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Personal & Supplemental Essays

Personal & Supplemental Essays

What is the purpose of a personal statement? 

  • A personal statement is an essay used to describe or explain who you are as a person. Maybe it's an achievement, your interests, or an obstacle you have overcome. 

  • The purpose of a personal statement is to make you stand out from the crowd, for all the right reasons. It needs to focus on what makes you unique, and why the foundation should select you over and above all the other candidates.

While there isn't a specific prompt to follow, try answering one of the following questions in order to guide your essay. 

  1. Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.
  2. The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?
  3. Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome?
  4. Reflect on something that someone has done for you that has made you happy or thankful in a surprising way. How has this gratitude affected or motivated you?
  5. Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.
  6. Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more?
  7. Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you’ve already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design.

Personal Statement Resources 

Writing a personal statement can sometimes be hard to begin. Take a look at the following resources in order to get started. Don't be afraid to ask the Future Center, WPSF Staff, or your teachers for support! 

  • 15 Values Exercise 
    • What are your core values and aspirations? Finding out what they are might guide your personal statement. 
  • 14 Essence Objects
    • What objects represent you and your life? Why do they matter, could they inspire your personal statement? 
  • Purdue: How to Write a Personal Statement
    • Check out Purdue's advice on writing a personal statement 
  • WPSF Staff Advice 
    • Be specific! 
      • Remember this essay should be about you! If you are writing about someone who inspired you, remember to tie it back to yourself. It's awesome to see who motivates you, but we want to learn about you! 
    • Remember your audience 
      • The application process is not possible without volunteers and community members. they are the people who read your applications. Why should they score your application higher? 
    • Be as vulnerable as you want
      • It is not a requirement, nor should you be forced to be vulnerable in your statement if you don't want to. However, if there is something you want to share we encourage you to do so. This will allow readers to get a better picture of who you are. 

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