Weissman School of Arts and Sciences

Writing the Personal Statement

Every fellowship or graduate school application requires a statement that asks, in one way or another, for the candidate to describe their academic or other interests. This personal statement is your introduction to the selection committee. An outstanding personal statement will not win you a scholarship, but a poorly prepared one can deny you the chance to be considered as a finalist.

Personal statements are personal, an exercise in self-reflection, so there is not one format or approach that will work well for everyone. They are also short -- 1,000 words or fewer -- so you should identify the three or four most important points that you want to develop. Plan to write many drafts and revisions. Other parts of your application (including letters of recommendation) can present other important information.

Use your personal statement to say what only you can say because it is what is most important to you.

The City University of New York