Guidelines for Writing a Personal Statement

The personal statement is an opportunity to stand out among the other applicants and demonstrate how you are unique. It also provides a way to highlight something that may not stand out in the rest of your application.

Before writing the personal statement (at least 6 months before the deadline), think about the following:

  • What makes you passionate and interested in the field?
  • What makes you unique among the other applicants?
  • What are the things that you want the admissions committee to know about you?
  • Relate the content to the field that you are interested

While writing the personal statement (at least 3 months before the deadline):

1. Introduction

  • Set up what you are going to talk about
  • Should be attention getting

2. Body

  • Demonstrate your passion and interest in the field
  • Where is the proof? Documentation? Evidence? Provide specific examples.
  • Share what you learned
  • Be detailed
  • Is there anything that is left out?

3. Closing

  • Avoid including any new points
  • Remember that this is the last part that admissions committees will read, so leave a strong and positive impression!

Voice & style

  • Make sure the personal statement sounds like it is coming from you
  • Still keep the personal statement professional and appropriate
  • Things to avoid:
    • Trying to sound like you are an expert in the field
    • Listing your curriculum vitae

Make sure that you discuss each point equally

After writing the personal statement:

1. Remember the essay character/word limitations

  • Make sure you get EVERYTHING you want to say down first
  • Cross out what is not important
  • Different schools vary in the length requirement

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2. Consider the flow of the personal statement: Regardless of how much you cut out, make sure that the personal statement flows in regard to words and content

3. Proofread for grammatical and spelling errors

4. Have a variety of reviewers

  • For academic content: academic advisor, professor, community members, supervisor, etc. You can send your personal statement to the PAC Director for review. Just send it to kianak@hawaii.edu.
  • To ensure that it sounds like the applicant: parents, close family and friends, etc.
  • Give reviewers at least two weeks to review your personal statement

Contact the Pre-Health/Pre-Law Advising Center if you have any questions or concerns that come up along the way!