Personal Statement Examples

A lot of colleges require students to include personal statements with their applications. For some students, writing personal statements can be very challenging. It can be tough to figure out how to get started. In this post, I’ll tell you how to write a personal statement and give you some personal statement examples.

A personal statement should be exactly what the title implies…personal. This is your opportunity to tell the college admissions committee about yourself – your hopes, dreams, ambitions, and life experiences. This is also your chance discuss your academic performance and how it was either negatively or positively impacted by the obstacles or opportunities that you had during high school.

You should take your time with this assignment; it should be a well written and reflective essay. Once you complete your personal statement, be sure to proofread it several times for spelling and grammatical errors. It’s also not a bad idea to let another person read your personal statement. He or she may be able to catch errors that you may have overlooked.

Now that I’ve given you some pointers on how to write a personal statement, let’s take a look at some personal statement examples:

Personal Statement Examples (1 of 5) – Court Reporter

“There was a day when my mom, who is hearing impaired and has to watch television with the closed captioning on, came to me with an article about closed captioning as a career. She mentioned something about learning court reporting, and using those skills to move into captioning.  I initially dismissed the idea, but as I continued to research careers, I decided to humor her and check it out.  To my surprise, the career sounded too good to be true, and everything I was looking for.

Another reason I became so interested in the field is that I was in a car accident two years ago, and severed my brachial artery.  This injury rendered me unable to move my thumb.  This was very frustrating, but after six months of no motion in my thumb, it began to move.  A few weeks after that, I had full use of it again.  Having played guitar for many years, I greatly enjoy using my fingers.  The idea that could find a good, stable career using my fingers appealed to me greatly.

I researched court reporting and closed captioning, which ultimately led me to enroll in the College of Court Reporting in Hobart, Indiana. My experience there has been nothing short of phenomenal, and I can feel that this is the career path that I’m meant to take.”

*Courtesy of Tennessee Court Reporters Association*

Personal Statement Examples (2 of 5) – Engineering

“Ever since I took my first math class in elementary school, math became my favorite course. As time went by, I started to think of possible math or engineering careers because it was my strongest subject.

My interest in engineering was motivated by my curiosity. Questions such as “How do people make bridges so strong so that they do not collapse as vehicles drive through them?” or “How do they know what are the best materials to build houses with?” have always been on my mind, but none of my friends could answer and did not think much of this.

My interest in engineering existed as a child although I was not aware of it. Even though I wanted to be an engineer, I was not sure I could study a discipline considered to be only for men. I stopped thinking about majoring in engineering, not because I was not interested in it, but because in some way, I believed, too, that engineering was a man’s career since I did not know of any woman in the field.

During the summer of 2008 I participated in an enrichment internship for engineering majors at Chico State University. My passion for engineering began to grow again while I was taking my first physics course and at the same time working in team projects such as building a boat out of cardboard as a competition. I learned that working with teammates makes things easier and enjoyable because all the ideas can be combined into one.

I also had the opportunity to meet more Latino women majoring in different engineering areas. We encouraged each other to realize that we are as capable as men in this field and can get along with them to find solutions to any problem. By the end of the internship, I gained more confidence and direction in my life; and I also became a stronger person with a positive attitude who will not let anything deter me from following my dreams.

After my internship experience, I began to be more aware of media reports about women who were successful in engineering. That was a motivation for me, so I started to think that if other women had done it, I could also set an objective to attain a Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering. I began to explore and read more about the different areas of engineering, but civil engineering rapidly caught my attention especially because it is an area where I can work on fascinating projects that will benefit others.

In addition, I like everything that has to do with construction, building and planning. Every time I see a construction site either of a building or road, I feel that something is pulling me towards it, I feel like I want to be involved with the people who are building structures, measuring walls, or reading plans while deciding what to do next.

Now, my main goal is to become a professional civil engineer and work with other engineers in projects that will benefit our ways of living. Moreover, I want to be a motivation for other Latino women interested in careers like engineering but grow up in a field in which men are expected to dominate.”

*Courtesy of UC-Berkley*

Personal Statement Examples (3 of 5) – Business, Finance, Computers

“Would you please get the mail,” my mother implored as I entered the door. Heading towards the mailbox, I wondered if I would find daily assortment of bills and catalogs or something interesting addressed to me. To my delight, the first item was the new issue of PC Computing. Ever since I was introduced to computers when I was five, I have been fascinated by them. The summer before my sophomore year of high school, I wrote a program called Quickchange 95 using Visual Basic. This program changed the startup and shutdown screens of Windows 95. I distributed the program via shareware archives on the Internet, and I received email from all over the world about my creation.

I shuffled through one of my mother’s clothing catalogs to find my issue of Money Magazine. I have been interested in business and finance since the day which we started studying the stock market in fifth grade. The summer before my junior year, I combined my interests in business and computers by starting a web design company with a friend. We created a web site for a local bike shop which is only one of two bike shops in Connecticut to have a presence on the Internet. Currently, I am the head web designer for my school. I intend to combine computers and business in my future career. My goal is to work on the business side of a computer firm, and eventually, I would like to start my own computer company.

A board of education letter of commendation for my participation in the FIRST robotics program also arrived today. I have been able to develop my entrepreneurial skills through the FIRST robotics program. FIRST is a national engineering competition in which partnerships are formed between local businesses and high schools to design and build a robot-like machine. The team has about six weeks to build a machine that must be able to compete in a timed sporting event. I have been involved in FIRST each year of my high school career.

Last year, I was team captain, and our team finished fourth in the country out of one hundred and fifty-six teams. As a result of my involvement with FIRST, I have improved my confidence, my leadership, and my team working abilities. FIRST gave me experience working with a diverse group of people with a variety of skills. Working alongside engineers from our sponsor company, International Fuel Cells, exposed me to the professional world beyond the classroom. I have a great appreciation for this program which has challenged me to bring out the best in myself and others.

My last piece of mail was Tennis Magazine. I began playing tennis at the age of eight. During my freshman year, I played on the junior varsity tennis team, and I received the Manchester Racquet Club deserving player award which is a scholarship for a year of indoor lessons. The next two seasons, I played on the varsity tennis team. Last year, I was named to the Hartford Courant All Academic Team. Tennis has provided a welcome diversion from my technical pursuits.

“What took you so long?” my mother asked as I entered the house. “Oh nothing, I really have to start my homework,” as I tucked my magazines under my arms and ran up the stairs.”

*Courtesy of*

Personal Statement Examples (4 of 5) – Medicine, Biomedical Engineering

I wish I had more than one life to live. There is so much that I would like to do. Ever since I was about eleven years old I’ve wanted to go into medicine so that I could help those that are ill. When I went on a tour of the prosthetics department at a local hospital, I knew that my future career would be to merge the high tech world with the crude mechanical world of prosthetics.

That is when I decided to be a Biomedical Engineer. I realized that I had the drive to work hard so that I could achieve the lofty and rewarding goal of being a Biomedical Engineer. I hope to take technology that is being developed involving the use of artificial synapses and continue the signal to a mechanical device that would, in turn, send signals back to the brain. This would help those who have lost limbs to regain their sense of touch by an artificial means.

Then I realized that by developing such a device, I could possible help others with even more threatening problems such as paraplegia or Cerebral Palsy. The effects of the development of such a device would be profound. It could literally make the lame spring with glee and the mute cheer. I knew, however, that to achieve such a ponderous goal would take an immense amount of time and dedication to my studies.

Realizing this helped me keep the dedication that I have needed over the years to stay strong in academics while also not denying the community of my services. For my main goal in life is to help others and make them smile, and to do so, it will take much learning and dedication. I believe, with the help of a good university, I will learn the skills that will make others throughout the world smile and show them the happiness that can be gained by feeling normal again and no longer feeling like a “monster” to society.

Whatever becomes of me and wherever I happen to go, I know that I will do my utmost to make the world of the future a better place for many.

*Courtesy of*

Personal Statement Examples (5 of 5) – Physics, Mathematics

A few days ago, as I was eating lunch with friends, I entered a heated debate about the worth of education. “I should not have to learn algebra and calculus because it will have no influence on my life,” my opponent angrily shouted as I tried to defend the usefulness of mathematics.

Three days later, I still mull over the issue, trying to arrive at the origin of the disparity of views between my opponent and me. I treasure every bit of knowledge I gain, in or out of school. When someone contends that a particular academic field or realm of information has no applications, I feel compelled to demonstrate the fallacy of such an argument by citing an example from my life.

As a middle-schooler in Moscow, Russia, I took English for three years. Many of my peers grumbled about having to attend the course, adamant in their belief that these skills would be never used. However, some, including myself, felt that any offer of knowledge was to be accepted and stored away for possible later use.

Lo and behold, three years after I signed up for my first English class, I found myself living in the United States, sending sincere thank you letters to my English teacher for supplying me with survival skills. If I had not taken my class seriously, my integration into the American society would have taken much longer.

My attitude toward learning has not changed since. Striving to excel in every class I take, I regard education in all areas as relevant to my life, rather than remote. I try to link each piece of new information either to my intended field of study (Physics/Mathematics) or to personal enlightenment. Living up to my motto, “The measure of learning is its application,” I prepare myself for all situations and achieve well-roundedness.

*Courtesy of*

I hope the above personal statement examples will be useful as you are completing your college applications.

PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE do not plagiarize. I spent a lot of time searching the internet to find some really good examples of personal statements so that you could see what they look like and to inspire you to get started on your own.

As always, please leave me a comment with your feedback below! I’d love to hear from you!

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Lauren Anderson is a certified school counselor who's passionate about helping students all over the world successfully transition from high school to college! After spending 6 years as a business professional, she obtained her Master’s degree in School Counseling and now spends her spare time helping students.

27 Responses to “Personal Statement Examples”

  • Winnie Mubeezi on October 29, 2011

    hello…thanks for all this. Iam a student taking IB and iam generally average or something below that. Iam scared to submit my gpa score to the university of my choice(NYU) because i don’t think they will consider me. I have good predicted grades and good explanations as to why my gpa is low and i also have good letters of recommendation. Iam doing my SATs this 4th November and iam pretty sure iam going to do great….iam confused and depressed about my gpa :( HELP ME :// thank u sooooo much!

    • TheCollegeHelper

      The College Helper on October 30, 2011

      Hi Winnie,

      Thanks for your comment! What’s your GPA? Did you take the PSAT? If so, what did you score on that? This additional information will help me provide better advice.

  • Stewart Berganza on December 2, 2011

    So i have a unweighted gpa of 2.3, and i have applied to csu and ucs. Do i still have a chance to get in? im taking my sat tomorrow and i was wondering what should be my goal score?

  • David Aguilar on May 7, 2012

    I am a current freshmen in high school and 1st semester I had gotten a 2.2 with bad math grades . Second semester I had recieved a 3.20 not exactly done with 2nd semester just yet but I had improved and ready for sophomore year . My ambition is to play college baseball or an academic scholarship and attend a good university , my question is what can I do to follow that dream and attending a 4 year university ? What can I do?

    • Madeline Fetchiet

      Madeline Fetchiet on May 7, 2012

      Hello David, thanks for writing to The College Helper!

      The good news is most colleges say they don’t strongly consider, or at all consider your grades from freshman year of high school because they know kids are still adapting.

      To be recruited as an NCAA athlete, you should continue to improve your GPA as much as possible, but again, if you’re at a 3.2 during your freshman year, you have a great start.

      To be eligible for the NCAA, you have to take certain NCAA required classes and present a good GPA. Keeping your GPA above a 3.0 is a good start.

      • David Aguilar on May 7, 2012

        I mean where do I find NCAA required courses?

        • TheCollegeHelper

          TheCollegeHelper on May 7, 2012

          Hi David,

          This website should help:

          • David Aguilar on May 8, 2012

            here are my grades
            1st 2nd 3rd six weeks : 4th 5th working on my 6th what should u do? Is it
            71 72 68 90 96. Fine or what can I do?
            70 60 82. 92 93
            78 81 100. 88 88
            78 100 95. 94 96
            73 65 63. 90 96
            82 84 93. 100 94
            96 92 99. 78 96
            93 75 71. 77 79

          • TheCollegeHelper

            TheCollegeHelper on May 9, 2012

            Hi David,

            We’re not exactly sure what you’re asking; can you please clarify? Thanks!

  • Kenya on May 31, 2012

    Hello, my name is Kenya and my junior year became my worst year of all I failed at least 65% of my classes and now I have a 1.6. Can I still get into college with a 1.6?! Also I took the ACT and received an 18. I know this isn’t the highest score but do colleges still accept people with an 18. Finally do colleges collect data from you senior year also, I plan on working extremely hard next year.

    • TheCollegeHelper

      TheCollegeHelper on May 31, 2012

      Hi Kenya,

      Thanks for visiting our site!

      Most 4 year colleges require at least a 2.0 for admission. Some colleges will accept you with an ACT score of 18, but I’m more concerned about your GPA. Depending on when you apply, some colleges will consider grades from the first semester or quarter of senior year, but I think it’s too late to raise your GPA significantly.

      I’d recommend attending a community college after high school. You only need a high school diploma to enroll in a community college. Stay there for a couple years and raise your GPA, then apply to a 4 year college. Or you might find that you’re interested in one of the certificate programs offered through the community college.

      Take some time this summer to research your local community college and see what programs are offered, then talk it over with your parents and school counselor in the Fall.

      Good luck!

  • Becks on June 1, 2012

    Hi! I study in India, and I’ve just received my results for the Grade 12 Board exams. My best of 4 is 75%
    (85% – Business Management, 84% – English, 72% – Psychology, 58% – Accountancy),

    and my average of all 5 subjects is 70.2% (52% – Economics).

    Throughout my high school life, I was underperforming due to issues with fitting in, that caused me to care more about my “friends” than my grades. This’s the best result I’ve received in 6 years.

    I’m a girl, who’s really interested in Soccer, and therefore most of my time in the last 2 years of High School was spent in lowering my weight from 84Kgs to 67 so that I could perform effectively.

    My high school team and I managed to win 2 very prestigious tournaments in India, and we came 2nd in our Nationals.

    I was wondering what my GPA would be with the above mentioned grades?

    In India, admission to any college is really tough, because of

    a) Over population and reservation of seats, and,
    b) Lack of seats and a high amount of 95+% students.

    I really want to try for admission in the United States. Is it possible to get into a good college with these grades? I’m currently taking a gap year to decide what I want to do in college and I’m also going to start practicing for the SATs shortly.

    • TheCollegeHelper

      TheCollegeHelper on June 7, 2012

      Hi Becks,

      Thanks for visiting our site! Yes, I definitely think it’s possible to get into a college in the U.S. with these grades and I think it’s great that you’re taking a year off to really nail down what you want to study in college!

      When you are ready to begin researching colleges, take a look at this article:

      Good luck with the SATs! Take care.

  • Tommy on June 7, 2012

    3 years ago in In my senior year of high school I was offered a scholarship to play baseball for a community college in Arizona but it was a case of bad timing because my mom had just got diagnosed with cancer at that time and since I had to stay close to home to help take care of her there was no way I could have moved out of state so I stayed at home and went to a local community college.My first 2 years of community college didn’t go so well academically being my mom’s primary caregiver. As a result my grades suffered immensely and I finished with a 1.38 GPA. Since then my mom’s cancer has been in remission and she insisted that I pursued my dream of going to ASU .So I moved to Arizona and enrolled in community college there to bring up my GPA. with the hopes of being able to eventually attend ASU. I’m trying to get into Arizona State University this Fall 2012 ..My major at ASU only requires a minimum GPA of 2.0.. My GPA is 2.02 but the reason why I was denied admission was because I’m considered a non-resident and as a non-resident ASU requires a minimum GPA of 2.5 .Any suggestions as to what I can possibly do to be able to enroll this Fall at ASU? I don’t know if I can handle borrowing another years worth of student loans at a community college in Arizona not to mention the fact that I’m a baseball player and I only have 2 years of eligibility left to play at a 4 year university which would mean I would have to sit out another year from baseball..Any suggestions??

    • TheCollegeHelper

      TheCollegeHelper on June 7, 2012

      Hi Tommy,

      Thanks for visiting our site!

      Looks like you’re in a bit of a pickle. Why are they still considering you a “non-resident?” Is it because you have to live in AZ for a certain period of time to be considered a resident? (i.e. 2 year or something?)

      Typically first-year students have to write a personal statement or essay and I would recommend they include any family illnesses or any other life-altering situations that impact their GPA in that part of the application. However I’m assuming, as a transfer student, you didn’t have to submit an essay.

      In your case, I’d recommend trying to speak with an admissions representative directly to explain your situation. There’s a couple different angle. The first, of course, would be your mother’s illness and how that impacted your ability to perform to your fullest at the community college. And the second, would be to ask them to reconsider your residency and overlook the fact that you’ve only lived in AZ for a short amount of time. Lastly, have you been in contact with the ASU baseball coach? Perhaps he could advocate for you and help you navigate the transfer admissions process given your special situation.

      The absolute last resort would be to move back home and take a couple classes at your local community college to save some money and then try to reapply to ASU next year.

      I hope this helps! Glad your mother is doing better. Take care and let me know if there’s anything else I can do to assist.

      • Tommy on June 7, 2012

        Thanks for your response …Apparently just living in Arizona for a year is not enough to be a resident, which is not what I was told at the admissions office a year ago before I moved to Arizona.. …You had to have been financially independent for 2 years prior to admission at ASU along with 2 previous years of filed tax returns for verification .. And also your parents, who live in another state, cannot have claimed you on their tax returns as a dependent within 2 years prior to admission at ASU.. ..
        I mean honestly , how many incoming freshman , sophomore, juniors or even seniors from out of state have been financially independent 2 years prior to enrollment ??
        I will definitely try talking to a transfer advisor and even write an essay if they’ll accept it after I’ve already been denied enrollment for this Fall..
        One last thing , I’m back home right now for the summer in Illinois, I just started training at a part time job here and they have a branch in Arizona. They said if things work out for me here and I keep the job after my training is over and I still want to continue working with their company after I move back to Arizona for school that they would transfer me to a position at the Arizona location…which is another way for me to be considered as a resident of Arizona via an employee transfer except they still require 2 years of tax returns filed independently .. Its worth a shot ..I’ll see how it goes for now ..What are your thoughts on that?

        • TheCollegeHelper

          TheCollegeHelper on June 7, 2012

          I definitely think it’s worth a shot, as long at it’s not going to be too much of a financial strain to move back to AZ. Make sure you connect with a transfer advisor over the summer though and get his or her thoughts on that.

          Best of luck to you!

      • Tommy on June 20, 2012

        I just received an email from the transfer advisor stating that I should submit 3 letters of recommendation and a personal statement that should explain my goals and how I plan to be successful at ASU along with an explanation of my personal circumstances that affected my GPA from the previous school I attended ….I have no problem getting all this done but I’m kind of struggling with trying to explain how I plan to be successful at ASU …What exactly does that mean ? ? What are they looking for ? Do they want to know how much time I’ll devote towards studying or what my studying habits are? I currently hold a 3.0 GPA at the community college I’m at now so obviously my study habits have greatly improved since I started out there with a 1.8 GPA…. If you could give me an example of how to word this and point me in the right direction I would greatly appreciate it

  • Susie on June 8, 2012

    My question is how difficult do you think it would be to get accepted into a PsyD program for Clinical Psychology with a GPA of 3.7 and 3 excellent letters of recommendations from my previous professors , who are all doctors of Clinical Psychology , with having a status of “dismissal” on my transcript ?

    • TheCollegeHelper

      TheCollegeHelper on June 13, 2012

      Hi Susie – Thanks for visiting our site! Which PsyD program are you applying to?

      • Susie on June 16, 2012

        Mass. School of Professional Psychology …

        • TheCollegeHelper

          TheCollegeHelper on July 16, 2012

          Susie, I think GPA and letters of rec are important, but your GRE scores are also very important. See below for information found on their websites:

          “For doctoral applicants GRE results (verbal and quantitative) are expected to be at least 1150 combined or a comparable score of approximately 310 on the “REVISED” GRE. Score level for the Analytical Writing section GRE-A is expected to be 4.0 or higher. Non-native speakers of English may be required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). TOEFL results (listening, structure and writing expression, speaking and reading) combined scores are expected to be at least 637 (paper-based), 270 (computer-based) or 110 (internet-based).”

          Best of luck!

          • Susie on July 16, 2012

            So are you saying you think its possible to be admitted with a really good GRE score , 3 good letters of recommendation and a 3.7 GPA while having a
            ” Dismissed ” on my transcript?

          • TheCollegeHelper

            TheCollegeHelper on July 18, 2012

            Why do you have a “dismissed” on your transcript? What’s the background story? Knowing this will help me give you a better answer.

          • Susie on July 24, 2012

            It was due to my internship site while I was in the masters program ..They were accumulating my clinical hours unethically and inappropriately and not following APA guidelines.. Long story short , when I finally brought it to the attention of the clinical director at school I was abruptly dismissed 3 weeks later , 2 months before graduation… I went from being one of the top students in my class to all of sudden being ” Not open to feedback and unprofessional ” and in the world of psychology thats a death sentence.

            Funny thing is I appealed the decision and submitted letters from 6 of my professors at the school who in fact not only stated how open I was to feedback as well as how professional , courteous and polite I was in class along with being such an excellent student but unfortunately my appeal was denied .

            Now I’m torn with how to approach another school with “dismissed” on my transcript…Some people say not to tell the new school the reason I was dismissed because no school wants a whistle blower on their hands due to the fact that most schools have some type of unethical goings on in their closets and others tell me to tell the new school everything and hope that the new school will appreciate my morals and ethics regarding my education in this situation and hope for the best…….I don’t know what to do …

  • Nathan Rodriguez on June 25, 2012

    Hi, so I have an unweighted gpa of 3.5, got a bad sat score of 1500, im in honors have plenty enough of community service hours and are in extracurricular activities. Would this be enough to get into Colorado state university??

    • TheCollegeHelper

      TheCollegeHelper on June 26, 2012

      Hi Nathan,

      Thanks for visiting our site!

      Here are the stats for Colorado State University:
      Average high school GPA: 3.56
      SAT Critical Reading 510-620
      SAT Math 520-630

      I’d say you’re right on the border. I think a lot of it will depend on the applicant pool. I’d still apply, just be sure to have some back up (safety) schools just in case things don’t work out.

      Best of luck!

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