In this article, we discuss how to write a personal statement for psychology courses with helpful tips and examples.
What do a volunteer in a program for homeless children, a future college lecturer, and a medical student with a passion for supporting high achievers with ADHD have in common? They all want to study psychology.
By the end of this guide, you will have everything you need to write an outstanding personal statement for psychology.
Table of Contents
- What is a psychology personal statement?
- What are the different stages of writing a personal statement for psychology?
- Psychology Personal Statement Example #1
- Psychology Personal Statement Example #2
- Psychology Personal Statement Example #3
- FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
- More Personal Statement Tutorials
What is a psychology personal statement?
It’s a professional essay that outlines your interest and knowledge in the field, along with your relevant qualifications and career goals. You will also explain how you fit with the psychology program to which you are applying.
A well-crafted personal statement can help you stand out from other applicants and demonstrate your commitment to psychology and your enthusiasm for learning. The statement should provide insight into why you are interested in studying psychology.
Furthermore, the statement should highlight any skills and experiences you have, such as research experience or volunteer work.
“I also volunteered at a local after-school club for vulnerable teens, where I was able to witness first-hand the impact that psychological support can have on an individual’s well-being. I believe that I learned as much from the experienced, committed counsellors there as I did in my early classes in psychology. I am deeply committed to entering psychology and making a positive difference in the lives of others.”
What are the different stages of writing a personal statement for psychology?
1. Understand the Course and Application Requirements
Before you start writing, make sure you understand the specific requirements of the psychology course you’re applying for.
Ask your chosen university or college for any specific guidance they may have and read it carefully.
Make sure you familiarise yourself with any guidelines including word count, and list any information you should include in your personal statement.
2. Identify your interests
Writing a personal statement for a psychology course can seem daunting, but breaking it down into individual steps can be much easier.
Start by identifying your experience, interests and skills, including, work experience, conferences you have attended, and voluntary work.
“With this in mind, I have volunteered for the past three summers at Rainbow House, where counsellors and psychologists help support people struggling with a range of addictions access counselling, and practical training and prepare to re-enter the workforce. I believe that without counselling as an intrinsic part of the process, they would not see the levels of success that they have.”
Be sure to explain reasons for your interest in the branches of psychology that the course may cover, and provide examples from your own life when possible.
Let your passion for the subject and your natural curiosity shine through in your personal statement, and make sure it is original and specific to your experiences.
3. Write down your initial ideas
When writing a personal statement for psychology, it is important to plan properly by writing down your initial ideas.
This idea list should include your experiences, interests, and skills related to psychology and why you are applying to study psychology.
Use your initial ideas to create an outline for your personal statement that includes a brief introduction about yourself and why you want to study psychology. Choose the experiences that made an impact on you, particularly if they relate to your future career.
“…my ambition is to continue my studies and complete a PhD, in order to lecture in psychology at college level. I believe that every field of medicine should have experts who are passionate about academic excellence and I want to use my talent for coaching and tutoring my peers at a higher level.”
Think about how to make your opening sentences captivating and relevant, as this will be your first impression on the reader. Use short, punchy sentences to grab the reader’s attention.
4. Write your personal statement
Start with an engaging opening paragraph. Make sure to use a professional and formal writing style, avoid jokes, and make sure your personality comes through in your writing.
‘I am excited to apply to study psychology at postgraduate level as I have always been fascinated by how the mind works. My interest in this psychology was there from a very early age, when I tested in the 90th percentile as being very empathetic and supportive of other pupils at elementary school. During High School I was able to volunteer to work on homework with young children who were homeless and seeing them cope with challenging emotional issues filled me with admiration for their resilience while wanting to let them know that I was there to offer academic support also.’
Allocate one paragraph to each point on your list. Make sure your statement is specific and original, and avoid long-winded sentences.
Once you have your first draft, seek feedback from classmates as well as tutors. Incorporate any comments, feedback, and suggestions that improve your statement.
5. Revise your personal statement
- Wait 24 hours, then read over your final draft and check for grammar or spelling mistakes. Read it out loud or have someone else read it for you to ensure it is clear, informative and personal.
- Ensure your personal statement is original and specific to your experiences.
- Stay away from any negative content unless talking about how a difficult experience has made you stronger and more resilient, which will make you a better student.
- Keep redrafting until you feel it is as polished as possible.
Psychology Personal Statement Example #1
I am excited to apply to study psychology at a postgraduate level as I have always been fascinated by how the mind works. My interest in this psychology was there from a very early age when I tested in the 90th percentile as being very empathetic and supportive of other pupils at elementary school. During High School, I was able to volunteer to work on homework with young children who were homeless and seeing them cope with challenging emotional issues filled me with admiration for their resilience while wanting to let them know that I was there to offer academic support also.
During my undergraduate degree in biology, I was the president of the psychology club, where I worked with graduate students to complete several independent research projects on topics relating to young learners. As a result, I am keen to become a child psychologist, focusing on supporting young people who are homeless and in the foster care system.
I also volunteered at a local after-school club for vulnerable teens, where I was able to witness first-hand the impact that psychological support can have on an individual’s well-being. I believe that I learned as much from the experienced, committed counsellors there as I did in my early classes in psychology. I am deeply committed to entering psychology and making a positive difference in the lives of others.
I am confident that my passion, curiosity, and dedication to psychology make me a strong candidate for this program, and I am excited to have the opportunity to continue my studies at a higher level and become part of a new learning community.
Psychology Personal Statement Example #2
With every academic paper and publication, I read since beginning to study medicine and psychology, my interest in the subject has grown. In light of my fascination with behaviour and the mind, as well as my interest in helping patients, psychology is my chosen subject for further study. It is extremely important to me to continue learning and building upon my knowledge, and I am full of admiration for grassroots charities making sure that all patients can access high-quality, affordable care.
With this in mind, I have volunteered for the past three summers at Rainbow House, where counsellors and psychologists help support people struggling with a range of addictions access counselling, and practical training and prepare to re-enter the workforce. I believe that without counselling as an intrinsic part of the process, they would not see the levels of success that they have.
While I enjoy being involved in this type of community project and foresee my involvement continuing for many years, my ambition is to continue my studies and complete a PhD, in order to lecture in psychology at college level. I believe that every field of medicine should have experts who are passionate about academic excellence and I want to use my talent for coaching and tutoring my peers at a higher level. I maintain a 4.0 GPA and have taken three extra credit courses while acting as a research assistant for Professor Dimbleby one day a week.
I feel prepared for the challenges that lie ahead and am eager to join a world-class team at Cornell to become the best that I can be and support others to be their best.
Psychology Personal Statement Example #3
I have long had an interest in better understanding psychopathologies and wish to pursue a psychiatry residency at Ramsey Hospital after graduating from Cold Springs University Medical School. It has been fascinating to see the societal change in terms of acknowledging and talking about mental and social issues such as depression and anxiety as well as the contribution and importance of the inclusion of neurodivergent people in our communities. As a future psychiatrist, I am committed to treating every patient with respect and dignity, ensuring I am treating the person rather than focusing only on the diagnosis.
My psychiatry rotation during medical school was an enriching experience and I became confident in taking patients’ psychiatric history and conducting mental status exams. My ability to build rapport with patients and question them directly but respectfully, improved over the six weeks and I look forward to focusing more on these skills as I gain a deeper understanding of effective psychiatric care.
Last year I volunteered with a charity supporting mental health and neurodivergence awareness in Hanoi, Viet Nam, as I feel a deep connection with that country, thanks to having Vietnamese-American relatives. I learned that there are very few psychologists and even fewer clinical psychiatrists who can prescribe medication and treatment. As increasing numbers of teenagers and adults as well as younger children are being diagnosed with ADHD, as in the US, there are often long waiting times, and challenges in accessing medication. There is much work to be done on the use of non-stimulants to treat ADHD where stimulants such as amphetamines are ineffective and I completed my final research paper on this topic.
In Vietnam it was interesting to me to encounter some of the same prejudices as my older sister encountered from relatives and her primary care doctor, who insisted that my sister could not have ADHD because she is a well-paid, successful accountant. The struggle to balance and often hide symptoms of her condition has left my sister battling anxiety and depression and I am particularly interested in developments in treating ADHD in combination with depression, severe anxiety and other psychiatric conditions.
Following my residency my goal is to qualify as a psychologist and practice locally in Arizona while offering continuing long-distance support via Zoom to the team in Hanoi. I am determined to become an outstanding psychiatrist, enhancing my patients’ emotional well-being while supporting them as individuals with the best and most professional care.
FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
Some of these questions were already covered in this blog post but I will still list them here (because not everyone carefully reads every paragraph) so here’s the TL;DR version.
What format should I use for my personal statement for psychology?
Your personal statement should include a brief introduction about yourself, your experiences, any past knowledge and why you want to study this specific course. Also include details of your relevant hands-on experiences (research, internship, volunteer, work, etc.) and what you learned from them.
Additionally, if you are applying to a PhD program, make sure to mention the name of the faculty member(s) you are applying to.
How should I structure my personal statement for psychology?
A personal statement for psychology should begin with an introduction about yourself, such as your experiences and any past knowledge that relates to the field, as well as why you want to study psychology.
The body of your statement should go into depth on your relevant hands-on experiences, such as research, internships, volunteering, or work. Be sure to provide details about what you did, the names of any organizations or people you worked with, and what you learned from the experience.
The conclusion should show how you are a good fit for the school/program/faculty member you are applying to, such as how the experience you mentioned has solidified your interest in the field.
Finally, it is important to ensure your statement flows. Take time to edit and proofread your statement to make sure everything connects and is cohesive.
What topics should I focus on in my personal statement for psychology?
Consider the aspects of the psychology course that you enjoy the most and do some additional reading beyond what you’ve been taught.
Additionally, provide specific examples of how you’ve pursued your interest in the subject, such as writing about a topic you’ve studied that you find fascinating or discussing a book or blog post that made you want to learn more.
Finally, consider which field of psychology you would like to specialize in and why.
What level of detail should I go into for my personal statement for psychology?
It’s important to go into specific detail about your interests and skills.
Avoid sweeping generalisations (I always get high grades) and give focused details (I maintain a 3.9 GPA).
Research the course you are applying for so you have a realistic idea of what you will be doing on it, and make sure to articulate why you want to study psychology.
What should I avoid when writing my personal statement for psychology?
When writing your personal statement for psychology, there are a few things you should avoid in order to give yourself the best chance of getting onto your desired course.
- Firstly, avoid using an informal writing style or telling jokes. Use a professional and formal tone when injecting personality into your statement.
- Be mindful of not giving too much personal information in terms of speaking about your own life events, mental health challenges, or learning difficulties unless they have made you stronger.
- Finally, pay attention to your tone and avoid phrases such as “less fortunate people”. Stay away from using sophisticated language or phrases if you don’t understand them. Be honest and original.
How can I get feedback on my personal statement for psychology?
Ask trusted individuals, such as professors, mentors, and friends, to read over your statement and give feedback. This will help you to identify any errors or missing information that you may have overlooked.
More Personal Statement Tutorials
- Personal Statement versus Statement of Purpose
- How to Write a Winning Scholarship Personal Statement: With Examples
- Residency Personal Statement Examples: Top Tips for Best Length, Content, and Structure
- Statement of Purpose Examples: How to Write the Best One for You?
- Nursing Personal Statement Examples in 2023
- How to write a Resume Personal Statement That Gets You the Job – with Examples and Tips
- Pharmacy Personal Statement Examples: How to Write a Strong Statement for Pharmacy School
- How to Write a Personal Statement for Engineering: Examples and Advice
- Best Internal Medicine Personal Statement Examples For Residency
- MBA Personal Statement Examples for Graduate Applicants
- Law Personal Statement Examples to Help With Your Law School Application
- How to Write a Personal Statement for Criminology: With Helpful Examples