A personal statement is your introduction to a selection committee. It may be THE most important element of your program or scholarship application. You may be invited to interview, selected as a finalist, and ultimately given an award largely based on your personal statement. There is no one format or style because a statement of purpose is personal in nature, but it should still follow basic writing guidelines.


The following list of steps and suggestions can assist you in composing a strong and convincing personal statement for your study abroad or scholarship application.


IDENTIFY why you have chosen to study abroad.


This is an opportunity for you to establish goals for experience overseas, academically, professionally, and personally. What do you wish to accomplish from this experience? What motivates you to embark on this adventure? How will this endeavor give you a "competitive edge" and distinguish you from other candidates? Think beyond generalities such as "Travel will make me a better person."



RESEARCH your chosen destination.


You should be able to demonstrate some basic knowledge (geography, history, culture, current events) of your chosen destination(s). Can you find the country or city on a map? What is attractive about living and studying there? You can always acquire a better picture for any place by reading travel narratives and asking for resources (suggested reading & viewing material). Talk to faculty, advisors and international students to get their insight.


CONSIDER your personal characteristics and background.


What makes you unique and differentiates you from the "average"student? How will YOU express your individuality and personality? How have you prepared yourself to participate in this program, both academically and personally? Have you studied a foreign language and/or participated in any extracurricular activities?


CREATE an outline for your essay


What will you cover in the introduction, supporting paragraphs and conclusion? A well-organized essay will allow the reader to better follow your reasoning.


CONSIDER your personal characteristics and background.


All essays should have a thesis statement in the introduction.Consider the minimum length requirement (normally 500 to 1000 words) Remember all paragraphs normally have one topic sentence and supporting content or examples.Consider beginning with a brief anecdote or quote, which may resonate with you and grab the reader´s attention.


PROOFREAD and EDIT your essay.


Read your essay out load to recognize inconsistencies and any awkward or colloquial (informal) language. Request your family, friends, and faculty advisors read your essay to provide you their opinions and suggestions.

All compositions should be edited for correct grammar, spelling and punctuation.Use a dictionary and/or thesaurus when needed.


Visit a tutor in the Department of Rhetoric and Writing Studies.


The Department of Rhetoric and Writing Studies has tutoring services available to all students each semester. We encourage you to see a tutor for assistance in your grammar, sentence structure and other writing elements. The Division of Undergraduate Studies also has information on creating a personal statement.