Conquering the Personal Statement (Part 2 of 6)

Picking your story

Once you have a list of stories, pick one that you care about that also reflects a moment of growth. Once you pick your story, do a free write about the experience, including what you learned about yourself and your goals. Assume that no one will read this, just write about your true experience. In your free write, be sure to talk about your feelings, motivations, and future goals that came from this experience.

Why your essay should be a story

Stories that share a learning experience naturally translates to an essay because they show what is important to you. Many essays fall into the trap of reading more like an extended resume than a story. To capture the reader, a free write about a topic you care about will be much more interesting and memorable than a detailed description of your academic and career success, because those never show what you really care about!

Turning your free write into a personal statement

Once you have a free write that you like, it is time to add a few additions to make it fit the prompt of a personal statement.

These additions can seem like a lot, but most of them are probably already in your free write. The essay outline (see below) allow your story to shine through, while also showing why you’re going to be a great NP.



  • What sparked your interest in the field


  • More details about the experience (story continued)
  • What you did because of that experience
  • What you learned about yourself and the career


  • How this experience made you certain about the career
  • Why you should be in that program

This outline is designed to help allow the reader to know you, know why you care about being an NP, and see why they should accept you. After finishing your essay, it should read like a cohesive story. That said, this outline is not an exact science, so feel free to be creative!