Sample Personal Statement for Public Policy Study
I was born in the city of Guangzhou, the provincial capital of
Canton--an area often called the "frontier" of China's economic reform
and marketization. The economic and social development of the area has
taken place in such pace that it radically transforms the living
conditions, the environment, the culture, and perhaps more than
anything else, people's way of thinking. No longer victims of
ignorance and self-isolation, people of Canton view the outside world
with great curiosity and openness.
I remember that ever since I was in high school, I paid rapt attention
to the social changes and government policy-making that were to shape
the country's future. Many debates took place between me and my
classmates, and it often brought us to euphoria or regret and sorrow,
as we watched the events taking their many unexpected turns to unfold.
But it was not until I entered ZhongShan University (one of the top
institutions for higher learning in China) that I became attracted to
Political Science for something I had not known before--its rich
theory, complex logic, and the sheer brilliance of its insights and
arguments. During my student years, I became acquainted with some
professors of the department who had been studying at Harvard and
other American universities, and their professional ability and
personal charisma impressed me immensely. From them I came to know
that I can achieve a deeper understanding of China's past and present
by broadening my theoretical and cultural perspective. I also began to
see not only the importance of Political Science, but also its
challenge and excitement.
It was, however, an accidental event that prompted me to take Public
Policy as my area of focus. An organizer of a student "social
practice" activity, I came to a community school operated exclusively
for children of migrant workers, who could not enter regular schools
because of their "alien" status--an experience I will never forget.
The contrast between the school's facilities with those of ordinary
city schools shocked me. In the clear eyes of the children sitting
before me I read longing and suffering. I kept asking myself what I
could do for these children, not just the one hundred or more in front
of me, but millions and millions more like them. It is only through
the development of the social welfare system and appropriate
government policy that the disadvantaged may be helped and protected,
and all children may have an equal opportunity to education and
success. Since then, I have been fully determined to devote myself to
the cause of public service and social welfare.
I am fully convinced that Public Policy Study is vital to any modern
society. It shapes our understanding of our social systems and
responsibilities, and informs government legislation and
policy-making. The great attraction of a career in public policy
research lies in that it will allow me to play a part in the planning
and the building of a future society of our country, which is not only
richer, but better. Public Policy is also an area of study noted for
its practical value. It addresses to concrete economic and social
issues, and in this way becomes lessened entangled with abstract
theoretical and ideological disputes, which I sometimes find
discouraging. One of the reasons for me to pursue advanced education
abroad is to attain a fuller knowledge of the public policies and
their specific principles and applications in the United States and
other industrial countries. They tell us what a country could
experience in the process of industrialization, and give new meanings
to the concepts of public interests and social policy. They are, as I
see it, an asset to mankind.
Government policy study as an academic discipline was started in China
in the 1980's; systematic study of public policy was even more recent.
In China's steady transition from a state-controlled system to a
market-oriented economy, new social issues continue to emerge, calling
for close investigation and serious research. While great progress and
improvement are being made, many in adverse situations are also left
stranded and helpless. The need for the development of an adequate
social security system and welfare service has never been so urgent.
I believe that my solid educational background, my willingness and
ability to tackle difficult problems, my strong sense of social
responsibility, and, above all, my boundless enthusiasm for the cause
of public service, will enable me to succeed in pursuing an advanced
degree in my chosen field in the United States. And from this, I am
sure, my country and my people will benefit. As Karl Marx says, man
strives for things that matter to him. In saying so, I believe, he
means not only material things, but also the spiritual and the ideal.
It is in the behalf of social justice and public well-being that I
will strive, for the rest of my life.