With so many university personal statement examples available, how do you know if you’re reading a good one?
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.
Reading examples of personal statements can be valuable when applying to a university or college course. Here’s why…
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 Population, Family & Reproductive Health 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: Population, Family & Reproductive Health
Personal Statement Example: Introduction
““Scissors, kettle, towel… scissors, kettle, towel,” I repeated again and again. These three items were the only tools my aunt had access to when delivering her baby. Although only six years old, I still remember this scene. Lacking basic healthcare, the poor in my country were easily exposed to unpredictable perinatal dangers during childbirth. Twelve years later, after attending a top university and training in the latest public health and clinical medical knowledge, I naively assumed that the country’s health system had improved. I was wrong.
The scene from my childhood repeated itself while I conducted fieldwork in Tibet this summer. I cannot believe that in 2022, Tibetan women still gave birth in challenging conditions at home, supported by unskilled midwives. My close observations of such gaps in development have motivated me to make real impacts on maternal and child health, solve ‘last mile delivery’ issues, and be a powerful voice for the underprivileged population.”
My Commentary and Analysis
The opening of this personal statement example is certainly engaging. It combines the writer’s personal experiences with reference to undergraduate education and awareness of contemporary issues in healthcare policy.
It is, perhaps, a little simplistic for a master’s degree application. However, it feels genuine, and you certainly get a sense of the individuality of the writer, encouraging further reading.
The second paragraph achieves a more appropriately formal tone, uses vocabulary that indicates an understanding of the subject and references fieldwork activities. Although not a great deal of information is given, the writer has combined a number of elements here that encourage an admissions reader to consider the applicant positively.
If you’re struggling with your personal statement introduction, check out my article on how to write perfect opening paragraphs here.
Personal Statement Example: Professional Background
“I also worked as a medical intern in a national hospital for one year. The first-hand clinical experience made me recognize the urgency of generating practical strategies to mitigate adverse pregnancy outcomes and improve population health. I am eager to conduct research that will make a real impact on healthcare utilization and health equity. My quantitative and qualitative analytical skills have empowered me to publish 21 articles in 16 different journals, covering diverse topics such as healthcare utilization, early childhood development, nurturing care, perinatal depression, pregnancy loss, gestational diabetes mellitus, micronutrient deficiency, and sexual and reproductive health. My research has covered healthcare provision in several countries, including Ethiopia, Tanzania, Nigeria, Myanmar, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, India and China. Additionally, I worked with Professor Lee Detroit to utilize the ARISE Adolescent Health Longitudinal Survey and recruit adolescents from nine sub-Saharan Africa and Asian countries to explore the determinants of adolescents’ health risk behaviours.”
My Commentary and Analysis
Critically, the writer has referenced relevant internship experiences above and has also outlined their value in relation to the application, which is a sound strategy. By indicating what they gained and how the experience has prompted a desire for further study, the writer is showering that the application is well-considered and part of a wider plan.
When admissions teams can see how the course being applied for can fit into relevant professional or academic ambitions, they are far more likely to make an achievable offer.
The rest of this section reads a little like a descriptive list. However, the content is impressive and directly relevant to the demands of the course. The experience, vocabulary and knowledge shown here are outstanding, and in particular, evidence of academic research capabilities shine through.
Including these elements in a postgraduate personal statement example is vital, as it shows the capacity for independent study, research and reflection needed at a higher level.
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: Professional Achievements
“I currently work as a research assistant at Marshall University’s Global Health Lab. My projects include a two-year randomized controlled trial of maternal telehealth intervention in 10 remote rural towns, with the aim of enhancing antenatal care. My team intends to use mHealth applications to monitor and record risk factors remotely, identify women exhibiting signs of obstetric complications, and offer ways to improve maternal healthcare quality and efficiency. As one of 10 young global scholars, my research was selected for inclusion at the World Health Forum, where Dr Margaret Liu presented me with the prestigious Excellent Youth Award.”
Commentary and Analysis
Another strong paragraph here. The writer’s current role is directly relevant to their application, and by making reference to it, they have now shown a balance between academic and real-world experience.
This is ideal, and you should always try to include both of these elements in a personal statement. By showing a balance between academic and professional understanding, you can indicate your awareness of the importance of gaining a master’s degree, show academic and transferable skills and indicate the value you could bring to the faculty.
The content here shows a high level of engagement and knowledge. The reference to gaining an award adds academic reassurance and quality, which is welcome after the slightly unusual introduction. It feels a little out of place in this paragraph, as there’s not a logical flow of ideas here, but given the strength of the content, that’s a minor detail.
Check out lots more examples of personal statements here, and see how they can inspire your application!
Personal Statement Example: Ambitions For Study
“My publication and research experiences have equipped me with the skillset required to lead cross-cultural research projects and collaborate in diverse cultural environments. They have also illustrated that the capacity and opportunity to apply academic findings to real-life practice are even more important than academic research. As a healthcare professional working at Jones & Lyle Inc, CDC and several national hospitals, I have witnessed the gaps between the healthcare system’s goals and the quality and impact of its day-to-day practice. As a researcher, I have seen great research studies fail to transform into actionable policies and positively impact the real health system. Delivering robust academic research findings to effect positive change for vulnerable patients and healthcare systems is a genuine passion and professional ambition. I believe pursuing a master’s degree in Population, Family and Reproductive Health at the Slater School of Public Health will allow me to enhance my research skills and address critical public health problems.
I am particularly interested in the Centre of Excellence in Maternal and Child Health, which will allow me to benefit from interdisciplinary collaboration with faculty in PFRH, paediatrics, health policy, epidemiology and mental health. I plan to generate innovative and practical solutions with members of the Slater community to deliver better public health decisions. I also intend to put my theoretical knowledge into practice by joining the Centre on the Early Life Origins of Disease. My goal is to use large-scale prospective birth cohort studies to explore the early-life risk factors of paediatric and chronic diseases. I am confident that your program can provide me with the training to conduct effective evidence-based research and hasten the translation of research into policy and practice.”
My Commentary and Analysis:
These two paragraphs are excellent examples of how to write about your skills and experience and illustrate their value to your application.
The first paragraph offers more examples of academic research and industry experience. Again, these are all highly relevant to the application and show a real depth of knowledge and engagement. Rather than listing experiences, the writer has indicated the value of each experience, and that’s what lifts this personal statement example to a high level.
The second paragraph does two things extremely effectively.
First, by making reference to specific modules of the course being applied for, the writer is reassuring the admissions team that they understand the course and that it’s right for them. When the reader can see that connection between the applicant’s aims and what the course has to offer, they are far more likely to make an offer.
Second, the writer uses this opportunity to outline more knowledge and vocabulary, positioning themselves as a growing expert in the field. By referencing their skills in relation to the courses they want to take, they are adding depth to their suitability and reassuring the reader of their potential.
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
“I plan to build my professional knowledge about maternal and child health care and develop improved research skills. I am interested in the Life Course Perspectives on Health and Clinical Aspects of Maternal and Newborn Health courses taught in your program. In addition, I plan to focus my research project on pregnancy outcomes and early life risk factor management by using prospective cohort investigation in diverse populations. I would be honoured to be supervised by Professor Haoyu Zhang. In addition to his valuable work on early life determinants of obesity, I am attracted by his genome-wide association studies exploring mechanisms of preterm birth and food allergies. I also hope to put my theoretical knowledge into practice by joining Professor Zhang’s team, generating reliable evidence and providing valuable insights into early-life precursors of pediatric and chronic diseases.
After graduating, I plan to pursue a PhD and delve deeper into maternal and child health. After accumulating 4-6 years of research experience, I will seek to work at a prestigious university. My goal is to be recognized as a respected academic capable of promoting reliable evidence on the early prediction, prevention and treatment of diseases. This, in turn, will attract talented students to join me and make contributions which address childhood adversity and promote life-course health. In the long term, I intend to become a public health consultant, offering valuable policy advice and promoting understanding between governments, communities and healthcare institutions.”
My Commentary and Analysis
The writer references the work of a particular faculty member and uses this as a way to illustrate their research ambitions. This works particularly well as it creates a link between the writer and the faculty, shows that they have research ambitions and an independent sense of enquiry and reinforces their expertise.
It’s almost as though they are writing from the perspective of already having achieved a place on this course and are already an active member of the community.
The final paragraph lays out their long-term ambitions, and again, the writer takes the opportunity to add evidence of further knowledge of the sector, its challenges and opportunities.
The final section also references the aims and content of the course. By using the language of the course being applied for, the writer has created yet another connection with the faculty and convinces the reader that their ideas, ambitions and goals are aligned with what the university has to offer.
In summary, this is an excellent postgraduate personal statement example that shows evidence of relevant knowledge and experience and connects extremely well with the course.
Few transferable or study skills are considered, and there’s little formal reference to the value that the candidate might bring to the department, but these are minor omissions compared to the quality of the content.
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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