Personal Statements

Personal statements are an important part of your application. They are your chance to show admissions committees who you are, why you are pursuing the profession of your choice, how you have tested this interest, and how you have already begun to gain and grow in skills, sensitivities, and qualities that will make you an excellent healthcare provider in this particular field.

Questions to think about to get you started on your personal statement

Strong personal statements begin with reflection. Lay the groundwork for your statement by asking yourself good questions.

  • Why do you want to become a ________?
  • We hope you want to pursue this profession at least in part because you want to help people. For your personal statement, think about how you would describe why you want to help people through this profession in particular.
  • What interests, concerns, or values drive you in your studies, work, and career choice?
  • Think back to volunteering, shadowing, study abroad, research, work, and course experiences. What has been defining or particularly impactful for you? Are there moments that stay with you? What have you learn about yourself and your future profession through these experiences? How did you change after them?
  • What do you want admissions committees to know about you as a person, a student, and a future colleague? What makes you a good fit for the profession and the profession a good fit for you?
  • What makes you unique from other applicants?
Tips for Writing Your Personal Statement

Writing strong personal statements takes time. Here are some tips:

  • Start early, and do many drafts.
  • Give the statement a “theme” to tie your experiences together.
  • Approach the statement as an opportunity to process life experiences and articulate the arc of your journey.
  • Be specific. Concrete details help provide the reader with a memorable image of you.
  • Don’t just focus on activities that the admissions committee can learn about from your application. Use this opportunity to give NEW information that is not available anywhere else.
  • Get feedback. Make use of the CPHA and the Writing Center. Show your personal statement to faculty in your field and letter writers for feedback.
  • Meet with CPHA
  • Meet with the Writing Center and use their resources
    • In lieu of an in-person workshop, the Writing Center has made their Personal Statements for Graduate Health Professions Programs workshop (with attendant materials) available online.
    • The Writing Center also offers peer feedback groups for current students and alumni. Please sign up here.
    • In addition, the Writing Center offers 45-minute appointments for current UW-Madison students for you to work on your personal statement with them. This may be done via email or video chat. Please learn more and sign up here.
    • The Writing Center also offers a list of proofreaders and editors who are all graduate students or recent PhDs. They charge very low rates for their service. Check them out.
    • And for alumniMadison Writing Assistance offers individual remote appointments for you to work on your personal statement with a writing specialist.

Advising & Confidentiality:

We are here to support you in reaching your goals, including navigating academic or personal challenges as they relate to pursuing professional programs after graduation. While our advisors are able to keep most conversations private in accordance with FERPA, sometimes information disclosed during advising or in personal statements requires us to communicate with other support offices on campus (such as the Dean of Students or the Title IX Coordinator).

Why are we required to discuss certain situations with other offices? Due to various federal, state, and UW policies, we are not Confidential Campus Resources when it comes to incidents such as sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating/domestic violence, stalking, or sexual discrimination.

Two examples of Confidential Campus Resources are University Health Services and the McBurney Disability Resource Center. To learn more about efforts related to campus safety and expectations of faculty and staff, please speak with your advisors or visit the Title IX information page and Clery Act information page.

The goal of communication is to ensure a safe and healthy campus community, and to ensure that students receive the information they personally need to be safe and healthy. However, we understand that you may have questions or concerns about these policies. Please do not hesitate to bring these up with your advisor.