Personal Statement for Scholarship 250 Words Sample
Please provide a Personal Statement regarding how your academic achievements, personal interests, and life experiences have helped prepare you to succeed academically and to be an active member of the __ community
Personal Statement Essay
"The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams."
As a member of my generation, it is my responsibility to become active in changing the world for the better. Enrolling, and excelling, in many extra-curricular programs has enhanced my ability to engage in an active role in improving the school as well as the community. Becoming active in reaching out and providing aid for those who seek it has reinforced my inspiration to take time out of my life to benefit others. Selecting advanced subjects has successfully challenged my work-ethic and time management skills.
Academics are my highest priority, but I maintain a well-balanced lifestyle by pursuing the pleasures in life: spending time with friends and family, working hard at my job and gaining a dependable income, and exercising by playing in a recreational basketball league.
I am so grateful for the opportunities that have been given to me, and I do not regret the choices I have made in my life through those opportunities. I have lived a very unique and special life, learning a vast number of lessons along the way. In my life, I have travelled abroad, exposing me to new cultures and have adapted in a way that was accepted by those cultures. I have traveled to a different state with my father to attend a program that taught me the importance of enthusiasm and positive reinforcement. Due to the opportunities given to me, and the lessons I have learned throughout my life, I am confident in saying that I am well-adapted and prepared to succeed and achieve at the University of ____________.
Original Source: College Confidential
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Sample personal statements
Postby Ken » Fri May 11, 2007 1:46 am
Below are two sample personal statements provided by TLS readers and comments provided by a bright Stanford English Ph.D. graduate. Both sample personal statements are strong, but especially the second one.
Home for me is a small, sturdy town in West River South Dakota—whose conflation with the comparatively gentrified and green farmland east of the Missouri River is to be made only at the risk of rough correction by residents of both bank sides. My mother, however, draws her roots from Omaha, Nebraska, a location that earned its place on my personal map as the site of my school holidays. Although separated by a length of exactly six hours seated in the right-hand backseat of the family car, it is in the overlap of these two places I have found two of my most important resources, curiosity and determination, with which I confront obstacles and opportunities.
When in Omaha, I would often explore the childhood bedrooms of my mother’s eight siblings. These old rooms with their shelves and closets filled by books became for me miniature, delightfully idiosyncratic libraries. Tucked away from the cheerful din of the waves of kith and kin washing through my grandmother’s doorway, I pilfered these goldmines and in doing so discovered the vista of my mind’s eye —a landscape that would powerfully influence my intellectual world to come. Through the course of countless Thanksgivings and winter breaks, I gobbled down stretches of Nancy Drew adventures (including every mystery solved by that titian haired sleuth before 1979). Eventually I passed from Nancy Drew to de Quincy and Dickens.
I brought my fascination with literature home as a hobby to Winner, where people seemed to be most seriously interested in reclaiming that 1996 state football championship and by if it would rain enough for the sunflowers to get ahead of the weeds. Although I never did get a very tight grasp on football’s finer points, the capacity for persistence that I gained while growing up in Winner formed the foundation on which I later laid academic pursuits. Of what I have accomplished in my areas of study, very little can be credited to miraculous flair or native instinct. The bulk of my academic personality may be defined by “try”—the word people in rodeo stands use when they refer to the rider who is jumping over the arena fence, trampled hat in hand after a particularly valiant, if unsuccessful ride. The word is, of course, just another way (ungrammatical at that) to refer to passion and hardihood. Still, the noun form of “try” has been in my lexicon since childhood, and it is thanks to the special circumstances of my modern-day rural upbringing in the Midwest that I developed my sense of steady perseverance. The many ranching and farming friends and family who daily confront both natural obstacles and, increasingly, upheavals in the very structure of the agricultural way of life have shown me the worth of working, and working hard.
Shortly after my eighteenth birthday, another signal six-hour drive brought me to Nebraska’s small capital city, where I enrolled in the state’s flagship university. A short distance from the scene of my childhood holidays, I now had the resources of the region’s largest university at hand. No longer confined to the book collections of my aunts’ younger days and the even less complete collection found in the old local library, I learned to abide by an old maxim. Rather than pull books off shelves according to the talent of their cover artists or slavishly follow titian-haired sleuths across multiple authors and decades, I have learned to pursue rational trains of inquiry. I anticipate with pleasure the further developments of my intellectual capabilities that the study of law will bring.
This essay has a powerful regional voice and local color that is brilliant and wonderful. She writes with such comic charm of her towns, that the piece is irresistibly pleasant to read. From the description of her hometown as “sturdy” in the first sentence to the comic suspense about whether the sunflowers will “get ahead of the weeds,” the author shows she is an extremely talented, and highly-trained, creative writer. It might be hard for the untrained eye to notice the subtleties that make this essay a work of art, but they are there, and because of this, the author releases herself from some of the conventions of the law school personal essay. She’s therefore free to let her regionalism seem to get ahead of her ambitions, when all the while she is showing off her rhetorical prowess. This author uses doublespeak to both present herself as an innocent from South Dakota, while underneath she turns a keen and comic eye on the places of her youth and the idiosyncrasies of the residents, including her own family. She is effectively winking at admissions committee members at top law schools on the coasts, and giving them a delightful Willa Cather-like release from the tedium of law school personal statements. This candidate has a personality and intelligence that comes through loud and clear in her writing.
The applicant does not tell us anything about her accomplishments in college. She should keep the hilarious paragraph on the rodeo, but if there is enough space, she should give the reader another chapter of her personal narrative about what happens when she gets to college, with new characters and new comic, shrewd observations. Perhaps there was one creative writing professor who took her under his or her wing. The author could write about a shared comic and nurturing exchange between them. This would suggest where and how she developed her substantial creative writing skills. And without being too obvious, this would encourage the admissions committee members who were reading fast, woe betide them, to take another look.
Personal Statement #2
As I walked into Professor Deatherage’s office my heart was racing. Scott Deatherage was the Coach of the Decade for the 1990s and had won two more National Debate Tournament championships by 2003. He had taken me under his wing when I arrived, wide-eyed in Chicago. Four years later, after the best tournament of my life, I was going to tell the man who believed in this small town Texan that my debate career had come to an end. What would he say?
That summer I had spent countless late nights reading everything about global agricultural policy and had produced a policy proposal that was selected by almost every team on our squad to defend during tournaments that year. In my freshman year I had not known where to start on my first research project, but now entering my senior year I had produced a 700-page file made up of newspaper, book, and law review articles and congressional testimony on every aspect of agricultural subsidy policy.
During the season, my partner and I had gone toe-to-toe with the best teams in the nation. Northwestern debate had brought me from a small town orator to an analytical strategist. As I moved through my senior year, I realized that I had learned an amazing amount about myself through debate; however, the time had come to think about the big picture. Our coaches taught us that in a debate round, if one attempts to win every point of contention, then he or she will be spread too thin and lose the entire argument. In the larger picture of my academic career, I needed to choose between the activity I loved and getting the most of the academic opportunities available to me. My application to write an honors thesis in the English department had recently been accepted. The research and critical reading skills that I had honed over the past four years were now to be turned to novels and theoretical essays. If I decided to do both debate and my thesis, then I would succeed at neither. As Professor Deatherage told us again and again, “you must choose, because if you go for everything you will win nothing.”
Working on my honors thesis illuminated how valuable debate was to my intellectual development. I read each paper as I had each article for debate. I had been drilled in argument structure, discriminating between critical and unimportant details and summarizing the central theses of what I read. With the guidance of my advisor, Professor Brian Edwards, I did go on to write a thesis of which I am very proud. The outstanding instruction at Northwestern University exposed me to new worlds of knowledge, and debate had gave me the tools necessary to develop my own critical lens to take full advantage of that knowledge throughout my life.
Since college I have moved to the Bay Area with my wife as she pursues her doctorate. I have used these years to explore my interests to determine my future career goals. As I researched numerous fields I took an inventory of my skills and interests. The skills I listed were those that drew me into debate in the first place: public speaking, critical reading, argument analysis, persuasion, and research. I will be able to best use these skills in the legal field.
Currently I work for a company that specializes in producing electronic, educational toys. This has opened my eyes to the complex challenges facing companies dependent on proprietary technologies and content that, for financial reasons, must manufacture products in nations without lengthy traditions of copyright and patent protections. I think Stanford’s Science, Technology, and Intellectual Property Law Program would be an excellent fit for my personal interests and skills. The close ties with companies in Silicon Valley and the Bay Area facing these challenges daily makes Stanford the ideal location for me to pursue my legal studies.
In his office Professor Deatherage warmly listened to what I had decided. I will never forget the elation I felt when he expressed his pride in watching me mature into the debater and person I had become. Being from a small town in Texas himself, he understood what it meant for me to have come as far as I had, and that I was ready to face another challenge.
Personal Statement #2 Commentary
The essay is energetic, and it applauds debate skills, both of which will make the admissions committee sit up and take notice. It begins with suspense and fulfills the promise of the resolution at the end of the essay. The essay teaches a lesson to everyone who reads it, which is not to overextend oneself, but to choose goals wisely and see each one through to the best of one’s abilities. This candidate has an excellent ethos, in which he demonstrates strength of will and pride in his accomplishments. His rhetoric also suggests he, like the professor whose background he shares, will grow into a master of his field and an inspiring supporter of others. This is an excellent essay.
A few minor adjustments will make this essay stand out as exceptional. In the first paragraph, the applicant should mention at which college Professor Deatherage coached. This will allow the applicant to get across that he was debating with the best college debaters in the country. He should integrate the paragraph on soul-searching after college with the paragraph about his job at the toy company. He should also discuss what he did at the toy company, and why he chose this job. Telling why he chose this job will underscore the claim that he carefully chooses each goal and fulfills it to his full potential before moving on. For example, he should state what skills he expected to acquire or improve from this job (such as negotiation, public speaking, patent law, or whatever skill it was that he wanted to develop). He should then state that he did improve those skills, and that he is ready to move on. He should give more specific examples about what he achieved on the Northwestern debate team. For example, did the team compete nationally, and what number were they ranked in the nation? Furthermore, was his debate league the highest level for debate teams in the country, before actual professional debates in the courtroom and policy offices? This information will help the admissions committee put the applicant’s accomplishments into perspective by giving evidence that he is one of the best debaters in the country. The applicant should also make sure Professor Deatherage writes him a recommendation letter because the admissions committee will want this to substantiate what the applicant claims about his debate skills, and will enjoy reading about the narrative from another perspective.