Although there is not standardized personal statement format, it is good to structure it in such a way that it could easily achieve the purpose. A good example of a personal statement should take the following into consideration.
Be Objective: Don’t write out-of-point. Write in a logical manner that conveys your experience and what it means to you.
Lessons Learnt: Give meaning to your experiences; what you learnt and how it affected your career, education and life. Also, extrapolate those experiences into the future.
Specific: Be specific. Narrate experiences with words that can be explained properly and aligns with the statement.
No Negativity: If you desire to mention a herculean in your personal statement, it is important to describe it using the STAR method. Describe the situation and how it affected you, the task at hand during this period, the action you took to mitigate it and the result achieved. Through this process you present yourself as an over-comer even in difficult situations.
WHAT TO DO WHEN WRITING A STATEMENT OF PURPOSE
RESEARCH SKILLS: Discuss the research you have conducted, title of the work, your responsibilities, with whom were you working with, and the outcome. It is important you display technicality as professors are likely to read these statements. Use terms they are familiar with as it portends someone who has some knowledge in the field (P.S. You don’t have more knowledge than they do).
WORK EXPERIENCE: Discuss your work experience(s) and how it deals with the aspect of research. You might be asking, what if my work experience is different from my graduate program? Take them through what you did, how it affected you and what you learnt. Also, pinpoint the fact that you have been in a different industry, and such an experience(s) broadens your thought and industry outlook.
RELEVANT OFF-WORK EXPERIENCE: Discuss your activities beyond the workplace. If you graduated and worked prior to opting for graduate studies, describe what you have doing: Could it be volunteering or prepping a group of students for exams? Include it and indicate how the experience; why you did it and how it helped you.
ELABORATE ON YOUR ACADEMIC INTERESTS: Here, you talk more on what you would like to study in graduate school in detail to convince the faculty that you understand the scope of research in their discipline, and are engaged with current research themes.
a) Mention your area of research interests. You could hypothetically define a problem you would like to address, and questions that arises from researches around.
b) Research on the web for information about the faculties and departments you’re interested in, the staff and their research portfolio. Do they align with yours? If yes, mention it. You could also mention the researcher you desire to work with.
c) Finalise your statement on a positive note, indicating your motivation and willingness for the challenges ahead.
By UCHECHI. M