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Postgraduate Clinical Psychology Personal Statement Example

My initial decision to major in psychology was rationalised with the idea that I could use my degree to help people.

Everyone struggles at one point in their lives and being able to help someone is a great opportunity. Furthermore, studying psychology provided something for me that the other subjects didn’t, such as a deeper understanding of my mind and behaviour.

After finishing my high school, I joined Bachelor of Arts program as I wished to explore which subject I would have a special interest in and the course consisted of several subjects including Geography, Political Science, Psychology, English, Economics and French.

By the end of my first year, I had a fondness towards psychology as it was interesting and chose to learn further about it. 

During my second and third year, I studied about Social Psychology, Abnormal Behaviour as well as Statistics.

I was fascinated by how the human mind works and how it affects a person’s thoughts, feelings and behaviour. I enjoyed learning about the psychological disorders and the models of abnormality.

As I didn’t have an honours in psychology at my college, I decided to take a Master’s degree in Applied Psychology.

My master’s program was a 2 year course where I gained extensive knowledge about the different fields in psychology. During my First Semester, I had courses on educational psychology, cognitive psychology, Research Methodology and Statistics.

I enjoyed research methodology as I gained a deeper understanding of how to conduct research, the different methods in research and the importance it plays in psychology as it gives scientific evidence on the new perspectives of psychology, psychological theories and factors affecting mental health.

In addition to the courses, I did an internship at Agnes Special School where I worked as a special educator for children with Learning Disability, Cerebral Palsy, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Autism and Mental Retardation.

Through this internship, I got to know more about childhood disorders and the obstacles they face in their everyday lives. It was extremely challenging

During, my second semester I had courses such as physiological psychology, personality theories, psychological testing and positive psychology.

I enjoyed reading about personality theories especially, Alfred Adler’s Individual psychology where he describes inferiority and superiority complexes and also about the birth order and how it influences the style of life.

By learning the theories, I gained insight on how personality influences human behaviour. I also had a practical paper on Assessment of Personality where, I was exposed to the various types of personality tests such as Draw a person test, Eysenck personality questionnaire, locus of control, Neo five-factor inventory and many more.  

During the third semester, I learned about counselling psychology, psychological intervention and psychopathology.

I found psychopathology very interesting as it taught me about the different psychological disorders, their aetiology, diagnosis and the signs and symptoms that make up the diagnosis and treatment of the disorder.

I became interested in relationships between various biological and environmental factors which can induce disorders.

By the end of my third semester, I worked as an intern for two months at two hospitals. My first clinical internship was at XXX for 3 weeks under Dr. XXX. During my time there, I learned how to collect case histories and conduct Mental Status Examinations (MSE).

I conducted various psychometric tests such as Standard and Coloured Progressive Matrices, Seguin Form Board and LD checklist, and also observed various behaviour therapies, parent guidance and counselling, sessions for home training for children with special needs on conditions like mental retardation, learning disability, autism, hearing impairments, cerebral palsy and multiple handicaps.

I also presented a poster on Learning Disability as a part of the academic presentation, defining Learning Disability, the problems children with LD face, the management of LD and the rights these children have.

My second clinical internship was at XXX for four weeks where I worked under the supervision of XXX at the Psychiatric Department. The hospital had in-patient care as well as outpatient care where I could collect case histories and conduct Mental Status Examinations.

I got insights into the numerous disorders. I gained an understanding of the roles and responsibilities of a clinical psychologist. I also attended several therapies that the psychologist conducted such as Group Therapy for de-addiction patients, Stress Management and Cognitive Behaviour Therapy and various psychometric tests such as Thematic Apperception Test (TAT) and Rorschach inkblot test.

I also conducted psychometric tests such as Wechsler’s Intelligence Scale for Children, CAGE questionnaire, Beck Depression Inventory, Binet Kamat Test etc.

In the fourth semester, I had courses on behaviour modification and counselling children, adolescents and adults. I was trained in numerous psychotherapy techniques such as Jacobsons Progressive Muscle Relaxation, Autogenic Training, Systematic Desensitisation, and Yoga.

I also had to present several case studies that I collected during my internships. I had a 5 days internship at XXX Rehabilitation Centre for Addicts which was aimed at preventing and management of Substance abuse with the focus soon early intervention , community based holistic approach and people’s participation.

During my time here, I interacted with several patients who has problems with substance abuse where I was able to take a session on assertiveness training for the patients and also conducted several relaxation techniques such as JPMR and Autogenic training.

Further, I got to know how the rehab centre worked and the different treatment methods used for the patients. I had another 5 days internship at XXX Palliative care, where I counselled with patients who were terminally ill by giving psychological snd social support to the patients and their caregivers.

Another internship I had was at Riya Hope Farm which was a residential centre for children with special needs. I was assigned to a child who had autism and conducted behavioural assessment of the child. Once the assessment was over, behaviour modification process was started as the child had difficulty in following the instruction that were given to him.

I also had to submit a dissertation as a part of the master’s programme where I presented a research study on “ Marital Adjustment in relation to Life Satisfaction and Gender among Young Adult Married Couples.”

I was interested in this topic due to the increasing divorce rates in India notably among the Young - Adult population and to find out whether life satisfaction influences the marital adjustment between couples.

In addition to my courses, I have attended several workshops on counselling and psychotherapy, basic and advanced hypnosis, “Dementia - Remember me” and Paranormality.

After finishing my master’s in psychology, I am currently interning at a psychiatric clinic for where I am working as an assistant counselling psychologist under the guidance of Dr XXXp. 

During my time here, I have met patients with a wide range of mental health problems that may occur such as mental health disorders including depression, psychosis, personality disorder, negative life events, bereavement, domestic violence, sexual, emotional and physical abuse, traumas and relationship issues.

I have witnessed counselling of both clients and their families, and I have learned to administer and score several psychological tests used in clinical assessment.

I have enjoyed working in the clinic and found it very rewarding, not only because of the idea of helping but also because the work was interesting and challenging, as every patient is different and different approaches of counselling are needed.

As an assistant counselling psychologist, I was able to learn the different counselling techniques and how to guide patients through empathy and unconditional positive regard.

Upon completion of this masters programme, I intend join a Doctoral programme in Clinical Psychology (DClinPsy) and to practice as a clinical psychologist, where I can provide a positive influence in the lives of people struggling with psychiatric disorders.

My personal characteristics are perfectly adaptable to this profession and I’m highly interested in this field. Moreover, my academic achievements signify my capability to reach the goal of becoming a clinical psychologist.

I’m also interested in research work and understanding the various mental illness, their treatment as well as their effectiveness. My work experience has proven to me how much more I need to learn before I can attain my goal of becoming an accomplished clinical psychologist.

I am interested to join Goldsmith’s University of London for the Masters course in Foundation in Clinical Psychology and Health Services by the strong emphasis on clinical practice and research methodology as it goes particularly well with what I am looking for in a program.

I would be very excited to join the upcoming class for 2018. I feel I am well prepared to enter graduate study, and my strong motivation and career goals are a good match for what the university has to offer.

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Dr. Joseph H. Hammer

Associate Professor of Counseling Psychology

Personal Statement of Purpose for Counseling Psychology PhD and PsyD Applications

All counseling psychology doctoral (PhD or PsyD) programs require applicants to submit one or more written essays about why the applicant is interested in and qualified to enter that graduate program.

Each program calls these essays by different names, including “Personal Statement”, “Statement of Interest”, “Statement of Purpose”, “Statement of Professional Goals”, “Career Goals Statement”, “Personal Essay”, and various combinations of those terms. Programs may have you write a single statement or multiple statements (e.g., Personal Statement plus a Diversity Statement).

Writing a good statement is one of the hardest parts of applying to counseling or clinical psychology graduate programs.

One of the things that makes it hard to apply is the ambiguity and mystery that surrounds statements: what should I talk about? How long should it be? Do I talk about my experiences and interests in research, applied psychology (e.g., helping others by being a supportive listener), working with diverse groups of people, or what?

To help prospective applicants to counseling psychology doctoral programs, members of the HAMMER Lab analyzed what programs told applicants they should write about in their statement.

Check out our Counseling Psychology PhD and PsyD Personal Statement of Purpose Questions google spreadsheet to see the detailed analysis. See the bottom of this page for how we went about collecting data.

Before we review the take-home points of our analysis below, a brief reminder: be sure to check out my other  Psych Grad School  resources using the menu above, such as  Graduate School Advice ,  Counseling Psychology Faculty Research Interests List ,  Best Doctoral Programs in Counseling Psychology , and  What the Ideal Graduate School Applicant Looks Like .  I also recommend completing the  Mental Health Professions Career Test , which will give you interest scores on 21 different mental health occupations, including counseling psychology and clinical psychology.

Take-Home Points

Below are the key results from our analysis, the take-home points that every applicant should keep in mind:

  • Most programs provide provide a suggested or required statement page or word length in their instructions. The most common request is 2-3 single-spaced pages . On the shorter end, some programs restrict applicants to 500 words maximum.
  • 90% of the counseling psychology doctoral programs we sampled (N=50) instruct applicants to talk about their professional goals and career aspirations. In other words, no matter what programs you apply to, you should discuss this in your statement. Specifically, you should talk about your professional goals and how getting the specific doctoral degree (PhD or PsyD) at that specific program (given the unique strengths and opportunities afforded by that program) will facilitate these goals.
  • 52% instruct applicants to talk about their background and relevant experiences but may not clearly specify the type of experiences the applicants should discuss. (Many programs do specify the type of experience to talk about; see bullet points below.) As a rule of thumb, when applying to PhD programs, you should be ready to discuss research, applied (i.e., helping, listening, counseling, clinical), and multicultural experiences. When applying to PsyD programs, you should prioritize discussing applied and multicultural experiences (you can mention research too, especially if that program specifically requests it).
  • 52% instruct applicants to clearly indicate why they want a counseling psychology doctoral degree (PhD or PsyD) specifically. In other words, why not a clinical psychology degree, counseling psychology master’s degree, or a master’s in social work degree instead? Some PhD programs often want to know why you are specifically interested in the PhD instead of a PsyD (and vice versa). Even when a program does not ask you to address this specifically, I recommend always discussing how that particular degree will help you work toward your career goals.
  • 59% of PhD programs (13% of PsyD program) instruct applicants to talk about why they are interested in that program specifically (versus similar programs at other institutions across the country). As a faculty member at University of Kentucky’s counseling psychology PhD program, I understand that people who apply to our program are also applying to other programs. (I always advise students to apply to 7 to 10 programs across the country that fit their professional goals, since getting into a given doctoral program is hard and you need to apply to multiple programs to maximize your chances of being offered admission.) However, even if an applicants is applying elsewhere, I still want to know “why us?”. I want to know that the applicant has carefully considered the strengths and opportunities that our program has to offer and has applied because of those unique attributes. If an applicant does not mention specific aspects of our program, then I don’t know if they are truly interested in our program or are just treating us as a “safety school” or “backup plan”. Since finding the right graduate program is more about “fit” between applicant and program rather than “being the best applicant”, I want to hear how the applicant sees themselves uniquely fitting with our program. Thus, even when not asked explicitly to address this, I recommend always discussing what attracts you to that particular program.
  • 41% of PhD programs (13% of PsyD programs) instruct applicants to talk about their research interests. This serves two purposes. First, because PhD programs train students to be both scientists and practitioners (and some also train people to be advocates), the doctoral admissions committee want to see that a student has thoughtful research interests (not too broad, not too specific, and sufficiently flexible given that students are still early in their professional development) and is serious about wanting to get additional research training as a doctoral student. Second, some PhD programs prefer to admit students whose research interests overlap with the research interests of one or more program faculty members. More on that in the next bullet point. I recommend always discussing your research interests when applying to PhD programs even if not explicitly asked to do so by the program’s application instructions.
  • 27% of PhD programs (0% of PsyD programs) instruct applicants to talk about how their research interests fit with the research interests of specific program faculty members. These programs tend to use an “apprenticeship model of research mentorship”, meaning that doctoral students apply to work under a specific core faculty member in that program, who will work closely with them to train them in the theories and techniques used to do research on the topics of interest to that faculty member. The expectation usually is that the student will help that professor out with the professor’s program of research while the student is enrolled in the program (and that the professor will help the student start to build the student’s own line of research, which will usually be topically related to the professor’s line of research). Therefore, programs that use this apprenticeship model often value selecting an applicant for admission based, not only on that student’s fit with the wider program, but on how well that student fits with a particular professor’s research team. Our counseling psychology PhD program at the University of Kentucky uses this apprenticeship model and this is why we explicitly ask all applicants to pick one (two at the most) professors with whom they could fit research-interest-wise. However, while only 24% of programs explicitly instructed applicants to address research fit with a professor, some programs implicitly expect you to address this . This is part of the “hidden curriculum” of graduate school–sometimes people expect you to know certain things, but you won’t unless you have a mentor who clues you in to this insider knowledge (or you happened to read it on the internet or a how-to guide). The tricky part is that you won’t always know if a given program wants you to talk about research fit with a professor. When the program’s website or application instructions does not provide clear guidance, I recommend that you make a case in your statement for how your research interests fit well with the research interests of one (maybe 2) of the professors in that program. Bear in mind that some programs do not use an apprenticeship model and instead select students based on overall fit with the program rather than research fit (they will often make this clear on their website/instructions), in which case you don’t have to spend time in your statement articulating research fit.
  • 24% of PhD programs (13% of PsyD programs) instruct applicants to talk about their research experiences and qualifications. Even if a given PhD program does not explicitly request this information, you should always talk about this, as it’s an implicit expectation. However, make sure you are not just restating the information you listed under the “research experiences” section of your CV.
  • 16% instruct applicants to talk about their past experiences with diverse people or cultures. However, even when a program does not explicit ask for this, I do recommend that you talk about this when discussing past research/applied/professional experiences. My anecdotal experience suggests that most programs like to see evidence in your application that you have experience working and/or living alongside people who share both cultural similarities and differences from you in terms of race/ethnicity, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, (dis)ability, religion, etc. However, because some people grew up in culturally homogeneous places (surrounded by people with similar cultural identities), what’s even more important than past experience with diversity is a genuine desire moving forward to (1) learn about yourself as a cultural being with multiple identities that may carry privilege and marginalization, (2) learn to work productively with colleagues and clients who are both similar and different from yourself, and (3) learn about how interlocking systems of power influence your life and the lives of others (e.g., racism, sexism).
  • 16% instruct applicants to talk about their interests, beliefs, aspirations, and/or contributions to social justice, diversity, equity, inclusion, etc. This is related but different from the “past experiences with diversity” aspect mentioned above. These pieces go beyond past experience and capture what you value and how you (plan to) contribute to making the world a more just place. This is increasingly at the heart of counseling psychology as a specialty. As with the prior bullet point, even though a minority of programs explicitly instruct applicants to address this in their statement, my anecdotal experience is that most programs want to see you incorporate this into how you talk about your experiences and goals related to both research and practice.
  • 26% instruct applicants to talk about their past applied (i.e., helping, listening, counseling, clinical) experience. All counseling psychology doctoral programs train their graduate students to be talk therapists, which requires being a good listener, showing empathy, problem solving abilities, a willingness to tolerate ambiguity, an openness to both positive and constructive feedback, and demonstrating cultural humility and sensitivity. To determine which applicants show promise as future psychotherapists and would therefore be suitable for admission into the doctoral program, one thing we consider is your past applied experience. Faculty want to see that you have (1) some practice with basic helping skills, (2) at least one letter of recommendation from a supervisor of one of your helping experiences that states that your helping skills are good and that you show promise as a future talk therapist, and (3) a clear track record of wanting to further develop your helping skills by seeking out relevant opportunities. Talking about your past applied experience in your statement is one way we can gather evidence about #1 and #3.
  • 25% of PsyD programs (6% of PhD programs) instruct applicants to talk about their theoretical orientation, their understanding of mental illness, and/or their understanding of how people heal and change. An applicant’s answer to these questions can provide hints to faculty about how sophisticated that applicant’s clinical abilities may be. These are hard questions to answer well without having taken graduate-level therapy coursework, and more sophistication will be expected of applicants who would be joining the doctoral program after having completed a talk-therapy-related master’s degree than would be expected of applicants who joined the doctoral program after having completed only a bachelor’s degree. Most programs do not ask about this topic and there is not an implicit expectation on behalf of programs that you address this in your statement.
  • 16% instruct applicants to talk about their professional strengths and/or weaknesses. Most programs do not ask about this topic and there is not an implicit expectation on behalf of programs that you address this in your statement. For those programs that do, remember that you need to strike a balance between “selling yourself” appropriately in terms of strengths and not sounding arrogant when doing so. Likewise, some weaknesses are going to be socially acceptable (e.g., typical areas of growth for new graduate students like managing mild perfectionism) whereas others will cast a shadow on your application (e.g., poor interpersonal skills, cultural insensitivity, difficulty with time management, difficult with autonomous functioning), even if they are true. While you might not need to talk about strengths and weaknesses in your statement, it’s likely you’ll have to talk about this during interviews, so make sure to put some thought into this before going on interviews.
  • 38% of PsyD programs (10% of PhD programs) instruct applicants to address how the program will benefit them. This question is a combined way of asking the 3 questions of “What are your professional goals?” and “Why do you want a _____ degree specifically” and “Why are you interested in our program specifically?”. Regardless of whether a program explicitly asks this or not, there is an implicit expectation that your statement always address how your completing this chosen program will bring you closer to achieving your career goals.

In regard to our data collection strategy, our team used APA’s list of accredited counseling psychology doctoral programs (both PhD and PsyD, both counseling psychology and “combined” programs, N=84 at the time of data collection in September of 2019). We navigated to each program’s “how to apply” page to look at what instructions they provided regarding what the student should talk about in their statement(s). We copied and pasted this information into in the Counseling Psychology PhD and PsyD Personal Statement of Purpose Questions google spreadsheet. You’ll notice that we de-identified what instructions come from which program, as the point of this analysis is to get an overall snapshot, rather than to learn about a specific program (you’ll want to see the program website for that info). Some programs did not provide this information on their website but required applicants to create an account in the application portal in order to access the instructions; for our purposes, we did not include these programs in the analysis. Thus, readers should bear in mind that our analysis is based on a subset of programs that is not guaranteed to be representative of all programs. Our final sample was N=50, of which n=42 were PhDs and n=8 were PsyDs. We analyzed the set of instructions to look for topical themes (e.g., career goals), which we then coded for across programs so that counts and percentages could be created. We also calculated descriptive statistics broken down by program type (PhD vs PsyD).

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Personal Statement

All applicants must include a personal statement that addresses the following question:

Please describe how your background and academic experiences have influenced your decision to pursue a graduate degree and led you to apply to Penn. Your essay should detail your specific research interests and intellectual goals within  your chosen field. Please provide information about your educational trajectory, intellectual curiosity and academic ambitions. If you have overcome adversity and/or experienced limited access to resources or opportunities in your field of study, please feel free to share how that has affected the course of your education. We are interested in your lived experiences and how your particular perspective might contribute to the inclusive and dynamic learning community that Penn values and strives to create.

The personal statement helps us evaluate the fit between your interests and skills and the Penn Psychology program. It should describe why you want to pursue a PhD in Psychology, why Penn is the right place for you to do it, what sorts of skills and experiences make you qualified to pursue a PhD in a research-intensive Psychology program like Penn’s, what kinds of questions you are interested in studying, and who on the faculty you would like to work with. Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact potential advisors in advance of writing the personal statement, to ensure that the research questions the applicant hopes to pursue are a good fit with research topics Penn faculty are working on. If you hope to study a question that members of our Psychology Graduate Group are not interested in pursuing, then Penn would not be a good fit for you. Please also look at the websites of faculty members whose labs you would like to join; they might have additional instructions for information they would like you to include in the personal statement. The personal statement is typically around two pages, single-spaced.

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What is a Personal Statement?

A Personal Statement is a professional essay that outlines your interest for the field, relevant experiences, career goals, and fit to the program and or faculty member in which you are applying. Psychology and Psychological Sciences majors apply for a myriad of applied-masters, doctoral, and professional programs. The following tips will help you get started in addition to the supplemental articles from the APA. Students who are looking for a course that breaks down all of the steps in applying to graduate school (including writing your Personal Statement) should consider taking PSY 396C , Preparation for Graduate Programs in the Field of Psychology. This course is recommended Fall of junior year.

General Tips for any Personal Statement

  • Follow the directions and answer any questions or prompts provided by your programs.
  • Your Introductory Paragraph should share what ignited your passion or interest for the field (NOT TOO PERSONAL).
  • Give details, include names of agencies, labs, and or faculty to help paint the picture of what you did.
  • Share not only your duties but also what you learned from the experience and how that has solidified the work you want to do.
  • The conclusion needs to show fit to the school/program/faculty member. (PhD programs you need to name who you are applying to specifically).
  • Ensure your statement flows. Paragraphs need to have transition sentences to connect the ideas. Telling your professional story chronologically helps.
  • Edit, edit, and edit again. Ask many people to read and edit your statement before submitting it to your programs.

Personal Statements for Applied Masters Programs

An applied master's program is a program that is hands-on and provides coursework and experiences such as internships and field placements to train you to do the work in your chosen field. Some examples are Social Work, Mental Health Counseling, and School Counseling. There are many others. These statements aim to convey your interest for the field, share your relevant hands-on experiences as evidence of your preparation, and demonstrate how you are a good match for the program.

Personal Statements for PhD Programs

Ph.D. programs are primarily research-based programs. Even if they provide Clinical Training (e.g. Clinical and Counseling Psychology), they are still fundamentally rooted in producing scientific research. Your personal statement is an opportunity to sell yourself in terms of your research interests, previous research experience, and research goals. Your writing should be clear, concise, grammatically correct, and professional in tone.

Personal Statement Editing

Are you in the process of writing your personal statement for graduate or professional programs and need tutoring/editing services? The University of Arizona Writing Skills Improvement Program is your answer! They offer free and fee-based services. Students can schedule appointments or attend drop-in tutoring . Check it out!

Advice from the American Psychological Association

Applying to Grad School: What should I say in my Personal Statement

Preparing your Personal Statement for Graduate applications

Finding Fit: Personal Statements

How to Create your Personal Statement for Psychology

Sponsored school(s).

Odds are, if you are at the stage of writing a personal statement, then you are more than likely preparing applications for graduate schools in psychology. Below find out what it is, why you need one, and get some pointers on crafting a personal statement that will put your best foot forward with the admissions committees.

What is a Personal Statement?

Commonly referred to as a “statement of purpose”, and by some as an “application essay”, a personal statement is your opportunity to introduce and  sell yourself to a desired graduate program or college . In most cases, the personal statement can serve as the defining factor that allows students to stand out in a pool of applicants with equally high GPAs and test scores. Plus, a stellar statement of purpose could also help the applications of students who have unfavorable scores and grades.

Before You Begin…

Consider the type of personal statement required of you:.

Personal statements can range from  a few paragraphs to several one-page essays  that address different topics. They will vary widely between programs and schools, which means that you might craft quite a few of these application essays if you seek admission into various programs.

The objective of these statements all share a common thread: for the graduate committee to get a clear understanding of your career and academic aspirations as well as a sample of your writing abilities (a skill of utmost importance for comprehensive graduate study).

If Topics Are Chosen By You

The specific expectations of a statement of purpose might vary. Some schools might leave the direction and objective of the essay up to the applicant. In cases, you have the freedom to choose what you write about although, as a rule of thumb,  essays should take on a professional/ academic focus  rather than be personal or autobiographical. Don’t confuse personal statement with a long essay about your life growing up.

Instead, demonstrate your best attributes by outlining your fit, interests, previous experiences, servant leadership, research and courses you have taken that affirmed your dedication to the field of study. If you were not given specific questions, then be sure to touch bases with all of these that are relevant to your background in a logical and consistent manner.

If Topics Are Chosen By the Program

Other schools may provide you with a list of specific questions to answer pertaining to your career objectives and how obtaining an education with the particular program may advance you towards your goals.

Examples of specific topics outlined by graduate schools in psychology include:

Explain any previous work experience or teaching experiences you have in the field of psychology and why those experiences make you a strong candidate for our program.

Explain your long-term career goals.

Why do you think this program is a good fit for you?

How do you think this program can help you further your career objectives?

How has your previous education prepared you to take on study at the graduate or professional level?

What experience do you have conducting research? Rate your interest in conducting research.

What practitioners, researchers, or authors in the field of psychology have influenced your interest in this area of study?

Reflect on these questions or topic areas for a while before starting the writing process. Review your resume for direction about skills, experiences, or even lack of experience that you’ll want to identify and elaborate on in your paper. Write a list of attributes that you think describe you and consider how they are relevant to your interest in pursuing higher education.

During and After Writing…

Express your motivation.

When developing a statement of purpose for graduate schools in psychology, you will want to write at length about your particular interests, motivation, and passion for the field of study. Consider what experiences or traits you have that make you a better candidate than the hundreds of other applicants vying to gain admission.

Back up your expression of motivation with hard facts. The admissions committee wants a well-rounded candidate with a number of professional experiences that have helped clarify their ability to handle graduate study. Simply going on and on about how bad you want to be in the program with no relevant experiences that support that claim may not win you any favor.

Be Honest and Clear

When preparing a document that is virtually serving as a personal advertisement, you will write at length about the skills you possess that strengthen your application: academic curiosity, flexibility, maturity, persistence, and professionalism among others. When elaborating on your strengths, be sure to do so with respect to their relevance and importance. Do not go on about a characteristic that could be considered minor or irrelevant.

Also, be mindful of stating your goals and interests clearly and honestly. If you are not interested in a particular area, then leave out that information. Do not express an interest or ability that you do not have. It’s significant to discuss your weaknesses as well. If you have low test scores or a less-than-spectacular GPA, point that out in advance. Explain, if appropriate, why these aspects of your application are weak and follow up with a plan to rectify those aspects if you are accepted into graduate school.

Summary Points to Remember

  • At this point, you can’t change your college or graduate school entrance test scores or your grade point average. You can, however, make a significant impact during the applications process by developing a well-written statement of purpose.
  • Avoid writing at length about your personal history. Stick to the qualities and experiences that are relevant to your growth and abilities in the field of psychology.
  • Answer all questions from the application and be sure to meet the page or word count requirements.
  • Be sure to clearly and honestly relate your experiences and interests, also taking time to point out both strengths and weaknesses. Share how you plan to overcome those weaknesses or use them to your advantage.
  • Ask someone else to look over your statement of purpose–an advisor or professor in your department–who can give you straightforward feedback on its content.
  • Customize each personal statement to the program or school you are applying. Elaborate on how that particular program can assist you in reaching your goals.
  • During revisions, pay attention to the strength and dynamism of your opening paragraph. Your goal is to hook the readers and give them the desire to keep reading.

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Writing a Research Statement

What is a research statement.

A research statement is a short document that provides a brief history of your past research experience, the current state of your research, and the future work you intend to complete.

The research statement is a common component of a potential student's application for post-undergraduate study. The research statement is often the primary way for departments and faculty to determine if a student's interests and past experience make them a good fit for their program/institution.

Although many programs ask for ‘personal statements,' these are not really meant to be biographies or life stories. What we, at Tufts Psychology, hope to find out is how well your abilities, interests, experiences and goals would fit within our program.

We encourage you to illustrate how your lived experience demonstrates qualities that are critical to success in pursuing a PhD in our program. Earning a PhD in any program is hard! Thus, as you are relaying your past, present, and future research interests, we are interested in learning how your lived experiences showcase the following:

  • Perseverance
  • Resilience in the face of difficulty
  • Motivation to undertake intensive research training
  • Involvement in efforts to promote equity and inclusion in your professional and/or personal life
  • Unique perspectives that enrich the research questions you ask, the methods you use, and the communities to whom your research applies

How Do I Even Start Writing One?

Before you begin your statement, read as much as possible about our program so you can tailor your statement and convince the admissions committee that you will be a good fit.

Prepare an outline of the topics you want to cover (e.g., professional objectives and personal background) and list supporting material under each main topic. Write a rough draft in which you transform your outline into prose. Set it aside and read it a week later. If it still sounds good, go to the next stage. If not, rewrite it until it sounds right.

Do not feel bad if you do not have a great deal of experience in psychology to write about; no one who is about to graduate from college does. Do explain your relevant experiences (e.g., internships or research projects), but do not try to turn them into events of cosmic proportion. Be honest, sincere, and objective.

What Information Should It Include?

Your research statement should describe your previous experience, how that experience will facilitate your graduate education in our department, and why you are choosing to pursue graduate education in our department. Your goal should be to demonstrate how well you will fit in our program and in a specific laboratory.

Make sure to link your research interests to the expertise and research programs of faculty here. Identify at least one faculty member with whom you would like to work. Make sure that person is accepting graduate students when you apply. Read some of their papers and describe how you think the research could be extended in one or more novel directions. Again, specificity is a good idea.

Make sure to describe your relevant experience (e.g., honors thesis, research assistantship) in specific detail. If you have worked on a research project, discuss that project in detail. Your research statement should describe what you did on the project and how your role impacted your understanding of the research question.

Describe the concrete skills you have acquired prior to graduate school and the skills you hope to acquire.

Articulate why you want to pursue a graduate degree at our institution and with specific faculty in our department.

Make sure to clearly state your core research interests and explain why you think they are scientifically and/or practically important. Again, be specific.

What Should It Look Like?

Your final statement should be succinct. You should be sure to thoroughly read and follow the length and content requirements for each individual application. Finally, stick to the points requested by each program, and avoid lengthy personal or philosophical discussions.

How Do I Know if It is Ready?

Ask for feedback from at least one professor, preferably in the area you are interested in. Feedback from friends and family may also be useful. Many colleges and universities also have writing centers that are able to provide general feedback.

Of course, read and proofread the document multiple times. It is not always easy to be a thoughtful editor of your own work, so don't be afraid to ask for help.

Lastly, consider signing up to take part in the Application Statement Feedback Program . The program provides constructive feedback and editing support for the research statements of applicants to Psychology PhD programs in the United States.

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Clinical psychology personal statement examples.

My passion for psychology is deeply rooted in my interest in philosophy, epistemology and the understanding of human happiness. I sincerely believe in the practical benefits of a life spent helping others, fully investing in the cultivation of empathy and compassion. With this end in mind I have always sought out challenging and rewarding opportunities to work with people and to study human relationships and problems. I have had a long history of psychology related work experiences. I was first employed at the Salt Lake City International Airport assisting physically and mentally disabled passengers navigate the terminal. Although the spectrum of mental illness I was exposed to at this job was small compared to a lot of my later positions, the airport served as a magnifying glass for human diversity and opened my eyes to the world beyond my local culture. There are few places on earth where you can find so much ethnic, cultural, religious and ideological diversity so densely packed into a single building. I was later employed as a Psychology, English and Math tutor for Weber State University working one on one with students by appointment. This job allowed for much more intimate, collaborative relationships and taught me a lot about the process of learning. At this point I officially switched my major from civil engineering to psychology and my general interest in philosophy and epistemology began to focus through psychology. I then worked as a Lead Staff at several different residential assisted living facilities for individuals with developmental disabilities. I worked closely with clients on a daily basis, often spending nights at the homes on sleep or waking graves or working doubles taking clients to company events and activities. This was not simply a job for me, but a subculture I was completely immersed in as many of my close friends worked for the same company and we served the same population of developmentally delayed individuals in the Ogden area. After leaving this job I later participated in community service through a company called enable that employed many of the clients I had worked with previously. Following avatar, I began employment as a Mental Health Worker on a youth sex offender unit at Benchmark Behavioral Health Hospital. I had...

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how to write a personal statement for clinical psychology doctorate

Personal Statement for PhD in Clinical Psychology

Are you struggling to find the right words and expressions to write a personal statement for PhD in clinical psychology? Not confident that your current personal statement for PhD in clinical psychology can compete with that of other international students? Do you need some help with writing a personal statement for PhD in clinical psychology?

In that case, you have come to the right place. We are an experienced and skilled team of professionals working in the field for a decade. We know how to write a  personal statement for PhD  in clinical psychology to win admission.

For a decade, we have worked with numerous students who wanted to craft the most compelling statements for their admission. Hence, we know what the students expect and the universities need when it comes to a personal statement for PhD in clinical psychology. With the right pitch, focus, and tone, we can write impeccable statements.

Writing a personal statement for PhD in clinical psychology is not an easy task. Hire our experienced professional writers

How to Write a Personal Statement for PhD in Clinical Psychology?

Despite knowing the importance of a personal statement for admission, most students do not know how to write, format, and structure a personal statement. This becomes a huge area of concern for most students as every university requires one.However, one needs to understand that writing a clinical psychology doctorate personal statement is not an impossible task. But, it is not a walk in the park either. One needs to have the right attitude and willingness to work hard to create an impressive and resonating personal statement for a doctorate in clinical psychology. And there are students who write their own personal statements. If you want to write one like that, here is a list of tips to use:

The tips will pave the right path for you to amble on:

  • Firstly, learn the requirements of the university for statement
  • Secondly, create a strategy to write the statement to make it unique
  • Thirdly, gather all the details you need to start writing the statement
  • Fourthly, use a friendly tone of voice with optimism and confident
  • Fifthly, explain what makes you suitable for the course and the college
  • Lastly, ensure that you talk about your career goals and aspirations

No matter what type of personal statement that you write, you need to take care of these elements. Once you do that, you need not look for personal statements for PhD in clinical psychology samples online in PDF.

What Makes Us the Best to Write Personal Statement for PhD in Clinical Psychology?

Every student wants the best of personal statements to submit with their admission applications. However, the catch is that they have trouble writing them. Hence, they seek the help of professional and experienced personal statement writers. One needs to be extremely careful while choosing a service provider.

There is a range of desired qualities that a student must be able to see in a personal statement writer for PhD in clinical psychology. These qualities play a huge role in deciding the quality of the statement itself.

When you choose us, you are guaranteed to get all of these service qualities from us as we have been in the field for more than a decade.

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When our students come to us to write clinical psychology doctorate personal statements, we know that they need more than that. Hence, we have a dedicated customer care line that our students can contact us on. They will get all the help and support from the customer care when they require them.

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We leverage the best of quality tools and systems to ensure that we deliver top-notch personal statements for PhD in clinical psychology. We have carefully integrated a bevy of quality assessment systems into our writing process. Therefore, we are always able to deliver impeccable personal statements for PhD in clinical psychology.

Constant Training and Skill Development

We know that the world is constantly changing. The case of the education sector is also the same. Hence, we train our writers and supporting staff to keep up with the changes of the industry to deliver the services as they need it as per the changing times. This also helps us meet the changing requirements of universities, as well.

Tailor-Made Personal Statements

We have worked with thousands of students looking to write personal statements for a range of courses and universities. This has helped understand one thing—everyone has a unique story to tell. Hence, our services also reflect this understanding. We deliver our services as our clients need them.

Value-Adding Service Plans

We work with students who want to pursue their PhD in clinical psychology from different countries due to their quality and budgetary preferences. Hence, we have made our service offerings high client-centric and affordable. We do that without compromising on the quality of the statements we deliver.

An Incredible Team of Professionals

We are extremely proud of the team that we have. Each member of the team has adequate experience in writing personal statements for PhD in clinical psychology for a range of students and universities around the world. Hence, your personal statements will always be in capable hands.

Whenever we undertake a project to write a personal statement for PhD in clinical psychology, we effectively take advantage of all these qualities. That’s why we have become one of the most reliable brands in the field for PhD personal statements.

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Hire Our Personal Statement Wiring Help for PhD

Getting admission for PhD in clinical psychology in a coveted university can launch a student’s career to the stratosphere. The research opportunities and industry exposure that the student can get will certainly be impeccable. However, you need the best personal statement for the PhD in clinical psychology to start dreaming about that.

While even the most creative clinical psychology PhD personal statement cannot win you the admission, it can certainly give you much better chances of admission.

And with us, that is even more likely as we can create statements that are:

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We have a team of expert personal statement writers who can write personal statements for PhD in clinical psychology even better than the examples online. We work extremely close with our clients to learn everything about them to use the same in the statement. We deliver them in any format such as PDF and Doc as they need.

If you are tired of the sample personal statements for PhD in clinical psychology and want genuine help that you can get, we can help you.

Contact our client support team. We would love to hear from you!

What is a personal statement for a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology?

A personal statement is a written document that provides insights into your academic background, experiences, motivations, and aspirations for pursuing a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. It helps the admissions committee understand your suitability for the program.

How long should my personal statement be?

Most institutions specify a word or character limit for personal statements. Generally, they range from 500 to 1,000 words. It’s essential to adhere to these limits to demonstrate your ability to convey information concisely.

What should I include in my personal statement?

You should include information about your academic background, relevant research experience, clinical work, interests within clinical psychology, career goals, and reasons for choosing that particular program.

How should I structure my personal statement?

Start with an engaging introduction that captures the reader’s attention. Then, discuss your academic and professional journey, followed by your research interests, clinical experiences, and how the program aligns with your goals. End with a conclusion summarizing your commitment.

Can I mention personal struggles or challenges?

Yes, you can briefly mention challenges you’ve faced if they are relevant to your motivation for pursuing a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. Focus on how you’ve overcome these challenges and how they’ve shaped your desire to contribute to the field.

Should I focus more on research or clinical experience?

Balance is key. Highlight both your research and clinical experiences, emphasizing how they’ve influenced your decision to pursue a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. Showcase how these experiences complement each other.

How can I make my personal statement stand out?

Focus on your unique qualities, experiences, and perspectives. Use specific examples to illustrate your points. Avoid generic statements and clichés. Show a deep understanding of the program’s strengths and align your goals with them.

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Writing Personal Statement for Clinical Psychology Masters

Table of Contents

Are you looking for examples of personal statement for clinical psychology Masters ?

A well-crafted personal statement is an integral part of the admissions process for many universities. It allows prospective students to explain why they are uniquely qualified for the program and why they should be considered for admission.

This blog provides some great examples of successful personal statements used in clinical psychology Masters applications.

What Is a Personal Statement for Clinical Psychology Masters?

A personal statement for clinical psychology Master’s is a written document that outlines your career goals, experiences, and qualifications . It is an introduction to a university or college admissions committee, highlighting your personality and why you want to be in their program.

The statement should also demonstrate field knowledge, highlight any research projects or extracurricular activities you’ve been involved in. It will show how your candidacy would be an asset to the school.

Why Write a Personal Statement for Clinical Psychology Masters?

A successful personal statement will give your application an edge over other candidates by demonstrating why you are the perfect fit for the program .

By highlighting your qualifications and experiences, writing a compelling personal statement can help you stand out from the competition. It is also vital to demonstrate your knowledge of clinical psychology and your enthusiasm for applying to the field.

Examples of Clinical Psychology Masters Statement

woman holding mirror

“As a recent graduate from an undergraduate psychology program, I am passionate about furthering my education in clinical psychology. I have participated in a variety of research projects that have given me insight into this field. This includes one project on mental health disparities among minority populations. I believe that my skill set and experience make me an excellent candidate for this Masters program. I am eager to explore the unique opportunities that it provides.”

“I am applying for the Masters in Clinical Psychology because I believe that this program will help me reach my career goals. With a degree in psychology already, I have gained a strong foundation in the theoretical aspects of clinical psychology. I am now ready to hone and develop further these skills. I am confident that my prior research experience combined with an advanced education in this field will be helpful. It will allow me to make meaningful contributions to the field.”

“Throughout my academic and professional life, I have been passionate about understanding people and their individual experiences. My experience working as a therapist has given me a better understanding of how mental health issues affect different populations. I am now ready to move further in my career by deepening my knowledge and understanding of clinical psychology. I believe that this program can help me reach my goal of becoming a well-rounded clinician.”

Templates to Try for Clinical Psychology Masters Statement

“I am applying for the Masters in Clinical Psychology because __. My prior experience and education have made me a strong candidate for this program, as I have gained a deep understanding of __. I believe that this program will help me to better understand __ and become a well-rounded clinician.”

“I am motivated to pursue a degree in clinical psychology because __. During my undergraduate studies, I became passionate about understanding people and their individual experiences. I am confident that this program will allow me to hone my existing skill set while developing new ones. This will ultimately help further my career goals in clinical psychology.”

We hope these examples have given you insight into what makes a successful personal statement for clinical psychology Masters’ applications. Writing useful personal information requires careful thought and preparation, but it is an integral part of any admissions process. Good luck!

Writing Personal Statement for Clinical Psychology Masters

Abir Ghenaiet

Abir is a data analyst and researcher. Among her interests are artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing. As a humanitarian and educator, she actively supports women in tech and promotes diversity.

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Path to PA: Write Your Own Mission Statement

The word "mission" spelled out in Scrabble tiles on a sparkly background

We talk a lot about considering each program’s mission statement, philosophies, and values when choosing where you want to submit applications. However, we have only touched on writing your personal mission statement to guide you as you apply to Physician Assistant (PA) programs.

The new year, when you are already thinking about your goals, is a great time to put that idea into practice.

 “Why should I write my own mission statement?”

There are more than 300 ARC-PA-accredited PA programs in the United States. There are also many reasons someone might choose to apply to one school over another: location, cost, curriculum, prerequisites, and rank are frequently discussed in PA forums and subreddits. But sometimes, the talk turns a bit existential as applicants ponder which schools will provide the best education for their individual needs and goals.

Even if you already know exactly where you are applying, writing your own mission statement can also help you with the essay portions of both the CASPA and supplemental applications. Thinking about what matters to you will help you tailor and focus your essays.

Nobody has to see what you come up with, so strive for authenticity and openness, and don’t worry about perfection.

Here are some valuable tips for writing your own mission statement.

Reflect on your values:

What are your core values? These don’t necessarily have to be related to practicing medicine. There are a variety of values worksheets and exercises online that are pulled directly from a few different psychotherapy modalities. These can help you drill down to the core of your values. Then, think of examples of how you are already living those values.

What are your goals?

Take those values and funnel them into goals. Think of values like a compass that keeps you pointed in the desired direction. Goals, on the other hand, are something you aim for and then check off. For instance, helping others is a value, and becoming a PA is a goal. So, what are your goals beyond graduating from PA school? Is there a specific type of medicine that aligns with your values and intrigues you? Do you want to work in academia? In leadership positions? Don’t sell yourself short here – just because something seems far off doesn’t mean it's not worth including in your decisions.

What are your strengths?

Think less of medical knowledge here and more about what you bring to the fabric of your future cohort. Do you thrive in teamwork, communication skills, adaptability, or resilience? Or do you have something even more unique to offer?

How will all these facts and truths make you the best PA you can be?

Here is where you take all your reflection and put it together to tell the story of you. Look at your list of values, goals, and strengths and consider how those might inform your journey to PA school and beyond. What values, goals, and strengths might tie into medicine in ways you didn’t expect?

No two mission statements will be the same; even your own may change over time.

Your mission statement is your personal guide through the sometimes-murky application process. You can use it as a source of inspiration when there are setbacks – an invaluable tool to remind you of why you started this journey in the first place.

The Duke Physician Assistant Program Admissions Blog presents information based on the experiences of Duke PA Program staff and faculty. While the information provided is correct to the best of our knowledge at the time of publication, requirements can change. Please visit the Duke PA Program website for the most up-to-date information.

Return to Duke Physician Assistant Program


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    Personal Statement: Merry J. Sleigh, PhD Winthrop University (SC) An Outline to Get You Started One of the biggest challenges when applying to graduate school is writing the personal statement, particularly given that the personal statement is one of the most important criteria for graduate admission (Norcross, Kohout, & Wicherski, 2006).

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    Attaining a Ph.D. in clinical psychology is my next goal, the next challenge in my life which will allow me to attain another one of my passions, a career in psychological, forensic assessment. I became interested in psychology after noticing the importance of coping with stress in horse shows.

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    The personal statement is your opportunity to demonstrate your ability (academic promise), interests, fit, goals, professionalism, motivation, and writing ability. For graduate schools in psychology, demonstrating the ability to express yourself clearly and efficiently is more important than demonstrating your creative writing skills. The faculty

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  16. How to Create your Personal Statement for Psychology

    Customize each personal statement to the program or school you are applying. Elaborate on how that particular program can assist you in reaching your goals. During revisions, pay attention to the strength and dynamism of your opening paragraph. Your goal is to hook the readers and give them the desire to keep reading.

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    Prepare an outline of the topics you want to cover (e.g., professional objectives and personal background) and list supporting material under each main topic. Write a rough draft in which you transform your outline into prose. Set it aside and read it a week later. If it still sounds good, go to the next stage.

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    1. Check what is required of you Before you begin writing your personal statement, make sure you check what is required of you. Some universities do require you to write a personal statement for PhD Psychology, while others do not (instead, they may ask for other documents along with a research proposal).

  19. Clinical Psychology Personal Statement Examples

    October 10, 2022 - 12:04 pm Clinical Psychology My passion for psychology is deeply rooted in my interest in philosophy, epistemology and the understanding of human happiness. I sincerely believe in the practical benefits of a life spent helping others, fully investing in the cultivation of empathy and compassion.

  20. Personal Statement For PhD In Clinical Psychology

    One needs to have the right attitude and willingness to work hard to create an impressive and resonating personal statement for a doctorate in clinical psychology. And there are students who write their own personal statements. If you want to write one like that, here is a list of tips to use: The tips will pave the right path for you to amble on:

  21. DClinPsy Application Guide: the personal statement

    ME made one list of my values and personality qualities, where these had developed from and times they had come up in our habit (these could be family to the NHS establishment e.g. same, either more personal e.g. creativity). Postgraduate Clinical Psychology Personal Statement Example ...

  22. How to start a personal statement? : r/ClinicalPsychology

    I'm writing a draft of my personal statement for Clinical Psych PhD programs and am really hitting a block with the first paragraph. I know the things I need to address throughout: my past research experiences, how I got to where I am now, why I'm applying to Clinical Psych programs and specifically for this school, why I'm a good fit, etc.

  23. PDF KM 754e-20180919092539

    Personal Statement— My academic goal is to obtain a Doctor of Philosophy degree in the field of psychology. I am the first person in my family to pursue a baccalaureate degree. Achieving my academic goal will also make me the first person in my family to receive a graduate degree. I am interested in the Social-Health program in the Department of

  24. Writing Personal Statement for Clinical Psychology Masters

    Example 1 "As a recent graduate from an undergraduate psychology program, I am passionate about furthering my education in clinical psychology. I have participated in a variety of research projects that have given me insight into this field. This includes one project on mental health disparities among minority populations.

  25. Path to PA: Write Your Own Mission Statement

    Path to PA: Write Your Own Mission Statement. We talk a lot about considering each program's mission statement, philosophies, and values when choosing where you want to submit applications. However, we have only touched on writing your personal mission statement to guide you as you apply to Physician Assistant (PA) programs.