prepared you are. 

When crafting your social work personal statement, keep in mind several fundamental questions: What are you trying to accomplish? Who do you want to become? What is the population you want to serve, and how can you best communicate that to your audience? 

What Are Social Work Personal Statements

Your social work personal statement typically takes the form of a personal essay that describes experiences and goals that are relevant to a social work program.

Key Components of a Personal Statement 

This essay is usually part of the packet of information that you’re required to submit to an admissions department. Your social work personal statement typically includes the following information:

  • Your Past Experiences: Have you already volunteered or worked in social work fields? What experiences have prepared and inspired you? 
  • Your Educational Goals: What have you accomplished so far, and what education goals do you plan to achieve? 
  • Your Career Goals: What do you want to do with your career? What role do you want to take on in social work?
  • Your Challenges: What obstacles have you faced? 

You’ll probably include any details pertinent to your admission into the program. Be sure to include the relevant information that the committee will need to know as they review your personal statement as part of your application packet. 

Why Social Work Personal Statements Are Important

A social work personal statement is a meaningful way to differentiate yourself from the rest of the applicants. What will set you apart and make the committee remember you? 

Social work is a growing field, and the job outlook for social workers is promising. There were more than 700,000 social worker jobs in the United States in 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Jobs in the industry are projected to increase by 12% through 2030, which is faster than average. 

Who Needs To Write Social Work Personal Statements? 

You’ll probably write a social work personal statement if you’re applying for a master’s program in social work. In some cases, you might need it for a bachelor’s program as well. Of course, once you’ve spent the time to write this statement, you can repurpose it for scholarship and grant applications, cover letters, and a range of other needs in your career and future life. 

In other words, the work you do here and the time you spend will not be wasted. You can also reuse what you create here for your future applications and endeavors at work, as part of your academic career, and beyond.

Steps for Writing a Social Work Personal Statement 

Your process for writing your social work personal statement will probably be the same as what you’ll follow for any other essay or college paper. Here are the basic steps you’ll probably take as you create your social work personal statement.

Assess the Audience

Think about who you’re writing for, what they are looking for, and what specific details you should include. You’re probably writing for a committee but think about their academic background. Work to fulfill their expectations. 

Prepare an Outline and Conduct Research

Create an outline of the points you want to include. Fill in your points with relevant research and examples from your personal and professional experience. Don’t worry about having too much research or too many points in your outline. You can always cut it down later. 

Write a Draft

Start writing based on your outline, filling in additional details as you go along. Don’t get too tied to making it perfect at this point. Make sure you’ve covered all the guidelines for the social work personal statement. Is it on-topic and relevant to the topic and course of study? 

You should have multiple revisions of your social work personal statement as you add further details to what you’re saying and how you’re saying it. Let the essay sit for a few days if you have time. You’ll see areas of confusion, but you’ll also be more open to changing the work if you’ve given it time to sit and stew. 

As part of the revision process, make sure to read your social work personal statement out loud. Run the paper through spelling and grammar checkers to make sure you haven’t made any mistakes. 

Reach out to friends and professors who might be willing to help you in the review process. You’re not alone on this path, and you can gain great insight when you ask for input from others. 

Social Work Personal Statement Examples

You’ll find quite a few examples of social work personal statements online, but they’re not all high-quality examples. Most of the best examples are available from universities or social work organizations. Here are a few you can use to get your mental gears turning.

  • Studential – Social Work Personal Statement Examples
  • Social Work Haven – Examples of Social Work Personal Statement  
  • Acrosophy – Social Work Personal Statement Examples

While these examples can offer great inspiration and ideas, be sure that your final essay is completely original. If you copy and paste any of these examples, you run the risk of setting off red flags for plagiarism, which typically results in the rejection of your application. 

Where To Find Prompts for Social Work Personal Statements 

You may be surprised by how many places you can find prompts for social work personal statements online. Even as you follow those guidelines, be sure that you read your essay. It should reflect who you are and what you want from social work. Here are just a few prompts: 

  • MSW Personal Statement Prompt
  • My Perfect Words – Personal Statement Prompts
  • The University of Buffalo – Application Essay Guidelines
  • Shepherd University – Personal Statement Writing Prompts

These prompts can offer great insight as you write your social work personal statement, but make sure you keep the precise guidelines for the program you’re applying for. It’s easy to get caught up in unrelated topics and directions that have nothing to do with what they have asked you to write about. 

Tips for Crafting the Perfect Social Work Personal Statement 

When you’re writing your social work personal statement, you need to maintain a laser focus on what you’re writing and how your succinct work will further back up your other materials. Here are a few other tips you should rely on when you’re writing the perfect social work personal statement. 

Stay Focused

Don’t get distracted by other topics or the total amount of information you can include. Focus on making sure you highlight why everything in your personal and professional life has brought you to this point, where you’re ready to commit to social work. 

Your writing process might be slightly different, but don’t forget the importance of planning and researching for your essay. Then write everything you think to include. Remember that your pre-writing phase is not the final copy.

Proofread 

Make sure you have enough time in this process to let your social work personal statement sit for at least a few days before you proofread it. You need to have a fresh approach to your writing, so you won’t be so attached to what you wrote before. 

You’re not doing this alone, even though it might feel like it sometimes. There are lots of other people who are willing and able to help you if you just ask. If you’re taking a college class, you could reach out to the professor for input or even visit the school’s Writing Center. 

Additional Resources 

Your social work personal statement may be one of the most important documents you create in your career. The good news is that you’re not alone in your effort to craft your social work personal statement and move forward with your education and career. Here are a few additional resources that will help you along the way: 

  • Social Work Advocates magazine
  • Social Work Journal
  • Choices: Careers in Social Work
  • Encyclopedia of Social Work Online
  • Social Work Career Development: A Handbook for Job Hunting and Career Planning

As you immerse yourself in these resources, you can and should use what you learn as jumping-off points for future growth and development in your field. Keep track of the areas of study and research that interest you the most.

Be aware of those instances where you feel inspired and passionate. Tap into those areas of interest when you write your social work personal statement. Help the reading committee to understand why you care so much about social work and how you want to make a difference. 

SocialWorker.com

Graduate School Admissions: Writing an Effective Personal Statement

By: David C. Prichard, Ph.D.

This article focuses on the central role that the personal statement plays in the MSW application process. Strategies are presented for writing an effective statement that will highlight and emphasize applicant strengths congruent with the values of particular Schools of Social Work. The author has chaired the MSW Admissions Committee at the University of New England (UNE) over the past three years, and has assisted in the review of several hundred MSW application packages. During this period, the application procedures were completely revamped, and UNE was subsequently acknowledged in 1995 by the Council on Social Work Education in its Site Visit Report for reaffirmation of accreditation as having developed an admissions process that is "one of the more elaborate, perhaps, in social work education," and for using " . . . as primary sources of decisions, its applicants' personal statements and references." It is from this background that the author offers practical insights and suggestions for writing a personal statement that will increase the likelihood of a good match between student applicant and MSW program.

The Admission Process

Admission policies and procedures among Schools of Social Work vary widely; so too, do the criteria used to evaluate MSW applicants. In general, schools use GRE scores and academic transcripts as quantitative measures to predict academic success. The personal statement, letters of reference, and the application form (including employment and other social work-related experience) are qualitative indicators that may be used to suggest the "fit" between the applicant and the particular school. As the validity of GRE scores comes under increasing criticism (Donahoe & Thyer, 1992), Schools of Social Work, like UNE, are increasingly relying on the personal statement as a qualitative measure of the likelihood of an applicant's "success" with a particular MSW curriculum.

UNE may be representative of a more heavy emphasis on narrative to evaluate MSW applicants. In this approach, two faculty review each student application on the following 6 criteria:

  • work-related (paid and volunteer) and life experiences;
  • meaning attached by applicant to work-related (paid and volunteer) and life experiences;
  • previous academic and professional training;
  • composition and content of personal statement;
  • references, and;
  • experience with and understanding of human dignity, empowerment, social justice, and oppression.

GRE scores are not considered, and the use of undergraduate GPAs is minimized. The faculty reviewers are made familiar in advance with the application materials, particularly regarding where data related to each of the six evaluative criteria may be located within the materials. Reviewers are instructed to consult the student's personal statement for data in all categories but references; the data in all categories are in turn measured against the School's mission statement. Given this approach to evaluating MSW applications, applicants should craft their personal statements carefully, keeping the School's mission statement in mind.

The Personal Statement and the School Mission Statement

The personal statement should reflect careful consideration of the schools to which the applicant has chosen to apply. It gives applicants the opportunity to highlight experiences and reasons for their interest in the field, and allows the school's Admissions Committee to evaluate the compatibility between the values and goals of the applicant and those of the school, while maintaining and assuring diversity within the student body. Without question, well-developed personal statements have contributed to the acceptance of many applicants; poorly written ones to the non-acceptance.

The values and goals of Schools of Social Work vary greatly, and applicants should seek schools whose mission statements fit well with their own values and goals for practice. What are the values and principles that form the foundation of the school? Applicants should reflect upon these carefully. What do they mean? If a school emphasizes the concepts of oppression, social justice, empowerment, dignity, compassion, and respect, what do these mean and how has the life of the applicant been affected in these areas? One of the tasks of the applicant is to tap into her internalized experience of these values to allow the richness of her life to come alive.

The purpose of a well-written personal statement is three-fold. First, it should describe how the applicant's interest in social work developed; second, it needs to consider the applicant's perception of personal strengths and areas in need of development in relation to becoming a professional social worker; and third, it should describe an understanding of the school's mission statement in relation to the applicant's experience and vision of professional social work.

What events in her total life experiences have led the applicant to the field of social work? What is her story, and how did it lead her to apply to this specific school? This is the opportunity to show the link between what may appear on the surface to be disparate life experiences. It is the chance for the applicant to narrate her story and come alive to the faculty reviewer and become a living, thinking, feeling human being with a life full of meaningful experiences.

A Case Example

Using the values of the mission of the UNE School of Social Work, let's examine how an applicant might incorporate the values of the School to carefully craft a summary paragraph in a personal statement. The mission statement of the UNE School of Social Work states, in part, a commitment ". . . to the values of human dignity, individual and cultural diversity, individual and collective self-determination, and social justice . . . to struggle against oppression including all forms of discrimination, social and economic injustice, and violence . . . assessment of social, psychological, economic and organizational oppression, (and) their impact on people's lives, and the strengths people have developed to endure, resist, and change . . . and to promote human relationships grounded in mutuality, compassion, and dignity."

An applicant might present her life and professional experiences using the language and terminology consistent with the values of the stated mission of the School. A paragraph in the personal statement, then, might read as follows:

The values that the School presents in its mission statement are not just words for me. As a lesbian, I have lived the oppression of a society grounded in heterosexist patriarchy, and have experienced firsthand the social and economic injustices suffered by my women and lesbians friends, as well as the working poor. A quiet person by nature, I have discovered a voice that I did not know I had. I have added my voice to those seeking equal rights for same sex partners and continue my struggle to receive health care benefits for my partner of 15 years. I have come to recognize and value the strengths and resiliencies I have developed by necessity to survive the neglect and abuse of my childhood and use these in my ongoing struggle against the discrimination and societal injustices that I experience as a woman and as a lesbian.

Notice how this excerpt from a fictional applicant allows the applicant to come alive to the reader in a passionate, enthusiastic manner while clearly using the language and the values presented in the mission statement of the School. It should be clear that the values of the School and those of the student appear compatible and that there might be a good match here.

In the following fictional excerpt, note the apparent incongruence between the values and goals of the applicant and those of the School, suggesting a poor fit between the School and applicant.

In conclusion, I have always been intrigued by psychological issues, and have actually done quite a lot of reading in the field. I feel that I am an excellent communicator and that I would be able to help clients deal with their problems. My ultimate goal is to become part of a group private practice, and although I am concerned about the current insurance problems and third party reimbursement concerns, I believe that there continues to be a need for MSWs to help people with their psychological and social problems. I believe that the MSW is the most powerful degree to have to provide psychotherapy to clients, and that we will become increasingly recognized by HMOs and managed care companies as the most effective providers. This is the degree that will most aptly enable me, as a psychotherapist in private practice, to help those afflicted with mental illness to become more productive members of society.

Either of these excerpts may be acceptable and, perhaps, even appropriate, depending on the School to which the applicant is applying; however, given the summary of the values of the above School, the first excerpt clearly represents a better fit than the second. In the first we experience a strengths-based perspective and a genuine sense of the struggles and of the "voice" of the applicant-the person behind the words; in the second, we see a more traditional pathology-based perspective and an emphasis on the career ambitions of the applicant.

Recommendations

Four general recommendations are offered to applicants. First, they need to come to a clear understanding of their own values and career goals, and how these are informed by their total life experiences. Second they should come to a clear understanding of the values and goals of the School of Social Work to which they plan to apply. This may be accomplished through faculty, field instructor, and alumni interviews, review of mission statements, review of past core curriculum syllabi, and a library search and review of the literature produced by current faculty. Third, they need to determine which Schools have values that are compatible with their own. Fourth, they need to develop personal statements that reflect the influences in their lives that contributed to an interest in the profession of social work. These statements should reflect a clear understanding of the mission statement of the particular school.

In summary, the purpose of the application process is to give the applicant and the school the chance to screen one another. Applications should be completed only after careful examination of the mission and goals of particular schools, and personal statements need to show a clear understanding of and connection to the values and goals of the school and its curriculum. Perhaps the most useful recommendation for potential applicants is to take the time to reflect on and write out the values and beliefs that guide their lives, inform their behavior, and provide meaning to their life experiences, and to seek out schools that are compatible to these. This done, the personal statement should flow naturally and genuinely, because it will be based on the knowledge, truth, wisdom, and authenticity of personal life experience.

David C. Prichard, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor of Social Work and Chair of the MSW Admissions Committee at the University of New England.

Copyright © 1996 White Hat Communications. All rights reserved. From THE NEW SOCIAL WORKER , Fall 1996, Vol. 3, No. 2. For reprints of this or other articles from THE NEW SOCIAL WORKER (or for permission to reprint), contact Linda Grobman, publisher/editor, at P.O. Box 5390, Harrisburg, PA 17110-0390, or at [email protected] .

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Application Essay Guidelines

Apply Now button image links to application website https://ubgradconnect.buffalo.edu.

Your personal statement essay is an important component of your application. The essay must include critically reflective responses to the below four (or five, if applicable) questions. 

Required Essay Questions

  • Briefly, yet critically, discuss a social issue or problem that is important to you and motivates your decision to pursue an MSW degree.
  • A key part of the UB School of Social Work’s mission is promoting social justice as one of the six core social work values outlined in the Code of Ethics. Please discuss how your lived experience has contributed to your understanding of social justice. In your response, you may include how race or other factors have impacted your life, whether through discrimination, inspiration or otherwise.
  • Tell us why you are pursuing the profession of social work at this time, and why the UB School of Social Work's MSW degree program is a good match for you.
  • What personal skills and knowledge, and/or professional and academic experiences have prepared you for a graduate level social work degree program?
  • Undergraduate GPA below 3.0; 
  • Low or failing grades (for example, D, F, U); 
  • Been on academic probation; 
  • Dismissed from, or denied readmission to any college or department major,

Please explain the issue(s) and  be specific  as to how you have addressed it and your readiness to move into graduate level study.

Formatting your Essay

  • DO NOT use a question and answer format. Write a full essay answering ALL questions above.
  • Questions may be answered in any order to fit the narrative of your essay. 
  • Your essay should be double spaced, in 12-point font. 
  • Please keep your answers to the first four questions to no more than 7 pages double-spaced.  

Question 2 is optional for spring 2024 applicants.  All current questions are required for applicants for summer and fall 2024 and beyond. 

(updated tips video coming soon)

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Shine The Right Kind of Light on MSW Applications: Tips For Crafting Your Statement Of Purpose

Shine The Right Kind of Light on MSW Applications: Tips For Crafting Your Statement Of Purpose

Most applicants are excited to apply to a Master’s of Social work (MSW) program, but dread the written portions of the application. In particular, they may be unsure of how to answer the essay questions or how to develop a statement of purpose.

Social Work Programs You Should Consider

School of Social Work (Virginia Commonwealth University)

Virginia Commonwealth University

Online master of social work.

Master’s of Social Work Admission Committees look closely at an applicant’s maturity and motivation to assess fit. Because test scores and grades are not weighed heavily in admissions decisions for these programs, who you are — and how you message yourself — may have the greatest impact on whether you get in.

A primary question often asked by MSW admissions officers is: Are you ready? Your answer to this question is best communicated through your personal statement of purpose or essay.

MSW personal statement preparation

Before writing the essays for your master’s in social work application, ask yourself:

  • What are your personal and professional goals?
  • How do you handle boundaries?
  • What are your interpersonal strengths and weaknesses?
  • Are you ready to take on social work in the service of others, knowing that it may be stressful and daunting at times?
  • Can you manage the dual stresses of fieldwork three days a week and rigorous graduate school coursework?
  • What is your personal life like? Can your current lifestyle accommodate this kind of commitment ?

Addressing these concerns, and communicating how your life experience has led you to an interest in social work, will go a long way towards convincing schools that you are ready for social work graduate school.

“I Want to Be A Social Worker!”

Do you need a degree.

There are a couple of significant practical considerations: - A Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in social work - A license to practice or required social work certification Credentials vary among careers, states, and territories. Licenses include: - Certified Social Worker (CSW) - Clinical Social Work Associate (CSWA) - Licensed Advanced Practice Social Worker (LAPSW) - Licensed Advanced Social Worker (LASW) - Licensed Baccalaureate Social Worker (LBSW) - Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) - Licensed Graduate Social Worker (LGSW) - Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW) - Licensed Mental Health Professional (LMHP) - Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW) Most of these licenses require a Master’s or Doctorate, along with additional coursework or clinical internships. ( source ) A survey of 2017 social work graduates by the National Social Work Workforce Study found that social workers with Master’s degrees and Doctorates made substantially more than those with no advanced degree. ( source ) - People with MSW degrees made $13,000-plus more than those with only BSW degrees - MSWs make more in large cities or urban clusters - People with doctorates earned $20,000 to $25,000 more than people with only MSW degrees

Explore These Related Degree Programs

Msw personal statement examples and tips.

With that in mind, here are our tips for composing a winning MSW statement of purpose for graduate social work admissions:

  • Articulate your inspiration for, and interest in social work : What life experiences, including jobs or volunteer positions, have inspired you? Share all positions you have held (if any), and their impacts on your aspirations.
  • Message that you are mature and grounded.
  • Sync up your interests and professional career goals with the school’s offerings and mission: Why do you need this degree? What will you do with it? Why at this school?
  • Share and highlight the skills you will bring to the profession. Discuss the areas in which you hope to further develop your skills.
  • Share and highlight your interpersonal strengths: What will you bring to the program?
  • Briefly discuss where you are currently positioned in your life. Address timing and the ability to handle the intense commitment.
  • Above all else, demonstrate good writing and good thinking; this shows your ability to process information intelligently and critically.
  • Have a second person read your writing and give you feedback. How we write about ourselves, and how we self-assess, can be very revealing. Make sure that you are in control of your message.

Tell Your Story

Ultimately, a successful application tells a powerful (and truthful) story about the qualities and experiences an applicant is bringing to the field of social work. Good stories have strong beginnings: Start your story with an interesting or compelling introduction. Try to avoid trite or predictable opening phrases such as

“I always dreamed of being a social worker.”

You might begin by describing an experience of helping others, or a moment when you had an impact and discovered that this was your calling. Perhaps you were involved in social activism as an undergraduate and hope to shake up the world. Articulate your desire to professionalize your passion with a degree.

A relatable anecdote is a great essay-starter, and a smart way to introduce yourself. Such glimpses also provide transitions to other themes you may want to touch upon as an applicant. As you weave in the remainder of your storyline, try to demonstrate some awareness of challenging social issues. Let admissions committees know that you are informed and culturally sensitive.

Questions or feedback? Email [email protected]

About the Author

Ms. Nedda Gilbert is a seasoned clinical social worker, author, and educational consultant with 25 years of experience helping college-bound and graduate students find their ideal schools. She is a prolific author, including The Princeton Review Guide to the Best Business Schools and Essays that Made a Difference. Ms. Gilbert has been a guest writer for Forbes and a sought-after keynote speaker on college admissions. Previously, she played a crucial role at the Princeton Review Test Preparation Company and was Chairman of the Board of Graduate Philadelphia. Ms. Gilbert holds degrees from the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University and is a certified interdisciplinary collaborative family law professional in New Jersey.

About the Editor

Tom Meltzer spent over 20 years writing and teaching for The Princeton Review, where he was lead author of the company's popular guide to colleges, before joining Noodle.

To learn more about our editorial standards, you can click here .

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Masters in social work personal statement

If you'd like to become a social worker but didn't study the subject at undergraduate level then a Masters degree is essential for entry into the profession. You'll need to write a personal statement that coveys your commitment and passion to social work

Writing a personal statement for a vocational postgraduate course, like the MSc or Postgraduate Diploma in social work requires a slightly different approach from what you might be used to when applying for academic courses, as you're not only applying for a course, but to train for a particular profession.

You will be expected to:

  • discuss your motivations to train as a social worker
  • reflect on your experiences to demonstrate that you have a realistic insight into the role of a social worker and how they work to support people
  • provide evidence that you have, or are developing relevant skills and qualities for the role
  • show that you have the academic suitability to undertake a postgraduate level course.

For many social work courses it is a requirement to have undertaken relevant work experience in a social work or social care setting. You can see in the example statement, rather than describing the experience and tasks undertaken, you will need to reflect on how your experience has shaped your motivation to train as a social worker and what you have learned about the role. You will also need to provide specific examples of how you have demonstrated the skills, qualities and professional values of a social worker.

This example should be used for guidance only. Copying any of this text could significantly harm your chances of securing a place on a course.

Masters in social work personal statement example

I gained my first insight into social work while studying a 'Social work perspectives' module during the first year of my degree in health and social care. Learning about the ethics that underpin social work practice challenged my assumptions about the role social workers play, demonstrating the importance of the role for empowering vulnerable people and coordinating support to overcome challenges to health, safety and wellbeing.

I was able to observe this in practice during my placement at a supported living service for young people with learning disabilities. Social workers were integral to enabling the young people to safely transition to independent living, advocating for them to secure appropriate accommodation, coordinating access to disability services and providing support to develop independent living skills and money management. Without this advocacy, many of the young people may never have had the opportunity to live independently.

I have recently started a placement working with a local mental health charity, spent a year volunteering with Citizens Advice and am currently volunteering with the Prison Advice and Care Trust (PACT). Through these experiences I have observed the challenges faced by different groups of people, many of which can be alleviated or managed through empowerment of individuals and access to the right support. Becoming a social worker would enable me to work with diverse groups and support them to overcome these challenges and live more successfully within our society.

Through my experience, I have responded to individuals with empathy and respect and have demonstrated that I can uphold the values and ethical principles of the social work profession, while resiliently managing the challenges of working under pressure and supporting those who may not always be receptive to me. As a volunteer adviser at Citizens Advice I was often the first point of contact for individuals facing stressful and time-pressured problems, such as eviction or debt. I responded calmly and focused on the issues at hand, taking a non-judgemental approach to the individual's circumstances by clearly explaining why I was asking particular questions and how this would enable me to direct them to the appropriate support. At PACT, I facilitate family play sessions with prisoners and their children. I have taken the time to build rapport with the individual and their families; focusing on the person's identity as a parent and ways I can support them to feel they have a positive societal role. As a social worker it is important to treat people holistically while promoting dignity and wellbeing, these examples show my potential to respond in a positive, impartial way regardless of people's circumstances.

Many of my interactions at the mental health charity are with individuals in challenging circumstances, who are reluctant to seek help from external services due to poor past experiences. Many of my interactions have been with people who are angry, frustrated or suspicious. I take the time to listen to their concerns, provide reassurance and identify an initial starting point. When faced with particularly challenging or complex cases I do not hesitate to seek advice from colleagues or request a referral, always involving the individual in this process. These experiences have enabled me to recognise the importance of multi-disciplinary teams to meet complex and multi-faceted needs. These interactions have better prepared me to work with people who may present in a challenging way due to their circumstances and have helped me to develop the resilience to manage those interactions professionally and calmly.

My degree has prepared me for both the academic study and practice elements of the MSc in Social work. The interdisciplinary nature of my degree has introduced me to approaches from sociology, philosophy, health, policy and psychology, which provide a strong foundation to build upon in the social work course. In safeguarding modules I was introduced to the legal and policy frameworks underpinning practice when analysing a number of recent serious case reviews. This developed my ability to analyse complex situations where the application of law and policy is not always straightforward. Undertaking practice placements will enable me to further develop and apply this knowledge to real scenarios, building my confidence in making effective, evidence-informed decisions.

My dissertation project evaluated the impact of a local mental health charity's peer support programme, enabling me to develop a strong understanding of the ethics of participant research. I developed the methodology, completed the literature review and carried out primary research. This has prepared me with the core academic skills to evaluate research and develop evidence informed approaches during the Masters course.

Undertaking placements and volunteering alongside my degree has seen me organise my time effectively, consistently meeting coursework deadlines and completing work to a standard that has put me on track to achieve a 2:1, while receiving positive feedback from placements on my reliability. This demonstrates my ability to successfully balance academic work alongside the demands of practice placements during the Masters.

My work experience has motivated me to pursue a social work career in mental health, advocating for those who may not be in a position to advocate for themselves. The course will equip me with tools and approaches for working with service users in a range of circumstances, from those in crisis to those who need practical support to manage their condition in the community. I particularly look forward to professional placements where I can apply my learning while supported by experienced practitioners to navigate this complex area of social work. The MSc in Social work will build upon the knowledge and skills gained through my degree and experience, equipping me to undertake this challenging and demanding role.

Find out more

  • Search for postgraduate courses in social work .
  • Take a look at the social worker job profile.
  • Discover more about social work courses .
  • Learn more about personal statements for postgraduate applications .
  • Read up on the BASWs Code of Ethics for Social Workers .

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  • Knowledge Base
  • Applying to graduate school
  • How to Write Your Personal Statement | Strategies & Examples

How to Write Your Personal Statement | Strategies & Examples

Published on February 12, 2019 by Shona McCombes . Revised on July 3, 2023.

A personal statement is a short essay of around 500–1,000 words, in which you tell a compelling story about who you are, what drives you, and why you’re applying.

To write a successful personal statement for a graduate school application , don’t just summarize your experience; instead, craft a focused narrative in your own voice. Aim to demonstrate three things:

  • Your personality: what are your interests, values, and motivations?
  • Your talents: what can you bring to the program?
  • Your goals: what do you hope the program will do for you?

This article guides you through some winning strategies to build a strong, well-structured personal statement for a master’s or PhD application. You can download the full examples below.

Urban Planning Psychology History

Table of contents

Getting started with your personal statement, the introduction: start with an attention-grabbing opening, the main body: craft your narrative, the conclusion: look ahead, revising, editing, and proofreading your personal statement, frequently asked questions, other interesting articles.

Before you start writing, the first step is to understand exactly what’s expected of you. If the application gives you a question or prompt for your personal statement, the most important thing is to respond to it directly.

For example, you might be asked to focus on the development of your personal identity; challenges you have faced in your life; or your career motivations. This will shape your focus and emphasis—but you still need to find your own unique approach to answering it.

There’s no universal template for a personal statement; it’s your chance to be creative and let your own voice shine through. But there are strategies you can use to build a compelling, well-structured story.

The first paragraph of your personal statement should set the tone and lead smoothly into the story you want to tell.

Strategy 1: Open with a concrete scene

An effective way to catch the reader’s attention is to set up a scene that illustrates something about your character and interests. If you’re stuck, try thinking about:

  • A personal experience that changed your perspective
  • A story from your family’s history
  • A memorable teacher or learning experience
  • An unusual or unexpected encounter

To write an effective scene, try to go beyond straightforward description; start with an intriguing sentence that pulls the reader in, and give concrete details to create a convincing atmosphere.

Strategy 2: Open with your motivations

To emphasize your enthusiasm and commitment, you can start by explaining your interest in the subject you want to study or the career path you want to follow.

Just stating that it interests you isn’t enough: first, you need to figure out why you’re interested in this field:

  • Is it a longstanding passion or a recent discovery?
  • Does it come naturally or have you had to work hard at it?
  • How does it fit into the rest of your life?
  • What do you think it contributes to society?

Tips for the introduction

  • Don’t start on a cliche: avoid phrases like “Ever since I was a child…” or “For as long as I can remember…”
  • Do save the introduction for last. If you’re struggling to come up with a strong opening, leave it aside, and note down any interesting ideas that occur to you as you write the rest of the personal statement.

Once you’ve set up the main themes of your personal statement, you’ll delve into more detail about your experiences and motivations.

To structure the body of your personal statement, there are various strategies you can use.

Strategy 1: Describe your development over time

One of the simplest strategies is to give a chronological overview of key experiences that have led you to apply for graduate school.

  • What first sparked your interest in the field?
  • Which classes, assignments, classmates, internships, or other activities helped you develop your knowledge and skills?
  • Where do you want to go next? How does this program fit into your future plans?

Don’t try to include absolutely everything you’ve done—pick out highlights that are relevant to your application. Aim to craft a compelling narrative that shows how you’ve changed and actively developed yourself.

My interest in psychology was first sparked early in my high school career. Though somewhat scientifically inclined, I found that what interested me most was not the equations we learned about in physics and chemistry, but the motivations and perceptions of my fellow students, and the subtle social dynamics that I observed inside and outside the classroom. I wanted to learn how our identities, beliefs, and behaviours are shaped through our interactions with others, so I decided to major in Social Psychology. My undergraduate studies deepened my understanding of, and fascination with, the interplay between an individual mind and its social context.During my studies, I acquired a solid foundation of knowledge about concepts like social influence and group dynamics, but I also took classes on various topics not strictly related to my major. I was particularly interested in how other fields intersect with psychology—the classes I took on media studies, biology, and literature all enhanced my understanding of psychological concepts by providing different lenses through which to look at the issues involved.

Strategy 2: Own your challenges and obstacles

If your path to graduate school hasn’t been easy or straightforward, you can turn this into a strength, and structure your personal statement as a story of overcoming obstacles.

  • Is your social, cultural or economic background underrepresented in the field? Show how your experiences will contribute a unique perspective.
  • Do you have gaps in your resume or lower-than-ideal grades? Explain the challenges you faced and how you dealt with them.

Don’t focus too heavily on negatives, but use them to highlight your positive qualities. Resilience, resourcefulness and perseverance make you a promising graduate school candidate.

Growing up working class, urban decay becomes depressingly familiar. The sight of a row of abandoned houses does not surprise me, but it continues to bother me. Since high school, I have been determined to pursue a career in urban planning. While people of my background experience the consequences of urban planning decisions first-hand, we are underrepresented in the field itself. Ironically, given my motivation, my economic background has made my studies challenging. I was fortunate enough to be awarded a scholarship for my undergraduate studies, but after graduation I took jobs in unrelated fields to help support my parents. In the three years since, I have not lost my ambition. Now I am keen to resume my studies, and I believe I can bring an invaluable perspective to the table: that of the people most impacted by the decisions of urban planners.

Strategy 3: Demonstrate your knowledge of the field

Especially if you’re applying for a PhD or another research-focused program, it’s a good idea to show your familiarity with the subject and the department. Your personal statement can focus on the area you want to specialize in and reflect on why it matters to you.

  • Reflect on the topics or themes that you’ve focused on in your studies. What draws you to them?
  • Discuss any academic achievements, influential teachers, or other highlights of your education.
  • Talk about the questions you’d like to explore in your research and why you think they’re important.

The personal statement isn’t a research proposal , so don’t go overboard on detail—but it’s a great opportunity to show your enthusiasm for the field and your capacity for original thinking.

In applying for this research program, my intention is to build on the multidisciplinary approach I have taken in my studies so far, combining knowledge from disparate fields of study to better understand psychological concepts and issues. The Media Psychology program stands out to me as the perfect environment for this kind of research, given its researchers’ openness to collaboration across diverse fields. I am impressed by the department’s innovative interdisciplinary projects that focus on the shifting landscape of media and technology, and I hope that my own work can follow a similarly trailblazing approach. More specifically, I want to develop my understanding of the intersection of psychology and media studies, and explore how media psychology theories and methods might be applied to neurodivergent minds. I am interested not only in media psychology but also in psychological disorders, and how the two interact. This is something I touched on during my undergraduate studies and that I’m excited to delve into further.

Strategy 4: Discuss your professional ambitions

Especially if you’re applying for a more professionally-oriented program (such as an MBA), it’s a good idea to focus on concrete goals and how the program will help you achieve them.

  • If your career is just getting started, show how your character is suited to the field, and explain how graduate school will help you develop your talents.
  • If you have already worked in the profession, show what you’ve achieved so far, and explain how the program will allow you to take the next step.
  • If you are planning a career change, explain what has driven this decision and how your existing experience will help you succeed.

Don’t just state the position you want to achieve. You should demonstrate that you’ve put plenty of thought into your career plans and show why you’re well-suited to this profession.

One thing that fascinated me about the field during my undergraduate studies was the sheer number of different elements whose interactions constitute a person’s experience of an urban environment. Any number of factors could transform the scene I described at the beginning: What if there were no bus route? Better community outreach in the neighborhood? Worse law enforcement? More or fewer jobs available in the area? Some of these factors are out of the hands of an urban planner, but without taking them all into consideration, the planner has an incomplete picture of their task. Through further study I hope to develop my understanding of how these disparate elements combine and interact to create the urban environment. I am interested in the social, psychological and political effects our surroundings have on our lives. My studies will allow me to work on projects directly affecting the kinds of working-class urban communities I know well. I believe I can bring my own experiences, as well as my education, to bear upon the problem of improving infrastructure and quality of life in these communities.

Tips for the main body

  • Don’t rehash your resume by trying to summarize everything you’ve done so far; the personal statement isn’t about listing your academic or professional experience, but about reflecting, evaluating, and relating it to broader themes.
  • Do make your statements into stories: Instead of saying you’re hard-working and self-motivated, write about your internship where you took the initiative to start a new project. Instead of saying you’ve always loved reading, reflect on a novel or poem that changed your perspective.

Your conclusion should bring the focus back to the program and what you hope to get out of it, whether that’s developing practical skills, exploring intellectual questions, or both.

Emphasize the fit with your specific interests, showing why this program would be the best way to achieve your aims.

Strategy 1: What do you want to know?

If you’re applying for a more academic or research-focused program, end on a note of curiosity: what do you hope to learn, and why do you think this is the best place to learn it?

If there are specific classes or faculty members that you’re excited to learn from, this is the place to express your enthusiasm.

Strategy 2: What do you want to do?

If you’re applying for a program that focuses more on professional training, your conclusion can look to your career aspirations: what role do you want to play in society, and why is this program the best choice to help you get there?

Tips for the conclusion

  • Don’t summarize what you’ve already said. You have limited space in a personal statement, so use it wisely!
  • Do think bigger than yourself: try to express how your individual aspirations relate to your local community, your academic field, or society more broadly. It’s not just about what you’ll get out of graduate school, but about what you’ll be able to give back.

You’ll be expected to do a lot of writing in graduate school, so make a good first impression: leave yourself plenty of time to revise and polish the text.

Your style doesn’t have to be as formal as other kinds of academic writing, but it should be clear, direct and coherent. Make sure that each paragraph flows smoothly from the last, using topic sentences and transitions to create clear connections between each part.

Don’t be afraid to rewrite and restructure as much as necessary. Since you have a lot of freedom in the structure of a personal statement, you can experiment and move information around to see what works best.

Finally, it’s essential to carefully proofread your personal statement and fix any language errors. Before you submit your application, consider investing in professional personal statement editing . For $150, you have the peace of mind that your personal statement is grammatically correct, strong in term of your arguments, and free of awkward mistakes.

A statement of purpose is usually more formal, focusing on your academic or professional goals. It shouldn’t include anything that isn’t directly relevant to the application.

A personal statement can often be more creative. It might tell a story that isn’t directly related to the application, but that shows something about your personality, values, and motivations.

However, both types of document have the same overall goal: to demonstrate your potential as a graduate student and s how why you’re a great match for the program.

The typical length of a personal statement for graduate school applications is between 500 and 1,000 words.

Different programs have different requirements, so always check if there’s a minimum or maximum length and stick to the guidelines. If there is no recommended word count, aim for no more than 1-2 pages.

If you’re applying to multiple graduate school programs, you should tailor your personal statement to each application.

Some applications provide a prompt or question. In this case, you might have to write a new personal statement from scratch: the most important task is to respond to what you have been asked.

If there’s no prompt or guidelines, you can re-use the same idea for your personal statement – but change the details wherever relevant, making sure to emphasize why you’re applying to this specific program.

If the application also includes other essays, such as a statement of purpose , you might have to revise your personal statement to avoid repeating the same information.

If you want to know more about college essays , academic writing , and AI tools , make sure to check out some of our other language articles with explanations, examples, and quizzes.

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sample personal statement for graduate school social work

Looking for grad school personal statement examples? Look no further! In this total guide to graduate school personal statement examples, we’ll discuss why you need a personal statement for grad school and what makes a good one. Then we’ll provide three graduate school personal statement samples from our grad school experts. After that, we’ll do a deep dive on one of our personal statement for graduate school examples. Finally, we’ll wrap up with a list of other grad school personal statements you can find online.

Why Do You Need a Personal Statement?

A personal statement is a chance for admissions committees to get to know you: your goals and passions, what you’ll bring to the program, and what you’re hoping to get out of the program.  You need to sell the admissions committee on what makes you a worthwhile applicant. The personal statement is a good chance to highlight significant things about you that don’t appear elsewhere on your application.

A personal statement is slightly different from a statement of purpose (also known as a letter of intent). A statement of purpose/letter of intent tends to be more tightly focused on your academic or professional credentials and your future research and/or professional interests.

While a personal statement also addresses your academic experiences and goals, you have more leeway to be a little more, well, personal. In a personal statement, it’s often appropriate to include information on significant life experiences or challenges that aren’t necessarily directly relevant to your field of interest.

Some programs ask for both a personal statement and a statement of purpose/letter of intent. In this case, the personal statement is likely to be much more tightly focused on your life experience and personality assets while the statement of purpose will focus in much more on your academic/research experiences and goals.

However, there’s not always a hard-and-fast demarcation between a personal statement and a statement of purpose. The two statement types should address a lot of the same themes, especially as relates to your future goals and the valuable assets you bring to the program. Some programs will ask for a personal statement but the prompt will be focused primarily on your research and professional experiences and interests. Some will ask for a statement of purpose but the prompt will be more focused on your general life experiences.

When in doubt, give the program what they are asking for in the prompt and don’t get too hung up on whether they call it a personal statement or statement of purpose. You can always call the admissions office to get more clarification on what they want you to address in your admissions essay.

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What Makes a Good Grad School Personal Statement?

A great graduate school personal statement can come in many forms and styles. However, strong grad school personal statement examples all share the same following elements:

A Clear Narrative

Above all, a good personal statement communicates clear messages about what makes you a strong applicant who is likely to have success in graduate school. So to that extent, think about a couple of key points that you want to communicate about yourself and then drill down on how you can best communicate those points. (Your key points should of course be related to what you can bring to the field and to the program specifically).

You can also decide whether to address things like setbacks or gaps in your application as part of your narrative. Have a low GPA for a couple semesters due to a health issue? Been out of a job for a while taking care of a family member? If you do decide to explain an issue like this, make sure that the overall arc is more about demonstrating positive qualities like resilience and diligence than about providing excuses.

Specific Examples

A great statement of purpose uses specific examples to illustrate its key messages. This can include anecdotes that demonstrate particular traits or even references to scholars and works that have influenced your academic trajectory to show that you are familiar and insightful about the relevant literature in your field.

Just saying “I love plants,” is pretty vague. Describing how you worked in a plant lab during undergrad and then went home and carefully cultivated your own greenhouse where you cross-bred new flower colors by hand is much more specific and vivid, which makes for better evidence.

A strong personal statement will describe why you are a good fit for the program, and why the program is a good fit for you. It’s important to identify specific things about the program that appeal to you, and how you’ll take advantage of those opportunities. It’s also a good idea to talk about specific professors you might be interested in working with. This shows that you are informed about and genuinely invested in the program.

Strong Writing

Even quantitative and science disciplines typically require some writing, so it’s important that your personal statement shows strong writing skills. Make sure that you are communicating clearly and that you don’t have any grammar and spelling errors. It’s helpful to get other people to read your statement and provide feedback. Plan on going through multiple drafts.

Another important thing here is to avoid cliches and gimmicks. Don’t deploy overused phrases and openings like “ever since I was a child.” Don’t structure your statement in a gimmicky way (i.e., writing a faux legal brief about yourself for a law school statement of purpose). The first will make your writing banal; the second is likely to make you stand out in a bad way.

Appropriate Boundaries

While you can be more personal in a personal statement than in a statement of purpose, it’s important to maintain appropriate boundaries in your writing. Don’t overshare anything too personal about relationships, bodily functions, or illegal activities. Similarly, don’t share anything that makes it seem like you may be out of control, unstable, or an otherwise risky investment. The personal statement is not a confessional booth. If you share inappropriately, you may seem like you have bad judgment, which is a huge red flag to admissions committees.

You should also be careful with how you deploy humor and jokes. Your statement doesn’t have to be totally joyless and serious, but bear in mind that the person reading the statement may not have the same sense of humor as you do. When in doubt, err towards the side of being as inoffensive as possible.

Just as being too intimate in your statement can hurt you, it’s also important not to be overly formal or staid. You should be professional, but conversational.

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Graduate School Personal Statement Examples

Our graduate school experts have been kind enough to provide some successful grad school personal statement examples. We’ll provide three examples here, along with brief analysis of what makes each one successful.

Sample Personal Statement for Graduate School 1

PDF of Sample Personal Statement 1 – Japanese Studies

For this Japanese Studies master’s degree, the applicant had to provide a statement of purpose outlining her academic goals and experience with Japanese and a separate personal statement describing her personal relationship with Japanese Studies and what led her to pursue a master’s degree.

Here’s what’s successful about this personal statement:

  • An attention-grabbing beginning: The applicant begins with the statement that Japanese has never come easily to her and that it’s a brutal language to learn. Seeing as how this is an application for a Japanese Studies program, this is an intriguing beginning that makes the reader want to keep going.
  • A compelling narrative: From this attention-grabbing beginning, the applicant builds a well-structured and dramatic narrative tracking her engagement with the Japanese language over time. The clear turning point is her experience studying abroad, leading to a resolution in which she has clarity about her plans. Seeing as how the applicant wants to be a translator of Japanese literature, the tight narrative structure here is a great way to show her writing skills.
  • Specific examples that show important traits: The applicant clearly communicates both a deep passion for Japanese through examples of her continued engagement with Japanese and her determination and work ethic by highlighting the challenges she’s faced (and overcome) in her study of the language. This gives the impression that she is an engaged and dedicated student.

Overall, this is a very strong statement both in terms of style and content. It flows well, is memorable, and communicates that the applicant would make the most of the graduate school experience.

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Sample Personal Statement for Graduate School 2

PDF of Sample Graduate School Personal Statement 2 – Musical Composition

This personal statement for a Music Composition master’s degree discusses the factors that motivate the applicant to pursue graduate study.

Here’s what works well in this statement:

  • The applicant provides two clear reasons motivating the student to pursue graduate study: her experiences with music growing up, and her family’s musical history. She then supports those two reasons with examples and analysis.
  • The description of her ancestors’ engagement with music is very compelling and memorable. The applicant paints her own involvement with music as almost inevitable based on her family’s long history with musical pursuits.
  • The applicant gives thoughtful analysis of the advantages she has been afforded that have allowed her to study music so extensively. We get the sense that she is insightful and empathetic—qualities that would add greatly to any academic community.

This is a strong, serviceable personal statement. And in truth, given that this for a masters in music composition, other elements of the application (like work samples) are probably the most important.  However, here are two small changes I would make to improve it:

  • I would probably to split the massive second paragraph into 2-3 separate paragraphs. I might use one paragraph to orient the reader to the family’s musical history, one paragraph to discuss Giacomo and Antonio, and one paragraph to discuss how the family has influenced the applicant. As it stands, it’s a little unwieldy and the second paragraph doesn’t have a super-clear focus even though it’s all loosely related to the applicant’s family history with music.
  • I would also slightly shorten the anecdote about the applicant’s ancestors and expand more on how this family history has motivated the applicant’s interest in music. In what specific ways has her ancestors’ perseverance inspired her? Did she think about them during hard practice sessions? Is she interested in composing music in a style they might have played? More specific examples here would lend greater depth and clarity to the statement.

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Sample Personal Statement for Graduate School 3

PDF of Sample Graduate School Personal Statement 3 – Public Health

This is my successful personal statement for Columbia’s Master’s program in Public Health. We’ll do a deep dive on this statement paragraph-by-paragraph in the next section, but I’ll highlight a couple of things that work in this statement here:

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  • This statement is clearly organized. Almost every paragraph has a distinct focus and message, and when I move on to a new idea, I move on to a new paragraph with a logical transitions.
  • This statement covers a lot of ground in a pretty short space. I discuss my family history, my goals, my educational background, and my professional background. But because the paragraphs are organized and I use specific examples, it doesn’t feel too vague or scattered.
  • In addition to including information about my personal motivations, like my family, I also include some analysis about tailoring health interventions with my example of the Zande. This is a good way to show off what kinds of insights I might bring to the program based on my academic background.

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Grad School Personal Statement Example: Deep Dive

Now let’s do a deep dive, paragraph-by-paragraph, on one of these sample graduate school personal statements. We’ll use my personal statement that I used when I applied to Columbia’s public health program.

Paragraph One: For twenty-three years, my grandmother (a Veterinarian and an Epidemiologist) ran the Communicable Disease Department of a mid-sized urban public health department. The stories of Grandma Betty doggedly tracking down the named sexual partners of the infected are part of our family lore. Grandma Betty would persuade people to be tested for sexually transmitted diseases, encourage safer sexual practices, document the spread of infection and strive to contain and prevent it. Indeed, due to the large gay population in the city where she worked, Grandma Betty was at the forefront of the AIDS crises, and her analysis contributed greatly towards understanding how the disease was contracted and spread. My grandmother has always been a huge inspiration to me, and the reason why a career in public health was always on my radar.

This is an attention-grabbing opening anecdote that avoids most of the usual cliches about childhood dreams and proclivities. This story also subtly shows that I have a sense of public health history, given the significance of the AIDs crisis for public health as a field.

It’s good that I connect this family history to my own interests. However, if I were to revise this paragraph again, I might cut down on some of the detail because when it comes down to it, this story isn’t really about me. It’s important that even (sparingly used) anecdotes about other people ultimately reveal something about you in a personal statement.

Paragraph Two: Recent years have cemented that interest. In January 2012, my parents adopted my little brother Fred from China. Doctors in America subsequently diagnosed Fred with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD). My parents were told that if Fred’s condition had been discovered in China, the (very poor) orphanage in which he spent the first 8+ years of his life would have recognized his DMD as a death sentence and denied him sustenance to hasten his demise.

Here’s another compelling anecdote to help explain my interest in public health. This is an appropriately personal detail for a personal statement—it’s a serious thing about my immediate family, but it doesn’t disclose anything that the admissions committee might find concerning or inappropriate.

If I were to take another pass through this paragraph, the main thing I would change is the last phrase. “Denied him sustenance to hasten his demise” is a little flowery. “Denied him food to hasten his death” is actually more powerful because it’s clearer and more direct.

Paragraph Three: It is not right that some people have access to the best doctors and treatment while others have no medical care. I want to pursue an MPH in Sociomedical Sciences at Columbia because studying social factors in health, with a particular focus on socio-health inequities, will prepare me to address these inequities. The interdisciplinary approach of the program appeals to me greatly as I believe interdisciplinary approaches are the most effective way to develop meaningful solutions to complex problems.

In this paragraph I make a neat and clear transition from discussing what sparked my interest in public health and health equity to what I am interested in about Columbia specifically: the interdisciplinary focus of the program, and how that focus will prepare me to solve complex health problems. This paragraph also serves as a good pivot point to start discussing my academic and professional background.

Paragraph Four: My undergraduate education has prepared me well for my chosen career. Understanding the underlying structure of a group’s culture is essential to successfully communicating with the group. In studying folklore and mythology, I’ve learned how to parse the unspoken structures of folk groups, and how those structures can be used to build bridges of understanding. For example, in a culture where most illnesses are believed to be caused by witchcraft, as is the case for the Zande people of central Africa, any successful health intervention or education program would of necessity take into account their very real belief in witchcraft.

In this paragraph, I link my undergraduate education and the skills I learned there to public health. The (very brief) analysis of tailoring health interventions to the Zande is a good way to show insight and show off the competencies I would bring to the program.

Paragraph Five: I now work in the healthcare industry for one of the largest providers of health benefits in the world. In addition to reigniting my passion for data and quantitative analytics, working for this company has immersed me in the business side of healthcare, a critical component of public health.

This brief paragraph highlights my relevant work experience in the healthcare industry. It also allows me to mention my work with data and quantitative analytics, which isn’t necessarily obvious from my academic background, which was primarily based in the social sciences.

Paragraph Six: I intend to pursue a PhD in order to become an expert in how social factors affect health, particularly as related to gender and sexuality. I intend to pursue a certificate in Sexuality, Sexual Health, and Reproduction. Working together with other experts to create effective interventions across cultures and societies, I want to help transform health landscapes both in America and abroad.

This final paragraph is about my future plans and intentions. Unfortunately, it’s a little disjointed, primarily because I discuss goals of pursuing a PhD before I talk about what certificate I want to pursue within the MPH program! Switching those two sentences and discussing my certificate goals within the MPH and then mentioning my PhD plans would make a lot more sense.

I also start two sentences in a row with “I intend,” which is repetitive.

The final sentence is a little bit generic; I might tailor it to specifically discuss a gender and sexual health issue, since that is the primary area of interest I’ve identified.

This was a successful personal statement; I got into (and attended!) the program. It has strong examples, clear organization, and outlines what interests me about the program (its interdisciplinary focus) and what competencies I would bring (a background in cultural analysis and experience with the business side of healthcare). However, a few slight tweaks would elevate this statement to the next level.

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Graduate School Personal Statement Examples You Can Find Online

So you need more samples for your personal statement for graduate school? Examples are everywhere on the internet, but they aren’t all of equal quality.

Most of examples are posted as part of writing guides published online by educational institutions. We’ve rounded up some of the best ones here if you are looking for more personal statement examples for graduate school.

Penn State Personal Statement Examples for Graduate School

This selection of ten short personal statements for graduate school and fellowship programs offers an interesting mix of approaches. Some focus more on personal adversity while others focus more closely on professional work within the field.

The writing in some of these statements is a little dry, and most deploy at least a few cliches. However, these are generally strong, serviceable statements that communicate clearly why the student is interested in the field, their skills and competencies, and what about the specific program appeals to them.

Cal State Sample Graduate School Personal Statements

These are good examples of personal statements for graduate school where students deploy lots of very vivid imagery and illustrative anecdotes of life experiences. There are also helpful comments about what works in each of these essays.

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However, all of these statements are definitely pushing the boundaries of acceptable length, as all are above 1000 and one is almost 1500 words! Many programs limit you to 500 words; if you don’t have a limit, you should try to keep it to two single-spaced pages at most (which is about 1000 words).

University of Chicago Personal Statement for Graduate School Examples

These examples of successful essays to the University of Chicago law school cover a wide range of life experiences and topics. The writing in all is very vivid, and all communicate clear messages about the students’ strengths and competencies.

Note, however, that these are all essays that specifically worked for University of Chicago law school. That does not mean that they would work everywhere. In fact, one major thing to note is that many of these responses, while well-written and vivid, barely address the students’ interest in law school at all! This is something that might not work well for most graduate programs.

Wheaton College Personal Statement for Graduate School Sample 10

This successful essay for law school from a Wheaton College undergraduate does a great job tracking the student’s interest in the law in a compelling and personal way. Wheaton offers other graduate school personal statement examples, but this one offers the most persuasive case for the students’ competencies. The student accomplishes this by using clear, well-elaborated examples, showing strong and vivid writing, and highlighting positive qualities like an interest in justice and empathy without seeming grandiose or out of touch.

Wheaton College Personal Statement for Graduate School Sample 1

Based on the background information provided at the bottom of the essay, this essay was apparently successful for this applicant. However, I’ve actually included this essay because it demonstrates an extremely risky approach. While this personal statement is strikingly written and the story is very memorable, it could definitely communicate the wrong message to some admissions committees. The student’s decision not to report the drill sergeant may read incredibly poorly to some admissions committees. They may wonder if the student’s failure to report the sergeant’s violence will ultimately expose more soldiers-in-training to the same kinds of abuses. This incident perhaps reads especially poorly in light of the fact that the military has such a notable problem with violence against women being covered up and otherwise mishandled

It’s actually hard to get a complete picture of the student’s true motivations from this essay, and what we have might raise real questions about the student’s character to some admissions committees. This student took a risk and it paid off, but it could have just as easily backfired spectacularly.

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Key Takeaways: Graduate School Personal Statement Examples

In this guide, we discussed why you need a personal statement and how it differs from a statement of purpose. (It’s more personal!)

We also discussed what you’ll find in a strong sample personal statement for graduate school:

  • A clear narrative about the applicant and why they are qualified for graduate study.
  • Specific examples to support that narrative.
  • Compelling reasons why the applicant and the program are a good fit for each other.
  • Strong writing, including clear organization and error-free, cliche-free language.
  • Appropriate boundaries—sharing without over-sharing.

Then, we provided three strong graduate school personal statement examples for different fields, along with analysis. We did a deep-dive on the third statement.

Finally, we provided a list of other sample grad school personal statements online.

What’s Next?

Want more advice on writing a personal statement ? See our guide.

Writing a graduate school statement of purpose? See our statement of purpose samples  and a nine-step process for writing the best statement of purpose possible .

If you’re writing a graduate school CV or resume, see our how-to guide to writing a CV , a how-to guide to writing a resume , our list of sample resumes and CVs , resume and CV templates , and a special guide for writing resume objectives .

Need stellar graduate school recommendation letters ? See our guide.

See our 29 tips for successfully applying to graduate school .

Ready to improve your GRE score by 7 points?

sample personal statement for graduate school social work

Author: Ellen McCammon

Ellen is a public health graduate student and education expert. She has extensive experience mentoring students of all ages to reach their goals and in-depth knowledge on a variety of health topics. View all posts by Ellen McCammon

sample personal statement for graduate school social work

sample personal statement for graduate school social work

How to Write a Stand-Out Personal Statement for Your Graduate School Application

How to write a personal statement for grad school

While deciding to embark on the path to graduate school is an exciting first step toward advancing your career, the application process can sometimes feel daunting and confusing.

One major part of the application that most schools require is a personal statement. Writing a personal statement can be an arduous task: After all, most people don’t necessarily enjoy writing about themselves, let alone at length.

A compelling personal statement, however, can help bring your application to the top of the admissions pile. Below, we’ve outlined what you need to know about crafting a personal statement to make your application shine.

What Is a Personal Statement?

The point of a personal statement is for the admissions board to gain a deeper understanding of who you are apart from your education and work experience. It explains why you’re the right fit for the program and a worthwhile applicant. It’s also an opportunity to highlight important factors that may not be readily available in the rest of your application.

A personal statement is different from a statement of purpose (if you’re asked for that as well). A statement of purpose will touch on your academic and career goals, as well as your past credentials. While those should also be discussed in your personal statement, it’s more about your life experiences and how they’ve shaped you and your journey to graduate school.

Questions to Ask Yourself Before Writing a Personal Statement

Before you start crafting your essay, there are a few prompts you can ask yourself to help clarify what you want to accomplish.

  • What are the key points you want to communicate about yourself?
  • What personal characteristics or skills do you have that make you a strong candidate for this field?
  • What exactly are your career goals, and how does graduate school play into them?
  • What have you learned about this field already? When did you first choose to follow this path, and what do you enjoy about it?
  • What do you think is important for the admissions board to know specifically about you?
  • Are there any discrepancies or causes for concern in your application you need to address? For example, is there a career and schooling gap, or a low GPA at one point? This is the time to discuss whether a personal hardship may have affected your academics or career.
  • Have you dealt with any unusual obstacles or difficulties in your life? How have they affected and shaped you?
  • What sets you apart and makes you unique from other graduate school applicants?
  • What factors in your life have brought you to where you are today?

Top Tips for Writing a Graduate School Personal Statement

Pick a few points to emphasize about yourself . Introduce yourself to the admissions board. Select key factors about your background that you want the university to know — elements that reveal what kind of person you are and demonstrate why you’re a strong candidate for the school and field of study.

Be very specific . Again, a personal statement is all about communicating what distinguishes you from other applicants. To accomplish that, you need to share specific anecdotes that underscore your statements. If you say you’re a strong leader, present an example of a time you’ve proven that skill through work, school or your personal life. These specific, personal stories provide a deeper understanding of who you are and prove your intentions.

Do your research . Demonstrate what attracted you to the program. If there is a specific faculty member or class that caught your attention, or another aspect of the program that greatly interests you, convey it. This shows you’ve truly researched the school and have a passion for the program.

“Whatever the topic may be, I would recommend writing in a manner that reflects or parallels the institution’s and/or department’s missions, goals and values,” said Moises Cortés, a graduate/international credentials analyst for the Office of Graduate Admission at USC .

Address any gaps or discrepancies . Explain any factors that may have impacted your academic career. If you had an illness or any other personal hardships that affected your grades or work, discuss them. If there is a discrepancy between your grades and your test scores, you can also take the time to go over any extenuating circumstances.

Strike the right tone . While it’s important to give readers a glimpse of your personality, avoid oversharing or revealing intimate details of your life experiences. You should also avoid making jokes or using humorous cliches. Maintain a professional tone throughout your writing.

Start strong and finish strong . As with any piece of writing, you want to draw in your readers immediately. Make sure to start off with an interesting and captivating introduction. Similarly, your conclusion should be a well-written, engaging finish to the essay that highlights any important points.

“ For a personal statement, I think the first and last paragraphs are most important and should always relate the program they are applying to their own experiences and ideas,” Hoon H. Kang, a graduate/international credential analyst with the Office of Graduate Admission, told USC Online.

Proofread, proofread and proofread again . We can’t emphasize enough the importance of rereading your work. Your personal statement is also an analysis of your writing skills, so ensure you have proper grammar and spelling throughout. In addition, we recommend having multiple people look over your statement before submission. They can help with the proofreading (a second person always catches a mistake the writer may miss), give advice about the statement’s structure and content, and confirm it’s the proper recommended length.

Once you’ve considered all of the above and reviewed and edited your personal statement to perfection, it’s time to submit and check off any remaining application requirements, including your resume and letters of recommendation .

Personal statements are arguably one of the most challenging aspects of applying to graduate school, so make sure to revel in this accomplishment and acknowledge your successes.

For more information, visit the  Office of Graduate Admission at USC  and explore  USC Online ’s master’s degrees, doctoral programs and graduate certificates.

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Social Work Personal Statement Examples

Our social work personal statements will inspire you to write your own unique statement, and help you understand how students have successfully applied for this course in the past.

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Writing Your Personal Statements

Your personal statement must demonstrate to the admissions committee that you have considered graduate school and their specific program seriously. It’s your opportunity to summarize your academic and research experiences. You must also communicate how your experiences are relevant to preparing you for the graduate degree that you will be pursuing and explain why a given program is the right one for you.

The personal statement is where you highlight your strengths. Make your strengths absolutely clear to the reviewers, because they will often be reading many other statements. Your self-assessments and honest conversations with peers and advisors should have also revealed your strengths. But you must also address (not blame others for) weaknesses or unusual aspects of your application or academic background.

Your personal statement should focus on two main aspects: your competence and commitment.

1. Identify your strengths in terms of competence that indicate that you will succeed in the grad program and provide examples to support your claims. Start your statement by describing your strengths immediately. Because faculty will be reading many statements, it’s important to start off with your strengths and not “bury your lede.” Consider traits of successful graduate students from your informational interviews, and identify which of these traits you have. These traits could involve research skills and experiences, expertise in working with techniques or instruments, familiarity with professional networks and resources in your field, etc.

  • Check your responses from the exercises in the self-assessment section. You may wish to consult notes from your informational interviews and your Seven Stories . Write concise summaries and stories that demonstrate your strengths, e.g. how your strengths helped you to achieve certain goals or overcome obstacles.
  • Summarize your research experience(s). What were the main project goals and the “big picture” questions? What was your role in this project? What did you accomplish? What did you learn, and how did you grow as a result of the experience(s)?

Vannessa Velez's portrait

My research examines the interplay between U.S. domestic politics and foreign policy during the Cold War. As a native New Yorker, I saw firsthand how dramatically my city changed after 9/11, which prompted my early interest in U.S. policy at home and abroad. As an undergraduate at the City College of New York, I planned to study international relations with a focus on U.S. foreign affairs. I also quickly became involved in student activist groups that focused on raising awareness about a wide range of human rights issues, from the Syrian refugee crisis to asylum seekers from Central America.

The more I learned about the crises in the present, the more I realized that I needed a deeper understanding of the past to fully grasp them. I decided to pursue a PhD in history in order to gain a clearer understanding of human rights issues in the present and to empower young student-activists like myself.

— Vannessa Velez, PhD candidate in History

Addressing weaknesses or unusual aspects

  • Identify weaknesses or unusual aspects in your application—e.g., a significant drop in your GPA during a term; weak GRE scores; changes in your academic trajectory, etc. Don’t ignore them, because ignoring them might be interpreted as blind spots for you. If you’re unsure if a particular issue is significant enough to address, seek advice from faculty mentors.
  • Explain how you’ll improve and strengthen those areas or work around your weakness. Determine how you will address them in a positive light, e.g., by discussing how you overcame obstacles through persistence, what you learned from challenges, and how you grew from failures. Focusing on a growth mindset  or grit  and this blog on weaknesses might also help.
  • Deal with any significant unusual aspects later in the statement to allow a positive impression to develop first.
  • Explain, rather than provide excuses—i.e., address the issue directly and don’t blame others (even if you believe someone else is responsible). Draft it and get feedback from others to see if the explanation is working as you want it to.
  • Provide supporting empirical evidence if possible. For example, “Adjusting to college was a major step for me, coming from a small high school and as a first-generation college student. My freshman GPA was not up to par with my typical achievements, as demonstrated by my improved  GPA of 3.8 during my second and third years in college."
  • Be concise (don’t dwell on the issues), but also be complete (don’t lead to other potentially unanswered questions). For example, if a drop in grades during a term was due to a health issue, explain whether the health issue is recurring, managed now with medication, resolved, etc.

2. Explain your commitment to research and their graduate program, including your motivation for why you are applying to this graduate program at this university. Be as specific as possible. Identify several faculty members with whom you are interested in working, and explain why their research interests you.

  • Descriptions of your commitment should explain why you’re passionate about this particular academic field and provide demonstrations of your commitment with stories (e.g., working long hours to solve a problem, overcoming challenges in research, resilience in pursuing problems). Don’t merely assert your commitment.
  • Explain why you are applying to graduate school, as opposed to seeking a professional degree or a job. Discuss your interest and motivation for grad school, along with your future career aspirations.

Jaime Fine's portrait

I am definitely not your traditional graduate student. As a biracial (Native American and white), first-generation PhD student from a military family, I had very limited guidance on how best to pursue my education, especially when I decided that graduate school was a good idea. I ended up coming to this PhD in a very circuitous manner, stopping first to get a JD and, later, an MFA in Young Adult Literature. With each degree, I took time to work and apply what I’d learned, as a lawyer and as an educator. Each time, I realized that I was circling around questions that I couldn’t let go of—not just because I found them to be fascinating, but because I did (and still do!) feel that my research could help to bridge a gap that desperately needs bridging. Because my work is quite interdisciplinary, I strongly feel that I wouldn’t have been able to pursue this line of research without the degrees and life experience I gained before coming to this program.

— Jamie Fine, PhD candidate in Modern Thought and Literature

Statement of Purpose: subtle aspects

  • Think in terms of engaging faculty in a conversation rather than pleading with them that you should be admitted. Ask reviewers to read drafts with this concern in mind.
  • With later drafts, try developing an overall narrative theme. See if one emerges as you work.
  • Write at least 10 drafts and expect your thinking and the essay to change quite a bit over time.
  • Read drafts out loud to help you catch errors.
  • Expect the "you' that emerges in your essay to be incomplete. . . that’s OK.
  • You’re sharing a professional/scholarly slice of "you."
  • Avoid humor (do you really know what senior academics find funny?) and flashy openings and closings. Think of pitching the essay to an educated person in the field, but not necessarily in your specialty. Avoid emotionally laden words (such as "love" or "passion"). Remember, your audience is a group of professors! Overly emotional appeals might make them uncomfortable. They are looking for scholarly colleagues.

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100+ Grad School Personal Statement Examples

sample personal statement for graduate school social work

by Talha Omer, MBA, M.Eng., Harvard & Cornell Grad

In personal statement samples by field | personal statements samples by university.

In this Article

Importance of a Strong Personal Statement

Purpose of this blog post, length and format, tone and style, general tips for success, computer science and engineering, economics and finance, management and business, healthcare and medicine, environment and sustainability, public affairs, international relations and politics, architecture, arts and film, mathematics and statistics, religion and philosophy, phd personal statement examples, scholarship & fellowship personal statements, word count-specific personal statements, prompt-specific grad school personal statements examples, academic achievements and experiences, research experiences, work and internship experiences, volunteer and community service, personal growth and overcoming challenges, future goals and career aspirations, research the program and faculty, emphasize alignment with program objectives, highlight unique program offerings, overused phrases and clichés , excessive self-praise, lack of focus or organization, consulting mentors, and advisors, incorporating feedback and refine, introduction.

A personal statement is essential in the graduate school application process, as it plays a significant role in shaping the admissions committee’s perception of you. In fact, a survey conducted by the Council of Graduate Schools revealed that 64% of graduate admissions officers consider the personal statement to be the most crucial factor in the admissions process. Furthermore, according to a study by Kaplan Test Prep, a well-crafted personal statement can boost an applicant’s chances of acceptance by up to 50%.

The personal statement’s importance stems from its ability to create a lasting impression on the admissions committee. 

Consider this: the admissions committee (adcom) does not know you personally. They have never met or spoken to you, nor have they ever interviewed you. They only know you through quantifiable aspects such as your GPA, test scores, and work experience. However, they lack insight into your thought processes, aspirations, background, and personal experiences. In essence, they need to connect with you on a personal level. The personal statement serves as a bridge, enabling the adcom, who are human beings themselves, to gain insight into your personality, motivations, and aspirations beyond your grades and test scores.

Time and again, adcoms at top universities emphasize the critical role of personal statements in their decision-making process. Drafting a personal statement is your opportunity to market yourself, showcasing your unique qualities and demonstrating your genuine interest in their program. By investing time and effort into creating a powerful personal statement, you can significantly enhance your chances of securing a place in your desired graduate program.

In this blog post, I will be sharing over 100 authentic graduate school personal statement examples from successful applicants across the globe who have secured admission to prestigious programs in the United States and across the world.

These samples encompass a wide range of fields, including MBA, Law, Medicine, Engineering, and Social Work, and originate from esteemed institutions such as Harvard, Stanford, and MIT. You will find examples of personal statements for various degrees, including MSc, MA, LLM, Residency, MBA, and PhD programs. You will also find examples of statements written by applicants who obtained fellowships, and scholarships. By sharing these diverse examples, I aim to achieve the following goals:

  • Inspiration and guidance: I want to provide you guys with a wide range of personal statement examples to serve as inspiration and offer guidance for making your own statements.
  • Addressing common topics: These samples will cover all the common personal statement elements, helping you understand how to effectively discuss your academic achievements, research experiences, work history, volunteer work, personal growth, and future goals.
  • Tips for success: The post will also provide helpful tips on tailoring personal statements to specific graduate programs, avoiding common pitfalls, and seeking feedback to improve the final draft.
  • Empowerment: Ultimately, the goal of sharing these for free is to empower you guys to create compelling and unique personal statements that will increase your chances of being accepted into your dream graduate program.

By providing this comprehensive resource, I hope to demystify the personal statement writing process and equip you with the tools and inspiration necessary to craft a captivating narrative that reflects your unique journey and aspirations. 

Personal Statement Basics

When writing your personal statement, it’s crucial to pay attention to three key areas: length and format, tone and style, and general tips for success.

It’s important to create a well-structured personal statement that adheres to the specified word count and follows proper formatting guidelines. Some programs, particularly MBA programs, might not request a single personal statement. Instead, they may pose several questions and require you to write a brief essay for each one. Such programs typically break down a personal statement into multiple short questions, expecting essay responses tailored to each query. 

As a result, it’s crucial to carefully read the guidelines before you start writing, as students often mistakenly create a single personal statement and try to tweak it for various programs without realizing that different requirements exist. By doing so, they lose time and waste considerable effort and energy. 

Adhering to instructions and responding appropriately will leave a positive impression on the admissions committee. To accomplish this, consider these key aspects:

  • Word count: Most graduate programs provide guidelines on the desired length of personal statements, typically ranging from 500 to 2,000 words.Adhere to these limits to show that you can follow instructions and communicate concisely.
  • Formatting: Use a clear and easy-to-read font (e.g., Times New Roman or Arial) at a standard size (e.g., 11 or 12 points) with 1-inch margins. Ensure your document is well-organized with paragraphs and headings where appropriate.
  • Structure: Start with a strong opening paragraph that hooks the reader, followed by body paragraphs addressing the key topics, and conclude with a memorable closing paragraph that reinforces your main points. This structure will ensure a cohesive and engaging narrative that effectively communicates your experiences and aspirations to the admissions committee.

In terms of tone and style, your personal statement should strike a balance between professionalism and authenticity to effectively convey your unique experiences and perspective. To accomplish this, consider the following aspects:

  • Professional and confident: Adopt a professional tone in your writing, using clear, concise language. Be confident in presenting your accomplishments without being overly boastful.
  • Authentic and personal: Avoid overly formal or academic language that may make your writing feel impersonal. Showcasing your authentic self will help the admissions committee connect with you on a personal level.
  • Engaging storytelling: Use storytelling techniques to make your personal statement more engaging and memorable. This can include anecdotes, vivid descriptions, and a strong narrative structure. Starting with a quote that is relevant to your story is also a good way to begin your personal statement.

Lastly, adhering to tried and tested tips can greatly improve your personal statement, ensuring you present a polished and compelling narrative that effectively showcases your strengths and aspirations to the admissions committee. Some general advice is as follows::

  • Start early: Give yourself ample time to brainstorm, write, revise, and seek feedback on your personal statement. On average. Grad school applicants spend 20+ hours in perfecting a personal statement of 1000 words. Moreover, they have their personal statement reviewed and redrafted 5 times on average.  
  • Be focused and organized: Clearly structure your personal statement, addressing the main topics and ensuring your narrative flows logically from one point to the next. A well-organized statement will demonstrate your ability to communicate effectively and coherently.
  • Proofread and edit: Carefully review your personal statement for grammar, punctuation, and spelling errors. Use free tools like grammarly to remove any unwanted errors in your writing.
  • Seek feedback: Share your personal statement with your mentors, or peers, to gather valuable feedback. I especially recommend that you show your essay to someone who has already gone through the process successfully as they know the ins and outs well. Then, incorporate this feedback to refine and strengthen your final draft.

To help you get started and see everything that I just discussed in action, here is a list of 100+ personal statement examples from successful graduate school applicants.

Grad School Personal Statement Examples by Field of Study

  • Example Personal Statement Computer Science (Admitted to Oxford with Low GPA )
  • Example Personal Statement Computer Science (Admitted to Stanford )
  • Example Personal Statement Computer Science (Admitted to Cambridge PhD )
  • Example Personal Statement Artificial Intelligence (Admitted to UCLA)
  • Example Personal Statement Machine Learning (Admitted to Duke )
  • Example Personal Statement Data Science and Analytics (Admitted to CMU )
  • Example Personal Statement Data Analytics (Admitted to Georgia Tech )
  • Example Personal Statement Advanced Analytics (Admitted to NCSU )
  • Example Personal Statement Mechanical Engineering (Admitted to USC , Imperial )
  • Example Personal Statement Economics (Admitted to LSE )
  • Example Personal Statement Economics (Admitted to Oxbridge )
  • Example Personal Statement Finance (Admitted to MIT Sloan )
  • Example Personal Statement Financial Engineering (Admitted to UC Berkeley )
  • Example Personal Statement Financial Engineering (Admitted to UCLA )
  • Example Personal Statement Accounting & Finance (Admitted to Michigan University)
  • Example Personal Statement Investment Banking (Admitted to UPenn )
  • Example Personal Statement (Admitted to Georgetown )
  • Example Personal Statement (Admitted to Harvard LLM )
  • Example Personal Statement (Admitted to Northwestern )
  • Example Personal Statement (Admitted to NYU , Duke )
  • 8 MBA Personal Statements (All IVY LEAGUES )
  • Example BA Essays ( INSEAD )
  • Example MBA Essays ( Kellogg Northwestern )
  • Example Personal Statement Operations Management (Admitted to MIT PHD)
  • Example Personal Statement Management (Admitted to Duke )
  • Example Personal Statement Marketing (Admitted to NYU , Cornell )
  • Example Personal Statement Business Analytics (Admitted to MIT , CMU )
  • Example Personal Statement Management & Analytics (Admitted to LBS )
  • Example Personal Statement Project Management (Admitted to UT Austin )
  • Example Personal Statement Logistics & Supply Chain (Admitted to Boston . Penn State )
  • Example Personal Statement Supply Chain Management (Admitted to MIT )
  • Example Personal Statement Teaching ( Scholarship US State Department)
  • Example Education Personal Statement (Admitted to UPenn , NYU , UCLA )
  • Example Personal Statement Education Policy (Admitted to USC )
  • Example Personal Statement Special Education Teacher (Admitted to TUFTS )
  • Example Personal Statement of an Aspiring Teacher (Admitted to American University )
  • Example Personal Statement Residency in Internal Medicine (Admitted to ASU )
  • Example Personal Statement Counseling (Admitted to Harvard , Yale )
  • Example Personal Statement Psychology (Admitted to NYU Steinhardt)
  • Example Personal Statement Nursing (Admitted to Duke , Ohio)
  • Example Personal Statement Public Health (MPH) (Admitted to Columbia , Emory)
  • Example Personal Statement Social Work (MSW) (Admitted to Columbia )
  • Example Personal Statement Veterinary (Admitted to UC Davis , CSU , Edinburgh)
  • Example Personal Statement Biochemistry (Admitted to Johns Hopkins )
  • Example Personal Statement Biology (Admitted to JHU )
  • Example Personal Statement Anthropology (Admitted to Stanford )
  • Example Personal Statement Environment and Sustainability (admitted to Stanford , CALTECH )
  • Example Personal Statement Environmental Sustainability and Energy Management (Admitted to Yale , Duke )
  • Example Personal Statement International Relations (Admitted to Columbia , Cornell )
  • Example Personal Statement Political Science (Admitted to Duke , UCLA , NYU )
  • Example Personal Statement Public Administration MPA (Admitted to Columbia , Harvard )
  • Example Personal Statement Public Policy MPP (Admitted to Harvard , Brown , Erasmus Mundus Scholarship )
  • Example Personal Statement Architecture (Admitted to Cambridge , Cornell , Yale )
  • Example Personal Statement MFA (Admitted to New School and Rhode Island )
  • Example Personal Statement in Filmmaking (Admitted to New York Film Academy )
  • Example Personal Statement Fashion and Textile (Admitted to Parsons , Royal College of Arts )
  • Example Personal Statement Math (Admitted to Oxbridge )
  • Example Personal Statement Statistics (Admitted to NCSU , Cornell )
  • Example Personal Statement Religious Studies (Admitted to Columbia , Harvard )
  • Example Personal Statement 1 (Admitted to MIT )
  • Example Personal Statement 2 (Admitted to Cambridge )
  • Example Research Statement (Admitted to JHU )
  • Example Statement of Research Interests (Admitted to Scripps )
  • Example Statement of Objectives (Admitted to MIT )
  • Example Personal StatemenT MS leading to Ph.D. (Admitted to Notre Dame )

These essays are written by applicants who are seeking financial aid or funding to support their graduate studies. In most cases, the program does not require a separate essay or application for the scholarship or fellowship, but in a few cases they do.

Most external donors do require a separate application such as the Fulbright program.

The purpose of these essays is to convince the selection committee that the applicant is the best candidate for the scholarship or fellowship.

  • Scholarship Personal Statement Example (Won $250,000 Scholarship )
  • Scholarship Personal Statement Example (Won Erasmus Mundus Scholarship )
  • Fellowship Personal Statement Example (Won MIT Sloan Fellowship )
  • Scholarship Personal Statement Example 1 (Won Fulbright Scholarship )
  • Scholarship Personal Statement Example 2 (Won Fulbright Scholarship )

Word Count-Specific Personal Statements have a specific word count limit, which must be adhered to by the applicant. These are often required as part of graduate school applications, where the admissions committee wants to ensure that all applicants are providing the same amount of information and not exceeding or falling short of the specified word count.

Writing a word count-specific personal statement can be challenging, as applicants must balance providing enough detail to adequately convey their story and goals, while also being concise and staying within the specified limit. However, meeting the word count requirement is essential for demonstrating an applicant’s ability to communicate effectively, follow instructions, and prioritize information.

Here are a few examples of word-count specific personal statements.

  • 100 Word Personal Statement Example
  • 150 Word Personal Statement Example
  • 200 Word Personal Statement Example
  • 250 Word Personal Statement Example
  • 300 Word Personal Statement Example
  • 400 Word Personal Statement Example
  • 500 Word Personal Statement Example
  • 600 Word Personal Statement Example
  • 700 Word Personal Statement Example
  • 750 Word Personal Statement Example
  • 800 Word Personal Statement Example
  • 1000 Word Personal Statement Example

Prompt specific personal statements are statements that are tailored to answer a specific question or prompt in a personal statement. These statements are typically used in graduate school applications, especially MBA apps. These essays usually have a word-limit as well.

The purpose of a question specific personal statement is to demonstrate to the admissions committee that the applicant has the skills, knowledge, and experience required to succeed in the program. By directly addressing the prompt or question, the applicant can provide a focused and coherent response that highlights their relevant qualities and accomplishments.

For example, if a prompt asks an applicant to discuss their leadership experience, a question specific personal statement would focus on describing specific instances where the applicant demonstrated leadership skills and qualities, such as problem-solving, decision-making, and effective communication.

Here are some samples on Question or Prompt Specific Personal Statements.

  • Prompt-specific Personal Statement on Career Goals
  • Prompt-specific Personal Statement on Values that have Influenced You
  • Prompt-specific Personal Statement on Leadership
  • Prompt-specific Personal Statement on 25 Things You Don’t Know About Me
  • Prompt-specific Personal Statement on Describe a Challenge you Faced and How you Overcame it?
  • Prompt-specific Personal Statement on My Passion in Life
  • Prompt-specific Personal Statement on Why do you want to become a doctor?
  • Prompt-specific Personal Statement Example 1 ( Responses to 6 Prompts for Fellowship)
  • Prompt-specific Personal Statement Example 2 ( Responses to 5 Prompts for Duke)
  • Prompt-specific Personal Statement Example 3 ( Responses to 3 Prompts for MIT)
  • Prompt-specific Personal Statement Example 4 ( Responses to 4 Prompts for LBS)
  • Prompt-specific Personal Statement Example 5 ( Responses to 4 Prompts for UC Berkeley)
  • Prompt-specific Personal Statement Example 6 ( Responses to 4 Prompts for MIT)

Addressing Common Personal Statement Components

In this section, I will explore the various components that commonly make up a well-rounded personal statement.I have also discussed these in a lot more detail in a blog post here . In that post, I have also shared various examples of personal statements that show how you can put these components in an essay form. Furthermore, that blog post also introduces an 8-point framework designed to assist you in evaluating and rating your personal statement draft.

When applying for graduate programs that are academic in nature, such as PhD, Master of Science, or Master of Arts, it’s essential to emphasize your academic achievements and experiences in your personal statement. To effectively showcase your educational background, you can do the following:

  • Highlight relevant coursework: Discuss courses that have prepared you for graduate study and demonstrate your passion for the subject.
  • Showcase your academic accomplishments: Mention awards, honors, high GPA, or scholarships you’ve received, and explain their significance.
  • Share influential academic experiences: Describe any conferences, workshops, or seminars you’ve attended, and explain how they’ve shaped your understanding of your field.

When applying for research-oriented programs such as PhD, post-doc, or research-based masters, it’s crucial to emphasize your research background, experiences, and achievements in your personal statement. To effectively highlight your research accomplishments, consider including the following in your personal statement:

  • Describe your research projects: Outline the relevant research you’ve conducted, including the objectives, methodology, and results.
  • Emphasize your role: Detail your specific contributions (co-contributor, co-author, lead researcher) to the research project, highlighting your skills and expertise.
  • Discuss the impact: Explain how your research has contributed to the field (maybe you got published in a journal, got a patent or published a white paper). You can also discuss how it influenced your career goals.

When composing your personal statement, it’s a good idea to show your work and internship experiences, as they highlight your practical skills and dedication to your chosen field. These experiences are especially significant for those applying to professional programs such as MBA, Project Management, and Masters in Engineering. 

However, they can also add considerable value to applications for academic or research-based programs. To effectively emphasize your work experiences and their relevance to your graduate studies, take into account the following aspects:

  • Detail relevant experiences: Discuss any internships, part-time jobs, or full-time positions related to your field, highlighting the skills you’ve gained.
  • Demonstrate transferable skills: Show how your work experience has equipped you with valuable skills (e.g., teamwork, leadership, problem-solving) that can be applied to your graduate studies.
  • Share meaningful moments: Describe any significant projects, accomplishments, or challenges you’ve encountered during your work experience that have shaped your perspective or goals.

In your personal statement, highlighting your volunteer and community service experiences can be a valuable addition, particularly for programs that emphasize social impact or community engagement, such as social work, public health, or education.

These experiences demonstrate your commitment to making a difference, and they showcase your ability to apply the skills and knowledge gained in real-world situations. Additionally, they reflect your extroverted nature, openness to new ideas, and willingness to engage with people from diverse backgrounds. 

Emphasizing your involvement in volunteer work and community service not only reveals your personal growth and alignment with your field of study but also highlights your ability to work collaboratively, appreciate different perspectives, and contribute positively to society. To give you some idea, you can demonstrate your service to the community by doing the following in your personal statement:

  • Showcase your involvement: Discuss volunteer work, community service, or extracurricular activities you’ve participated in that are relevant to your field of study or personal growth.
  • Emphasize personal growth: Describe the impact of these experiences on your personal development, such as gaining empathy, cultural competence, or leadership skills.
  • Connect to your field: Explain how your volunteer or community service experiences relate to your graduate studies and future career aspirations.

By sharing the obstacles you’ve faced and the lessons you’ve learned from them, you demonstrate your resilience, adaptability, and motivation. Connecting these experiences to your academic and career goals will further emphasize your determination to succeed in your chosen field and your readiness for the rigors of graduate study. Here are some ideas to get you started with this:

  • Share your story: Discuss any personal challenges or obstacles you’ve faced and how they’ve shaped your character, values, or motivations.
  • Demonstrate resilience: Explain how you’ve overcome these challenges and what you’ve learned from the experience.
  • Relate to your academic and career goals: Show how your personal growth and experiences have influenced your decision to pursue graduate studies and your future career aspirations.

Your personal statement should also address your future goals and career aspirations. You should discuss both your short-term (3-5 year) and long-term (10-15 year) goals in your grad school personal statement. 

Explain the motivation behind them, and connect these goals to the graduate program you’re applying to. This will show that you have a clear plan for your academic and professional journey, and that the program is an essential stepping stone toward achieving your goals. Here is a helping hand that will assist you include this element in your essay.

  • Outline your short-term and long-term goals: Discuss your objectives for both your graduate studies and your future career, demonstrating a clear vision of your path.
  • Explain your passion and motivation: Share the driving forces behind your goals, showcasing your enthusiasm and dedication to your field of study.
  • Connect your goals to the graduate program: Illustrate how the specific graduate program you’re applying to will help you achieve your academic and career objectives.

Tailoring your Personal Statement for Specific Schools

One common mistake that applicants make is submitting a generic personal statement to multiple programs. This can significantly reduce their chances of admission. 

Universities appreciate when applicants have taken the time to research the specific program, courses, faculty, and research facilities, demonstrating genuine interest and effort. 

While it’s acceptable to have a core personal statement that outlines your personal story, achievements, and interests, it’s crucial to tailor part of the essay to the particular program you are applying to. By customizing your personal statement, you show the admissions committee that you’ve done your homework.

Here I have some suggestions for you that you can use to tailor your personal statement for the specific program.

To tailor your personal statement for specific schools, it’s essential to thoroughly research the program and faculty at each institution. This involves exploring the program’s curriculum, core and optional course offerings, summer internship placement opportunities, industry-affiliated projects that are available, faculty research interests, and the school’s overall reputation in your field. By understanding these aspects, you can demonstrate your genuine interest in the program and highlight how your background and goals align with the faculty and coursework offered.

Once you have a solid understanding of the program and faculty, emphasize the alignment between your own values, objectives, and the program’s values and objectives in your personal statement. This can include showcasing your commitment to the program’s core principles, highlighting your passion for the program’s focus areas, and demonstrating your enthusiasm for working with particular faculty members on research or projects that align with your interests.

Each graduate program may have unique offerings that set it apart from others, such as specialized courses, research centers, or industry partnerships. In your personal statement, highlight these distinctive features and explain how they will benefit you. By doing this, you show the admissions committee that you have carefully considered the program’s offerings and have a clear understanding of how they will contribute to your academic and professional growth.

Personal Statement Pitfalls to Avoid

When writing your personal statement, you should be watchful of common traps that can diminish the impact of your narrative. Avoiding these mistakes will help you create a nice, well-rounded and unique story that will stand out to the adcom.

I have also discussed these in a lot more detail in a blog post here . In that post, I have also shared various examples of personal statements that avoid these traps and some that fall for them.

Here are some critical pitfalls to avoid:

Avoid relying on common phrases or clichés in your personal statement. Nearly all the personal statement templates use clichés like, such as “I’ve always known that I wanted to…”, “I have a thirst for knowledge.”, “I want to give back to society.”, “Ever since I can remember…”. These can make your writing appear as copy paste, dull and boring. Instead, you should try to be creative and unique and use expressions that genuinely reflect your own individual experiences and motivations.

While it’s essential to showcase your achievements and strengths, be cautious not to overdo self-promotion. Overly boastful or self-aggrandizing language can be off-putting to the reader and you could come across as arrogant and self-conceited. Focus on presenting your accomplishments and experiences in a balanced and authentic manner, highlighting the impact and the lessons learned from them. In short, stay humble.

A disorganized or unfocused personal statement can make it difficult for the admissions committee to grasp your main points or understand your narrative. Ensure your personal statement is well-structured, with clear coherence between paragraphs and a logical progression of ideas. Stay focused on only talking about experiences that are relevant to your field of study. However, if you want to talk about something that you feel is important for the application but is not relevant to the chosen program, just touch upon it in your essay.

Again, I would recommend you to go through this post where I have delved deeper into the things you should avoid. Additionally, in that post I have also provided you with a 7-point framework that you can use to circumvent the common pitfalls often encountered in personal statements.

Seeking Feedback and Revising Your Personal Statement

Before submitting your personal statement, it’s essential to seek and incorporate feedback. Applicants who create successful personal statements spend 20 hours on average on creating the perfect essay. You should consult mentors, advisors, and peers, to refine your narrative. This section will guide you through the process of seeking feedback and making revisions to optimize your personal statement.

Seek input from individuals who know you well and have experience with the application process. I would also recommend that you should ask feedback from people who have successfully gone through the process in the past. Their feedback can help you identify areas for improvement, and ensure your narrative aligns properly.

After receiving feedback from various sources, take the time to thoughtfully consider their suggestions and incorporate them into your personal statement. Remember that not all feedback may be applicable or useful, so use your judgment to determine which revisions will enhance your narrative. Continue refining your personal statement through multiple drafts, ensuring your final version presents a polished and compelling story that showcases your strengths and aspirations.

I hope that these 100+ personal statement examples for graduate school and all the associated tips will provide you with the inspiration, guidance, and ideas you need to create a captivating narrative of your own. As you embark on this journey, remember that dedication, self-reflection, and resilience are key to putting up a persuasive narrative. Remember, there is no short-cut to success. Good luck, and we can’t wait to see where your academic journey takes you!

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sample personal statement for graduate school social work

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How to Write a Graduate School Personal Statement (with example!)

sample personal statement for graduate school social work

Congratulations on finishing your bachelor’s degree, and starting the next chapter! You might be thinking about applying to graduate school, and fortunately, it’s very similar to applying to an undergraduate program. However, it’s probably been a few years since you’ve had to write an application essay, so you might be wondering how to write a personal statement for graduate school. If so, this guide is the perfect resource for you! Keep reading below to find out more, and don’t forget to check out the example of a graduate school personal statement.

What is a personal statement?

A personal statement is an essay that encapsulates your personal journey and how that’s shaped who you are as an applicant. They are typically 400-600 words, but can be longer or shorter. 

Be sure not to confuse a personal statement with a statement of purpose as they are two different types of admissions essays. Use this as an opportunity to show colleges what you value and what’s turned you into an ideal student for your desired school. 

What should I write about?

Personal statements are your chance to get, well, personal. While you should answer the prompt in its entirety, you should also write about yourself. Bring a personal element into your essay like family or a story of you overcoming an obstacle. 

Ideally, your story should relate to what you’re trying to accomplish at your graduate school of choice. Tie it all together: your personal experiences, your desired major, and your ideal outcome. 

Tips for writing a personal statement for graduate school

It’s important to start your graduate application as soon as you’re able. Usually, the first round of applications receive the best financial aid packages, so start early! 

Starting sooner can also give you the time to outline your essay and get it read over by your support system. You’ll want it all to be perfect, so don’t rush.

Be transparent

Instead of telling admissions what you think they want to hear, be open and honest about yourself. You want them to understand you, and the only way to do that is to show who you actually are. Offer up personal stories or things that genuinely interest you so that you can show off your sparkling personality!

Be original

Graduate programs are often very competitive since there’s a smaller admissions pool. As a result, your essay should be as original as possible to stand out from the crowd. Tell your story in an organic way, and approach the given prompt with an open mind. 

Related : How to write an essay about yourself

Check your work

It’s extremely important for you to proofread and check for correct spelling and grammar throughout your personal statement. Even simply reading your statement out loud can help you catch any errors and make sure your words flow together. You should also consider having mentors or people within your support system read over your essay to ensure your message is clear.

Common mistakes when writing a graduate school personal statement

Reusing your undergraduate essay .

Reusing your first supplemental essay as a template is a big mistake you want to avoid. Years have passed since then, and you’ve learned new skills and grown as a person and a student. 

The experiences you previously wrote might not resonate with who you are today or tell the graduate team what they want to know about you. It may also have grammatical errors that you might not have noticed before, so take a little extra time to start from scratch and create something new.

Repeating what’s in your resume

It’s likely that your graduate school of choice will require you to upload a copy of your resume as part of your application. Therefore, the admissions committee will already know your professional background, so tell them something else about yourself or provide further depth to a job experience. Repeating yourself only tells them one thing, and you want to be the most well-rounded applicant that you can be.

Graduate school personal statement example

Prompt: Please discuss how your experiences, both personal and professional, have led you to pursue a graduate business degree at this time. What are your short- and long- term goals and how will this program and the J. Mack Robinson College of Business help you achieve these goals? (750 words max)

While many of the applications you receive will detail the many ways that person has been the first to do something, I pose a different perspective: hope to be the last. In other words, you might see me as a first-generation college student, but I see the makings of becoming the last generation to worry about generational wealth in my family. 

Though it is true that I would be the first in my family to get my master’s degree, I’m hoping that my future success means I’ll be the last “first.” It’s not lost on me what this title means, but most of all, it signifies the dawn of an era. A dynasty bred from the struggles and achievements of those before it.

These are big shoes to fill, but I’ve never been afraid of a challenge and the things I’ve learned have helped me secure my future. For example, by observing different business models throughout the years, I found a secret about marketing: people love a product that loves them back. In my case, a product that’s always loved me back were books. I’d fallen in love with bookshelves and bookstores alike, so it only makes sense that a culmination of my love of marketing and books is the goal of one day working in book publishing. I want to know the inner workings of book promotion including design decisions and book tours. Eventually, I plan on working at one of the big publishers such as Penguin Random House, Harper Collins, or Macmillan.

Fortunately, I’ve been given opportunities to decide on my own path, which I hope to execute at Georgia State University. This school’s unique curriculum will be an asset to me since there are classes that specifically cater to buyer behavior, and that’s an area of study I’m particularly interested in. The Social Media Intelligence Lab and social media marketing class will hopefully give me an inside look into influencer marketing and its impact on product profitability. According to your mission statement, GSU educates future leaders, and I want to be a part of that.

As a mentor of mine once said, knowledge is meant to be shared, and if it isn’t, it’s control. I hope to build up the people around me with knowledge and experiences as I go out into the professional world just as I hope this program will do for me. If I’m accepted into this program, I plan on using my creativity and drive for not only my success, but for my family’s as well. There may be times I fall short of a goal, but failure isn’t an option. Each benchmark professors put in front of me will be conquered, and one day, I’ll be one of your notable alumni. 

Why this essay works:

  • The writer clearly researched the school and understands its values
  • The prompt is answered completely and seamlessly
  • The applicant knew their goals and thought of ways to achieve them at the college 
  • This statement communicates not only what the college gains from this applicant’s admission, but also what the applicant gains
  • It’s also well within the word limit

Frequently asked questions about how to write a graduate school personal statement

Do i have to write a personal statement to get into graduate school, how long is graduate school, do i have to take an exam to get into graduate school, scholarships360 recommended.

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IMAGES

  1. 005 Social Work Personal Statement Essay Sample Essays For Graduate

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  2. Analytical Essay: Social work grad school essay examples

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  3. 28 Graduate School Personal Statement Template in 2020

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  4. Masters personal statement examples that will show you how to avoid

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  5. personal statement for graduate school for social work

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  6. Free Social Sciences personal statement example (Microsoft Word format)

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COMMENTS

  1. PDF Personal Statement Master's in Social Work (MSW)

    I am enthusiastic to apply to the Master's in Social Work (MSW) program at Boston College. I strongly believe that this program is the next step on my path to being a mental health advocate for disadvantaged and underserved populations, a goal that has motivated me throughout my educational and professional experiences.

  2. Strong Social Work Personal Statement Examples

    The MSW Program: A Journey of Growth and Impact Throughout my graduate studies, I aim to build upon my foundation of relevant information and personal experiences. I am particularly passionate about addressing mental health issues and advocating for the well-being of young people who often find themselves navigating turbulent waters.

  3. Master of Social Work Personal Statement Example

    Example: "As a South Asian woman, my depression and anxiety went on a lot longer than it should have because the stigma and shame I experienced from my family and the inability to find a therapist who understood my culture prevented me from getting the help I needed."

  4. Social Worker Personal Statement

    September 23, 2023 by Angy Sharing is caring! In the realm of social work, where individuals dedicate their lives to making a real difference in people's lives, the journey often begins with personal experiences that ignite a passion for change.

  5. Guide to Crafting a Perfect Social Work Personal Statement

    Your Challenges: What obstacles have you faced? You'll probably include any details pertinent to your admission into the program. Be sure to include the relevant information that the committee will need to know as they review your personal statement as part of your application packet. Why Social Work Personal Statements Are Important

  6. Sample Personal Statement Social Work (MSW)

    My academic progress at university has been my most challenging rendition till now. After completing high school, I had to take a year off from my pursuit of happiness - education. Not having the financial means necessary to undertake undergraduate studies, I had to supplement it by seeking employment.

  7. Graduate School Admissions: Writing an Effective Personal Statement

    By: David C. Prichard, Ph.D. This article focuses on the central role that the personal statement plays in the MSW application process. Strategies are presented for writing an effective statement that will highlight and emphasize applicant strengths congruent with the values of particular Schools of Social Work.

  8. PDF Personal Statement

    Discuss your readiness for rigorous graduate work, your ability to manage the heavy demands of graduate school with your other personal and professional responsibilities, your strengths and weaknesses, and why you think Widener's graduate social work program is a good fit for you.

  9. Application Essay Guidelines

    Formatting your Essay. DO NOT use a question and answer format. Write a full essay answering ALL questions above. Questions may be answered in any order to fit the narrative of your essay. Your essay should be double spaced, in 12-point font. Please keep your answers to the first four questions to no more than 7 pages double-spaced.

  10. PDF Doctorate Social Work Personal Statement

    Personal Evaluation - Discuss your readiness for rigorous graduate work, your ability to manage the heavy demands of graduate school with your other personal and professional responsibilities, your strengths and weakness, and why you think Widener University's Social Work PhD Program is a good fit for you. SCHOLARLY WRITING SAMPLE GUIDELINES

  11. MSW Personal Statement Tips & Examples

    "I Want to Be A Social Worker!" Do You Need a Degree? There are a couple of significant practical considerations: - A Bachelor's or Master's degree in social work - A license to practice or required social work certification Credentials vary among careers, states, and territories. Licenses include: - Certified Social Worker (CSW)

  12. Masters in social work personal statement

    Lucy Romijn, Career consultant May, 2022 If you'd like to become a social worker but didn't study the subject at undergraduate level then a Masters degree is essential for entry into the profession. You'll need to write a personal statement that coveys your commitment and passion to social work

  13. How to Write Your Personal Statement

    Strategy 1: Open with a concrete scene An effective way to catch the reader's attention is to set up a scene that illustrates something about your character and interests. If you're stuck, try thinking about: A personal experience that changed your perspective A story from your family's history A memorable teacher or learning experience

  14. 3 Successful Graduate School Personal Statement Examples • Pr

    3 Successful Graduate School Personal Statement Examples Ellen McCammon September 5, 2017 Grad School applying to grad school, personal statements Looking for grad school personal statement examples? Look no further!

  15. Personal Statement Examples for Graduate School 2022+

    Absolutely! Having an effective personal statement that reflects your abilities and personality may assist you in the graduate school admissions process! 6 Tips for Graduate School Personal Statement Examples Make sure your personal statement is unique Find out what the requirements are before you start writing.

  16. PDF How to Get Started on Your Graduate School Personal Statement

    Statement of purpose: sample prompts "Please upload a statement of 500-1,000 words explaining why you are applying to Yale for graduate study. Describe your research interests and preparation for your intended field(s) of study, including prior research and other relevant experiences. Relate how the faculty, research, and

  17. How to Write a Stand-Out Personal Statement for Your Graduate School

    While deciding to embark on the path to graduate school is an exciting first step toward advancing your career, the application process can sometimes feel daunting and confusing.. One major part of the application that most schools require is a personal statement. Writing a personal statement can be an arduous task: After all, most people don't necessarily enjoy writing about themselves, let ...

  18. Social Work Personal Statement Examples

    Education is of great value to me and I take it very seriously. To be given the opportunity to study further is of great importance to me and I intend to go as far as I possibly can with it, with the aim of going on to do a masters degree in the future... Social Work Personal Statement Example 9

  19. Writing Your Personal Statements

    Your personal statement should focus on two main aspects: your competence and commitment. 1. Identify your strengths in terms of competence that indicate that you will succeed in the grad program and provide examples to support your claims. Start your statement by describing your strengths immediately. Because faculty will be reading many ...

  20. 100+ Grad School Personal Statement Examples

    Your personal statement should also address your future goals and career aspirations. You should discuss both your short-term (3-5 year) and long-term (10-15 year) goals in your grad school personal statement. Explain the motivation behind them, and connect these goals to the graduate program you're applying to.

  21. Personal Statements

    Graduate School of Social Work; Josef Korbel School of International Studies - Graduate Students; Josef Korbel School of International Studies - Undergraduate Students ... This handout gives tips for writing personal statements for graduate and professional school including reflection questions to help you get started. View Resource Related ...

  22. How to Write a Graduate School Personal Statement (with example!)

    Personal statements are your chance to get, well, personal. While you should answer the prompt in its entirety, you should also write about yourself. Bring a personal element into your essay like family or a story of you overcoming an obstacle. Ideally, your story should relate to what you're trying to accomplish at your graduate school of ...

  23. Personal Statement Social Work Graduate School Examples

    It is suggested availing our samples online and this will allow you to view some of the latest and best statement examples that . . . Personal Statement:Social work 2 — The Student Room Personal Statement:Social work 1 — The Student Room . . . Sample personal statements. Science personal statements. Sixth form personal statements.