Writing a statement of purpose and personal history statement for any doctor of nursing practice (DNP) program can be a challenge, especially if you are not used to writing. However, it is an important opportunity to illuminate parts of yourself that may not be on your application.

Instead of detailing accomplishments on your curriculum vitae, your statement of purpose and personal history statement should be a compelling narrative of your personal and academic achievements.

By the end, the admissions committee should have a better understanding of who you are as a person, what drives you and what led you to apply for admission to the UCI Sue & Bill Gross School of Nursing DNP program — Post Master’s or Family Nurse Practitioner tracks.

It is worth the time spent preparing to write a statement that truly makes you stand out.

Writing tips

  • Before starting, make sure you carefully read the prompts provided by the program for the Statement of Purpose and Personal History Statement.
  • Brainstorm ideas and develop an outline.
  • Review UCI Nursing’s mission and vision to ensure they align with your professional aspirations.
  • Know your audience — you are writing to the admissions committee rather than a friend.
  • Consult with a mentor about your professional development. Your mentors can be a great source of advice about your aspirations to become a doctorally-prepared nurse.
  • Read other statements for inspiration.
  • Adhere to any word limits and instructions outlined on the application.
  • Capture the reader’s attention in your opening paragraph. The most compelling aspects of your story should be highlighted first.
  • Show, don’t tell. Back up your statements with specific examples and evidence (e.g. “I demonstrate leadership capabilities in my role” vs. “Leadership comes naturally to me, as evidenced by…”).
  • Be clear, concise and selective in your word choices.
  • Show where you have come from and where you plan to go. Explain how the DNP program will help you achieve your goals.
  • Use first person, “I” language (e.g., “I am interested in…” or “I would like to study…”).
  • Avoid being overly general, clichés and informal (using slang).
  • Make your statement of purpose and personal history unique.
  • Review your writing closely for mistakes in grammar and spelling.
  • Ask for feedback on your statement and history. Have colleagues, friends or family read it.
  • Read your essays out loud.

The Statement of Purpose and Personal History Statement are not:

  • A list of activities
  • A life story
  • Fiction or creative writing

Note: While following this guide may be helpful, it does not guarantee admission to our program.

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