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Sample Personal Statement for Teenager & Juvenile Developmental Psychology

In my undergraduate program, I received education across two fields—a degree program in law at the Law School of XX University and a degree program in psychology at XX University. My rigorous academic trainings across those two fields have given me necessary qualifications for pursuing a more advanced program either in psychology or in law, endowing me with a unique advantage in interdisciplinary knowledge.

As far as I am concerned, law and psychology are reciprocal. They all pertain to human behavior. As a matter of fact, my thesis in law, entitled “ XXX “ explores juvenile delinquency by examining the complicated psychological factors of the younger generation of China in family, school and neighborhood settings. However, there are essential differences between them. In terms of the causal relationships of human behavior, law is primarily concerned with the treatment of the consequences of human behavior while psychology probes into the motivations that cause people to act as they do. In the framework of human relations, law aims at orderly and well-regulated social relationship while psychology, with its interventions into the process of human development, seeks to facilitate the healthy development of the individuals.

While law and psychology are both indispensable to the proper functioning of our society, when it comes to making a choice between those two fields in which to pursue a graduate program, I decide to opt for a program in Developmental Psychology. My decision is motivated by the fact that law can only deal with the aftermath of human behavior whereas psychology can provide preventive measures against possible negative human behavior. Child & adolescent psychology, a field I am interested in, may facilitate the development of healthy personality structure that may enable children and adolescents interact with the society in a harmonious manner.

I have received sound academic trainings that a student of psychology can expect in China, excelling particularly in Developmental Psychology, Cognitive Psychology, Experimental Psychology and other core courses, all of which have imparted to me the necessary theoretical knowledge. My 87/100 GPA in Psychology has made me the top student in my class and the winner of a series of the university’s top-level scholarships. As an undergraduate, I have attempted at some tentative research by submitting essays and research papers to provincial-level and university-level journals (please refer to my Resume). In performing those researches, I find that I have benefited considerably from my solid mathematics foundation and the related methodology—my score for the Advanced Mathematics course is 98/100 while the SPSS was nearly full mark. I have mastered important statistical and quantitative methods, computer programming and LISREL with much facility and I excel in designing experiments and preparing questionnaires.

I started to perform formal academic research at the Developmental Psychology Lab in XX University two years by working as a research assistant to Prof. XX, a leading Chinese scholar on social development in childhood and adolescence and peer relations. By focusing on the peer relations, social cognition, social self-concept, attributions, and past social experiences, I completed a full-length research paper XX, which became a poster presentation at the XX. My research indicates that in addition to maintaining an appropriate level of social self-concept and optimistic attributional style, it is essentially worthwhile to emphasize another two strategies to improve the positive peer nominations: to pay special attention to the attributions to negative events of the life, and to attribute social popularity or success to some stable causes. Based on my distinguished academic performance, I attended the XX and the XX.

Off campus, I have worked as a social worker offering psychological consulting for the “No Worry Teenagers” column for the authoritative journal XX, dealing with the problems concerning interpersonal relations and social cognition of adolescents and young adults. This experience allowed me to gain insight into many important aspects of the mental lives of this group of people beyond the mere statistical data. However, it is a regret that my knowledge is insufficient to offer adequate consulting service to my audience of such diverse backgrounds. This fact reveals to me the need to undertake more advanced studies to improve my professional competence.

I am strongly interested in the developmental psychology of adolescents because by helping adolescents build up a healthy psychology that may enable them to successfully integrate into the competitive world of adults, hence fewer social problems could be created. In my proposed program, I would like to concentrate on the following subjects: social cognitive and social-emotional development in childhood and adolescence; peer relations and family relations and their influence on development; resilience in high risk settings; development of self-esteem; gender differences and similarities, and research methods. The University of XX’s graduate education is very strong in those fields. Your faculty consists of distinguished professors who come from leading universities and have made important research achievements. Your program offers students a total of 14 labs, among which Multiple Identities and Interpersonal Interactions Lab is most relevant to my study. I expect that your Ph.D. program can give me instruction in the fundamental theories and knowledge of developmental psychology and also give me rigorous training in planning, conducting and evaluating research. I would like to identify Prof.XX as my potential advisor, whose research interests covers a wide spectrum, including most of the fields I am interested in.

To me, psychology means care, psychological research is to find out how to care and psychological service is to offer the care. My career objective is to develop into a research-oriented professor who can perform substantial research on adolescent psychology. I will study those features of psychology that Chinese adolescents share with their XX counterparts as China is under heavy influences of XX culture. But I would also examine the role of traditional Chinese culture in shaping the psychology of Chinese adolescents. Apart from my professional activities, I will continue to offer voluntary, non-profit consulting services to those who are in need. Adolescent psychological consulting is only of recent origin and much is to be improved. My prospective XX education will enable me to make important contributions in this regard.


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