Personal history statement essay


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The Statement of Purpose is more academic, formal, and forward thinking in its orientation, while the Personal History is narrative and You'll note that the second half of the page you linked is recommendations for those hoping to get university fellowships.

GSAS Applicant Statements

If you don't have any major social disadvantages then you probably won't get a diversity fellowship, but that doesn't mean you don't still have a personal history and it doesn't mean you can't go to UC Berkeley. Intuitively I am just thinking "this just makes it harder for me than minorities. I applied to UC Berkeley last year and got in.

I'm also a straight white male who's financially well-off. I ended up writing an essay I was pretty proud of, but it was also rather outside of the box.

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The following is the mindset I used to try to frame an essay for this very question. I agree that at first glance the question seems pretty much impossible if you're someone who hasn't experienced these kinds of hardships. But, sure, you're well-off and white.

You practically have societal superpowers! Have you ever used these absolutely biased "powers" for good instead of just mooching the benefits? What I mean to say is, maybe you're part of an honor society where you help the homeless through a variety of fundraising events every year. Or maybe your love of education has caused you to tutor students, many of which may come from backgrounds less fortunate than yours. Essentially, we know you're a white well-off dude. That's not going to help UC Berkeley.

Why Is It so Important to Have a Professionally Written Personal Statement?

But, is there anything you have done or plan to do! You can then contribute to diversity not by being diverse yourself, but by bringing out the diversity in others. Also, you mention something like being in an honors society. I recently had the opportunity to volunteer in Svay Pak, Cambodia, a destination village for pedophiles. Looking into the faces of young children, some of whom were sold nightly for sex, I saw a juxtaposition of beauty and human depravity. Let me explain. The issue of child sex trafficking is a mosaic with roots in dictatorial oppression, war, culture, poverty, and a lack of mental health resources.

Among other factors, attitudes of disrespect for women as described in the proverb have contributed to the prevalence of trafficking in Cambodia, as well as the inability of victims to reintegrate into communities. These attitudes have allowed exploitation to perpetuate as a societal norm, creating a public health crisis. A simple-minded approach is to outlaw underage prostitution. But historically this alone has done little to change the environment. I believe a complex problem necessitates a multi-faceted solution, and it gives me hope that an organization such as Agape International Missions AIM has fostered change by taking this requisite seriously.

Through victim recovery programs, job creation, community-building activities, and even a gym where perpetrators can interact with aid workers, AIM is having a transformative impact in Svay Pak. I also recognize that complex situations resulting in disregard for human dignity are not unique to Cambodia. During my time studying in Ecuador, I saw my classmates disrespect their indigenous heritage, and I learned that few Afro-Ecuadorians attend college.

Through my job in health insurance, I have become critically aware of the millions with inadequate healthcare here in the United States. Locally, as I have volunteered as a Court Appointed Special Advocate , I have been grieved by the roles of mental illness and poverty in the child welfare system. Find what works for you and feels appropriate for the application.

Allude to things you will discuss later, but do not give it all away. Highlight relevant information. The middle section of the essay is where you detail your interests and experience in the field.

Personal History Statement Example

Discuss you educational background and any pertinent classes you took. List any practical experience that you have, such as internships, conference attendance or previous employment. These things tell the reviewers that you have the knowledge and the experience necessary to succeed in the field. If you are applying for graduate school, be sure to discuss any relevant scholars you like or books you find particularly interesting.

Give it a strong conclusion. Once you have highlighted all of your important education and experience, wrap up the essay with a strong yet concise conclusion. Tell the reader how all of the events listed in your essay have collectively impacted you and shaped you into a strong candidate for what you are applying for. Before you send your materials, be sure to give them a final read.


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Check for any spelling errors or typos. Make sure that you fully answer the questions asked and meet all of the guidelines. A personal statement full of errors will make it appear as if you do not care and are unprofessional. You can also ask someone else to proofread your essay for you. It is often hard for most people to adequately proofread their own writing, so finding someone to read your statement will likely make it better. Method 2. Find important documents.

Before you begin writing your personal history, you will want to research and find all of the necessary documents you will want to use. Although your memory will supply much of the material, documents from your past might provide further information or insights. Talk with your friends or family members about any materials that might be useful, such as pictures, government documents, or family papers. Interview people.

Personal History Statement Example

Talking to the various people in your life is another excellent way to find information to include in your history. Your family members will be particularly valuable sources since they have known you the longest. Be sure to record the interviews for later use. Review your documents. Once you have conducted your interviews and gathered your materials, you will want to begin reviewing them.

Read through the documents you have collected to find important pieces of information that you would like to include in your history. Listen to the recordings or read the transcripts of the interviews you conducted. Use a notebook or word processor to keep track of this information for later use. This will help you find them quickly and not lose them. Decide on how to organize the history. Once you have all of your documentation, you will want to begin thinking about how you would like to organize your history. Determine whether you would like to write about your entire life or a specific period.

Answering these questions will help you get a better idea of how to organize your story.


  • What’s the REAL Difference between a Personal Statement and a Statement of Purpose?.
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  • For example, if you want to highlight your skills as an athlete, you may only mention the life events that are relevant to that subject. You can also chronologically format your history to tell a sequential story.


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    Start with the earliest relevant event and move forward in time from there. Ultimately, it is up to you how you organize your story, find a style that makes sense and tells your history. Begin writing. Once you have a structure for your history, you will want to begin writing it. Initially, this can be an intimidating prospect. In order to make the process of writing your personal history more manageable, try to write a little every day. If you focus on achieving small goals, over time you will finish your history.

    Then, take a 15 minute break and start writing again once those 15 minutes are up. Repeat this process as long as you feel fresh and engaged in your writing. Find a writing schedule that works best for you. Edit your history. When you have finished writing your history, you will want to edit it. Initially, read it yourself to clean up any typos or errors in the writing.

    After you have given it a glance, find someone to edit it further.

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