Personal statement

All applicants must write a personal statement and submit it with the application for admission.

The personal statement should be a comprehensive narrative essay outlining significant aspects of your academic and personal history, particularly those that provide context for your academic achievements and educational choices. Quality of writing and depth of content both contribute toward a meaningful and relevant personal statement.

I. Address the following topics:

A. Academic Elements (required)

  • Academic History
    • Tell us about your college career to date, describing your performance, educational path and choices.
    • Explain any situations that may have had a significant positive or negative impact on your academic progress and/or curricular choices. If you transferred multiple times, had a significant break in your education, or changed career paths, explain.
    • What are the specific reasons you wish to leave your most recent college/university and/or program of study?
  • Your Major and/or Career Goals
    • Tell us about your intended major and career aspirations.
  • Are you prepared to enter your intended major at this time? If not, describe your plans for preparing for the major. What led you to choose this major? If you are still undecided, why? What type of career are you most likely to pursue after finishing your education?
  • How will the UW help you attain your academic, career, and/or personal goals?

B. Personal Elements (required)

  • Cultural Understanding
    • Thoughtfully describe the ways in which culture had an impact on your life and what you have learned about yourself and society as a result. How has your own cultural history enriched and/or challenged you?
    • NOTE: Culture may be defined broadly. Cultural understanding is often drawn from the ethnic background, customs, values, and ideas of a person’s immediate family, community, and/or social environment in which they live.
  • Educational Challenges / Personal Hardships (if applicable)
    • Describe any personal or imposed challenges or hardships you have overcome in pursuing your education.
    • Examples: a serious illness, a disability, first generation in your family to attend college, significant financial hardship or responsibilities associated with balancing work, family and school.
  • Community, Military, or Volunteer Service (if applicable)
    • Describe your community, Military, or volunteer service, including leadership, awards, or increased levels of responsibility.
  • Experiential Learning (if applicable)
    • Describe your involvement in research, artistic endeavors, and work (paid or volunteer), as they have contributed to your academic, career or personal goals.

Additional Comments (optional)

Do you have a compelling academic or personal need to attend the University of Washington-Seattle at this time? Is there anything else you would like us to know?

II. Personal Statement Format

Content as well as form, spelling, grammar, and punctuation, will be considered. Suggested length is 750-1000 words.

  • Online: You should write your statement first in a word processing program (such as Word) or a text editor, and then copy/paste it into the text box provided. All line breaks remain. However, some formatting may be lost, such as bold, italics and underlines. This will not affect the evaluation of your application!
  • PDF: Type or write your statement on 8.5×11” white paper. Double-space your lines, and use only one side of each sheet. Print your name, the words “Personal Statement,” and the date at the top of each page, and attach the pages to your application.