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Personal Statement vs. Statement of Purpose

An important part of applying to college is getting started on your personal statement…or is it the statement of purpose? Fortunately, this guide gives you a walkthrough of the difference between the personal statement vs statement of purpose, and what each means for your application. Keep reading below to find out more!

Personal Statement

One of the main differences between the personal statement and the statement of purpose is that the personal statement is focused entirely on you. The personal statement is the ideal place to talk about your skills and what makes you the ideal applicant for the college you’re applying to. 

It’s important that you include personal elements in your statement. Tell the admissions committee more about yourself and your connection to their institution. Ideally, you want the reader to walk away understanding your personality and achievements. 

Tips for your personal statement

Statement of Purpose

In your statement of purpose, you should clearly state your goals for the future. In this essay, colleges look forward to hearing about your research interests, career goals, desired program, and academic/professional skills.

The statement of purpose essay is more formal, so it can be helpful to connect your skills with your desired major or program of study. Be sure to present yourself as a promising student that will contribute to the college’s community.

Tips for your statement of purpose

  • Assess your academic strengths and how they can be applied to your desired major
  • Start thinking about your career goals and what you hope to accomplish
  • Ask a mentor, teacher or family member to review your essay
  • Research the college’s curriculum for your desired program of study

Also see: How land an internship

Key differences between personal statement and statement of purpose

When choosing which type of statement to write for your application, there are a few differences that you should keep in mind. For example, the personal statement is conversational and focused on who you are now. The statement of purpose is forward-thinking about your career and should be written in with a more formal tone. 

The statement of purpose also should mention a specific area of interest or a degree program that you’re hoping to pursue. On the other hand, a personal statement explains your connection with your school of choice. Be sure to check the prompt and requirements your school mentions, so you know how to approach your essay!

Also see: Top Tips for Formatting Your College Application Essay

Key Takeaways

Key Takeaways

  • The personal statement and statement of purpose ask for different information 
  • For the personal statement, talk about your skills and what makes you an ideal applicant 
  • For the statement of purpose, state your goals for the future
  • Always carefully read the prompt so you know exactly what a particular college is looking for 
Key Takeaways

Also see: How to respond to this year’s Common App essay prompts

Additional resources

Once you’ve got the difference between statement of purpose vs personal statement down-pat, congratulations! But remember, your application process is far from over. Luckily, we’re here to help you through it.

Whether you need help writing a personal essay, a statement of purpose, a 250 word essay, or a 500 word essay, we have you covered. If you need to write from a personal perspective, read this article on writing about yourself first. Learn how to write winning scholarship essays and maximize your chances to earn scholarships to fund your education.