Reading examples of personal statements can be valuable when applying to a university or college course.
After all, personal statement examples can teach you how to write and structure your application, and you can quickly learn how to write a personal statement by examining others.
But with so many university personal statement examples available, how do you know if you’re reading a good one?
Postgraduate personal statements should highlight relevant academic and practical experience, research skills and ambitions and their suitability for the course. This postgraduate personal statement example for Applied English considers these three critical elements.
Studying master’s degree personal statement examples can be especially valuable. They’re sometimes referred to as personal mission statements or statements of purpose, so if you’re tasked with writing a personal mission statement, the following example will work for you.
I’ve broken down this personal statement example section by section, with a commentary on each element.
That way, you’ll see its strengths and weaknesses and get some inspiration for your own personal statement.
Once you’ve read the personal statement example and analysis, you can download a pdf of the whole document to use as inspiration for your own!
Postgraduate Personal Statement Example: Applied English
Personal Statement Example: Introduction
“I became particularly interested in pursuing higher education during my high school years. It was during this time that I discovered a love of academia and the opportunities for self-development and transformation that learning offers. However, my interest in Norse literature and the Viking age has continued to develop since I studied World History in 8th grade. The depth and impact of this era of history piqued my interest, lighting a fire that would lead me to consume every piece of information on the subject possible, starting with The Saga of Erik the Red.
Gaining a place in the MA in Applied English Programme (online) at Slater University will allow me to engage in detailed research and reading, focus on Norse and Viking Studies and add to my already significant knowledge of this fascinating era. My interest in this specialisation can be further evidenced through the considerable emphasis on Medieval Europe throughout my transcript and my further reading of materials such as the Eddas, many of the Sagas, and publications such as “The Viking World,” edited by Stefan Brink and Neil Price.”
My Commentary and Analysis
The writer makes a positive start to this personal statement example by identifying a moment that defined their interest in the subject. That can work very well in a personal statement introduction, as it connects the writer with the subject matter on a personal level and can create an effective link with the reader.
They go on to mention a relevant text, and although they don’t go into any details about the value they gained from it, how it developed their interests or which other texts they have read, it’s a sound start.
This personal statement example is quite short and likely to be written to a purposely low word count, which may account for the lack of development in places.
The second paragraph then outlines key reasons behind the application to join this particular faculty, and the writer makes connections between their reading, experience and suitability, which are convincing.
Again, further evidence of academic study is of great value here, as is the sense of the importance and relevance of this particular course to this applicant’s development. When admissions teams can see a strong personal connection and that the writer has clearly researched and understood the course, they are far more likely to make an achievable offer.
If you’re struggling with your personal statement introduction, check out my article on how to write perfect opening paragraphs here.
Personal Statement Example: Academic Background
“My suitability for a place in this course is further underlined by my experience researching the medieval period and studying Viking mythology during my undergraduate study at the University of Buckley. In particular, classes such as Medieval European Civilization 450-1350 (led by Dr Laura Devonish) and Viking Mythology (led by Dr April Knight) have given me a sound theoretical and historical understanding of this field and prepared me thoroughly for the demands of postgraduate study. In addition to the depth of specialist knowledge I developed during my degree, I have improved my ability to achieve high levels of advanced project planning, research, implementation and writing up through dedicated independent study.”
My Commentary and Analysis
The writer starts this next paragraph by explicitly writing about their suitability for the course. This is particularly successful as a strategy as it connects the candidate with suitability in the mind of the admissions reader.
They then go on to outline the academic research they have undertaken, the professors they have worked with and a range of independent and transferable study skills.
These are positive and valuable to include, but to increase their validity, the writer could have made their value even clearer by indicating exactly how these experiences would have been of value to them (and possibly their peers) as a postgraduate student. This would have clarified their relevance and added even more legitimacy to their suitability.
If you’d like to learn more about structuring your personal statement or statement of purpose, you can read my complete guide to writing a master’s degree personal statement here.
Alternatively, click on the image below to download a free template for structuring your writing.
Personal Statement Example: Motivation for Application 1
“I am confident that this programme will provide me with the advanced tools necessary to become an increasingly accomplished and respected scholar capable of comprehensive research and original, informed conclusions. Carefully examining many of the university’s critical and ground-breaking publications, such as “Berserkir: A Re-examination of the Phenomenon in Literature and Life” by Jim Crawford, has deepened my ambition and inspired me to work with and learn from Dr Mary Marshall, who supervised this work. This course also offers me the opportunity to produce a research paper in either phase two or three. My current research focus is on the rapid Christianisation of the Vikings and how it affected interactions with the English and French during the period. It is likely that this interest will form the foundations of my postgraduate research proposal.
Studying within your renowned English department will also allow me to achieve my goal of reading for a PhD and contributing to publications that shed new light on Anglo-Scandinavian culture and mythology in the Viking Age. It is my goal to regularly contribute meaningful research to scholarly journals such as the Scandinavian Journal of History, the Scandia Journal of Medieval Norse Studies, and the Viking Society for Northern Research. Consequently, I anticipate that participating in this postgraduate programme will furnish me with the tools and skills required to engage successfully in the publishing process.”
Commentary and Analysis
This section of the personal statement focuses on the research opportunities available on the course being applied for. Critically, the writer shows that they have researched faculty publications and have identified particular members of staff that they intend to work with.
Outlining their own research ambitions is a positive tactic in a master’s degree personal statement, as it shows an ongoing commitment to the subject and a continuing desire to deepen knowledge and skill in a subject.
The writer’s research and publication ambitions link fully with the course content, creating a logical and purposeful link between the two.
Check out lots more examples of personal statements here, and see how they can inspire your application!
Personal Statement Example: Motivation for Application 2
“The online delivery of this MA degree will allow me to continue to work as a high school history teacher throughout my period of study. This is a role which I consider a calling as well as a passion, and it is a career I have aspired to since my high school days, when I connected with some of the kindest and most inspiring teachers and role models I’ve had the pleasure to meet. I am confident that I will be able to successfully balance my professional responsibilities with the demands of this master’s course and subsequently achieve the challenging goals I have set for myself.”
My Commentary and Analysis:
This is a fairly general paragraph that clarifies the applicant’s capacity to manage the demands of the course, which in this case is online.
Reiterating that they currently teach history also reinforces the writer’s interest in this field and deepens their credibility. It makes logical sense to an admissions reader that ongoing education is important to this applicant and that they are well-qualified to succeed.
The one thing that all successful personal statements have in common is that they are concise, engaging and accurate in spelling, punctuation and grammar. Consequently, I always recommend Grammarly to my students and clients.
It’s an outstanding tool for ensuring your personal statement is rich with detail whilst hitting those all-important word limits. Check out the latest version of Grammarly here, or hit the banner for more information.
Personal Statement Example: Conclusion
“It is clear to me that Slater’s Applied English programme is an ideal fit for my personal and professional ambitions and offers me a valuable opportunity to deepen my knowledge of a subject to which I am already committed. It will allow me to follow my firmly held and deep-rooted passion for Norse and Viking Studies and aid me in my ambition to become an active scholar in the historical community. This course is the next step in my journey towards my professorship and my goal of combining my passion for teaching and Norse and Viking studies in the higher education sector. I look forward to studying with and learning from a range of inspirational faculty staff and sharing my skills, knowledge and experiences with like-minded peers through online workshops and discussions. I find it difficult, to the point of impossibility, to think of a programme that I would rather work towards my masters in. I look forward to moving into the next step of the application process and embarking on my first class in September.”
My Commentary and Analysis
This is possibly the weakest paragraph in this personal statement example. There is very little new material included – most of the content is repeated or rephrased.
The writer mentions working well with their peers, which is sensible to acknowledge, but none of this really adds any depth or value.
This personal statement would have been more balanced if the writer had reduced the length of this conclusion and added further depth and detail in previous paragraphs. That way, they could have discussed the value of their research, added a range of transferable skills and considered the value they would bring to the faculty as a student, all of which is missing in this personal statement example.
For more great advice, check out my article on writing an excellent final personal statement paragraph here.
Whether you’re looking for personal mission statement examples or an example of personal purpose statement, I hope this personal statement example has been helpful. Above all, I wish you every success in your academic career.
If you’d like to work with me to develop your personal statement 1:1 and write a powerful mission statement, I’d be delighted to hear from you.
Find out about my personal statement support services by clicking here or on the image below.
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