PERSONAL STATEMENT: How do I get ideas for writing a personal statement?

For many scholarship and graduate school applications, a personal statement (referred to by other names such as statement of purpose, scholarship essay) is a key component of the application. Some applications might require you to write one long essay. Others might expect you to answer two or three questions in a set number of words.

Whatever the requirement, a personal statement is often your chance show why you make an excellent candidate. But how should you start writing your draft? Over the next few blog posts, we will be sharing on how to start writing and thereafter refining your draft.

To start off, here are two questions you can ask yourself to help you generate ideas for your personal statement:

  1. What question keeps you up at night? This was a question that one of my professors in undergrad asked me, and it has always stuck with me. What is one thing that you are passionate about right now? What are you always thinking about? What sparks your curiosity? Answering this question will help you write from your heart.

  2. How do the questions that keep you up at night relate to the scholarship criteria? You can only get a scholarship if you write to the scholarship. Carefully read the selection criteria of the scholarship. If the scholarship wants individuals who have engaged politically, then you must also show evidence of how you have engaged politically. The questions that keep you up at night need to align with the scholarship requirements.

Take some time to brainstorm the questions that keep you up at night. Hopefully, this will come easy to you. Write out your questions. How do these questions match up to the scholarship criteria?

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