Analysing examples of personal statements can be valuable when applying to a university or college course.
Reading a wide range of 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 Electrical Engineering 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: Electrical Engineering
Personal Statement Example: Introduction
“Whilst my primary school friends were instructed by their parents to recite poems, I was asked by my father to dismantle our broken television. Circuits, electronics and signals were some of the most repeated words in my household, and I grew to enjoy the disassembly and rebuilding of gadgets more than playing with traditional toys. The sense of achievement I experienced whenever I repaired a radio or a lamp was far greater than my pride when scoring top marks in school tests. This ongoing interest in understanding how and why things work led me to study Electronic Information Engineering at Marshall University. I look forward to continuing my education in the Electrical Engineering program at the University of Buckley.”
Commentary and Analysis
This is a relatively brief and simplistic introduction for a postgraduate course. It absolutely identifies the writer’s personal connection with the subject and roots the personal statement in authenticity and purpose, but it shows little immediate suitability.
The lack of technical vocabulary, specific examples and depth of knowledge is highly apparent, and even if it is addressed further on in the application, its absence at the very start leaves the reader with the impression that this applicant does not have the depth of knowledge and ambition for a master’s course.
On a positive note, they are obviously highly engaged and go out of their way to link their ambitions with the specific institution, which is a strongly recommended technique for an opening paragraph.
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 undergraduate curriculum encompassed various computer science and electronic engineering topics, providing a solid foundation for this MS degree. Electrical engineering taught me valuable hardware-related knowledge, including a thorough understanding of analogue, digital and radio frequency circuits and signal processing. I also gained numerous computer programming capabilities and skills and am well-versed in analysing and developing data structures and using essential software packages such as C, Python and MATLAB. These courses enabled me to understand the working principles of computer modules and taught me how to realise and verify ideas through experiments and simulations. As my undergraduate study emphasised theory and application, I completed courses that trained me in experimental design and transferable skills such as problem-solving and organisation every semester. I was guided through this process by expert professors who taught me how to combine hardware and software skills. This helped me realise that both algorithmic development and programming are necessary for pursuing electrical engineering. Consequently, I chose to take an artificial intelligence course and extended my machine learning and programming proficiency through multiple research opportunities.”
Commentary and Analysis
This is a better paragraph, which begins to reflect a higher level of engagement and learning. The writer mentions relevant practical experiences that show skills development and value. They also achieve a balance between practical skills and coding experience, both of which would be highly relevant to the course.
What’s missing here are references to specific modules and courses taken, the specific skills developed and their relevancy to specific modules offered on the postgraduate course. That level of connection, which runs through a ‘past, present, future’ timeline, is extremely compelling, and this seems like something of a wasted opportunity. It would be far more convincing to see detailed examples of skills and experiences and their tangible relevancy to success as a master’s student.
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 1
“Joining a research program on the Mars Rover Exploration in the Computer Image Recognition Lab at Slater University, I was tasked with applying artificial intelligence to upgrade the operations of the traditional manned rover. This led me to research topics in artificial intelligence and trained me to search for academic references from a scientific perspective. At the same time, I applied to be an undergraduate research assistant to Dr Lorna May, who was working on a project using comparative learning in computer vision to develop an intelligent recognition system for fruit and vegetables. Having summarised the basic framework, we utilised positive and negative examples for comparative machine learning before achieving state-of-the-art accuracy. I contributed to the framework establishment and patent writing, which was subsequently published.
I actively requested to conduct an independent research project on the ion transmission rate of the grid: research which resonates with this application due to its emphasis on simulation. After completing the modelling using Solidworks and analysing the geometric structure, I completed an online course on simulation software. I mastered COMSOL and Simion before employing them to conduct research which helped me verify my conclusions. I am currently using MATLAB to help analyse the data and prepare my final paper. These experiences allowed me to reproduce the recognition system using a given database, refine my scientific writing skills and, most importantly, become intimately familiar with theories and techniques in computer vision, preparing me comprehensively for graduate study.”
Commentary and Analysis
This is a much stronger and more compelling paragraph. We see clear, tangible examples of skills and experiences, all of which have relevance. Identifying research experience, discussing the value of the skills developed and showing a range of academic qualities are all convincing elements of content.
What’s lacking here, again, are specific connections between the skills and experiences the writer shares and their application as a postgraduate student. It would be far better to see exactly how these are linked with very specific course options. That way, the admissions reader would be able to see a direct connection between the experiences and ambitions of the writer and the content on offer at the university.
When that link is made, applications are usually far more successful.
Check out lots more examples of personal statements here, and see how they can inspire your application!
Personal Statement Example: Practical Experience 2
“Having read numerous papers by renowned professors working in cutting-edge fields, I was inspired to work with them to further my understanding and expertise. I was lucky to have the opportunity to attend the Machine Learning and Data Analysis academic research program led by Professor Peter Lumley from Parks University. This program improved my use of machine learning methods, and I developed a deeper understanding of the cross branch of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering. Professor Lumley lectured on machine learning topics, including exploratory data analysis, clustering and prediction using decision trees. I took the opportunity to engage in case studies where I processed large datasets in Python. Under his supervision, I led a five-member group to research data fusion, conducted a comparative analysis of the popular Matrix Factorization or Neural Collaborative Factorization-based algorithms like Doubly Robust Models, and conducted the subsequent theoretical analysis. Together we analysed estimators, including IPS, SNIPS and DR, reproducing codes and developing a successful optimisation method. As a team leader, I contributed to team dynamics, collaborated successfully with my peers and learned how to manage and coordinate work. The 4th International Conference on Computing and Data Science subsequently accepted our group paper.
As a result of my research and practical exploration, I have developed a significant interest in topics including computer vision, image processing and natural language processing, which are established through signal processing. I aim to examine these disciplines at a high level by pursuing a graduate program in Electrical Engineering at the University of Buckley. One of the top programs in the world, the course offers unparalleled research resources and collaborative opportunities with renowned professors who are at the cutting edge of challenging and interesting topics that directly align with my interests. I am keen to take advantage of the program’s Computer Engineering focus. I am attracted by the Embedded Systems and Data Mining courses, which will advance my abilities in data analysis and applications through using single-chip micyoco. I found the papers outlining the department faculty and Professor Marcie Jackson’s research projects on sensors particularly fascinating. I would be honoured to work under his guidance and help find new approaches to vision sensors that detect features such as motion, line orientation, line stops and polarisation differences.”
Commentary and Analysis:
Again, much of this content is excellent. It shows depth, experience, dedication and motivation. The second paragraph finally begins to make tangible connections with the course options, and immediately, the personal statement becomes less descriptive and list-like and increasingly personal, engaging and compelling.
There’s a strong level of research evidence and relevancy in the second paragraph as well, showing that the writer understands the course on offer. You also feel a connection between the writer’s ambitions and what is offered on the course, which is critical. This last section has brought the reader back into the application, as the relevance and individuality of the content has been made clearer.
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Personal Statement Example: Conclusion
“I aim to bring vitality and diversity to the Buckley community. Since high school, I have actively participated in volunteer activities, organising several events for disabled groups. I am interested in contributing to the Committee for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and would like to help those in need. In college, I have contributed to four courses as a student assistant, have strong classroom management skills and am adept at improving student performance. Consequently, I would be pleased to offer my services as a TA or RA.
At Buckley, I will fully devote myself to graduate study, follow my tremendous passion for research and prepare to reach my academic goal of becoming a PhD candidate. My ultimate goal is to join a research institute or a university, lay the foundations for a college teaching career and go on to make valuable breakthroughs in my field. I look forward to joining the Buckley community, playing an active and positive role as a valued faculty member, and contributing to a mutually enriching academic and research experience.”
Commentary and Analysis
This conclusion works extremely well, as it doesn’t repeat previous content. Instead, we discover a more rounded and mature aspect of the writer’s background and personality. Above all, we see the value that the applicant brings to the university community, beyond the academic. This is often a crucial and overlooked aspect of an application, as it shows the reader that the writer has a life outside academia, can manage real-world situations and has something of value to contribute.
The last paragraph is a little vague. It talks about passion, making breakthroughs and contributing to research, but very little detail is given. It’s not the end of the world, but detailed suggestions of strategies, specifics and value (such as what the research focus might be) would add a little more weight.
In summary, this is an effective personal statement, but unbalanced. There’s a strong focus on past experience but not enough content that links the value of those experiences to the proposed course of study.
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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