Personal History Statement

I’m not really sure what to write for this. Some schools only require a “statement of purpose”, but others additionally require a “personal history statement.” The former discusses my academic/research/career interests and experiences, while the latter focuses more on my personal background and this term called “diversity.” Suggestions for this are talking about socio-economic or other difficulties and obstacles I’ve had to face.

The truth is, in terms of diversity, I don’t have much to say for myself. Yes, I’m oriental, but thanks to my parents’ hard work and support, I never experienced financial strain or impediments to receiving a good education. I didn’t need to work during college to support myself. I didn’t even need to save up to buy my car. I was never really involved with diversity organizations and groups or in specialized community service. In a sense, I’m just a plain person. On paper, I’m just boring (maybe in real life I am too, but you can be the judge of that).

Of course everyone’s life is unique in many ways, but I don’t know how to extract that uniqueness into a statement without sounding like I’m just using my experiences to convince a school to accept me. For example, not everyone grows up with an sibling who has a learning disability. I tried to discuss and write about it in a college application essay, but none of the schools that I submitted it to ended up accepting me. Ironically, the schools where I submitted what I felt were more generic and less sincere essays were the ones that accepted me. So now I’m starting to doubt the significance of these essays altogether.

Any pointers? I suppose I could also write about how my parents hindered me from pursuing areas that I was actually interested in, but seeing how this phenomenon is virtually universal in oriental families with immigrant parents, I don’t think it would contribute much to diversity.

Anyways, my goal is to submit all my apps before my semi-coerced vacation to Taiwan on Dec 26th.

One thought on “Personal History Statement

  1. yea.. that diversity statement was a quite a drag. ucla?
    I kind of just blew past that and scrawled some hodgepodge about my culture and coming to terms between religious beliefs and studying biological sciences. In hindsight, it was a not a very well constructed paragraph and tried to combined two drastically different paths.

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