Tips for a Personal Statement for Scholarships

Updated March 23, 2017

Personal statements are an extremely important aspect of a scholarship application. Personal statements provide a glimpse into an applicant's background, objectives, passions and work ethic. There is no singular way to write a personal statement. Ultimately, an applicant should decide which approach works best for him, keeping in mind the purpose of the scholarship for which he is applying.

Overcoming Adversity

One approach to writing a personal statement is to emphasise triumphing over adversity. Scholarship committees are often impressed by applicants who have overcome obstacles to achieve academic success. For example, applicants may wish to describe being the first person in their family to go to college. If a student has overcome a learning or physical disability, she may want to explain how she did it and what she learnt about herself through the process.

Passion and Dedication

Typically, scholarship committees like to read about an applicant's passion and dedication to a specific course of study or a certain cause. Describing devotion to a particular subject gives scholarship committees the impression that an applicant will follow through and not give up due to personal convictions. For instance, if an applicant has volunteered for an organisation, a scholarship committee may be moved to hear of that kind of commitment.

Personal Narrative

Another approach to writing a personal statement is to give a personal narrative. A personal narrative might relay a story about a certain event or circumstance that changed an applicant's life or world view. Personal narratives are also a way for members of a scholarship committee to feel as though they know the applicant. This approach allows an intimate glimpse into an applicant's life and can be written creatively to show wit and intelligence.


Personal statements can focus on an applicant's goals and objectives. Applicants might want to inform a scholarship committee about where they envision being five or even 10 years in the future. Describing plans and goals also demonstrates commitment and personal vision. Often, scholarship committees want to know that funding will be put to good use. Being specific about ambitions gives scholarship committees the impression that an applicant plans on realising his aims.

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About the Author

Andrine Redsteer's writing on tribal gaming has been published in "The Guardian" and she continues to write about reservation economic development. Redsteer holds a Bachelor of Arts in history from the University of Washington, a Master of Arts in Native American studies from Montana State University and a Juris Doctor from Seattle University School of Law.