In this article, we look at how to write a personal statement for engineering courses with examples and advice.
A roller coaster helped one student to decide to specialise in engineering, and her experience in coaching younger students helped her application.
Why did a student volunteering in Mississippi decide to study structural engineering? How much of your family history should you add in? Keep reading for useful tips and great examples.
Table of Contents
- What is a personal statement for engineering?
- How to write an engineering personal statement
- Engineering Personal Statement Example 1 – Structural Engineering
- Engineering Personal Statement Example 2 – General Engineering
- Engineering Personal Statement Example 3 – Marine Engineering
- FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
- More Personal Statement Tutorials
What is a personal statement for engineering?
It’s an important document used by universities to evaluate a student’s strengths, skills, experience and ambitions.
It is also used to show a student’s enthusiasm for engineering (either in general, or for a specific type such as civil or aeronautical), and what aspects of the subject they enjoy and why.
It is essential for an applicant to craft a 100% unique, yet effective personal statement as it allows universities to make an informed decision on who to admit to their engineering course.
How to write an engineering personal statement
Step 1: Start with your proudest achievement
Volunteering to help construct houses in Mississippi through Habitat for Humanity was a life-changing experience that made me want to become a structural engineer.
Starting with your proudest achievement in your engineering personal statement can help make your application stand out.
By mentioning your most impressive achievements first, the admissions committee will be able to quickly recognize your capabilities, dedication, and skills.
Step 2: Describe your ambitions and experience
In an engineering personal statement, it is important to clearly explain your ambitions and experiences that demonstrate your skills and passion for the field.
A good framework to follow is to first explain your motivation and enthusiasm for the course, and provide examples of any specific knowledge you already have.
Then, outline any relevant experience, insights, interests or achievements you have that relate to engineering, starting with the most impressive.
Step 3: Show evidence of being capable, by describing a project in depth
When writing a personal statement for engineering, it’s important to showcase your capabilities (skills) and qualifications to potential admissions committees or employers. Here are a few tips to help you demonstrate your capabilities in your personal statement:
- Highlight your technical skills: As an engineer, you will need to have a strong foundation in technical skills. Make sure to list the technical skills you possess and provide examples of how you have used them in your past experiences.
- Showcase your academic achievements: Highlight your academic achievements, including your GPA and any awards or honours you have received. This demonstrates that you have a strong academic foundation and are capable of handling challenging coursework.
- Discuss relevant work experience: If you have relevant work experience in engineering, make sure to discuss it in your personal statement. Highlight any projects you have worked on, problems you have solved, or skills you have developed in your previous roles.
- Emphasize your problem-solving skills: Engineers are problem solvers, so make sure to emphasize your ability to analyze and solve problems. Provide examples of how you have approached problems in the past and the steps you took to solve them. These can include time management, teamwork, or leadership
By focusing on one project and exploring it in depth, you can demonstrate your understanding of the subject and show that you are ready and committed to study engineering.
Step 4: Leave out (most of) your family history
Growing up, it was my job to fix anything that broke around the house. My father, a third-generation oil-rig supervisor, was often away for months at a time and he taught me resilience and problem solving along with practical DIY.
Why is it important to leave out (most of) your family history in an engineering personal statement?
The personal statement is an opportunity to tell a university or college about yourself and why you are a suitable candidate for the program.
Every word you spend writing about your family’s history and experiences is a word that you’re not using to tell the university about your own achievements, plans and passions.
Your family’s history and experiences may be influential on your choice of course, but keep it very brief – less than a sentence, to give a bit more context to your achievements, plans and aspirations.
By doing so, you can demonstrate to the university that you have the necessary skills and qualifications to succeed in their program.
Step 5: Include your hobbies
While hobbies may not be directly related to engineering, they can still be included in your personal statement to showcase your personality, interests, and skills.
Here are some tips on how to effectively include hobbies in your engineering personal statement:
- Choose relevant hobbies: Make sure to choose those that are relevant to your engineering career or showcase your technical or problem-solving skills. For example, if you enjoy building and programming robots as a hobby, you could mention this as evidence of your technical skills.
- Explain how your hobbies relate to your engineering goals: For example, if you enjoy designing and building furniture as a hobby, you could mention how this has honed your ability to create complex designs, which could be applicable to engineering projects.
- Showcase your teamwork and leadership skills: If you participate in team sports or volunteer in leadership roles, make sure to mention this in your personal statement.
- Avoid irrelevant or controversial hobbies: If you enjoy partying or binge-watching TV shows, these hobbies may not be seen as relevant or professional.
Overall, including hobbies in your engineering personal statement can help the panel to get to know you a bit better and showcase your skills and interests beyond your academic achievements and work experience.
Step 6: Edit and proofread your statement
Editing and proofreading your engineering personal statement is an important part of the application process. To ensure your statement is professional and free of errors, follow these tips:
- Read your statement aloud slowly to catch any minor spelling or grammatical errors.
- Ask a friend or colleague to read it for you and provide feedback.
- Analyze your document with an online application to provide suggestions for improvement.
- Have a mentor, professor, or trusted friend look it over before you submit it.
- Make sure you dedicate enough time to the process by planning ahead and leaving time for editing and proofreading.
- Be truthful and concise, and ensure it is 100% unique.
- Avoid including unrelated information, maintain your professionalism, and make it a reflection of yourself.
By following these tips, you can make sure your engineering personal statement is as polished and professional as possible.
Engineering Personal Statement Example 1 – Structural Engineering
Growing up, it was my job to fix anything that broke around the house. My father, a third-generation oil-rig supervisor, was often away for months at a time and he taught me resilience and problem-solving along with practical DIY.
Volunteering to help construct houses in Mississippi through Habitat for Humanity was a life-changing experience. I worked with a group that included veterans being trained in construction skills and volunteers from all over the country. I saw first-hand how important it is to have a safe, well-run construction site and communicate clear expectations to the whole team.
As a result of an incredible team effort, families are able to transition from temporary, unsafe accommodation to having their own homes. I want to combine my love of construction, design and problem-solving in a career that makes a positive difference to people.
Already drawn to civil engineering, my fascination with designing made me want to become a structural engineer, specifically to design buildings. Majoring in structural engineering will allow me to further develop my IT skills by using computer-aided design technology, which I have been fortunate enough to learn to use during an internship with a local company this summer. I am already confident with using the AutoCAD program.
My time-management skills have been honed this year as I have combined volunteering, my internship and working 16 hours a week on a local construction crew to save for college while maintaining a 3.7 GPA. I am confident that I am well able to handle any workload asked of me.
I am highly analytical and can approach a problem from several angles. I am particularly drawn to your structural engineering program because of its reputation for hands-on, practical experience. I am confident that I will be a positive addition to the team and your program will provide me with the skills and experience I need to achieve my dream of becoming an outstanding structural engineer.
Engineering Personal Statement Example 2 – General Engineering
I am excited by the prospect of applying fundamental principles to real-world design challenges. Of all things, it was the mechanics of roller coasters, which I learned about in a lecture, that highlighted the practical applications of engineering principles and sparked my interest in pursuing a career in this field.
Studying engineering has always appealed to me because of its heavy reliance on problem-solving and its integration of two of my favourite subjects, Math and Science. The ability to apply logical reasoning to create solutions to complex problems is what attracts me to engineering as well as the huge range of specialisms to choose from further down the road.
My academic background has prepared me well for a degree in engineering. I have excelled in my Math and Science coursework, receiving high grades in all of my relevant subjects. I have also participated in extracurricular activities, such as robotics competitions and science fairs, where I have had the opportunity to apply my knowledge and skills in practical settings while mentoring and coaching younger students.
I am eager to pursue a degree in engineering to further develop my problem-solving skills and gain a deeper understanding of the principles and concepts that underpin this field. I believe that a degree in engineering will enable me to make a positive impact on society by contributing to the design and development of innovative solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges, in a field in which women are still under-represented.
In addition to my academic and extracurricular experiences, I bring a strong work ethic, determination, and a passion for learning to my studies. I am confident that my skills, combined with the resources and opportunities provided by your engineering program, will enable me to excel in my studies and make meaningful contributions to the field.
I look forward to the opportunity to pursue a degree in engineering and whether I will be designing roller coasters or factory equipment, I will be making a positive difference in the future and hopefully, inspiring other young women to become engineers.
Engineering Personal Statement Example 3 – Marine Engineering
As an aspiring engineer, I am driven by the opportunity to apply fundamental principles to the design of complex systems. With a fascination for engineering plants and an interest in the sea, I have been drawn to the marine industry as a way to combine my passions with the challenge of problem-solving.
I have chosen a major in marine engineering because it will allow me to further explore the fascinating findings of physics and put my mathematical knowledge into practical application. It is my ambition to work in the submarine design industry and gain Chartered Engineer status, and I believe that pursuing a graduate degree in marine engineering will help me achieve these goals.
Throughout my academic and professional career, I have demonstrated a strong work ethic, determination, and a passion for learning. I have excelled in my coursework and participated in research projects, internships, and other extracurricular activities that have allowed me to apply my knowledge and skills in practical settings.
My own experience in the marine industry has given me a unique perspective on engineering and the challenges of designing complex systems in a dynamic environment. As a mature student, I am excited by the opportunity to further develop my skills and knowledge in a graduate engineering program and to apply these to real-world challenges in my chosen field.
I am particularly drawn to your graduate engineering program because of its reputation for academic excellence and its focus on hands-on, practical experience as well as strong links with the outstanding teams at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyards. I am confident that your program will provide me with the resources and opportunities I need to achieve my goals and make meaningful contributions to the engineering industry.
In conclusion, I am passionate about engineering and am committed to pursuing a career in this field. I am excited about the prospect of joining your graduate engineering program and am eager to continue developing my skills and knowledge in this dynamic and challenging field. Thank you for considering my application.
FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
Some of these questions were already covered in this blog post but I will still list them here (because not everyone carefully reads every paragraph) so here’s the TL;DR version
What are the key components of a personal statement for engineering?
The key components of a personal statement for engineering include:
- expressing your enthusiasm for engineering
- conveying your strengths, skills, experience and ambitions
- being truthful, concise, and authentic
- providing specific examples of your interests, goals, and strengths.
Additionally, you should explain why you want to study engineering at the university level, back up everything with examples, and have a good introduction, middle, and conclusion. Finally, be sure to save time for editing and proofreading the statement.
What qualifications should I include in my personal statement for engineering?
In your engineering personal statement, you should include qualifications that are related to engineering as well as other academic or practical qualifications, such as project management.
What skills should I demonstrate in my personal statement for engineering?
In your personal statement for engineering, you should aim to demonstrate a range of skills that are important for success in this field. Some of the key skills that you may want to highlight include:
- Problem-solving: Engineering is all about solving problems and coming up with creative solutions to complex challenges.
- Technical knowledge: Engineering is a technical field, and it is important to demonstrate that you have a strong foundation in math, science, and other related subjects.
- Communication: Engineering often involves working in teams and communicating complex ideas clearly to a range of stakeholders.
- Creativity: While engineering is a technical field, it also requires a certain level of creativity and innovation. Highlight any projects or activities that have allowed you to demonstrate your creativity or come up with innovative solutions to problems.
- Leadership: As you progress in your engineering career, you may be called upon to lead teams or manage projects. Show that you have leadership potential and are able to work effectively with others.
- Adaptability: Engineering is a dynamic and ever-changing field, and it is important to demonstrate that you are adaptable and can handle uncertainty and change calmly and flexibly.
How should I structure my personal statement for engineering?
Writing a successful engineering personal statement can seem like a daunting task. But by breaking it down into smaller steps, you can make the process much easier. To get started, here are some steps you can take to structure your engineering personal statement:
- Start with an introduction: This should take up about 15-20% of your statement and answer the question “Why do you want to study engineering?” Talk about the experiences that shaped your love of the subject and the things about it that you find interesting.
- Add in body paragraphs: In these paragraphs, address questions such as “What have you done that has prepared you for this course?” “How have you cultivated the knowledge you need to succeed in this field?,” and “Did you receive high marks in the classes relevant to an engineering course?”
- End with a conclusion: Here you’ll sum up your personal statement and bring it to a close. Include any other extracurricular activities that might not be directly related to engineering, but are impressive enough that you want the admissions team to know about them.
What should I do to make my personal statement for engineering stand out?
To make your engineering personal statement stand out, follow these steps:
- Be truthful, concise, and authentic. Avoid plagiarism and cheating.
- Start your statement by explaining why you want to study engineering and which aspects of the field you enjoy.
- Back up everything with examples.
- Write your statement clearly and concisely, with a good introduction, middle, and conclusion.
- Take inspiration from engineering personal statement examples, but make sure yours is unique.
How do I avoid plagiarism in my personal statement for engineering?
In order to ensure that your engineering personal statement is completely original, here are some steps to take to avoid plagiarism:
- Research: Spend some time researching engineering topics and schools before writing your statement. This will help you to get a better understanding of the field and come up with unique points and ideas.
- Brainstorm: Take the time to brainstorm some ideas for your statement before putting your pen to paper. This will help you to come up with unique ideas, rather than using someone else’s.
- Outline: Create an outline for your statement that includes all of the points that you want to make. This will help you to stay organized and make sure that your statement flows naturally.
- Write: Once you have your outline and research, start writing your engineering personal statement. Be sure to use your own words and phrase each sentence the way you would say it.
- Check: Once you have finished your statement, it is important to double-check that all of your words and phrases are unique. Use a plagiarism checker (such as this one) to make sure that there are no similarities to any other statement.
- Proofread: Finally, make sure to dedicate enough time to the editing and proofreading stages after you have finished your first draft. This will help to ensure that there are no errors or mistakes in your statement.
By following these steps, you can be sure that your engineering personal statement is unique and free from plagiarism. Remember to be truthful, concise, authentic, and professional when writing your statement. Good luck!
What should I research when writing my personal statement for engineering?
When writing your personal statement for engineering, it is important to conduct thorough research to ensure that you are able to tailor your statement to the specific program or institution you are applying to. Some areas to research include:
- Curriculum: Look into the specific courses and areas of focus within the engineering program. This can help you highlight relevant coursework or projects you have completed that align with the program’s focus.
- Faculty and research: Look into the faculty members within the engineering program and their areas of expertise. This can help you tailor your personal statement to align with specific research areas or interests within the program.
- Industry partnerships and internships: Look into any partnerships the program may have with industry organizations or companies, as well as any internship or co-op opportunities offered through the program. This can help you highlight any relevant industry experience you may have and demonstrate your interest in pursuing practical experience in the field.
- University values and culture: Research the university’s overall mission and values, as well as the culture of the campus community. This can help you tailor your personal statement to demonstrate your fit with the university and program culture.
By conducting thorough research on these areas, you can tailor your personal statement to align with the specific program and institution you are applying to, demonstrating your interest and fit for the program.
How can I check my personal statement for engineering for errors?
Checking your engineering personal statement for errors is an important step in the application process. You should:
- Read your statement aloud to catch any minor spelling or grammatical errors.
- Ask a friend, colleague, or mentor to read your statement and provide feedback.
- Use online applications to analyze the document and suggest improvements.
- Seek advice from a careers centre or advisor to help polish the statement.
- Proofread and edit the statement multiple times.
By following these steps, you can make sure your engineering personal statement is professional and free of errors before submitting your application materials.
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