Postgraduate Personal Statement Example: TESOL

Personal statement examples can be valuable when applying to a university or college course. After all, examples of personal statements 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 TESOL clearly illustrates 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’ll be able to download a pdf of the whole document, to use as inspiration for your own!

Postgraduate Personal Statement Example: TESOL

Personal Statement Example: Introduction

“I have always found the experience of delivering speeches in English to be incredibly fulfilling. Having entered numerous provincial contests and spoken frequently as an undergraduate, I can still recall the hours spent inventing engaging and unusual openings for my speeches. I talked of the shattered screen in the TV series Black Mirror and, as a means to channel commercial exchanges between two continents, how the China-Europe freight train resembled the vascular system. 

As my school’s English representative, I am perceptive of the challenges inherent in English acquisition. Finding I had a talent for translating complicated grammatical rules into practical steps when teaching my peers, it became evident that I would pursue a related professional pathway. However, English was never simply a subject in which I could excel, but a connection point with the wider world and a channel through which I could express my views. It is my desire to share the potential of English for self-expression in the era of globalisation that informs my application for this TESOL course and subsequent teaching career.”

Commentary and Analysis 

This chronological introduction takes the reader through the writer’s history with English speaking and language knowledge in a concise way. It outlines strengths, although somewhat anecdotal, and gives an impression of the writer’s personality, which is an important aspect of any personal statement.

The writer has also indicated their experience in roles with personal responsibility attached, giving an immediate impression of confidence and maturity. This, coupled with a compelling use of vocabulary and a logical development towards the choice of postgraduate study, make it a storing beginning. An admissions reader would recognise that they were dealing with a motivated individual who was already engaged within the discipline.

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

“Admitted to Marshall-Langley University with an English Translation major, I was attracted by the prospect of becoming an interdisciplinary talent and opted to study finance under the condition that I could take the same lessons as English major students. This allowed me to hone my English skills through courses like English Writing, Translation, English Interpretation, and British and American Literature

These have provided a firm foundation for this programme, while courses such as Econometrics and Statistical Analysis of Financial Data equipped me with data processing skills, which later proved helpful when monitoring class data and adjusting my teaching activities accordingly.”

Commentary and Analysis

The change to the writer’s undergraduate major is explained, and they have given a compelling reason for the change. They have turned the disadvantage of studying a disconnected subject into an advantage by explaining why this was done, and the value gained. Identifying specific courses of study strengthens their suitability and re-affirms their dedication to the subject. What could have been an obstacle has been skillfully turned into a significant positive. 

Critically, they have connected these experiences with the demands of the courses, showing a clear link between the two.

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

“I have worked as a private tutor since my junior year. Although the head boy of his class, my first student was too shy to speak English. Knowing he was an amateur robot programmer, I engaged him in conversation by asking him about the games’ settings, standards and rules. Before teaching the collocations and sentence structures in the curriculum, I would first encourage him to express his ideas using his own vocabulary, offering him directions until he settled on the best way to proceed. I would then lead him to paraphrase his former answer more logically. I spared no effort convincing him that the primary function of the English language is to communicate and that he should try to make his point understood, even without immaculate grammar. After a few classes, he began to convey his opinions confidently, and eventually, I even instructed him in a speech for his junior high school opening ceremony.

After graduation, I joined Slater Education and worked for their online high school’s English Teaching and Research Department. I taught hundreds of students in one class, each with different learning preferences. Many average students were highly utilitarian and urgently needed key points for examination success, while more advanced students enjoyed extended readings that would improve their overall English competency. 

To differentiate effectively and balance test-taking and comprehensive English skills, I shortened the compulsory content when designing the curriculum, setting aside some time for supplementary materials. Some grammatical elements were too important to omit, as I regarded it necessary for my students to understand basic sentence structures before introducing the concept of the non-predicative or approaches to identifying language points in exercises. After a tiring class, a ten-minute analysis of excerpts from the latest magazines or an examination of some versatile sentence patterns was well received.”

Commentary and Analysis

A powerful sequence, if a little descriptive, this passage highlights the writer’s engagement with education. Importantly, it shows that it is ongoing and has a significant degree of history to it as well. The writer outlines a variety of teaching methodologies, gives examples of 1:1 and class practice, and uses a convincing range of terminology to exemplify knowledge and experience. TESOL courses require candidates to have had a range of practical experiences, and these examples cover that well. They also show that the writer has a history of designing lesson plans, resources and curricula, which is central to a successful application.

The writer touches on classroom management experiences and shows a wide range of vocabulary and knowledge of English language acquisition. To strengthen this application, they could have connected these skills more explicitly with the demands and contents of the course they are applying for.

Check out lots more examples of personal statements here, and see how they can inspire your application!

Personal Statement Example: Practical Experience 2

“The most complex aspect of online classes is engaging student interest when learners are free to exit at any time. Gradually, I found that the amount of content shown on the screen needed to be controlled, as students lost focus when presented with large volumes of information. Regular recaps, ideally after each closed loop, were effective in helping them keep up with the flow of the course. 

With no time to speak to individual students, I tried all kinds of approaches to encourage more of them to comment on the course and submit their exercises, including designing numerous yes/no and multiple-choice questions. For example, instead of writing down a full sentence, my students only needed to tap one letter to choose from three sentences with confusing verbal phrases or mistaken conjunctions.  

The two sets of textbooks I compiled have served more than 20,000 students from all over the country. I’ve obtained valuable hands-on experience and achieved a management role in education. Nonetheless, my professional growth has stagnated, with my weak theoretical background becoming an impediment when designing increasingly complex courses, innovative interactive activities and attempting to empower my students. 

As the demand for private English tutors continues to rise, I intend to develop my career by providing custom study plans and courses for those at a loss for where to start, which cannot be adequately achieved without advanced professional pedagogical knowledge. Consequently, I believe this TESOL course is a critical next step in my personal and professional journey.”

Commentary and Analysis: 

In explaining the difficulties of online teaching, the writer has also illustrated the strategies used to overcome obstacles, showing an admissions reader that they are flexible, motivated and able to reflect and develop professionally. The reference to textbooks written and the current management role is well worth including, but it needs to be revised. The writer could have outlined the academic skills used in compiling the books and the transferable skills gained by taking on management roles. This would have added to the depth of the personal statement and given more insight into their suitability for postgraduate study.

A compelling reference to career ambition and the connections between these and the course content is essential. It also shows an understanding of the education sector and a sound level of planning.

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

“A highly respected colleague gained her master’s degree at your institution, so I have long admired PFQ’s technical and professional reputation. After comparing the course settings of several universities, I believe this programme provides the ideal opportunity for me to consolidate my understanding of language teaching methodologies. I intend to learn more about producing and adapting highly effective learning resources in your Materials Development for Language Teaching course and look forward to better understanding the intricacies involved in measuring students’ educational attainment in the Language Testing and Assessment course. 

The study of Multimodal Communication also interests me greatly, and I am ready to share my knowledge of the effectiveness of specific modes of communication with my peers. I am excited at the prospect of exchanging ideas and experiences with English teachers from diverse educational backgrounds and working environments, and I look forward to playing a positive and active role as a member of your internationally respected learning community.”

Commentary and Analysis

The writer finishes the personal statement with further connections between their ambition and the specific courses that will facilitate this, which is a sensible and successful strategy. Not only does it show research and clarity on the scope of the course, but it also allows the writer to use sophisticated terminology in context.

Finally, there is a recognition of the pastoral and collaborative nature of postgraduate study within a potentially diverse cohort. There’s also a hint that the writer intends to play an active role in the faculty and support others. Admissions teams always welcome this, but this example lacks a degree of specificity.

Overall, this personal statement exhibits some real strengths and positives, connects well with the subject, and clearly shows the writer’s experiences and aspirations. However, there’s not enough formal academic research included or references to critical reading materials or teaching philosophies. To be considered for a graduate course, an applicant needs to show that they have the academic and intellectual capacity to thrive, and this doesn’t quite come through successfully.

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.

Find out about my personal statement support services by clicking here or on the image below.

Research and content verified by Personal Statement Planet.

David Hallen

I've worked in the Further Education and University Admissions sector for nearly 20 years as a teacher, department head, Head of Sixth Form, UCAS Admissions Advisor, UK Centre Lead and freelance personal statement advisor, editor and writer. And now I'm here for you...

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