We've highlighted a few of the resources you can find online.
Advice from Mary Hale Tolar, Truman Scholarship Foundation
Because personal statements are personal, there is no one type or style of writing that is set out as a model. That can be liberating; it can also be maddening. But while every personal statement is unique in style, it’s purpose is the same. A personal statement is your introduction to a selection committee. It determines whether you are invited to interview; and if selected as a finalist, interview questions will be based on this material. It is the heart of your application. (read more)
Advice for Rhodes and Marshall Scholarship Applicants
When you consider that only one out of eight or ten applications will survive the first filter, you need to create an application that sings. And you want it to sing opera, not country western! The content of your personal statement is of course most vital, but keep in mind that the way you write up that content in itself demonstrates something about yourself. Are you organized? Are you thoughtful? Are you creative? Are you evidential? (read more)
Sources of Inspiration
from Joe Schall, Writing Personal Statements
- What's special, distinctive, or unusual about your life story?
- When was the moment that you realized you had an interest in or passion for XYZ (this field of study, an activity, an issue).
- Who were your favorite professors in college, and why? How has each influenced you?
- What do you consider the most important book, play, article, or film you have ever read/seen, and how has it influenced you?
- What are two three of the most important concepts you have learned in college?
- What was the most important paper, research, or project that you undertook in college? What was important about it?
An Exercise in Self-Reflection
Cheryl Foster, PhD U of RI From a Faculty Representative: The Truman and Marshall Scholarship Processes as Education Experiences
- What errors or regrets have taught you something important about yourself?
- When have you been so immersed in what you were doing, that time seemed to evaporate while you were actively absorbed?
- What ideas, books, theories or movements have made a profound impact on you – be honest.
- To what extent do your current commitments reflect your most strongly-held values?
- Where or how do you seem to waste the most time?
- Under what conditions do you do your best, most creative work?
- To what extent are you a typical product of your generation and/or culture? How might you deviate from the norm?