Writing the personal statement is among the most formidable of all the tasks you face when applying to graduate or professional school, from choosing universities to preparing for and choosing standardized tests, from soliciting recommendations to having transcripts sent out. Let’s face it: the admission process for graduate and professional schools is more competitive today than ever. The increase in application has been especially dramatic in recent years. Admissions officials recognize that “the numbers,” (GPAs and test scores) don’t tell the whole story about the candidate. A personal statement for scholarships is the only way an admission committee can strip away numbers to uncover the human candidate.

A personal statement provides an account of who you are, what you have accomplished within your own experiences and opportunities, and what you intend to accomplish during graduate school and beyond. As such, writing a compelling personal statement is an essential step in the journey toward securing educational funding. Crafting this document involves more than just showcasing academic achievements. It requires a deep introspection of one’s experiences, aspirations, and the unique qualities that set the applicant apart.

Knowing how to write a personal statement for scholarships effectively can unlock numerous opportunities for aspiring students. This piece of writing should reflect the student’s academic and professional goals and convey their passion, drive, and the impact they aspire to make in their field or community. If you must prepare one, note that crafting a personal statement that resonates with the scholarship committee requires a blend of honesty, clarity, and creativity. It’s a chance to tell a compelling story, one that highlights resilience, dedication, and the vision for one’s future.

This guide examines 12 essential tips to help you create a personal statement that stands out, engages the readers, and significantly enhances their chances of winning a scholarship.

Things to Consider When Writing a Personal Statement

As hard as it’s to write in general, it’s even more difficult to write about oneself. But don’t be discouraged. We have advised many applicants and assure you that everyone has problems composing these statements. If you know anyone who cranks one out in two hours without agonizing over what he or she is writing, chances are they’ve learned the tricks and tips of writing a personal statement. Good ones take time. Bad ones can sabotage your chances of securing that scholarship.

A well-crafted personal statement can open doors to educational and professional opportunities, which makes it an invaluable component of any application. In order to write a winning personal statement, there are several key factors to consider:

  • Understand the purpose of the statement
  • Reflect on your unique identity
  • Balance professionalism and personality
  • Have a clear structure
  • Be authentic and honest 

12 Tips to Write a Personal Statement for Scholarships

Good personal statements are tough to write. A compelling personal statement is more than just an academic summary; it’s a narrative that weaves your experiences, aspirations, and personality together. Here are 12 tips to help you write a good personal statement for scholarships and keep the task in perspective:

  1. Understand the scholarship criteria: Before you begin, you must understand what the scholarship committee is looking for. Tailor your personal statement to align with the mission and values of the scholarship. Doing so shows that you’re a suitable candidate genuinely interested in what the scholarship stands for.
  2. Be specific: Admissions representatives have seen it all. There’s no new concept to them. However, you can still make your statement stand out by illustrating your assertions with examples. It is important to avoid generalized statements, such as “I would be a great doctor because I have an excellent work ethic.”
  3. Show, don’t just tell: Use specific examples to illustrate your points. Instead of simply stating that you’re a hard worker, describe a situation where you demonstrated hard work. This approach makes your personal statement essay for scholarships more engaging and convincing.
  4. Avoid clichés: For instance, medical schools do not want to hear that you want to “help people.” This statement is overused and not a strong enough reason to admit you into the school. Remember, the personal statement aims to set you apart from other candidates. 
  5. Reflect on your experiences: many applicants fail to remember or include facts (experiences, events, and achievements) that are extremely relevant, either to their career choice or application, in terms of explaining what makes them tick. Discuss experiences that have shaped your goals and character.
  6. Clearly highlight your accomplishments: While humility is important, don’t hesitate to talk about your achievements. You should mention awards, recognitions, and significant accomplishments and explain their relevance to the scholarship.
  7. Find an angle: If you’re like most people, your life story might lack significant drama. So, finding a way to make the statement interesting is a big challenge. Find a “hook” for your essay, a controlling idea that ties it together. It could be a story or an interesting characteristic.
  8. Discuss your career goals: Clearly articulate your career aspirations and how the college scholarship will help you achieve them. This shows that you have a plan and are committed to using the scholarship for its intended purpose.
  9. Use professional writing services: If you’re struggling with writing, consider getting help from professional personal statement writers on CustomWritings, for example. They provide guidance, editing, or drafting assistance to ensure your personal statement is polished and effective. They can also provide you with examples and samples of successful personal statements.
  10. Tell a story: A personal statement is (in many cases) just that: a sort of story. By this, I don’t mean you should fabricate or invent anything. Be truthful and stick to the facts. Just think in terms of telling a story. If your statement is fresh, lively, different – not to mention articulate – you’ll be putting yourself way ahead of the pack.
  11. Keep it concise: Be sure to stick to the word limit and ensure your personal statement is concise and to the point. Long-winded essays can lose the reader’s interest. Ensure that every sentence adds value to your statement.
  12. Proofread and edit: Errors in your personal statement writing can detract from its impact. The first thing you should do is click on the spell check button. Once that is complete, read your statement aloud. This ensures that your paper makes sense and flows correctly. Next, take the time to review your writing with a fine-tooth comb and correct any spelling/grammatical errors. Top of Form

Personal Statement Format for Scholarships

It’s important to adhere to a format that showcases your experiences and aspirations clearly and compellingly when crafting a personal statement for college scholarships. The format of your personal statement plays a significant role in how the scholarship committee perceives your narrative. Typically, a personal statement should be short and concise. It should not exceed one or two pages. It’s advisable to use a standard font and size, with clear paragraph breaks and margins that make the text easy to read. Start with a title that encapsulates the essence of your personal statement to immediately engage the reader. Whether you’re a high school student or a post-grad applicant, the format is largely the same. It must emphasize clarity and coherence. 

The general structure of the personal statement has three parts:

  • Part I: Introduction

The Hook: This could be a story, quote, surprising statement, etc., that sets the stage for the rest of your statement.

Thesis Statement: The hook should transition into a thesis statement, which describes the overall theme of the personal statement. It is important to stick to one theme.

  • Part II: Body

This section is the bulk of your statement. It should address the thesis statement and answer the question posed on the application. Using your theme, you should address why you would be a good candidate for the college scholarship and how you know you will succeed. Address your strengths, experiences, and accomplishments. It is important to use specific examples from your experiences to support your statements. Avoid making assumptions, using clichés, or stating the obvious.

  • Part III: Conclusion

Conclude the statement by summarizing everything that was previously addressed. The last sentence or two should relate to the hook. Make sure that the reader is not left hanging. 

Take the Next Step!

Personal statements are a challenging genre of writing, but the rewards for writing yours well are certain to be worth it. Don’t undersell yourself, don’t be afraid to stand out, and don’t worry about sounding “too braggy.” Remember, the effort and thought you put into your personal statement can significantly impact your pursuit of educational funding.

Published on Nov 20, 2023