Personal Statement Ideas

It has come time for you to write your personal statement, but where should you begin? We’ve gathered ideas for personal statements that will get your wheels turning and your pen writing! These personal statement ideas will help you draft the ideal statement for your college application and leave you in a shining light.

Ideas for Personal Statement

When you are beginning to think about how to write your personal statement, you might become overwhelmed with all the possibilities and where you should start. A personal statement for college is how you will explain what sets you apart, and how you are the right choice for the newest addition to the course.

Even if you are not familiar with the specific format of a personal statement for college, you can go ahead and brainstorm ideas about what you want to include. Ideas for a personal statement draft can include:

  • Articulating the Self
  • Creating a thinking family tree
  • Framing the sentences of purpose

In order to draft your personal statement, take some time over a period of a few days to jot down notes. In your notes, write down anything and everything you have achieved, experienced, or currently do. Especially pay attention to anything that will be relevant to the course you want to study as well as the career path you intend to take. After all, any ideas for personal statement can be used as long as they are relevant to your personal journey and/or the course you want to pursue.

To take a further look of the above examples on how to generate ideas for a personal statement, we have expanded the above examples in a step-by-step guide.


  1. Divide a sheet of paper into three columns: Traits, Values, and Key Moments
  2. Think about someone who knows you really well, a close friend or family member. Write down any negative and positive traits they would use to describe you and do not be afraid to write down the negative parts! For example, you might include: impatient, bold, creative, messy, etc…
  3. In the second column, Values, write down everything that is important to you. Expand on ideas such as family, friends, or love and find the root of why these things are important to you. Does someone always have your back? What strong routines does living with your family make it so special? Everyone will have similar aspects of life they value, but the little differences will help you stand out.
  4. In the final column, take twenty minutes or so to think about your memories before jotting anything down. These key moments can be large or small, but they should be moments in your life that helped define who you are today. These moments should be when you felt the most alive.
  5. Describe one or two of these moments in a few paragraphs with a purpose of showing the reader how you felt and what you experienced. Taking the time to describe the moment in as much detail as possible will help you find your voice.
  6. The more moments you describe, the easier it will be to trace a pattern of similarities within the key moments of your life. They will show who you once were, who you are now, and who you aspire to be. And the more you write, the more confident your voice will be.



This exercise is more difficult but it is recommended to help you with your personal statement. Everyone of us has been influenced by individuals in our life that are not our family. To help discover yours, draw out a family tree or find a template to use.

Once you have your family tree, start to fill in the blanks of who your intellectual or spiritual ‘family’ members are. For example, if you are directly influenced by a singer or author, she could be your intellectual ‘mother’.

Naming all the individuals who make up your ‘thinking family tree’ will help you articulate your priorities and how you’ve learned to make your way in the world. These influences can directly transfer to creating your personal statement.



Being direct and specific can oftentimes be the best brainstorming activity. Some questions you can answer to help trigger ideas for a personal statement could be:

  • What mistakes have you made that have taught you something about yourself?
  • When have you been so involved in an activity that time seemed to melt away?
  • Make a list of honest ideas, books, theories or movements that have impacted your life.
  • How do your current commitments reflect your values?
  • Where or when in your life do you seem to waste the most time?
  • When do you find that you do your best and most creative work?
  • Explain how you are you a typical product of your generation and/or culture? How can you deviate from what is considered normal?


Personal Statement Topic Ideas

When it comes to writing a personal statement, you need to be sure to include personal statement ideas for college. This specific format is expected to be used when you submit your personal statement with your college application.

Personal statement topic ideas that you can use are:

  1. Telling your personal experiences that are relevant to the course of interest.
  2. Tell your readers why you are interested in the course.
  3. Share what you have done outside the classroom. This could be anything from your work experience, volunteering, conferences you have attended (that are relevant to the course).
  4. Explain why your personal experiences are relevant to the course.
  5. Explain why and how your personal experiences will be relevant to your future career.
  6. Demonstrate any transferable skills.
  7. Show the readers you are a critical thinker.
  8. Explain your long-term plan. What will you be doing in five years? Ten years?
  9. Any real world applications you have done or used that are relevant to the course.
  10. Keep a positive and enthusiastic tone in your writing.


Remember, your personal statement is exactly that, personal! Share your story and anything that can help you stand out, and the admissions boards will be excited to learn more about you!

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