Best Ideas for Starting Your Personal Statement

by Ben Frederick MD

on June 20, 2013

Brainstorming writing topics



Coming up with the perfect personal statement topic can seem overwhelming, but never fear, Sam trap on your thinking caps and let's get going.

These topics may be combined. Use your best judgment. For example, if you pick a #10—A childhood accomplishment, pick something that was particularly formative in your development or shows off #21—An interesting (and relevant) aspect of your personality.




  1. The moment when you first realized you were an adult
  2. An experience travelling in your own country
  3. An experience traveling to a foreign country
  4. A research or academic project you are particularly proud of
  5. A victory in a sport
  6. A loss in a sport
  7. A non-traditional upbringing
  8. A non-traditional academic career
  9. Returning to school after a hiatus
  10. A childhood accomplishment
  11. A childhood tragedy
  12. A crossroads in your life where you made the right choice
  13. A crossroads in your life where you made the wrong choice
  14. A move from one place to another
  15. A critique of a cultural foible
  16. Someone who inspires you
  17. Someone who you were formerly inspired by
  18. A risk you took
  19. Your reaction to a quote
  20. A time when something didn’t turn out quite like you thought it would
  21. An interesting aspect of your personality
  22. An analysis of your family
  23. An important conversation
  24. A time when you really messed up
  25. A time when you achieved something great
  26. Commentary on a current event
  27. An unusual anecdote
  28. A school field trip
  29. A visit to a relative
  30. How your religion has shaped you
  31. How not being religious has shaped you

Do you have a great idea for starting a personal statement?  

Leave it in the comments and we'll add it to the list!

About the author:

Ben Frederick MD

My name is Ben. I'm a resident physician and I help future medical professionals write great personal statements. If you need help, check out our eBooks and editing services. Let me know if you have any questions.

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