Writing a personal history
Writing a Personal History: Tips and Strategies for Successful Application

January 23, 2020

Writing a personal history is an inseparable part of the college application process. Usually, students who are enrolling on some educational program abroad can write a personal history statement and attach it to their application essay with the aim of providing more personal information about themselves. A personal history statement is in such case a good means of drawing attention of the admission committee to your personality and your personal strengths. Another situation when students write a personal history statement is when they want to obtain education in English-speaking countries. Therefore, they need to provide solid and convincing reasons why they are applying for a specific program. They may not have fluent English but, with the help of a personal history essay, they can attract attention to their personal history.

When you are writing a personal history statement, you are expected to provide a brief and concise introduction about yourself. Specifically, you may focus on such areas as your upbringing, parents’ influence, cultural surrounding, academic life, and other personal experiences. If you had such valuable experience studying somewhere in a multicultural setting or working abroad, you can definitely include this information in your personal history essay.

At the same time, when writing a personal history statement, keep in mind that it is not an autobiography. So, do not try to fit all information about yourself. Just focus on two or three traits that are most relevant to the academic setting or work and try to reflect on them. Some of the major constituents that your personal history statement should include are the following:

  • provide facts on upbringing, cultural, social, and academic experience that helped you become who you are now;
  • mention about the facts that you consider to be worthy;
  • outline how you can further promote diversity and contribute to the community;
  • you need to briefly explain your professional and personal background.

When writing a personal history, adhere to a clear and logical structure. You need to make sure that the message is delivered effectively and that your target readers can comprehend it properly. If you maintain a proper structure, your readers will become engaged in your story and will be able to connect to you via it. Make sure that each paragraph is a specific section that focuses on a single aspect of your being. Check out the main sections:

  1. Attention-grabbing introduction. The success of your personal history essay lies in the fact whether you are able to draw attention of your audience. So, start with a catchy opening sentence: introduce yourself and specifically state why it is important for you to enroll on the named program.
  2. Provide the body paragraphs in relation to the program specifics and your main message that you aim to communicate across. Connect your goals to your background and current lifestyle.
  3. Strong conclusion. Sum up all ideas in a logical and coherent way.

Remember that a properly written personal history statement should be a clear portrait of yourself: you should describe your soft and hard skills as well as describe your strengths that will help you manage different tasks. Moreover, you should definitely focus on the decisions you had to make and how you benefited from them. Apart from focusing on the content, be sure that you pay attention to the writing style and mechanics. As such, make sure the paper is flawless in terms of sentence organization, grammar, punctuation, and spelling.

If you have no original ideas what to include in your personal history statement, check out the following topics:

  1. Write about your name, its meaning, and roots. Do you feel that the choice of name influences on one’s personal qualities?
  2. Write about the place where you were born. How did the place and surroundings impact your upbringing and development?
  3. Write about the role your Mom plays in your life.
  4. Write about the role your Dad plays in your life.
  5. Write about the impact of your siblings on you (if any).
  6. Write about the impact of your cousins (if you have no siblings).
  7. Do you remember the earliest memory of your growing up?
  8. What was the house or apartment like as you were growing up?
  9. Did you have your own private space, such as your bedroom?
  10. Tell about the time when you were a child.
  11. Name your favorite place in your childhood?
  12. Do you keep staying in touch with the childhood friends? What were they like before?
  13. Did you travel much with your parents when you were a small child? What favorite places do you remember?
  14. What was your regular day when you were a small child?
  15. What was your daily schedule when you were a teenager?
  16. What memories do you have of your high school period?
  17. What world events do you remember now from your childhood? What is so memorable or striking about them?
  18. What role did your grandparent play in your upbringing and shaping yourself as a personality?
  19. What about your aunts and uncles? Do you stay in touch with them?
  20. Do you keep in contact with your distant relatives? Do they impact you in one way or another?
  21. What is the brightest school memory ofyours?
  22. Name your favorite school subject. Why did you like it?
  23. Tell about your favorite teacher at school? Why did you like him/her?
  24. Did you move your house or flat as you were a child? Was it a stressful experience for you?
  25. Who taught you to drive a car?
  26. What was your favorite dish in childhood?
  27. Do you like celebrating birthdays? What is your most memorable birthday celebration?
  28. How do you normally celebrate your birthday? Who do you invite?
  29. Do you have some special family traditions of celebrating holidays? What holiday is your favorite?
  30. What is the best part of growing up?
  31. What is the toughest part in becoming an adult?
  32. When did you first leave home? What kind of experience was that for you?
  33. Are you inspired by what your parents do?
  34. What were you most proud of when you were a child?
  35. What is the funniest story you have heard from your parents or relatives?
  36. Are there any stories or jokes that have been passed in your family from one generation to another?
  37. What did you dream to become when you were a child? Did your dream come true?
  38. Is there a person you look up to?
  39. Where do you draw inspiration from?

Would you like to tell something to your younger self?