Reading examples of personal statements can be valuable when applying to a university or college course.
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.
But with so many university personal statement examples available, how do you know if you’re reading a good one?
Undergraduate personal statements should highlight relevant academic and practical experience, academic skills, ambitions and suitability for the degree field. This undergraduate personal statement example for Cyber Security clearly illustrates these three critical elements.
Undergraduate degree personal statement examples are 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!
Undergraduate Personal Statement Example: Cyber Security
Personal Statement Example: Introduction
“I find the development and application of responsive and dynamic secure systems fascinating. I have become intrigued by their potential in penetration testing, which is a specialism I intend to explore during my undergraduate studies. In recent years I have balanced my academic commitments with the independent study of the software used to combat insecure design in web applications. Studying the OWASP Top 10 has shown me how important the software development stage is when applying solutions that mitigate security risks. Recent cyber security breaches, such as those involving CryptoLocker software, have also illustrated the need for ethical hacking and systems testing.
My professional goal is to work at GCHQ’s National Cyber Security Centre; I aim to achieve this by gaining a detailed understanding of the development of secure systems in this degree course. My A-level curriculum underpins and complements this interest. I am also preparing for the demands of university study by undertaking a Cyber EPQ in year 13.”
My Commentary and Analysis
This introduction is excellent in many respects. It is concise, detailed and immediately relevant to the subject, which is important when constructing a personal statement with a limited character count.
It is rich with subject-specific terminology, which is used in relation to the writer’s own experience rather than included as an abstract or descriptive list. This lends it relevance and weight, and for an undergraduate application, this is extremely impressive. The writer shows awareness of factors in the industry, engagement with a range of elements within the field and research potential.
They conclude by outlining their ambitions, and although it’s hard to identify a specific course in a UK undergraduate personal statement example, the writer connects their goals with the generic content likely to be found on a Cyber Security degree and even manages to outline their suitability with the inclusion of further study examples.
If you’re struggling with your personal statement introduction, check out my article on how to write perfect opening paragraphs here.
Personal Statement Example: Section 2
“Studying Computer Science has introduced me to the building blocks of data storage and communication, information security, application development and database programming. A growing understanding of the functions of proxy servers and packet filtering firewalls has inspired me to learn about preventing unauthorised access to data centres and implementing secure networking topologies and redundancies across multiple sites.
Studying Politics has given me a global perspective on issues such as information risk management and how state-level actors can increase the threat of cyber warfare, most obviously seen in the current conflict in Ukraine. My Psychology study has illustrated a range of approaches to determined behaviour, which will help me identify common vulnerabilities in thought processes and exploit these as a penetration tester. I look forward to deepening my understanding of ethics and user psychology and how this relates to reinforcement in machine learning.”
My Commentary and Analysis
The writer starts this section by referencing the skills and value inherent in their A-level curriculum and begins by referencing the most relevant of their subjects: in this case, Computer Science. This allows them to outline their suitability and depth of knowledge clearly, and they have chosen examples that are highly relevant to their choice of subject.
The second paragraph outlines the relevancy of their other subjects, and the way the writer has found connections between these and the course being applied for are impressive. By explaining how these experiences have prepared them for undergraduate study, they are adding real value to the depth of their application.
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: Section 3
“Beyond the classroom, I have completed several NCSC Cyberfirst courses up to Defenders, Futures and Advanced levels. This has given me a greater understanding of software such as Nmap, the implementation of digital forensics and the application of encryption technologies. I also recognise the value of using open-source intelligence techniques in the field of penetration testing.
I have learned about virtual machines and cyber systems from Network Chuck and David Bombal on YouTube and read articles on Sky and BBC news sites examining the 2017 NHS ‘WannaCry’ security breach. I also subscribe to CyberSecurity, an industry podcast. Reading ‘Linux Basics for Hackers’ by OccupytheWeb has helped my understanding of real-world applications of different distributions of Linux, such as Kali Linux, an ethical hacking OS.”
My Commentary and Analysis
This next section is well-developed and highly relevant. Not only do the experiences reinforce the application, but the value of the experiences is outlined clearly. This isn’t always the case in undergraduate personal statements, when applicants can sometimes simply list experiences rather than their value.
The writer then outlines the research and wider reading they have done, and again they have explained how these experiences, and the knowledge gained, have prepared them for undergraduate study.
Check out lots more examples of personal statements here, and see how they can inspire your application!
Personal Statement Example: Section 4
“This summer, I completed a week’s internship in the Cyber Security department of FlyMAx airlines. This introduced me to a multicultural working environment and gave me access to day-to-day operations in a real-world cyber security department. I observed how specialists dealt with threat detection and management, and I became familiar with software tools such as Burp Suite and ANY.RUN, an interactive online malware sandbox. Shadowing managers and learning about organisational structures and career pathways helped confirm that this is an industry that I find inspiring, which matches my skill set, and in which I am motivated to succeed.”
My Commentary and Analysis:
For many undergraduate courses, it’s critical that applicants can outline their work experience and explain how it has prepared them for higher education. In this case, the experience is highly relevant and quite exclusive in nature, which more than qualifies them for progression in the interview process.
It shows that the candidate has a good knowledge of the industry they’re aiming to access, and knowledge of specific software and procedures that many candidates in their position are unlikely to have. The writer also takes the opportunity to explain how the experience has helped them clarify their ambitions for study.
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 am a regular gym-goer and balance my studies with an active social life. I have completed my DofE Bronze Award, volunteered at my local health centre, and working as a kitchen porter at a local farm shop, showed consistency, stamina, teamwork and reliability. These are qualities I believe will actively support my degree studies. I am confident that I have the profile to flourish as an undergraduate and ultimately achieve my personal and professional ambitions in this industry.”
My Commentary and Analysis
The conclusion to this undergraduate personal statement example is appropriately short and doesn’t repeat any previous information, which is ideal.
The writer has outlined the transferable skills they have developed through their co-curricular activities. This works extremely well, as not only are the skills relevant to undergraduate study, but they also show that the writer can balance academic, co-curricular and personal commitments successfully. This is a great thing for an admissions reader to see, as it allows them to have confidence in the applicant’s capacity to manage the challenges of undergraduate life.
The last sentence is a positive affirmation of their suitability, which is an effective final statement. It leaves the reader with the opinion that the writer’s previous experiences, current ambitions and plans for future study are all connected and that the course they are applying for is a logical next step in their journey.
In summary, this is an effective, well-referenced and compelling undergraduate personal statement example that does justice to the applicant’s abilities and ambitions.
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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