5 Tips: Crafting a winning personal statement

Personal Statement

When composing your personal statement, you are basically marketing yourself to an academic that you have never met. The fact there are only 4000 characters to use makes the task even more onerous. In this post, we have compiled the five tips to help you write a winning personal statement.

1. Organisation is an absolute necessity

Before you even start to write, it is important that you write down everything that you want to say in bullet points. Arrange them from the most important thing to the least one. This way, you will clearly articulate your points so that they come out in a much more organized way. Another thing is to set aside enough time for proofreading. Begin writing early as this will give you plenty of time to read the whole thing with fresh pair of eyes. Triple check for any spelling or grammar errors.

2. Give your best in the opening paragraph

When writing your statement, you need to realise that the opening or the lead paragraph is the most important. It is at this point that you can GRAB or lose the reader’s attention. In case you intend to tell a story, use your first paragraph to state the elements that are most relevant to your story. These elements should also be able to hold the greatest interest for someone reading the story.

3. Be specific

Many students make the mistake of just saying that they are interested in a particular subject because the subject is interesting. Instead, look for the specific thing about the course that you find most interesting. The admission staff want to know what excites you about the subject. It could be a book that you read some times back, or even a play you have watched. There must be a hook.

4. Tell a story

It is important to be truthful and adhere to the facts. However, view your personal statement as writing of your own story (see some examples here). In order to distinguish you from other applicants, you need to come up with fresh, different and lively personal statement. Ensure that your personal statement is MEMORABLE. There is no worse thing than boring the admissions committee with your personal statement. Surprisingly, this is what many applicants do.

With the help of family and friends, carefully review your life and look for experiences or facets which touch on unusual dimensions that are linked to your professional goals. These unique experiences can be the evidence the admission committee needs to determine your suitability for the subject you are applying for.

5. If you are a foreign applicant, have your statement translated

Even if you are familiar with the language spoken in the country where you are applying, it is still important that your statement is translated. This is your guarantee that the statement is properly written. You certainly do not want to take any chances with your statement. In case you are the one who is translating your statement, make sure you follow five professional translation requirements written by Etienne Dolet.


Your personal statement is what stands between you and your dream career. Since it is going to be read by high-profile intellectuals, it is important that you make it as good as you can. The tips above should help you craft a winning personal statement.

Alex Pejak is an economist currently working on a few projects in Australia. She is passionate about market research and project management. She is also interested in topics related to business IT and career development.

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