College Personal Statements

I’m hoping to become a veterinarian. Here are some qualifications and expectations needed for the personal statement.

University of Minnesota

Questions to ask yourself before writing:

  • What’s special and unique about you or your life, skills, background, or experience? What do you most want the admissions committee to know about you?
  • When did you originally become interested in this field and what have you since learned about it that has further stimulated your interest?
  • How have you learned about the field (e.g., classes, readings, seminars, work experiences)?
  • What are your career goals?
  • Are there gaps or a low GPA in your academic record that you can explain?
  • Have you had to overcome any unusual obstacles or hardships in your life?
  • What skills, strengths, or qualities do you possess and how do they relate to your plans?
  • Why might you be a stronger candidate than other applicants?
  • What are the most compelling reasons you can give for the admissions committee to be interested in you?

What to include in the personal statement:

  • Be yourself rather than pretending to be the “ideal” applicant.
  • Try to tell a “compelling story” particularly in your opening paragraph – but only within reason. Give an example or tell an important part of your “life story” that will create a unique statement.
  • Mention the particular school’s unique feature(s) that attract you, such as professors with whom you want to work, research being conducted, or a special program focus.
  • Show, don’t tell. Avoid providing a chronological list of your accomplishments or saying “I have always wanted to be a … since I was five years old.”
  • Pay attention to what you are asked to discuss. Follow the instructions, answer the questions and heed the character, word or page limits.
  • If there are no specific questions, discuss what you want to do or study at that particular school. Why do you want to attend that school?
  • What are your long-term goals? What will you go on to do with an advanced degree from that institution?

Final tips on writing a personal statement:

  • Be sure to get the name of the school correct. Don’t make the mistake of sending a statement that says you are “Dying to attend the University of Wisconsin-Madison” when the application is going to UMD.
  • Your statement should demonstrate strong writing skills, as well as why you are a good fit for the school, graduate level work and the profession.
  • Start early and write often! This will allow you more time to rewrite and refine your statement and will give you more opportunities to have your statement reviewed by a career counselor and others who can proofread your essay.
  • “Meeting with a counselor was extremely helpful. It re-instilled my confidence with the choices I’m making in my education and career.”
  • “Meeting with a counselor was extremely helpful. It re-instilled my confidence with the choices I’m making in my education and career.”

University of North Carolina (quoted from website)

  • Who are you and why are you special? What is your background? What have you done in life so far? Is there anything that makes you unique? What accomplishments do you have? What challenges have you overcome to get where you area? What are your values and how have you demonstrated them in the past? Are you a leader? an innovator? a teacher? a counselor? Do you have experience with people from different social, economic and religious backgrounds? What has that taught you?
  • Why do you want to be a veterinarian? Even if you have wanted to be a veterinarian since the day you learned what the word meant, avoid using phrases such as “I have known all of my life that I have wanted to be a veterinarian.” Instead, talk about specific experiences that drew you to the profession, what you have done to learn more about veterinary medicine, and the specific goals you have set for yourself once you have graduated. Discuss other careers you have considered and why veterinary medicine is the best career for you.
  • Talk about how your past experiences have helped to shape your interests. Demonstrate a passion for animals, people, science, medicine and society, and show the admissions committees that you have something to add to their schools, the veterinary profession and animals and society. Be sincere and specific in your response.
  • What have you done to prepare yourself for veterinary school and the veterinary profession? In this part of your essay, discuss the formal and informal experiences (working, volunteering, internships and the like) that have shaped your views and driven you to go to veterinary school. Share with the committee the ways in which your experiences have broadened your understanding of the practice of veterinary medicine and the challenges in the profession. Talk about specific skills you have acquired and how they will help you to reach the goals you laid out for yourself. 
  • -Why this veterinary school? 
    Somewhere in your supplemental application essays, take some time to consider the particular strengths and programs at each school where you apply. Make it a point to personalize your application by showing the admissions committee that you have done your research and you can point out why you want to go to their school. Comment on why you would fit in with that school’s student body, teaching styles and overall mission and programs.
  • What makes you stand out from other applicants? This may be a separate section of your essay or a theme that you weave throughout the entire piece. Make sure that your readers come away from your essay knowing that you are not just another applicant, you are somebody special who should be recruited to the school. Your essay is your biggest marketing tool, so use it as such.

University of Michigan (quoted from website)

  • Indicate how events in your life have made you a unique individual – what makes you different from the 899 other applicants?
  • Emphasize your background with respect to the five non-academic criteria our faculty is   looking for
  • Be clear, concise and grammatically correct (longer is not better)”

I also want to apply to Ross University however, the link to their guidelines wasn’t working.

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