Psychology Personal Statement

Sample Psychology Personal Statement

My interest in psychology stems from my being a witness to misery and trauma. In Thailand, where my parents come from, there are frequently devastating floods, which wash away the houses and possessions of residents. On one occasion, my parents and I journeyed to affected areas in order to help people in the aftermath of such a disaster. Witnessing what loss can do to people’s psychologies awoke in me a desire to understand and help traumatised and bereaved people. After reflection and further reading, I decided that I wish to become a clinical psychologist and I plan to study Psychology to gain the necessary theoretical knowledge to fulfil my ambition.

To that end, I am studying A-Levels that not only satisfy my wide-ranging intellectual curiosity but provide excellent intellectual preparation for the variegated courses of the Psychology degree. The A-Levels in Mathematics and Statistics equip me with excellent quantitative skills and the ability to examine and analyse bodies of data, which should be of use when I come to do data analysis in Social Psychology. Physics has given me exposure to the rigours of scientific research and prepares me for Cognitive Psychology, which I particularly look forward to. Classical Civilisation, on the other hand, has developed my essay writing skills and examining obscure classical texts has improved immeasurably my interpretive skills, which should be very useful for when I come to read difficult thinkers, such as Freud, during the degree. Reading about the exploits of the ancients has also alerted me to how vast the range of human motivations is: their mix of brutality and selfless dedication is completely alien to a modern sensibility.

Alongside my academic work, within school I work closely with the Anti-Bullying Committee to ensure students are not facing harassment. I have further opportunities to help younger, more vulnerable students in my role of Senior House Monitor, in which I regularly talk with students to resolve any social or academic issues they may have. The experience of such responsibility has improved immeasurably my ability to discern, and see to, the needs of others, which should prepare me for the demands that will be made on me when I become a clinical psychologist.

I have sought to further enhance my interpersonal and leadership skills by taking a leadership course organised by my school. The course taught me how to motivate and persuade people and gave me a taste of psychometric testing, a means of assessing people’s personalities. Businesses use these tests as a means of assessing applicants’ fitness for work. I am unsure of the value of these tests and I hope at university to have an opportunity to critically assess the methodology behind them in the Research Methods course.

I am also unsure about the ethics behind persuasion. In my preparatory reading for the course, I have devoured with relish ‘Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion’, which details how easily each of us may be persuaded to choose a course of action by apparently insignificant factors and how marketers exploit this. The book relates how a salesman greatly improved his sales by sending potential customers cards with ‘I like you’ written on them. But persuasion techniques may be used for good as well as for personal gain.

I am captain of two sports teams at my school and I try to use positive psychology to motivate my players to perform at their best. I want to join the Rugby, Football, Tennis and Fencing teams at university and hopefully captain at least one of them. The practical experience of motivating people is giving me a taste of the kind of work I hope to do in my career, working with patients to adopt a positive and pro-active attitude towards their problems.

I hope at university to volunteer within the counselling department and help others to overcome challenges to their study. For I wish to gain the personal qualities required of a clinical psychologist as well as the academic ones.

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