By taking the time to study personal statement examples, you can learn how to write and structure your own application. Basically, you can pick up some great tips on how to write a personal statement by examining others.
And, of course, examples of personal statements can be valuable when applying to a university or college course.
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 Mathematics 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: Mathematics
Personal Statement Example: Introduction
“Whilst an inspiring and encouraging teacher nurtured my formal interest in maths, my dad ignited my love of finding the logic in patterns and puzzles. I’m someone who enjoys solving problems and has always been interested in how different networks and systems operate, inspiring my interest and engagement in logistics. Participating in workshops with the Office for National Statistics gave me a clear insight into the techniques required to analyse trends in data and illustrated a range of potential career opportunities. I am motivated to study Mathematics as I consider it vital to the development of numerous critical industries and for solving global problems such as rising fuel costs and staff shortages. By completing a Maths degree, I aim to gain extensive knowledge and skills that will prepare me to meet a range of professional challenges.”
My Commentary and Analysis
This undergraduate personal statement example for Mathematics begins in a traditional but effective way. The writer has referenced an inspiring person that acted as an early mentor or introduced them to the subject they are now applying to study at university.
This personal connection works very effectively, especially as it really just takes the first sentence to hook the reader. This tactic is a useful one, but do make sure you limit any references to people other than yourself, or you may begin to inadvertently write a personal statement about someone that isn’t you!
The writer goes on to talk about logistics, which is clearly a discipline they are keen to pursue within mathematics, and from there, connect their interest to tangible experiences that show engagement with the subject outside of the classroom. This is an excellent strategy, as it shows motivation, a depth of knowledge and a strong array of applicable, transferable skills.
The writer finishes the introduction by outlining their professional ambitions, although in a very general way. This isn’t a tremendous problem at the undergraduate level, but it would have been valuable to have had a little more clarity. What exactly does this candidate know about the various fields they might enter? Do they understand exactly how a degree will help them achieve their goals? These things are implied but not explicit.
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
“My Grade 8 in Mathematics has provided an excellent foundation for further study, and the data analysis knowledge I acquired has deepened my potential for managing quantitative and qualitative data research. In GCSE Computer Science I gained a good knowledge of the coding program Python, which will be important in this degree. I have excellent independent learning and collaborative skills, maintain high academic standards and always put in maximum effort. I continuously learn and recap critical curriculum concepts and am diligent with my homework and revision, which is a valuable undergraduate skill. My Business A-level course requires me to analyse data from tables, evaluate financial situations and discuss appropriate actions and strategies to improve profitability and stability. In Geography, I value the opportunity to analyse trends and patterns from maps and images. As part of my academic research, I am carrying out an NEA project requiring me to collect and analyse data. I look forward to developing my understanding of these skills and applying complex formulae to generate a specific outcome across various contexts.”
My Commentary and Analysis
The writer refers to related academic qualifications and courses in this next section, but more than this, they focus on the value of the experience and knowledge gained in relation to the subject they intend to study. This is the key to every good personal statement example: the relevant value gained from an experience is more effective than simply describing the experience itself.
They then focus on some higher-level coding and data analysis skills which are exceptionally relevant to their application and impressive at this level. They make the link with valuable transferable skills as well: evidence that they will flourish in higher education.
The writer manages to weave in examples of academic research, real-world awareness and collaborative skills, all of which are relevant and exactly the content an admissions tutor expects to see. More than this, the writing style is concise and detailed and continually works to establish credibility and validity in the mind of the reader.
A very capable section that reflects the maturity and broader knowledge of the candidate.
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
“Completing work experience at Marshall Logistics, I learnt about freight industry operations and developed my collaborative and listening skills. This included evaluating factors behind customer acquisition, vehicle choice concerning the transport of materials and contemporary issues affecting the business, such as rising fuel costs. I also familiarised myself with numerous operating systems including delivery tracking and efficient import/export analysis, dealt with invoices and solved logistical problems. Learning to work accurately at a fast pace, managing a large volume of work and dealing with the stress of unfamiliar and challenging environments are skills that I have developed as a result.”
My Commentary and Analysis
Having undertaken work experience is an increasingly important aspect of university preparation, and one which is becoming widespread for a range of courses. Once the preserve of medicine and practical subjects, admissions teams now frequently expect to see evidence that applicants have gone ‘out there’ and seen how their proposed subject can be applied in the real world.
The writer has made this quite a descriptive passage, almost a list of the duties they undertook, but this is then put into context when they explain the value of what they learned.
There isn’t any real suggestion of how these skills or experiences might be of value on the degree course they are applying for, but the examples tie in with the earlier mention of logistics, so the reader can certainly see a relevant theme emerging, which is likely to reassure them of this candidate’s potential for success.
Check out lots more examples of personal statements here, and see how they can inspire your application!
Personal Statement Example: Section 4
“I work well independently, taking responsibility for my organisation, timekeeping and learning. This has been evident in my piano lessons, where I had particularly challenging pieces of music to learn for my Grade 6 exam. When practising, I prioritised work on challenging sections to improve the quality and command of my interpretation. I also had to show great resilience at secondary school in the years after my dad passed away. I maintained an excellent attitude to learning and a high standard of work despite going through a difficult time. During lockdown, I completed my work to a high standard and my teachers praised my commitment. Applying these skills during my degree will be critical because modules such as Vector Calculus are likely to be challenging.”
My Commentary and Analysis:
A slightly weaker paragraph. The co-curricular activities mentioned do add to the overall picture of the candidate, but the transferable skills mentioned are quite general and a bit of a stretch in terms of application.
This makes the reader think that either this person doesn’t have a developed level of social skills and may lack the maturity needed for higher education or that they are filling the word count with extra elements because they don’t have enough content to add which relates directly to their proposed major.
The writer then makes a connection with a generic course topic (it is not advisable to refer to specific topics in the UK undergraduate admissions system), which shows awareness of the kinds of course elements they are likely to encounter and reassures the reader that they have an understanding of the courses they are applying for.
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
“After graduating, my extensive knowledge of maths will enable me to succeed in a job requiring a high percentage of problem-solving, potentially in the finance industry. My motivated and informed approach gives me a clear understanding of the steps I need to take to achieve this goal. Undertaking a Maths with Finance degree will enable me to support people and businesses by finding solutions to their problems, and I am confident that my diligent and supportive approach will make me a valuable addition to your university.”
My Commentary and Analysis
The writer identifies the skills and qualities that they aim to possess as a result of studying this subject and connects that with what potential employers are looking for. This shows that they have an understanding of the course and its potential outcomes, which, again, admissions readers expect to see.
The rest of the section is more general, less specific, and recaps information and ideas mentioned previously. This makes it less effective, and it would be far better to introduce new material here which strengthens the application. Perhaps a reference to research and reading or a clearer description of the kinds of companies or industries the writer might be keen to explore.
Equally, the writer could have made more detailed reference to exactly what they hope to contribute to the university environment, as this is only referenced in general terms. By outlining the value they hope to offer, a candidate can often evidence their suitability more convincingly.
In summary, this is a strong undergraduate personal statement example, which would be improved with some greater reference to academic mathematics skills and experiences.
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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