Of all programs, applicants to psychology graduate schools struggle the most with not turning their psychology personal statement into a therapy session. Certainly, you want to reflect strong skills in empathy as well as the ability to reflect deeply on your experiences to translate that into meaningful action. And it is important to heed the refrain to keep psychology personal statements “personal”. However, it is probably better to think of this in terms of keeping psychology personal statements “professional”.
An anecdote from your personal life can be effective. But at this point in time, hopefully you will have some clinical or volunteering experiences that you can draw from. Have you worked with a particular group that resulted in significant growth for you as a psychologist? Even if your work is research focused, what is it about the people in your line of research that most attracts you? This is particularly significant for those who are working at the borders between psychology and medicine. Just because you are looking at areas of the brain, there is still a human being attached to that grey and white matter. Make sure that you express this sentiment in your psychology personal statement.
For this reason, you’ll need to go “back and forth” in psychology personal statements. Offer an explanation of the situation you were in or the nature of your work/research. And then tell the admissions committee what that meant to you as an individual. Offer meaningful details that will differentiate your experience from other applicants with similar backgrounds. For this very reason, leave out details that are too general to distinguish you from others. By doing so, you will signify to the selection committee that you have the ability to discern what is important and what is not.
This is a major factor in determining an applicant’s potential to excel in a rigorous psychology graduate program. Your personal statement psychology is an opportunity not only to demonstrate your readiness for the academic and research aspects of a graduate program, but the necessary character traits to continue to have a high level of accomplishment. While the process of writing your psychology personal statement can at times seem tedious, it is the type of information that admissions officers are seeking. Strong focus and broad insight will show you to be an ideal candidate for your school’s graduate program in psychology.
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