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How to Write Research Personal Statement

What is a research statement? In a nutshell, it is a piece of writing that you provide along with other admission documents when applying for a research degree, fellowship, scholarship, etc.

A personal statement is used to present yourself to the admission committee and explain why you should be accepted.


What Is the Purpose of the Research Personal Statement?

As was already mentioned, personal statement research is usually submitted as a part of your admission documents package. What’s the main purpose?

In a nutshell, the core purpose of a self statement is to sell yourself. You can think of it as a cover letter that comes with a job application. Just like a cover letter, a personal statement is used to stand out. You need it to show admissions committees how your experience and personality fit into their program.

A personal statement is supposed to complement other documents in your application and help the committee understand you better, as well as fill any gaps or connect disconnected pieces of your personal story. It should indicate what makes you unique and set you apart from the crowd of other candidates.

What to Put in the Research Personal Statement

A personal statement for research degree is your opportunity to tell the admissions officers more about you and prove that you are the right candidate for a chosen program.

When writing a research statement you should focus on showing your current skills and experience, as well as highlight your enthusiasm for performing the research on the topic you’ve indicated in your research proposal.

Here are some core questions that you should answer in your personal statement:

  • Why you’ve chosen this particular topic?

  • What aspects of the subject you are most interested in?

  • What relevant experience, abilities, and skills you have in a particular subject?

  • How does the selected topic relate to your future career outlook?

  • Why you have chosen a particular educational facility or program?

  • Are you already taking (or planning to take) a gap year? Why?

  • In case you are not enrolled in a full-time program at the time of application, what is your current or previous employment history?


Structure of the Research Personal Statement

Introduction of the Research Personal Statement

Shaping your opening paragraph is the most responsible step in the personal statements writing process. An introduction is the only shot you get to attract the reader’s attention and make your application memorable.

Here are some clues on what to write about in your intro:

  • Career statement

  • Interesting facts

  • Epiphany experience

  • Unusual experiences

  • Childhood stories


Pro Tip: Regardless of what you are writing about, provide vivid details and avoid cliches.


Body of the Research Personal Statement

The body is the largest part of your personal statement. The standard format of personal statement implies you should include at least 2-3 paragraphs in the main body of your text.

The body is where most of your story will unfold. This part of your statement should show the admissions committee how dedicated, experienced, and mature you are, and, at the same time, showcase your personality.

In the body of your personal statement write about:

  • The journey that brought you to the point you are at now;

  • Why you want to pursue a research degree

  • How you’ll use this opportunity for your career

  • Your knowledge and academic preparation

  • Your leadership, teamwork, and other skills, maturity, etc.

You can also write about other important facts that will complement your application and show why you are a good fit for the program.




Conclusion of the Research Personal Statement

The last paragraph should wrap up everything you pointed out in your statement and hint readers at the personal statements conclusions they should make based on your experience and personality.


Tips for Writing Research Personal Statement

Now that you know how to write personal statement for college in broad terms, let us give you a few extra tips for success:

  1. Define the purpose of a particular program, fellowship, scholarship, or another opportunity you are applying for. When you know the purpose, as well as what the committee is looking for in applications, you will find it easier to define what you should write about in your statement.

  2. Take your time to brainstorm and be sure to make a detailed outline. It’s vital that you allocate enough time to brainstorm ideas and plan out your statement of research.

  3. Provide lots of details and real-life examples to support your statements and ideas.

  4. Give yourself more space in terms of the word count when drafting. If you check the examples and requirement to identify how long should research statement be, you will find that the final piece is most often 1,000 words or under. However, don’t cling to any limits while making your first drafts. Let yourself go over the limits and write in detail. Later, you will be able to edit your statement and remove everything unnecessary.

  5. Use your research proposal, past projects, CV, and other things to make your personal statement more thorough.

  6. Leave time for proofreading and editing. If you are wondering how to write research statement that turns heads, there is one main rule to remember - editing isn’t optional but a mandatory step. So be sure to leave enough time to polish your text.


Research Personal Statement Don’ts

Now, let’s see some don’ts:

  1. Don’t postpone it to the last minute. If you wait until the last minute to write your personal statement for college, chances are that it won’t turn out very good, so be sure to start early.

  2. Don’t write about anything you don’t want to be discussed in a conversation. Avoid any information that you wouldn’t be comfortable discussing during a face-to-face interview.

  3. Don’t make it a re-phrased copy of your CV. This is one of the most common mistakes applicants do - they focus too much on their experience and, thus, turn their personal statements into a copy of their CVs. Be sure to complement your CV with additional info instead of re-stating what was already said.

  4. Don’t undervalue or apologize for your background or experiences. In your personal statement thesis, instead of apologizing for something, focus on showing how you can overcome challenges and pursue opportunities.

  5. Don’t rely on others’ personal statements. While peeping at examples can help define the right personal statement outline format, it can set you off the track in terms of content. Remember that it has to be authentic and personal.

  6. Don’t forget you can get personal statement help if needed.

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