Personal Statement: Tips and Tricks

Applying to Sciences Po? Read our best tips for writing your personal statement.

  • Tell a good story. What makes you want to make an impact on the world? At Sciences Po, we look for candidates who seek to become game-changers, who will use their talent to make the world a better place and contribute to their community in a meaningful way. Telling a personal and insightful story to explain your motivations will make you relatable and show your humanity.
  • Own your letter (and your letter should be your own). While it is always helpful to get a second opinion on your letter, you shouldn’t get caught up in rewriting and having it edited by someone over and over again. You know your strengths and skills, and another person may not view certain topics the same way you do. At the end of the writing process, you should feel that your letter is genuine, and that you are proud to submit the end product for consideration. Don’t forget that you should be ready to answer any questions about your letter at the interview.
  • Humility and marketability: find the right balance. You shouldn’t be afraid to put forth your strengths and achievements, but be sure to temper them according to the context and the relevance they have to your academic project. Make sure to give specific examples that support and illustrate the image you want to portray.
  • Make choices. A personal statement is always accompanied by a CV. Thus, it is an opportunity to explain more precisely what your motivations are, and why you are well-suited to the programme you are applying for. Your personal statement should compliment your CV, not run through every role you’ve had or activity you’ve participated in.
  • Edit, design and format. A personal statement cannot be written in one sitting. Give yourself time to brainstorm, to build your story, and then to review, edit, and format. UK English? US English? Realise or realize? Doesn’t matter - as long as you’re consistent . Make sure your sentences are short, your ideas are well thought-out and relevant, and your document is easy to read. Keep it simple, but effective!

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