career coach meeting with students
Graduate School Letters
Career and Professional Development

» Personal Statements for Graduate School Applications

Writing a Personal Statement

Your personal statement is your one chance to tell the admissions committee why you want to pursue a specific degree at their university — and why they should select you. A high G.P.A. and high test scores, along with extensive experience that builds toward your professional goal, is expected. Your personal statement is an opportunity to round out your profile beyond the “given.” Highlight your achievements and showcase your initiative, leadership, service to others, potential, etc. Emphasize how you’re unique from other applicants with similar backgrounds. What can you bring that the others can’t? Your essay will be judged for your qualifications, goals, leadership, writing skills, and your thought process.

Toggle Section

+ - What drives you?

Focus on a value that has shaped/is shaping you, such as a desire to make a positive change or to achieve a goal based upon personal/professional ethics. Tell your story in 500 words or less.

+ - Write for your audience

The audience who reads your personal statement will be the professors of that department. If they don’t think your background supports your goals, you’re done. Research the department, investigate the professors’ backgrounds, and when possible, speak directly to their research and how you want to become involved.

+ - Quality Control

  • Read the prompt carefully and make sure you respond to each part in detail
  • Give yourself a lot of time to go through several drafts
  • Ask professors, advisors, family members, and peers to read and critique your drafts
  • Ask a your career educator to take a look at your statement before you submit it

Career & Professional Development

(714) 997-6942


Monday - Friday
8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Drop-In Hours

Drop-in Hour Calendar »

Interterm 2020
Wednesdays 10 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Thursdays 2 p.m. - 4 p.m.

Spring 2020
Most Mondays, Tuesdays & Thursdays
11 a.m. - 12 p.m.
2 p.m. - 3 p.m.

Please note that we are closed:
December 20 - January 1, 2020
January 20, 2020
March 27, 2020
May 25, 2020
July 3 - 6, 2020


342 N. Glassell
Orange, CA 92866
View Map

Mailing Address

Career & Professional Development
Chapman University
One University Drive
Orange, CA 92866

Individual Contact(s)

Chapman's Career Portal

Earn Academic Credit