WWS Blog

2018 Application Countdown, Part 2 - Personal Statement

Dec 5, 2017

How to Build Momentum in a Personal Statement

The personal statement must “smell authentic” meaning that it could never be possible to confuse it with any other applicant. To be compelling, your story must be told with humility while also highlighting your strengths and leadership. Begin your personal statement by telling your story of public service and your contributions to the public good. Define your passion for specific policy issues and the ways in which you have engaged with those areas either as a volunteer or paid professional.

Next, explain your reason for applying to a graduate school of public policy and international affairs. Be sure to explain what is motivating you to pursue this degree, what skills you expect to acquire and how WWS best fits your interests.

Of critical importance is to show your focus, which means that we want to know what you intend to do with this degree following graduation. Indicate not only the sectors where you wish to work, but name the specific organizations, agencies, non-profits, multilateral institutions, foundations, advocacy, elected office and so forth. By naming the sector and providing specific job examples, you provide a clear and strong indication of your ambition and future leadership. Yes, it is aspiration rather than accomplishment. However, we want to admit new students who are outrageously ambitions – yet realistic of the progression in their careers.

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