Studying examples of personal statements can be a valuable strategy when applying to a university or college.
That’s because 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 Environmental Policy 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: Environmental Policy
Personal Statement Example: Introduction
“My commitment to environmental safeguarding was inspired by my high school research into the Tibetan Plateau, which introduced me to the vicious cycle of soil degradation and global warming caused by overgrazing. Consequently, I consider it my duty to combine scientific knowledge and analytical thinking to design, implement and evaluate environmental policies that relieve the pressure of climate change and promote long-term sustainable development. The insights I have gained through academic progress, research and practice have provided me with a sound theoretical and practical foundation for study, and I am certain that reading for this MPhil in Environmental Policy will allow me to develop the skills, knowledge and networks necessary to achieve my goals.”
My Commentary and Analysis
This introduction begins with the classic technique of identifying a catalyst from earlier in life and explaining how it has shaped the writer’s views and motivations. It works well in this case as it relates directly to the chosen subject and uses some terminology that shows an engaged interest in the field.
It’s useful to copy this kind of technique when you write your own introduction, but make sure that the moment is a tangible one that is believable and relevant. If it’s too insignificant, too early in your life, too simplistic or simply lacks authenticity, it’s unlikely to have the engaging result you’re hoping for.
The next section of the introduction uses language from the course descriptor in a sophisticated way and connects the writer’s goals with the course outcomes. This is another tried and tested technique which encourages the reader to engage positively with the application.
After all, when the applicant’s goals are in line with the course content, it implies commitment and success, which is what universities are looking for.
The last sentence establishes the academic credentials needed for this writer to be successful as a graduate student and creates a strong connection to the course, which strengthens the formal tone of the entire introduction.
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
“Achieving an exceptional academic performance as an Economics undergraduate, I ranked in the top 1% out of 372 students. Having achieved a sound understanding of the rationale behind natural resource allocation and the mindset essential for complex decision-making, my undergraduate experience has prepared me comprehensively for graduate study. My “Climate Vulnerability and Fertility Rate: A Cross-Country Analysis” research paper examined the negative impact of climate change and emphasised the importance of progressive, forward-looking climate change policies. I collected panel data from 106 countries over 25 years and used Stata to build a fixed effect model, revealing that countries more vulnerable to climate change exhibited lower fertility rates. My research highlighted how climate change impinges economic growth by reducing fertility rates, compelling me to identify policies that can mitigate the negative impact of environmental vulnerabilities and help sustain local economies. This experience motivates my interest in the Energy and Climate Change module, which will provide me with a better understanding of climate change mitigation and adaptation from both energy and technology perspectives.”
My Commentary and Analysis
The opening statement in this section communicates confidence and capability. It works well, as the writer justifies their claim by outlining the value this level of success will bring to the course.
However, I would say that the next section, which considers the writer’s research paper, is of more value. As the writer is moving from Economics to Environmental Policy, explaining that prior academic research has had an environmental focus is critical, as it adds legitimacy and authority to the application.
Additionally, explaining the relevant academic skills developed during this process adds credibility to the application as a whole. Crucially, the writer again explains how these skills and experiences will be of value, and it’s this justification that really makes this personal statement example successful.
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: Practical Experience 1
“Examining the negative impact of climate change on sustainable development, I investigated the extent to which key players were taking effective action to combat the crisis. For example, I contributed to an investment plan for a new energy vehicle company at the Slater International Capital Corporation. Although the company had made progress towards employing cleaner production methods, investors primarily focused on potential revenue growth and neglected the broader societal benefits of energy efficiency and environmental protection. The consequence of this reckless exploitation of resources, often referred to as the “tragedy of the commons”, can result in environmental deterioration and impact long-term profitability. Indeed, Professor Laura Mulgrave’s recent work on clean energy technologies also emphasises that green industries must consider the entire global value chain in relation to long-term sustainable development.”
Commentary and Analysis
There are two important elements present in this section, in addition to further establishing knowledge and credibility through the increasingly sophisticated use of language.
Firstly, the writer is able to outline the use and value of their skills in a ‘real-world’ setting. This is a vitally important aspect of a postgraduate personal statement example, as it shows that the application is capable of working outside of the confines of academia. It also further illustrates the applicant’s engagement with environmental issues.
Secondly, they have referenced the work of a faculty member at the university they are applying to. In doing so, the writer shows evidence of reading and research, which indicates to a reader that they have taken the time to clarify the course contents. It also deepens the application as it is clear to an admissions reader that the writer has very specific reasons for applying to this particular course and is highly motivated to gain entry.
This is far better than the bland, generic points that many applicants make, as it creates a palpable connection between the writer and the institution, which is hard to ignore.
Check out lots more examples of personal statements here, and see how they can inspire your application!
Personal Statement Example: Practical Experience 2
“Despite the profile of climate issues, countries often focus on GDP growth and national interest, limiting the consideration of their environmental responsibilities. With the adverse impact of climate change increasingly apparent, how can policymakers inspire collective and positive changes to global sustainable behaviour? In my undergraduate dissertation, I will aim to answer this question by conducting a preliminary evaluation of regional carbon market regulation through a cost-benefit analysis. This type of assessment is crucial in convincing policymakers that regulatory benefits can outweigh the costs and that bolder steps can be taken towards sustainable progress. As a postgraduate student, I intend to complement my evaluation with the legal knowledge required to implement policy, and studying the International Environmental Law module in this MPhil course will deepen my understanding of the tools needed to enforce the regulations necessary to reduce global carbon emissions.”
My Commentary and Analysis:
Another compelling and relevant section. The writer has focused on their current research and indicated how they intend to use it to underpin further studies as a graduate student.
This works well as it shows the reader that the course being applied for is a logical extension of their current studies and that the transferable skills and knowledge they aim to gain as an undergraduate will be of significant value.
Again, this indicates success, motivation and a through-line of learning. It’s hard for an admissions team to reject an applicant when they have made such clear connections between their academic goals and the course being applied for.
Not only is this section written in an appropriately academic and formal style, but the last sentence also refers to a specific module and outlines its value to the applicant. This is key, as again, it shows that the writer has researched the course, has already plotted the value of specific modules and is motivated to succeed.
Those are all critically important aspects for an admissions team to see.
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
“I also intend to strengthen my analytical and applied skills in environmental problem identification and policy evaluation and design on this course. The freedom and flexibility that Marshall offers to explore complex concepts, collaborate with exceptional peers and develop new ways of thinking is inspiring, and I look forward to joining the Centre for Environment, Energy and Natural Resource Governance, studying cutting-edge topics and gaining insights from top-tier scholars. The recent work of Dr Joanna Dondono, which examines how co-beneficial initiatives overcome stagnation in the negotiation and implementation of climate action, fascinates me.
As someone who embraces challenge, I am confident that the depth of my academic potential and professional ambition will allow me to thrive on this postgraduate course. Continuing my academic journey at Marshall will empower me to apply an innovative level of expertise to forming environmental policy and, ultimately, make a valuable contribution to global sustainable development in the face of a growing climate crisis.”
My Commentary and Analysis
This is a thorough and well-written conclusion. Critically, it references resources and facilities available on the course, and this again adds credibility and purpose to the application. The writer clearly has goals that revolve around the course offer, making for engaging content.
Another relevant reference to a faculty member is included, and the value of the course as a whole is well-considered.
The writer considers the value of the course to their academic and professional progression, which is important.
However, they don’t really consider their value to the institution, and this is something that really should be included.
If you can indicate clearly how the faculty and your potential peers will benefit from having you within it, as well as how you will gain value from the course, you will strengthen the compelling nature of your application considerably.
Whilst this is, in many respects, an excellent personal statement example, the other element that could have been included is mention of non-academic transferable skills.
Qualities such as independence, motivation, empathy and organisation may not be as relevant as depth of subject knowledge at this level, but not including them at all means that the writer comes across as lacking in personality and authenticity.
This can make it harder to feel a genuine sense of connection when reading their personal statement.
For more great advice, check out my article on writing an excellent final personal statement paragraph here.
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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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