How to write personal statement for PhD application?

21st November 2018 by Varada A | SOP For PhD

While applying for PhD program, universities generally request the applicant to submit a personal statement, which is actually a vital element of one’s PG application. Although you will be issuing your research documents, the personal statement sums your eligibility to attain a doctorate. It is a very daunting and challenging to write a personal statement for phd application. But let we tell you, it is a great chance to convey your worth and prove your eligibility as a prospective PhD candidate to the admission committee.

Through this article we will elaborate to you as to what needs to go within a PhD personal statement, guidelines about its content structure as well as tips to impress your way up.

Why a personal statement for PhD?

A personal statement is given to share additional details of a PhD applicant’s education background, experiences and aspirations for pursuing postgraduate research. However unlike a PhD proposal, a personal statement doesn’t focus on a specific research topic, describing its objectives and procedures. Since PhD is done individually, the personal statement will reflect one’s uniqueness and worth.

The personal statement for PhD format may vary from university to university. Such that, some may provide application forms that have separate space for writing personal statement. While some colleges might request the applicant to provide it separately as a document. Hence, it is essential to ask about this to the respective college you are applying for, before writing personal statement for PhD.

Is it necessary to write a personal statement for PhD?

Unless you are not submitting your PhD proposal, it is not mandatory to write a personal statement. Some college do not insist on providing separate personal statement for phd application, probably because they rather expect to see a strong research proposal from the applicants. In such cases, they are likely to ask about the personal information during one-to-one interview process instead.

To whom it is addressed for?

An applicant’s personal statement will change hands at several levels of the admission process – for, it will be assessed by different academicians. Like, there will be professors who will check an applicant’s qualifications and experiences are relevant to this particular course and whether they are up to the mark, eligible for a PhD. Some may be interested in specific educational background and applicant’s motivations for working within a research group or particular department. Interview committee will base one’s personal statement to form questions for the applicant. While their tastes maybe different, one can impress them altogether by writing an impactful personal statement.

What to include in a personal statement?

The content of one’s PhD personal statement depends on the type of project one is applying for and according to the university’s requirements. It is strongly advisable to check carefully what the university needs beforehand and see what specific information they are looking for – such as career plans, interests, motivations, etc.

Now let’s get elaborate about the important things that one should put in a personal statement for phd application….

  • Background

Make this brief, concise and relevant. Admission panel are keen to know what made you to choose a PhD and not your actual “personal” life details. Although, it is fine to share that you developed interest in a particular subject from childhood.

  • Reason to do PhD

A personal statement for phd application should convey your reason and motivation behind taking a particular PhD. However, what you include in this, depends mainly on the field of PhD you have chosen. If one is attaching research proposal along with the statement, then focus more on writing why you want to do a PhD rather than the particular topic which you would have already written in the proposal.

  • Academic Achievements

Personal statement is way different from a CV. Avoid putting down the usual chronological order of educational qualifications within your personal statement for phd application. Instead, explain the importance of those qualifications and how instrumental they are to support your PhD course.

  • Extracurricular Activities

Don’t consider this space to share about your personal interests like singing, painting or reading. Always remember, whatever you write in your statement should be in relevance or sync with the prospective program. Include skills that you developed through extracurricular activities which will support your PhD.

  • Goals & Motivation

This is very and very crucial elements within your personal statement for phd application. Explain to the selection committee how this program fits into your future and career aspirations. Although your plans post this doctorate will not be beneficial for the readers, it will mainly make them understand that you have serious goals set to which you are quite committed to.

  • Fill what is missed by CV

A personal statement essentially fills in all the information and details that one couldn’t accommodate within a CV. For instance, you might have included two irrelevant graduate courses within you CV but do not have enough space to give reason. Whereas, in personal statement for phd application you can tell why you changed your decision and what made you take diversion in your career journey.


More Tips for PhD Statement

As we said earlier, the format of PhD statement may differ from applicant to applicant and college to college, there are few key points that will remain consistent. For example, the phd personal statement biology will vary from that of engineering.

  • Never copy – Both, your research proposal and personal statement should show relevance style and content. However take care they do not have same details and information. Both these documents are meant for different purposes.
  • Honesty counts – Mostly what you write in personal statement will come back to you in form of questions during interview. So make sure what you write is correct and authentic, so you do not embarrass yourself in front of the panel.
  • Do not beg – This personal statement for phd application is aimed to show your eligibility and value for the PhD. So it is not a good idea to ask or beg the reader to give you the chance to associate with them.
  • Maintain Confidence – Write about your skills and achievements with an honest approach and show your pride on having earned them.

Finally, let someone qualified and experienced go through your personal statement for phd application. They will help you to find out the missing things within your letter and also share their feedbacks as to how you can make it better.

On an alternate note, you can also approach us for writing or editing your personal statement for phd application in best manner.

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