Make an Impression With Your Personal Statement

man sitting at a computer working on her personal statement for his graduate application

Your personal statement is your opportunity to share your story, values, and passion for your faith positively and conversationally. It's also your chance to show the admissions committee why you're a good fit for their school.

In this guide, we provide helpful tips on how to write a personal statement for graduate school that'll help you stand out from the competition.

Do Some Research

Before you start writing your personal statement, it's essential to do your research. This means learning about the schools you're applying to and their programs.

Each school will have its own requirements for personal statements, so it's essential to follow them carefully. Some schools may have a specific word count or length requirement, while others may have more general guidelines. For example, DBU lists its requirements for its Statement of Purpose on the admission requirements page.

Many sample personal statements for Christian graduate school are available online, but it's important to use them as a starting point and not a template. Your personal statement should be unique and reflect your personal story and beliefs. Even a general example personal statement for graduate school can provide valuable insights into the structure, tone, and content that admissions committees generally look for.

Start by Brainstorming

Take some time to reflect on your experiences, beliefs, and goals. What are your reasons for wanting to attend a Christian graduate school? What are your spiritual and academic goals? What experiences have shaped your faith and your desire to learn more about it?

Here are some additional questions you can ask yourself to help you brainstorm:

  • What are my core values?
  • What are my spiritual beliefs?
  • How has my faith shaped my academic and personal life?
  • What are my academic interests?
  • Why do I want to attend a Christian graduate school?
  • What are my goals for the future?
  • What experiences have shaped my desire to learn more about my faith?

Once you understand your motivations, you can write a rough draft.

Be Specific and Embrace Your Faith Story

Admissions committees receive thousands of personal statements yearly, so making yours stand out is critical. One way to do this is to be specific about how your faith has influenced your life and studies.

Don't just tell the admissions committee that you're a Christian who wants to learn more about their faith. Show them! Provide real-life examples of how your faith has shaped your thoughts, actions, and beliefs. What books have you read that have challenged or inspired you? What experiences have helped you grow in your faith?

For example, you could talk about a mission trip where you worked with others to spread the message of Christ. Or, you could discuss a specific Bible study that deepened your understanding of scripture.

Be Authentic and Reflective

The admissions committee wants to get to know the real you, so be honest about your beliefs, doubts, and hopes. Share your journey and how it has led you to pursue graduate studies in a Christian context.

Remember, the personal statement is your chance to show the admissions committee who you are and what makes you unique. Reflect on your motivations, aspirations, and the impact you hope to make through your education. Avoid clichés and focus on conveying your thoughts in your authentic voice.

Aim to Inspire

As you write your personal statement, let your faith guide your words. Remember that you're writing to convince the admissions committee of your qualifications and to inspire them with your passion and dedication to your faith.

Show them how your faith drives you to seek knowledge, make a difference, and contribute to the Christian community. Let them know you're a student passionate about learning and committed to using their education to impact the world.

Remember the words of Philippians 4:13 (ESV): "I can do all things through him who strengthens me." This verse reminds us that we can accomplish anything with God's help. So, as you write your statement, let your faith be your strength and inspiration.

Be Concise and Stay Focused

Your personal statement should be concise and focused — every word counts. Get to the point and let your passion for your faith shine through.

Here are some quick tips to help you stay on track:

  • Get to the point quickly. Don't waste time with unnecessary introductions or background information.
  • Be specific. Don't just say that you're passionate about your faith; be specific about how your faith has influenced your life.
  • Stay focused on your goals. What do you hope to achieve through your graduate studies?
  • Avoid clichés. Don't use overused phrases or expressions. Instead, write in your voice.

Proofread Carefully

Your personal statement is your chance to share your story and your passion for your faith with the admissions committee. So, take the time to proofread it carefully.

If you need additional guidance, ask one of your previous professors or a mentor to review your statement. They can help ensure your message is clear, concise, and error-free.

The Bottom Line

Writing a personal statement for a Christian graduate school can feel overwhelming, but it's important to remember that the admissions committee is looking for students who are passionate about their faith and committed to using their education to make a difference.

Be yourself and let your faith speak for itself. Remember, God has a plan for you. Jeremiah 29:11 says, "'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'" This verse reminds us that God has good plans for us, even when we don't know the future.

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