What is Personal statement: Definition and 71 Discussions

An admissions or application essay, sometimes also called a personal statement or a statement of purpose, is an essay or other written statement written by an applicant, often a prospective student applying to some college, university, or graduate school. The application essay is a common part of the university and college admissions process.
Some applications may require one or more essays to be completed, while others make essays optional or supplementary. Essay topics range from very specific to open-ended.

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  1. T

    Expressing Neurodivergency Obstacle in Grad School Personal Statements

    Many sources recommend detailing the social/educational/cultural/economic/etc. obstacles that a student has overcome in their academic journey when filling out a Personal Statement essay to a graduate program. Personally, I don't really have any obstacles that fall into that category. However...
  2. Haorong Wu

    Admissions Need advice for my personal statement

    Hi. I have just written a draft of my personal statement. I am still working on it, but there are some concerns that I am not sure about. 1. Is my opening too tacky? 2. Do I talk too much about research experience? Maybe I should cut some details out. 3. On the contrary, I feel that I do not...
  3. A

    Admissions Exemplar astronomy PhD personal statement (UK)

    I applied for a couple of PhD positions in astronomy last year but was unsuccessful. This year I hope to improve on my application and secure a position. So with that in mind, does anyone have any exemplar PhD personal statements for astronomy, or maybe physics in general?
  4. S

    Other NIST SURF Personal Statement Critique

    Hello everyone! I am currently writing application for the SURF program at NIST and was looking for some feedback/criticism of my personal statement. This is my first time writing something like this and I wanted to make sure the structure of my paper checked out. For reference, the NIST...
  5. astroman707

    Admissions Phyics REU personal statement critiques?

    I just finished my personal statement for physics REU applications, and I was wondering if anyone would be willing to read it and give it some critiques or general advice. If accepted, this will be my first REU. I'm applying to 10 schools. Thanks! *** Physics never actually caught my eye until...
  6. F

    Programs Is Environmental Engineering capitalized?

    Hi! I'm currently a freshman applying to an REU for the summer. It would be great help if anyone could take a look at it and critique what needs to be changed. As a side note, I know this is a super long personal statement because the program I'm applying for says the word count needs to be...
  7. B

    Schools Teaching vs. Research in Graduate School: Personal Statements

    I'm currently compiling materials for my graduate school applications this fall, and I'm having a bit of trouble deciding what to emphasize in terms of my experiences as an undergraduate, as well as my future career goals. I have a couple years of research experience (in computational...
  8. M

    Other REU Personal Statement Critique

    Hi all, I'm new to this site and have seen related discussions, so here goes. I haven't done research before, but I really would like to get into an REU this summer and I am applying to many. I would like constructive criticism on the rough draft of my personal statement please. Thanks in...
  9. S

    Admissions Personal Statement for my PhD application

    Hi! I'm applying for some PhD programs and I would like to have some advices. I think I will use the same statement for personal and purpose, in different universities. They ask only for one and their prompt are similar. I'll change some particular details on research. Is that a bad idea? Here...
  10. BL4CKB0X97

    Admissions A Passion for Physics: My Journey to Pursuing Undergraduate Studies in the UK

    Hi guys. I am about to apply for uni, hows my personal statement? Any advice would be great! Physics is the fundamental science, the study of everything, and for someone who wishes to learn more about everything, what better subject could I possibly choose? My passion for physics stems from...
  11. Shing Ernst

    Admissions Undergraduate research experience with no results

    Should I include my no-result "research experience" into my personal statement for graduate physics school? My undergrad research experience is basely: 1.) My professor suggested a field - dark matter - to me. (Back then, he was working on mostly Earth science observations, so I did...
  12. O

    Schools George Washington University Statement of Purpose Length

    Long shot, but has anyone applied to the GWU Physics PhD program? If so, how long was your Statement of Purpose? There is no information about it on the application, I ran across this page: https://www.programs.gwu.edu/graduate/physics. This says 250-500 words, but asks for "your academic...
  13. K

    Admissions Mechanical Engineering Personal Statement: Get Help Here

    Hi Guys, I am applying for mechanical engineering course. I have written a Personal Statement, is anyone willing to read it and help me out.
  14. M

    Admissions PhD Application Personal Statement Help: How Detailed?

    How detailed should the research experience be? For example, are things like "I developed a C algorithm to help the process of XXX?" worth mentioning? Or should this go to the Curriculum Vitae? Thank you!:woot:
  15. L

    Other How Can an REU Program Enhance My Path to Becoming a Molecular Engineer?

    Hello, I have my personal statement written for a bunch of REU. I am currently a freshman and I really want to get a REU in the summer. Would anyone please look over it and spot any grammatical or idea error? Thank You Personal Statement Seeing my first spatial model of protein’s...
  16. M

    Admissions PhD Application: Personal Statement in Story-Telling Style?

    I am not sure if I can write the ps in the form of a story-telling of how I became interested in the graduate field of study, which naturally talks about my research/other experience in the chronological order, or directly jump straight into chunks of paragraphs (of course with transitioning...
  17. HaLAA

    Need help for REU personal statement

    Hi, all. I am planning to apply REU for math this summer. This is my first time to write a personal statement, I am not sure how it is. Basically, my statement needs to answer why I want to apply this program and what my future goal is.Malcolm X said: “Education is our passport to the future...
  18. rwoo

    Write Personal Statement for REU Application

    Hi all, I am applying for several REUs at the moment and it is my first time writing a science-focused personal statement. This is my second draft; my first one had a lot of "fluff." Any and all constructive criticism would be greatly appreciated. I have always been drawn to physics, but being...
  19. L

    Help with personal statement for an REU

    I would like an opinion on what I've written as this is my first time applying/writing a statement. The question asks "500 words or less expressing your interest in LIGO science, including the kinds of science topics and projects you are most interested in pursuing." I am a current...
  20. Dishsoap

    Definition of "brief" for a personal statement?

    Here's the description of the personal statement for one university for which I'm applying for graduate school: Please upload a document briefly describing your past work in your proposed or allied fields of study, including non-course educational experiences, teaching, or other relevant...
  21. M

    Personal Statement Undergraduate

    I'm applying for joint honor course in Mathematics and Physics and single honor course in Theoretical Physics at universities in the UK. I am struggling with putting into words what I enjoy about physics and mathematics in my personal statement. I have the other paragraphs in place (I think)...
  22. Summer95

    What do REU programs want to hear in personal statements?

    I really want to start doing some undergraduate research (Physics major, Math minor, 2nd year of Physics classes starting now) and I have no idea what they want to hear from me in any personal statements. For example, one of them just asks "How do you think this research experience might further...
  23. H

    Mechanical Engineering Personal Statement

    hi, I am applying for mechanical engineering course. The research part of my PS is about Maglev train. I choose it because i like the it works. So, i wrote about how the gap is maintained, how superconducting magnets are used and how researchers tried halbach array. know Mechanical engineering...
  24. B

    Found a mistake in REU personal statement

    Hello, On all my REU applications besides two or three, I was asked to describe my previous research. I did so, but I realized I referred to the hydrogen atom as the hydrogen molecule. I showed in the case of H2+ that we develop the standard potential energy curve for the hydrogen atom. I...
  25. L

    REU personal statement critique

    Hello everyone, I'm applying for several internships for next summer and I would like a strong critique because English is not my first language and because I don't know if I am showing what they want to know. This is the question they ask: The 1-page Self-statement should describe your...
  26. O

    Schools Graduate School Personal Statement

    Hello everyone, I am trying to write a personal statement for graduate school, and I am not sure what to say. I started off by saying that I would like to eventually become a professor in order to give students research opportunities that I wasn't given as an undergraduate student (because I...
  27. Medicol

    Personal Statement and Letter of recommendation and References

    I find that people from North America tend to require them for school or job admission but I find them pretty useless myself. 1. Personal statement: will probably work like a job application's cover letter. Perhaps they want to read the applicant's writing skill; other than that I don't have a...
  28. S

    What Are My Chances of Being Accepted into an REU Program for Math?

    Hello all, I am currently applying for math REUs and I was wondering if anyone would help me proof read my essay and criticize it (as much as you'd like please). I know most of them accept mostly juniors and seniors, but I really want to get into at least one of the programs so that's why I...
  29. B

    Can an REU critique help improve my physics major personal statement?

    Its still a work in progress, but I could use some help via critiques. I am a physics major at Stony Brook University with an expected graduation in the fall of 2014. I plan on building a career that focuses on electronics and optics. Stony Brook University’s exceptional optics program has...
  30. O

    REU Personal Statement Letter Help

    Hello, I need advice on how to write a personal statement letter for an REU application. I wrote one below. This one is for a specific school (the one I want the most), but I know that as I apply to more, my essay will have to become more general. Please, any advice will help (just not mean...
  31. M

    Research topics for personal statement and A2 physics

    Hi everyone I'm new to physics forums so sorry if this is in the wrong section. I'm currently in Year 12 going into Year 13 and for my physics A2 I have to find a research topic (which would be in the form of a question) on which I would have to write a 1200 word report on. My problem is that...
  32. T

    Another reu personal statement thread

    I don't think anyone really likes these threads, but I could use some assistance. Could anyone offer me some criticism on my statement of purpose below, for an REU? This one is really an amalgamation of a couple of ones that I wrote for specifically for different programs, which all more of less...
  33. O

    Please criticize my REU personal statement

    Please only constructive criticism... if you simply flame my essay it really won't do much for me although it may pad your ego. I tried to keep the word count under 500 words but it ended up being a bit longer so I do plan on cutting some parts to it. I have censored a lot of the...
  34. D

    Terrible PGRE score. Address this in personal statement?

    So, PGRE scores came in today. I did unbelievably awful. I always test poorly on standard tests, so I'm used to that. But I really don't know what happened here. I did very bad. And I know this isn't a good reflection of my physics background. I've been doing amazing in physics...
  35. F

    Appropriate for personal statement?

    Physics grad school personal statements: Is it okay to say that my summer REU was the best time I remember having in my entire life (literally)? In particular, for the two separate cases of applying to the REU university and to other places. As a side note, I am fairly outgoing and I expect my...
  36. M

    What exactly do I talk about in my personal statement?

    Hi guys, I'm working on my personal statement. I'm a math and cs major, and I'm going to apply to grad schools apply in theoretical computer science. I'm trying to figure out how I should format my statement, what I should talk about, etc. I don't want to make it sound like everyone else's...
  37. B

    Unusual background, need perspective & personal statement advice

    Ok, I'm applying for fall 2013 PhD programs and one masters (at an institution that funds its MS students!) in astronomy, specifically planetary science. I'm a somewhat nontraditional applicant and need some perspective on my application. I majored in English and minored in Astrophysics, but...
  38. L

    Schools Graduate school Personal Statement length if word count not given?

    My word count right now is around 1200 words. Some applications say 1-2 pages, or "briefly describe x y and z" which my statement definitely falls into (slightly less than 2 pages). None of them explicitly give a word count, but I'm worried that I should still try to keep it under 1000 words...
  39. L

    Schools Graduate school personal statement- how specific about field of interest?

    I'm working on writing my graduate school application right now. It was easy to talk about my academic qualifications and all the research I have done. But I don't know how specific I need to get when talking about what I'm interested in. I'm a chemistry major. I have a broad interest in...
  40. L

    Any advice on how/if I should address some issues on my personal statement?

    So I've got a very strong GPA/CV, I've had quite a few professors tell me they'll write me good letters of recommendation, and I've got a solid 2 years of research experience with one (maybe two) publications. I'm doing my best to prepare for the GRE, all I have left to do is write my personal...
  41. G

    Help needed: difference between record of achievement and personal statement

    urgent help needed: difference between record of achievement and personal statement I want to apply to a research fellow position where they asked for -A statement of research interests -A cover letter - A record of achievements (ROA) Is the record of achievements different from the personal...
  42. U

    Personal statement critique, honesty appreciated

    Hi all, I am about to send in my transfer app and I was hoping that someone to look over my PS. You don't have to worry about grammar too much as I will have my English professor father in law 'grade me' but your thoughts or suggestions would be very much appreciated! I am not overly happy...
  43. B

    Physics REU personal statement help.

    Hey everyone I would appreciate any sort of criticism for my personal statement. I am currently applying to 9 REUs and I hope to get into at least one. Right now I wrote a very general statement and for each school I will personalize them. I hope this is at least a good start. Other than any...
  44. E

    Mechanical Engineering personal statement

    I am very interested in pursuing a career in Mechanical Engineering, and I am in the process of writing my Personal Statement for universities. However, I am not sure what would be good to include, I have around 1 month until the deadline for applications, and in that time I would like to do...
  45. E

    Mechanical Engineering personal statement

    I am very interested in pursuing a career in Mechanical Engineering, and I am in the process of writing my Personal Statement for universities. However, I am not sure what would be good to include, I have around 1 month until the deadline for applications, and in that time I would like to do...
  46. Simfish

    Mentioning incomplete research on personal statement?

    Okay, so one year ago, I did a small project with an applied math professor. Basically, what I did was write a program (in C, for speed) to simulate neural spiking (basically, when sufficiently depolarized, the neuron will "fire" and generate an action potential). The program then computed the...
  47. M

    CERN internship personal statement

    Hello, I am trying to write a personal statement for a summer internship at CERN. The question is: "Explain why you want to p?articipate in this program and describe what you hope to get out of it." Should I be very specific about one thing that interests me? Because there are about...
  48. A

    UCtransfer: essay and personal statement

    As I am preparing for transfer to UCs, I know they require essay and personal statement? what should I write on my essay and what should I write on my personal statement? Are they even two different things or same? Some people say that they are two different, but when I read about it on UC...
  49. Simfish

    Has anyone ever mentioned Physics Forums on a personal statement?

    Yes, I know it's a *silly* idea. But I'm just curious ;)
  50. B

    Writing a Personal Statement when undecided about area of research

    I'm writing personal statements for my grad school applications, and in most of the threads in this forum giving advice for personal statements, they say to add a paragraph talking about specifically what research at that university interests you, and what professors you might like to work with...