Personal Statement for Scholarship Application
The personal statement is your opportunity to speak to the
scholarship judges in your own voice about who you are, why you
study [your degree or academic pursuits], or what you want to do
with your life. You might explain how different aspects of your
life—academics, work, activities, hobbies, study abroad, family—come
together to inform your choices.
- Take the same care writing your personal statement that you
would with a course paper. Pay particular attention to the
instructions for each scholarship. Depending on the application,
your personal statement may be a single essay or a series of
- Address each topic requested and conform to the specified
format and length limit. You may be asked to write a personal
statement describing your academic interests, life goals,
extracurricular or leadership experiences, or what the
scholarship would enable you to do.
- Expect to write more than one draft. Ask for feedback from a
faculty advisor or look for guidelines.
- Write in a clear, straightforward style. Have confidence
that you are an interesting person with some great ideas, unique
experiences, and worthy dreams. You don't need to decorate your
essay with ornate or emotion-laden language or quotations from
famous people, to make it interesting.
- Show—don't tell—what a great candidate you are by the way
you write and the things you write about. Leave it to your
recommenders to praise your gifts as a writer, your dedication
to community service, or your passion for research. Your job is
to show these things implicitly.
- Define any specialized terms so that selection judges
outside of your major field will know what you're talking about.
- Proofread your essay and use the spell-check tool. Have
someone read your essay or personal statement for clarity and
While challenging to write, the personal statement is an
extremely useful learning experience. Whether you win the
scholarship or not, your time is well spent. Once you have written a
personal statement for one scholarship, you may be able to adapt it