Get matched with vetted scholarships and enter our
Please select whichever best describes you for the upcoming 2024 - 2025 academic year.
I’m a high school student I’m a college or graduate student
100% Free. No Spam.
    Start typing in the text field above
    Advertiser disclosure

    Student-centric advice and objective recommendations

    Higher education has never been more confusing or expensive. Our goal is to help you navigate the very big decisions related to higher ed with objective information and expert advice. Each piece of content on the site is original, based on extensive research, and reviewed by multiple editors, including a subject matter expert. This ensures that all of our content is up-to-date, useful, accurate, and thorough.

    Our reviews and recommendations are based on extensive research, testing, and feedback. We may receive commission from links on our website, but that doesn’t affect our editors’ opinions. Our marketing partners don’t review, approve or endorse our editorial content. It’s accurate to the best of our knowledge when posted. You can find a complete list of our partners here.

    Personal Statement vs. Statement of Purpose

    By Varonika Ware

    Varonika Ware is a content writer at Scholarships360. Varonika earned her undergraduate degree in Mass Communications at Louisiana State University. During her time at LSU, she worked with the Center of Academic Success to create the weekly Success Sunday newsletter. Varonika also interned at the Louisiana Department of Insurance in the Public Affairs office with some of her graphics appearing in local news articles.

    Full Bio

    Learn about our editorial policies

    Reviewed by Bill Jack

    Bill Jack has over a decade of experience in college admissions and financial aid. Since 2008, he has worked at Colby College, Wesleyan University, University of Maine at Farmington, and Bates College.

    Full Bio

    Learn about our editorial policies

    Edited by Maria Geiger

    Maria Geiger is Director of Content at Scholarships360. She is a former online educational technology instructor and adjunct writing instructor. In addition to education reform, Maria’s interests include viewpoint diversity, blended/flipped learning, digital communication, and integrating media/web tools into the curriculum to better facilitate student engagement. Maria earned both a B.A. and an M.A. in English Literature from Monmouth University, an M. Ed. in Education from Monmouth University, and a Virtual Online Teaching Certificate (VOLT) from the University of Pennsylvania.

    Full Bio

    Learn about our editorial policies

    Updated: March 18th, 2024
    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 

    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. 

    Start your scholarship search
    • Vetted scholarships custom-matched to your profile
    • Access exclusive scholarships only available to Scholarships360 members
    Get Started

    3 reasons to join scholarships360

    • Automatic entry to our $10,000 No-Essay Scholarship
    • Personalized matching to thousands of vetted scholarships
    • Quick apply for scholarships exclusive to our platform

    By the way...Scholarships360 is 100% free!

    Join For Free