What is a Graduate Personal Statement?

A graduate personal statement is a simple yet descriptive piece of essay writing which comprises the major ideas or goals of a graduate student while applying for an admission to his or her preferred graduate school in order to acquire a PhD or Masters degree. Also known as a goal statement for graduate school, it is a beneficial literary piece to be presented to a graduate school admissions committee as it provides them crucial details about the applicant and the reason why he or she deserves to be accepted into their school.

According to a 2016 survey report released by University of Michigan’s Math Doctoral Program, they had a 17.2% acceptance rate, while their master’s program had a much higher 31.8% rate. Thus, it is very important for graduate students who want to obtain their PhD or Masters degree to develop an effective graduate personal statement for their successful application.

Different Types of  Graduate Personal Statements

Getting admitted these days for graduate and professional schools is becoming more competitive than ever. Due to a declining rate of entry-level job market for recent college graduates, there exists a dramatic increase in applications to these schools. Many schools are searching for more than proficient test takers as they are also searching for people who are articulate, distinctive, and interesting possessing diverse ambitions, backgrounds, interests and perspectives. However, what are different types of graduate personal statements that you need to create? Below are different types of graduate personal statements that you may consider:

1. Fresh Graduate Personal Statement

As a fresh graduate in college, perhaps you want to send your application to your preferred graduate school as you aim to extend your bachelor’s degree to the next level. A well-written, and thoughtful personal statement will help you to start reaching your aspiration and elevate yourself above the crowd. Write about your academic experiences, project experiences, extracurricular activities, and other experiences that are essential to your application. Talk about your interests and focus on explaining your selected area of study that will guide you towards your career aspirations. Explain why you selected this school and why you want to be admitted to their program.

2. Personal Statement for Masters or PhD

Do you want to get a master of arts degree or master of business administration? Maybe you are considering getting a PhD in information technology or in social work. Actually, there has been a noticeable rise in some doctoral degrees as emerging jobs have taken over the market. A 2014 report has shown that there are 54,070 research doctorates awarded by American universities and it appears to be the highest total number in the 58 years. The numbers imply that the bar is rising quickly for many high-demand jobs. So, create an enticing personal statement for a Masters or PhD application.

3. Postgraduate Personal Statement

Some graduate schools and universities require more than 500 words in a postgraduate personal statement. Other educational institutions set a particular character limit instead of a certain word count. When you prepare a postgraduate personal statement, you don’t need to include sufficient autobiographical details. You should concentrate on telling why you prefer to study a specific program and why you have the potential to successfully finish the course. Also, address how your undergraduate study has prepared you for a postgraduate course by citing your independent work like dissertation.

4. Special Education Graduate Personal Statement

Are you interested in seeking a Master’s degree in Special Education? Linda Wilmshurst and Alan W. Brue wrote in The Complete Guide to Special Education: Expert Advice on Evaluations, IEPs, and Helping Kids Succeed that special education can be a complex and sometimes frustrating process for children with special needs. In order to possess an advanced graduate degree in Special Education, the applicant should have a Bachelor’s degree in psychiatry. Developing a compelling special education graduate personal statement will help you to prove yourself and the school admissions committee about your skills and experiences to fully support the needs of children with disabilities. 

Benefits of a Graduate Personal Statement

Did you know that business PhD holders earn 9% more over their lifetimes than people with only master’s degrees while that number rises to 24%  in education?  This helps a person to achieve his or her chosen degree. Also, one way of preparing for your journey in entering graduate school is writing a graduate personal statement efficiently. But, what are some of the notable benefits of a graduate personal statement? You can read the details as follows:

1. Highlights the Essence 

Writing a graduate personal statement is a process that will guide the readers such as the school admission committee to learn and decipher the essence and the fundamental points of the personal statement. A cohesive and inspiring graduate personal statement for your selected graduate school illustrates a clear and comprehensive narrative of yourself and why you are applying for a specific graduate program.  Thus, it is beneficial in highlighting the essence of your graduate school application.

2. Provides Better Insight

This piece of writing will help the admission committee to know about the applicant beyond the standard details of graduate school application materials. It significantly provides better insight into the applicant’s reasons for pursuing a particular degree program such as commitment, long term goals and determination.

3. Convinces the Admission Committee

Writing a compelling graduate school personal statement is helpful in convincing the admission committee of your great passion and determination for your preferred field or your longtime aspiration for a particular degree so that you can fulfill your dreams. That’s why you need to include a noteworthy story or anecdote to showcase your abilities and commitment to the reader. So, explain your desire in pursuing a particular degree in the field to which you are applying with a moving story that will be remembered by the reader.

Basic Components of a Graduate Personal Statement 

In this section, you will learn how to craft an impeccably-written graduate personal statement so that you are able to draw the attention of the readers of your personal statement which include the graduate school admission committee. However, a graduate personal statement contains different kinds of components. Take into account of the following elements of graduate personal statement outline for you to create a one-of-a-kind document:

Personal Background and Academic Experiences: The most integral component of a graduate personal statement is the personal background and academic experiences. It presents a striking statement of your prior academic experiences, project experiences, internships or research experiences, leadership and extracurricular involvement, and any other relevant experiences. Emphasize any techniques or skill sets that are linked to the program to which you are applying. Make sure that you not just share your personal experiences but highlight how those experiences have prepared you for graduate school. Description of Your Interests and Specific Area of Study: Make sure that you point out why you need this specific degree and area of study to advance your career goals and aspirations. Include some of your major interests along with the name of your professors and their area of focus. Clarify what you prefer about this certain degree and program and why. Explanation of Your Preference: Mention why you want to attend this specific school and department and study under certain faculty members. Have some prior conversations with the faculty members who ignite your interests before the preparation of your graduate school application. Doing this will guide you in referencing those conversations in your graduate personal statement. Future Career Goals: It is crucial that you clearly articulate what you like to do with your advanced degree, and why you need this particular education in order to accomplish the type of opportunities you are interested in. Select a few areas of your preferred program that definitely call to you and point out those. It is essential that you have a clear direction and specific path when creating your graduate personal statement. Professionalism: While writing your graduate personal statement, you need to maintain the professional tone of the document, and avoid making it sound casual. Keep a friendly tone with a proper balance of formality. Be mindful, responsible, and ethical at all times.

How to Write a Graduate Personal Statement

Who will read my essay? How will my goal statement be evaluated? Should I just play it safe and say what they like to hear? Perhaps there are times that you have these questions running in your mind. Well, it is natural and common that you feel anxious and worried as a graduate school applicant. Remember that creating an appealing graduate personal statement for your school application is a worthwhile opportunity for you to sell yourself to your preferred school.  In this matter, we suggest that you follow the simple steps below while freely using one of our graduate personal statement samples in this article:

Step 1: Be Observant and Read the Guidelines Carefully

The first step you need to do is to be a keen observer as you read the guidelines of the graduate school carefully. To accomplish this, your goal statement or personal statement should bring the essential details on why you chose a particular graduate degree or program like fine arts, engineering, nursing, psychology, or any other type of program. Each application in varying schools will ask you questions in a different way because each graduate program has different expectations of students and varying approaches when it comes to training. So, we suggest that you avoid word-processing one personal statement and submit it to every program. 

Step 2: Think Like a Professional

Next, your personal essay for your graduate school or graduate personal statement  application should not be misconstrued as your personal essay about your life philosophy or any topics available out there. Instead, you should think like a professional by making your statement refined and paralleled to your career goals, academic and work experiences, interest areas, research experiences, academic objectives, and more. If you want to be a professional psychologist, write about your professional activities and experiences concerning your goals and aspirations in this medical career.

Step 3: Meet the Requirements of the Graduate Program

For example, if your selected graduate program wants you to highlight research, then you must point out your research interests and experiences. If they like you to demonstrate your clinical work, emphasize the development of your interests and your training experiences to date. It is critical that you demonstrate how your preferred graduate program meets your needs and prove to them that their program is the optimal place to continue pursuing your graduate studies.

Step 4: Demonstrate Accuracy. Creativity and Coherence

Demonstrating accuracy allows you to write the content of your graduate personal statement precisely while reflecting your own values. Your graduate school personal statement must be supported by tangible evidence with the addition of creative storytelling. State facts about your academic experiences and interests and why it matters for your graduate school application. On the other hand, coherence is integral in maintaining the smooth flow of the sentences together. You may use some devices to conjugate ideas within each sentence and paragraph so that you are able to construct the logical bridge between words, sentences, and paragraphs.

Step 5: Structure Your Graduate Personal Statement into a Compelling Theme

Clarity, focus, and passion in graduate personal statements or personal essays are fundamental elements that graduate selection committees prefer to see. To indicate clear thought, sensible planning and self-direction in your graduate personal statements, you should structure your personal statement into a compelling theme.  We suggest that you integrate the training philosophy of the graduate program into your graduate personal statement. 

Step 6: Prepare the Final Draft

Allow yourself sufficient time to draft. Expect that your statement will have to undergo multiple revisions.  Ask for some help from your work colleagues and other writing professionals such as editors, copywriters and proofreaders for effective proofreading and revision of your graduate school personal statement. After that, prepare the final draft of your graduate personal statement. Then, submit your graduate personal statement along with other application requirements to the graduate school admission committee.


What are the different types of graduate personal statements?

The different types of graduate personal statements are fresh graduate personal statement, personal statement for Masters, postgraduate personal statement, special education graduate personal statement, psychiatry graduate personal statement, graduate nursing school personal statement, graduate diploma in law personal statement, graduate entry medicine personal statement, and many more.

What are the fundamental elements of a graduate personal statement?

When preparing your graduate personal statement, you need to choose a topic that you want to showcase to the admission department of your selected graduate school. Define your career and research goals and other reasons why you like to apply for a specific graduate program. Share with them your personal experiences about your difficulties and how you obtained new skills and improvement from them.

What are some examples of a graduate personal statement?

Some examples of a graduate personal statement are graduate programs in humanities personal statement, graduate school crafting personal statement, graduate program in health personal statement,  graduate school essay personal statement, engineering graduate school personal statement, graduate school of education personal statement, graduate applicant personal statement, and graduate school personal goal statement.

How long should a graduate personal statement be?

Typically, a graduate personal statement has around 250 to 750 words. Graduate students should make their personal statements almost one half to one full page. However, every school has their own requirements and specific guidelines.

What is the difference between a personal statement and a personal essay?

A personal statement provides a creative and thorough explanation of the purpose behind a college or university application, as well as relaying some valuable autobiographical details about its author. On the other hand, a personal essay contains well-structured information that usually deals with a certain subject or topic.

Any graduate school admissions official will tell you that there really is no right or wrong response when it comes to writing a graduate personal statement. Still, most of the graduate school and universities are searching for some insight into an applicant’s persona, hoping to get a glimpse of the human being behind the data in their file. When writing a clear and enticing graduate personal statement, make sure that it should evoke a mental image of your overall personality. Strive for depth in your personal statement and focus on one or two specific themes. Thus, we recommend that you carefully follow the aforementioned tips and steps in this article so that you are able to craft a compelling and graduate personal statement. Plus, download our sample graduate personal statements here today!