Writing a personal statement for nursing school can be a daunting task, but we’re here to help! Here’s everything you need to know about writing a personal statement for nursing school.
Writing your personal statement is a nerve-wracking experience, no matter what program you’re applying for. You may be wondering: “what are nursing schools looking for in a personal statement?” or, “how can I make my personal statement for nursing school stand out?” Lucky for you, we’ve got some answers.
Here we’ll cover everything you need to know about writing a personal statement for nursing school. We’ve included a breakdown of the components to include, examples of nursing school personal statements, and tips to improve your own.
Let’s get started!
When applying to nursing schools, you’ll most likely notice that most applications require a personal statement. A personal statement is a short essay, typically no longer than two pages, that tells your target schools a little bit about who you are.
Each school has different expectations for the length and contents of your personal statement, so make sure to check the specific requirements of your target schools. Some common topics include your personal goals for nursing school and why you want to become a nurse.
Before writing your personal statement for nursing school, you should plan out what you want to include. If your school does not ask you to answer a specific question with your essay, here is a list of what you should include in your nursing school personal statement.
The introductory paragraph should focus on what brought you to this point. Your school primarily wants to get to know you as a candidate through your personal statement. Your intro should include things like:
In this paragraph, your main goal is to introduce yourself and give the admissions committee a bit of background on your passion for nursing. Perhaps you have a family member who inspired you to pursue nursing, you grew up near a hospital, or you’ve struggled with health issues yourself - these are all great examples of an origin story.
Think to yourself: “If my journey into nursing school was a movie, how would it begin?”
In the body paragraph(s) of your nursing school personal statement, you can include a bit about your achievements. However, this isn’t the place to simply list your achievements.
Think about how your experiences helped you to develop skills for nursing school. Include things like:
The body portion of your essay should contain the majority of the information you want to include. Make sure to only include accomplishments if they help to explain how you’ll contribute to the program. Your CV will list any other achievements that don’t come into play here.
Your personal statement should end on a positive note. Think about summarizing your statement by looking toward the future. Include things like:
The end of your body paragraph(s) should mention what you hope to achieve in the future with your nursing degree and lead into your conclusion. The final sentences of your personal statement should further state your passion for your program and how you’ll be a great fit at your target school.
Before getting into our tips and examples, let’s go over what not to include in your personal statement for nursing school. Here are some common mistakes to avoid when crafting your personal statement.
Your personal statement should be authentic and genuine, but make sure to keep the brief in mind while you’re writing. As mentioned above, a personal statement is typically no longer than two pages in length.
You should absolutely include some personal anecdotes; in fact, we encourage it! Just make sure to stick to the relevant parts of your story and not to elaborate too much on areas that are not relevant to your application.
Your personal statement is an essay, not a resume. Keep in mind that your application already contains all of your achievements on your CV, transcripts, and other application materials.
Your personal statement is about understanding your passion and motivations. You can use examples from your CV to further assert your interest in the program, but only if you can elaborate on how they’ve specifically helped you on your journey to nursing school.
Let’s go over a few tips on how you can improve your personal statement. Using these tips can help to make your personal statement and essays for your nursing school application stand out while remaining authentic and genuine.
When writing your personal statement, your focus should be on telling your story. Creating a clear timeline of events can help to effectively tell the story of how you decided to apply for nursing.
Start with how you became interested in nursing, develop your story with experiences that have cultivated your knowledge, and conclude by talking about your program and your future goals. A timeline will make your essay easy to read and give the admissions committee a good idea of your journey so far.
If your target school(s) give you a specific prompt for your personal statement, make sure to refer back to the prompt while writing your essay to ensure you’re staying on track.
For example, if your prompt asks you a question, be sure to answer the question at the beginning, the end, and throughout your essay. Your personal statement shouldn’t be vague or veer too far off course.
It is crucial in your nursing personal statement to share what makes you unique. This is your chance to show the admissions committee why you’d be a perfect fit in their program and demonstrate what you bring to the table.
Include genuine experiences that have pushed you toward nursing throughout your life. Conveying your passions and motivations is critical in your personal statement for nursing school.
One great way to make your nursing personal statement stand out is to do thorough research on your program and include it in your piece. Showing your passion for the specific program. you’re applying to can give you an edge over others and impress the admissions committee.
When you include your research, be sure to add it organically into your writing. Use your research as a way to connect your personal experiences to the program rather than simply listing information.
Here are two nursing personal statement examples that were written successfully. We’ve also included explanations of how they are good examples to help you improve your own personal statement.
*Important note: Do not use our samples in your nursing school application. These examples are meant to serve as a guide when crafting your own original personal statement for nursing school.
Example #1: Indeed’s Nursing School Personal Statement Sample
“I walked backward down the hill, my arms supporting the weight of the wheelchair as its wheels rolled slowly in reverse. Sunlight danced through the trees around us and shone in my grandmother's hair as she sat inside the wheelchair. I couldn't see my grandmother's face from that angle, but I could hear her laughing with joy as she enjoyed the outdoors for the first time in weeks.
My grandmother came to live with my family two years ago after breaking her hip. Although she completed much of her recovery at our home, Nurse George came by every day to perform my grandmother's personal care tasks, monitor her vital signs and assist with her physical therapy exercises. George also taught me some basic patient care practices, such as how to support a wheelchair correctly while going downhill. I had never considered a career in nursing before, but George helped me see the rewards of helping people with their medical conditions and injuries.
I am excited by this opportunity to apply to Fern Hill's College of Nursing because I appreciate your program's specialization in rehabilitation nursing. Being a part of my grandmother's recovery team has inspired me to pursue a nursing career that helps patients recover from injuries or medical conditions. I believe that your school's emphasis on assisting patients in regaining their independent skills can help me achieve these professional aspirations.
Since realizing that I want to become a nurse, I have become a regular volunteer at Jefferson Rehabilitation Center. I mentor young people struggling with drug addictions and provide childcare for the children of rehabilitation patients. There is no feeling comparable to when a mentee or outgoing patient offers you a sincere "thank you." I can no longer imagine pursuing a career where I do not get to help people overcome their challenges and navigate their way to recovery.
My experiences helping my grandmother and patients at Jefferson have taught me the value of empathy and communication. Frequently, my mentees simply want someone to listen to them. I do my best to give them a judgment-free space in which to share their stories. Whether the medical issue is emotional or physical, patients appreciate working with flexible and considerate people. I believe I embody these qualities by actively listening and letting patients talk at their own pace.
I am ready to pursue a nursing career and learn about helping patients in a more professional and technical capacity. Fern Hill's College of Nursing is the ideal place to prepare for my future nursing career.”
Why this is a good example: In this example, the writer has done an excellent job of telling the story of how they became interested in nursing. They also develop a clear timeline of events from when they first thought about nursing to how they began developing their skills through volunteering.
Most importantly, the candidate mentions specific reasons why they’re interested in the program and how they feel they can contribute to the school and field.
Example #2: Johns Hopkins University Nursing Personal Statement Sample
“I grew up close to a hospital, where I watched patients go through the double doors for a variety of ailments. From a young age, this drove me to develop a strong interest in the field of medicine. I knew that I wanted to pursue a career in the future that would allow me to take care of those in need. Through my courses in the natural sciences as well as social studies, I have continued to develop my knowledge in the field in order to be ready to continue my education. Now, I am ready to take the next step in my education by applying for the Nursing program at Johns Hopkins University.
Three years ago I completed a nursing shadowing internship that opened my eyes to many of the daily struggles of being a nurse. During my time in the clinic and on the wards, I had the opportunity to work In the critical care and trauma ward as well as In obstetrics and geriatrics. These various experiences showed me the diverse role that nurses play in a healthcare setting, and emphasized the importance of empathy and dedication to patient care.
Johns Hopkins University Is known worldwide for its focus on patient wellness and medical research. As a nursing student at Hopkins, I hope to not only further the institution's goal of providing exceptional patient care, but also to assist with the many clinical trials ongoing at the hospital that pave the way for new treatments. Through hands-on training with knowledgeable staff, I know that I will be able to make the most of my nursing training at Johns Hopkins and become a nursing professional that is capable of enhancing patient wellness in a healthcare setting.”
Why this is a good example: In this example, the writer develops a clear timeline and clearly defines their relevant information. The writer covers when they first became interested in nursing, courses they’ve taken, and what experiences have made them get serious about the profession.
Finally, they include why they are specifically interested in the program at Johns Hopkins and conclude by adding what they will add to the program as a student.
Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about nursing school personal statements.
Almost all nursing schools require a personal statement, which can typically be described as a short essay (2 pages or less) that explains who you are and why you want to attend the school’s nursing program.
Yes, a personal statement is a short essay that briefly describes your past, present, and future experiences in relation to nursing.
Each nursing school has different length requirements, which can typically be found in the prompt. If no length is specified, two pages or less is recommended.
Your nursing personal statement should include:
If your school’s personal statement asks a specific question, that question should be answered throughout your essay.
Yes, most nursing program applications require personal statement essays, and some require secondary (or supplemental) essays as well.
You should begin writing your personal statement(s) for nursing school as soon as you receive the prompt. Make sure to give yourself an adequate amount of time to complete all sections of your application before the deadline.
To start a compelling nursing personal statement, there are a few different writing techniques you can use. You can start by introducing yourself, start by talking about how you became interested in nursing, or you can start “in the action” by cutting right into your story.
Your personal statement for nursing school should be genuine, heartfelt, and express how you will make an excellent addition to your target school’s nursing program through a series of examples.
Each personal statement you write should be adjusted to suit the individual program you are applying for. Sending a general personal statement with every application you submit is impersonal and not recommended. Make sure to follow your brief closely and map out your essay before writing it to ensure you include all of the relevant information.