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!

Related links

Key takeaways from a semester unlike any other

Key takeaways from a semester unlike any other

The 2019/2020 academic year has come to an end, and our students have experienced a semester unlike any other. What takeaways can we draw from this unprecedented period? How did this hurried switchover go over for students and teachers? The verdict that we are able to draw today shows a successful adjustment for the vast majority and provides useful lessons for the upcoming semester.

More
A New Online Campus Starting Fall 2020

A New Online Campus Starting Fall 2020

After a successful online spring 2020 semester despite an unprecedented emergency context, the start of the 2020/2021 academic year will allow all of our students to embark on a new year at Sciences Po in a safe and serene manner. With both physical campuses and an all-new digital campus available to them, courses have been redesigned to best suit all students.

More
Prof. Anne Cullerre: “Ruling the seas”

Prof. Anne Cullerre: “Ruling the seas”

Students both with and without previous military experience are able to enrol in Vice-Admiral Anne Cullerre’s course, “Ruling the seas”, provided that they have an interest in the “untamable realm” that is the ocean, with all of its geopolitical rivalries, territorial disputes, environmental challenges...and pirates. While “a smooth sea never made a skilled sailor”, a skilled sailor certainly makes a great teacher!

More
A Deep Dive Into the Heart of the Startup Nation

A Deep Dive Into the Heart of the Startup Nation

After a trip to Silicon Valley in 2017 and to the MIT in 2019, the Centre for Entrepreneurship’s third Learning Expedition took participants to Israel, a country equivalent in size to a French département that has the highest number of startups per capita in the world (1 in 6,000). What are the reasons for this “entrepreneurial miracle”, and how does it work? Loanne Guérin and Laura Salesse (first and second year students respectively in the Master’s in Finance and Strategy), two of the twelve students chosen to take part in the adventure, tell us about their experience.

More
Mobility as a Catalyst for Resilience and Renewal

Mobility as a Catalyst for Resilience and Renewal

International academic mobility has been a cornerstone of universities dating back as far as the 12th and 13th centuries when they began to flower throughout the European continent.  With a clear understanding of the multiple benefits of academic mobility and the rich and diverse learning environment it created, the University of Bologna, the oldest university in Europe, adopted the Constitutio Habita, an academic charter that ensured and protected the rights and free movement of a traveling scholar in the pursuit of education.  The widely referred to concept of “academic freedom” today stems from the idea of this charter.

More
Basic Relationships Between Epidemic, Economy, and Inequalities

Basic Relationships Between Epidemic, Economy, and Inequalities

The public debate on the current economic crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic has focused on rich countries. But how is this crisis truly “global”? What are the current inequalities with developing countries? Here is an overview with Jérôme Sgard, Professor of Political Economy at the Centre for International Studies (CERI) at Sciences Po and specialist in the construction and regulation of markets.

More
Study Abroad in Buenos Aires: Flora’s Urban Dream

Study Abroad in Buenos Aires: Flora’s Urban Dream

At Sciences Po, all third-year undergraduate students spend a mandatory year abroad studying at one of our 478 partner universities or pursuing an internship. After two years on our Paris campus, Flora Cerda chose to spend her third year at the Universidad Católica Argentina in Buenos Aires. In this video, she tells us about her experience and how it helped reinforce her passion and interests, and better define her choice of Master’s and future career goals.

More