How to start a personal statement: secrets to a memorable introduction

A personal statement can be a game-changer when applying for a job, scholarship, or university. It is your chance to tell your story and show who you are as a person and your strengths and skills. You get to explain why you are the best candidate for the position or opportunity. You may need to craft or use a college personal statement when applying for jobs or internships.

 It can make all the difference in a competitive job or academic application process and serve as the key differentiator between candidates with similar qualifications. In this blog post, we'll delve into the details of personal statements, covering how to start a personal statement.

Getting ready to write a statement

If you cannot decide how to open a personal statement, take some time to plan and do your homework first, or contact our college essay writing service. Here are some key steps that will help you craft an effective statement once you start writing:

Research the institution, program, or job

Before you start writing, research the program or job you're applying for. Look at the program or job description, website, and any other relevant materials to get a sense of the qualifications and characteristics they're looking for.

Understand the requirements

Carefully read and understand what you are asked to write and unleash. Mind the word count, formatting guidelines, and any specific prompts or questions that must be addressed.

Think about your goals

Consider what you hope to achieve by pursuing this program or job and how your experiences and strengths align with those goals ─ this step will also make it easier to understand how to end a personal statement.

Consider your audience

Consider who will read your personal statement and tailor your writing to that audience. For example, if you're applying to a highly technical program, you may need to include more technical language and details.

Personal statement tips for a strong beginning

With a strong opening, you get a chance to engage the reader’s attention from the outset and make your application noticeable. Here are tips on starting a personal statement effectively:

Focus on a theme

You should have a central theme or message that ties everything together. Your opening should reflect this theme and set the tone for the rest of your essay.

For example, "As a child, I spent countless hours in my grandfather's woodworking shop, watching him craft beautiful furniture by hand."

Share a personal story

A personal statement opening can illustrate what you are truly passionate about. Think about the event that influenced your professional choice or shaped your interests and goals.

For example, ‘One summer, while volunteering at a local hospital, I found myself in the emergency room comforting a patient who had just received devastating news. At that moment, I realized the true power of empathy and human connection. It was then that I decided to pursue a career in healthcare, to provide medical care and emotional support to those in need.’

Start with the reasoning

State your purpose or goals when applying for the position or opportunity. This could briefly explain why you are interested in the field, what you hope to achieve, or how you can contribute.

For example, "As an aspiring environmental scientist, I believe that the fate of our planet rests in our ability to understand and address the complex environmental challenges we face”.

Introduce yourself

Introducing yourself can be the key when you think about how to start your personal statement. You can add a few sentences about the unique experience and qualifications that will grab the attention of people who go over thousands of admissions.

For example, "As a recent graduate of XYZ University with a degree in marketing, I am excited to apply my skills and knowledge to a career in digital marketing."

Provide a striking image

Start with a vivid description of an image or scene that reflects your interests, experiences, or goals. This could be a description of a place you have visited, a project you have worked on, or a personal attribute you possess.

For example, "Standing atop the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, I realized the true value of perseverance and determination."

Describe a personal challenge or setback

Sharing a personal challenge or setback can demonstrate your resilience and determination. It can also provide context for your motivations and goals. You can make it your personal statement opening sentence to give it a personal start.

For example, "Growing up in a low-income household, I faced numerous challenges in pursuing my academic and professional goals. Despite facing financial barriers and limited resources, I remained committed to my studies and ultimately earned a scholarship to attend college."

Use a metaphor or analogy

A metaphor or analogy can be a creative way to share your interests, experiences, or goals. This can also showcase your writing skills and ability to think creatively.

For example, "Life is like a marathon, and as someone who has completed multiple races, I have learned the importance of pacing myself and staying focused on the finish line. This approach has helped me in my academic and professional pursuits, and I am excited to bring this mindset to [specific program or opportunity]."

Share a personal experience or reflection

A personal experience or reflection can be a powerful way to connect with the reader and demonstrate your values and perspective.

For example, "As I stood in front of the mirror, staring at my reflection and the scars that marked my body, I realized the true meaning of resilience and the importance of self-care. This experience has fueled my passion for pursuing a career in [specific field], where I hope to use my journey to inspire and support others."

Personal statement starters to avoid

You are not recommended to start with some phrases that do not provide unique insight into who you are as a person or what sets you apart from other applicants. Here are cliche openings you should try to avoid:

  1. "I have always been interested in..."
  2. "I have wanted to be a ____ since I was little."
  3. "In today's society..."
  4. "Webster's dictionary defines ____ as..."
  5. "As long as I can remember..."
  6. "I am a people person..."
  7. "My mom/dad/teacher always told me..."
  8. "I have had many experiences that have led me to this point..."

Personal statement intro: do’s and don’ts

By following these do's and don'ts, you will showcase your unique voice and perspective, highlighting your qualifications and potential. Thus, it can help you understand how to write a personal statement.


  1. Stay authentic: Write from the heart and share your truth, inducing education and motivation.
  2. Show your enthusiasm: Tailor your paper to specific requirements, showing that you carefully reviewed and prepared.
  3. Tell a story: Storytelling is a powerful way to connect and engage with the reader.
  4. Be specific and concrete: Use facts, numbers, and examples to give the reader a clear image of who you are.
  5. Adapt your writing: Customize your statement to the specific program or position.
  6. Stay focused on the prompt: Answer the prompt or question being asked, and avoid going off on tangents or discussing irrelevant topics.


  1. Don't exaggerate or lie: Be truthful and avoid exaggerating your accomplishments or qualifications.
  2. Don't be too informal or casual: While showcasing your personality and voice is important, avoid using slang or overly casual language that may detract from your professionalism.
  3. Don't use cliches or generic language: Avoid overused phrases that may make your statement appear unoriginal or uninspired.
  4. Don't focus solely on your achievements: While it's important to highlight your accomplishments, also focus on your personal growth and development and your future goals and aspirations.
  5. Be sure to brainstorm, write, and revise your paper before the last minute: Once you’re done writing, take a break, to clear your head, but be sure to get back to it and improve it. Be sure to provide yourself plenty of time for that.

Final thoughts

Coming up with the opening statement for a personal statement can be challenging, yet highly important, as it sets the tone for the rest of your paper. There are plenty of ways to start, including personal anecdotes, surprising facts, or metaphors. Either way, you should use this chance to make a great first impression and share your unique voice.

You may need to help writing an effective statement and get lost in all the advice and ideas you need to structure. In this case, EduBirdie is here to help. We offer professional writing services to help you craft a statement that showcases your strengths and goals. Our team of experienced writers can assist you with every step of the writing process, from brainstorming ideas to editing and polishing your final draft ─ choose your personal statement helper and take advantage of your winning personal statement!

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