It’s an excellent idea to read examples of personal statements when applying to a university or college course.
This makes sense because good 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 Automation Control clearly illustrates these three critical elements.
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’ll be able to download a pdf of the whole document, to use as inspiration for your own!
Postgraduate Personal Statement Example: Automation Control
Personal Statement Example: Introduction
““Kill the middleman of necessity, push power to the edges and build systems that are equally fair for the least amongst us.” These powerful words, spoken by blockchain entrepreneur Charles Hoskinson, ignited a spark in my professional and personal life. They have led me to pursue skills and forge tools to liberate and empower local communities and global societies. I believe that manufacturing must be increasingly democratised and that distributed ledger networks will play a crucial role in bringing this reality to fruition. I am determined to play a leading role in this technological transformation, and this ambition is the motivation behind my application to read for a postgraduate degree in Automation Control and Robotics at Marshall University.”
Commentary and Analysis
This writer begins this personal statement example with a quote. This is a classic tactic, and it’s often done with varying levels of success. Here, the writer has done the right thing by making a link between the quote they’ve used and the course/subject they are applying for.
However, I would argue that the connection should be more explicit and the quote more immediately relevant if it is going to have the impact the writer intended.
You can read my article all about the value (or not) of starting a personal statement with a quote here. It can be an excellent idea, especially if the quote is unconventional, evocative or provocative! If it is a quote which is overly used, or not one which is well-developed in the personal statement, it’s best avoided.
The rest of this introduction is quite compelling in its claims, and it sounds as though the writer has had a great deal of entrepreneurial and philanthropic experience. However, very few details are given, and so whilst they might clarify these claims later on in the personal statement, it leaves the reader wondering about their accuracy and validity at this point.
The writer uses some relatively complex terminology which does hint at their suitability, and they clarify their ambitions in relation to the course. These are both effective strategies for an introductory passage.
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
“Studying Mechanical Engineering as an undergraduate, I completed several practical projects. These provided me with the academic and practical foundations necessary to meet the demands of this course. I learned and applied PLC ladder programming to regulate and monitor tank water levels, giving me a theoretical and practical understanding of navigating with Simulink. Frequent exposure to LabVIEW and MATLAB deepened my data analysis and algorithm development skills. Investigating redundant and current control systems used across several industrial plants increased my interest in the positive impact and value of automation systems that reduce human intervention across a range of processes. I also became increasingly aware of the relationships between elements that comprise typical control systems, from hydraulic components to software packages.
The range of available specialisms within Mechanical Engineering made it an exciting and diverse choice for undergraduate study. Keen to develop a comprehensive understanding of the field, I focused on composites, control systems, ergonomics and design, which will inform my postgraduate studies.”
Commentary and Analysis
The first paragraph of this section is very well written. Rather than outline a list of academic achievements, which have very little context, the writer explains the skills gained and implies their relevancy to their proposed course of study.
The skills and experiences are relevant to the course, and although it would be stronger if the writer explicitly linked the skills to specific components of the postgraduate course, there is enough of an implied link for an admissions reader to see the depth of their qualification.
The second paragraph attempts to make a link with the postgraduate course being applied for, but only does so in very general terms. This is a weakness, as a reader will want to see very clear evidence of research and connection with the course being applied for. What are the links between your skills and experience and the course content? How does your prior learning prepare you well for specific course elements? If you can make these links, you are much more likely to get an offer.
If you’d like to learn more about how to structure your personal statement or statement of purpose, check out my awesome Personal Statement Template eBook here. It’s full of detailed examples of what to include!
Personal Statement Example: Practical Experience
“After graduating during the pandemic, I was fortunate to find work as an ESL STEM teacher. This insightful experience has taught me much about teamwork, communication and balancing my professional and personal responsibilities. During this time, I became aware of the tremendous potential for blockchain technology to be applied to existing industries and organisations. Seeing this as an opportunity, I co-founded a company called Definite Capital, where over 15 individuals have united in innovating and researching the future of blockchain technology, Web3 and the metaverse. Consequently, I have recognised the tremendous opportunities inherent in the automation industry. I believe decentralised autonomous organisations will have the ability to use blockchain for cybersecurity and data logging purposes on a massive scale.”
Commentary and Analysis
There are some impressive claims made in this section, this time with a little more evidential substance. Another strength is that the writer has made some clear links between their activities in the real world and their interest in the course, which is an excellent and effective tactic.
The writer also touches on transferable skills like teamwork and time management, which are important to include. Again, these would be more convincing if the writer had been clear about exactly how these skills would be of value to key aspects of the course.
Check out lots more examples of personal statements here, and see how they can inspire your application!
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 free version of Grammarly here, or hit the banner for more information.
Personal Statement Example: Conclusion
“Having lived and studied in the UK for many years, I recognise the value of the English education system and am looking forward to returning for postgraduate study. I find the extensive industry reputation Marshall University enjoys attractive, and I am keen to engage with this MSc’s problem-based, practical aspects. I am particularly interested in participating in engineering research projects at the Automatics and Robotics Research Centre, developing my advanced technical and problem-solving skills. I aim to build an impactful career in this field, and my experiences, qualifications and ambitions make me an ideal postgraduate candidate.”
Commentary and Analysis
The first half of this conclusion is relatively unnecessary. The ‘English education system’ is not really relevant at the postgraduate level, and there’s no real value in including this, other than to show that the writer has an understanding of the style and structure of the course they are applying for.
The second half of the conclusion is stronger in its relevancy, and naming a particular faculty resource is the first evidence of research into the university being applied for in the entire personal statement example.
The personal statement ends confidently, which is exactly the right tone. However, in addition to writing about what they hope to gain and achieve, the writer should also include content on what they hope to contribute to the university community, and why the wider university opportunities are likely to be of value.
In summary, this is a strong personal statement example in terms of impressive skills and experience, but weak in terms of justifications and explanations that relate directly to a course of study. There’s no evidence that the writer knows anything about the course they are applying for, and no suggestion of academic or research skills or interests.
I’d expect to see all of this in a successful postgraduate 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.
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