Writing Project Personal Statement

by EssayShark Tutors


Writing Project #1: Personal Statement

for Internships, Graduate School, jobs & Other Professional Development Opportunities

Many applications for internships, graduate school, scholarships, and study abroad programs require a personal statement about you, why you are interested in pursuing the position/degree, and why you should be chosen. Since each application will have its own specific questions and guidelines, reading the complete instructions carefully before composing your personal statement is essential. As with resumes and cover letters, personal statements need to be tailored to the specific applications. If you apply for more than one opportunity, you will likely write a different personal statement for each application to ensure it meets each audience’s expectations and requirements.

Personal statements are often the basis for interview questions, so be prepared to respond to queries about what you have written and clearly remember the details you included.

A personal statement should tell a story about you and attract your readers with an effective opening paragraph. Capturing and maintaining the audience’s interest is essential or your application will be passed over.

Most important in a personal statement and contrary to what intuitively you think would impress, such as awards, scholarships, degrees, sports victories, etc., is GROWTH, MATURITY, AND CONFLICT. Read the personal statements on the Wheaton college link. These are not laundry lists of good deeds, but instead stories of how people overcame problems in their life and grew in the process.

We will look at various sources for writing an effective personal statement, including examples, what to include, and what to avoid. Remember that the examples are other people’s work and representations of themselves. While you may refer to the examples as helpful models, you must compose your own original statement to avoid plagiarism. After all, the purpose is to sell yourself and stand out from all the other candidates.

  1. Find a current application for an internship, graduate school, scholarship, or study abroad program that interests you and requires a personal ASU’s Career Link and the W. P. Carey School of Business site have a variety of options to begin your search.
  1. Read the application carefully and note specific questions that relate to the personal statement in particular and/or the application in You will need to address your audience’s (i.e., the selection committee’s) expectations and requirements in your personal statement.
  1. Have at least 8 sentences begin with participles. See my discussion on passive voice and participles in Content.


The personal statement will be 2 full-pages, double-spaced with 1-inch margins. (This is about 500 words.) Use 11- or 12-point font in Times New Roman or Arial. Include an appropriate heading or title at the top, such as

Statement of Intent by Jane Austen

for (insert name of school/program/internship/employer as applicable) (Date)

Make sure your name is on the second page as well (use the header or footer feature in your Word document). The final draft will be submitted as a Word document.

FYI: Personal statements can also be included in online professional portfolios, such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Digication, and personal websites. Keep this in mind after completing WP# 1, since you may want to revise the statement to reach more audiences beyond the specific degree program or internship application.

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