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 Psychology 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: Psychology
Personal Statement Example: Introduction
“As a result of continued progress in the field of psychology over recent decades, researchers and psychologists can now offer increasingly meaningful observations and analyses regarding human behaviours, processes and emotions. Consequently, millions of people around the world are better placed to understand themselves and others, improving the quality of their lived experience. It is well known that life events frequently determine and shape behaviour, and our childhood years play a crucial role in developing patterns of thought and response. However, I find the dilemmas and challenges that psychologists encounter when forming a detailed diagnosis of the complexity of the human mind fascinating. Ultimately, psychology’s inherent potential for positive change inspires my interest in this compelling discipline.”
Commentary and Analysis
The writer has taken a positive, relevant and informed approach to the opening of this undergraduate personal statement, which links well with their subsequent personal connection to psychology.
However, I would have expected a reference/quote/evidence of reading that reinforces this statement and show research beyond the curriculum – there’s very little evidence in this entire statement of tangible knowledge of the subject they’re applying for. That’s a problem, as an admissions reader will be keen to see specific subject knowledge, especially for such a competitive course.
I like the structure and sense of the points made above, as they outline some key areas of psychology. It also offers a justification for the writer’s motivation to study the subject at a higher level. Again though, a reference to a particular theory, movement, publication or practitioner would have added weight.
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
“When I was younger, I suffered from panic attacks and anxiety. I communicated these feelings to my parents, and we sought help from a psychologist. After attending several sessions with my psychologist, I was surprised and relieved by the effectiveness of that therapy. I was fortunate to find a qualified psychologist who helped me to understand my feelings and gave me the tools to manage them.
Realising how my mind functioned concerning my issues and discovering healthier ways to react in challenging situations was illuminating on several levels. During these sessions, I felt comfortable speaking freely without fear of judgement. It was clear that empathy and the ability to listen are key skills for psychologists when assessing patients and providing pathways for change. Witnessing first-hand the transformational potential of psychology played an important role in forming decisions about my future and is a compelling factor behind this application.”
Commentary and Analysis
This section would have been a good opportunity to display some knowledge by indicating what some of these tools were, but the personal connection with the subject is a good one, and valid in an undergraduate statement.
These two sentences above are less relevant, and the personal statement example would have been improved if more valuable and relevant material had been included. What we really need to see is tangible academic research or example of academic skills that will assist the writer during their undergraduate degree.
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
“My high school study of English, French and Spanish improved my written and verbal communication skills and my ability to express ideas clearly. While Italian is my mother tongue, I also speak the language of my parents, Romanian. Mastering several languages and travelling extensively, I have developed a high degree of cultural openness and a strong sense of self-reliance, maturity and personal responsibility. Studying maths improved my critical and numerical skills and sharpened my ability to construct logical arguments and expose illogical hypotheses. Alongside techniques related to gathering, analysing and interpreting data which I gained through the study of physics, I am confident my academic skills will provide a firm knowledge foundation and enable me to excel in this course.”
Commentary and Analysis
This passage shows that the writer is a strong language scholar, but it doesn’t formally make a connection between the skills associated with language acquisition and their links with psychology (there are many). Even if it doesn’t seem obvious, it’s a good idea to find transferable skills from all of your academic experiences. This passage doesn’t outline any transferable study skills – it would have been a good way to show how this experience added value to a somewhat unrelated psychology application.
References to maturity and personal responsibility are critical for psychology applications, and the writer is clearly a confident and independent person, which is ideal for any kind of undergraduate study. But of far more importance are the writer’s skills in maths. The writer needs to add more here, particularly as psychology at the degree level focuses on constructing frameworks using qualitative and quantitative data and statistics and modelling outcomes using coding through Python, R and MatLab.
Given there is very little academic content in this personal statement, this would have been an opportunity to explain the writer’s maths skills and suitability in a bit more depth.
Check out lots more examples of personal statements here, and see how they can inspire your application!
Personal Statement Example: Section 4
“In 2022 I was proud to be selected by a regional committee for an Erasmus program. There were only nine places for all high school students across the region of Lazio, and I received a grant to move to Ireland for four months and work as an HR intern for a company called The Buckley. I handled the recruitment and selection process, assisted with payroll tasks and helped induct new employees. Although initially challenging, I quickly became part of the team and provided effective assistance when needed. This improved my organisational skills, and as a proactive team member, I learned the value of collaboration when working towards my goals.”
Commentary and Analysis:
The most important and convincing element of the above section is the award, which shows competitiveness, quality and responsibility. The travel aspect again shows cultural understanding and independence, giving the reader confidence that the writer will manage in a university environment.
However, the skills outcomes need to be more specifically related to psychology content for the passage to be fully effective.
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.
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Personal Statement Example: Conclusion
“Working as a babysitter over the last five summers, I took on many responsibilities and learned the importance of listening and letting others express themselves. When some children were not always capable of communicating feelings or needs, I took the opportunity to improve my emotional and empathetic skills, which I consider critical for this degree course.
I aim to become a qualified psychologist and help those suffering from mental health issues, depression and associated disorders. This course is, therefore, a vital next step on my academic journey. I look forward to drawing on my unique experiences to actively contribute to this course, offering my strengths to others and accepting help to overcome the challenges of undergraduate study.”
Commentary and Analysis
Aside from showing reliability, the above paragraph doesn’t add much value. Whilst skills such as empathy are tremendously valuable, the writer should have prioritised their academic and research abilities.
Generally speaking, the conclusion works well in that it doesn’t repeat previous material and makes connections between the writer’s personal ambitions and the courses they’re applying to, which is ideal.
Overall, I would argue that there is not enough academic content included to convince a reader that this candidate is well suited to the demands of a degree in psychology. Nor is there enough content which relates directly to the general aspects of psychology taught at the undergraduate level, so the reader won’t always be convinced that the writer has researched the courses and understands the content.
However, the impression is of a worldly, capable and engaged student who clearly has a genuine interest in the subject.
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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