A personal statement for a fellowship or graduate school application is your opportunity to express to the selection committee who you are and why you are a great candidate for the program. In particular, an eye-grabbing lead sentence or opening paragraph is your most important tool for maintaining the reader’s attention. Here are some examples of powerful personal statement openings of winners of highly competitive fellowships.
- “My parents are acupuncturists who made the long trip from their tiny cluster of villages in Guangzhou, China, to the quaint suburbs of Northern California, two years before I was born.”
By a winner of a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship (ETA) in Macau. The applicant draws the reader to something memorable – her parents’ unique vocation – paving the way for an interesting story about her childhood and interest in working abroad. Read more.
- “Every morning at 10:00 a.m. I come face to face with the power of language to free; it happens in a classroom. The students I teach at Seattle Central Community College come from night work in an industrial bakery, from a Vietnamese refugee camp, from a 9-to-5 job in a car wash, or from the day care center where they’ve left their children.”
By a graduate fellowship applicant to the University of Washington. This opening paragraph begins to tell a story that reflects on the applicant’s work with a diverse community. Read more.
- “My grandparents have touched many lives: former drug addicts, refugees, neighbors, and my own. They have an uncommon ability to build relationships; they are a paradigm of service— where service is more than what you do and is also defined by who you are.”
By a winner of the Fulbright U.S. Student Grant. The lyrical nature of this stand-alone opening paragraph exhibits an advanced ability to use both words and punctuation to express the applicant’s personal values and how they originated. Read more.
- “Thirty years ago, my dad boarded a one-way flight to the U.S. Unlike the people he left behind, he was coming to a new country filled with educational opportunities his homeland could not provide. He was not limited by his place of birth.”
By a successful applicant to Teach for America. Immediately, the applicant has built a framework to describe his interest in education and equal opportunity, and his personal experience as a child of an American immigrant. Read more.
- “In the sixth grade, I took a test to see if I was left- or right-brained. To my elementary eyes, the result of that quiz would be the truth from on high—a resolute word that would define the man to come as either analytic or artistic.”
By a Marshall Scholar to the U.K. The applicant masterfully opens with a story to describe the early beginnings of his intellectual curiosity, a key characteristic that the selection committee seeks in applicants. Read more.
A common aspect of these opening statements is their ability to draw the reader in to a unique and memorable story that begins to describe why the applicant is applying to the fellowship. You can identify more personal statement samples like these online by Googling “personal statement example pdf” with the name of the fellowship.
For more tips on writing a compelling personal statement, see our Step-by-Step Guide For A Competitive Fellowship Application.
© Victoria Johnson 2016, all rights reserved.
Sample Personal Statement for Fulbright Scholarship
Posted by Talha Omer on January 16, 2014 in Personal Statement | 67 comments
Personal statement’s are written and edited by Tim Cleary, the head of the admissions team at BrightLink Prep. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Read our Disclaimer
Over the past year or so I have been getting a lot of requests from students in Pakistan regarding sharing a sample personal statement for the Fulbright scholarship.
This sample Fulbright personal statement has been shared with me by an anonymous but successful Fulbright applicant who has allowed me to share her personal statement on this blog. It can be used as an example to give you an idea of how to write and structure your own personal statement for the Fulbright program in Pakistan.
If you feel you need a little extra help, you can always contact me to check if I can help but please DO NOT copy chunks from this statement of purpose, or plagiarize them directly. You will not only lose your chance of getting the Fulbright scholarship but it is also unfair to copy someone’s original work. Simply use this to as a reference guide for writing your own authentic personal statement.
Before you go on to read this sample personal statement for Fulbright scholarship, let’s do a little exercise to warm you up for writing your own statement of purpose.
So here it goes: Which of the following sounds more appealing?
I went down the building to the cafeteria, which looked good, and bought a burger that I ate.
I strolled down the building as the cafeteria fragrances wafted through the air. I then bought the best chicken burger I have ever tasted.
Of course you would say that the second one is better. This is so because it is more descriptive and creates a more vivid and inspiring picture in your mind. But at the same time it requires the right set of words to describe the situation which is slightly more challenging.
So a word of advice – just write more descriptively so that its all the more exciting to read!
BORING: I performed in my first GRE exam today.
EXCITING: I blew the GRE test away in my first attempt.
BORING: I ran an antivirus, and got the computer to work
EXCITING: Ignoring risks and malfunctions, I did a complete antivirus run on my new computer.
Just know that you all have remarkable stories to share – you just need to dare to be more descriptive!
Click here to view the sample personal statement for the successful Fulbright Scholar in Finance!