Applying to study computer science can be quite a complicated programs. There are so many programs out there with so many application requirements. But don’t worry, we’re here to help.
In this blog post, we’ll give you some tips on how to write a computer science personal statement that will increase your chances of getting accepted into the program of your choice.
What Is a computer science personal statement?
A computer science personal statement is a document that you submit as part of your application to study computer science.
In this statement, you’ll need to talk about your motivation for wanting to study computer science, as well as your skills and experience. This is your chance to sell yourself to the admissions committee and demonstrate why you’re the perfect candidate for their program.
Anatomy of a personal statement
Now that we’ve covered what a computer science personal statement is, let’s take a look at what it should include.
Your computer science personal statement should start with a brief introduction. In this section, you’ll want to introduce yourself as a computer science applicant and explain why you’re interested in studying computer science. This is your chance to grab the attention of the admissions committee and make them want to read on.
2. Your motivation for wanting to study computer science
In this section, you’ll need to explain your motivation for wanting to study computer science. What is it about computer science that interests you? What are your long-term career aspirations? This is your chance to sell yourself to the admissions committee and demonstrate your commitment to the subject.
3. Your skills and experience
In this section, you’ll need to talk about your skills and experience. What computer science-related courses have you taken? Do you have any industry experience? This is your chance to show the admissions committee that you have the skills and experience necessary to succeed in their program.
Your computer science personal statement should end with a brief conclusion. In this section, you’ll want to restate your motivation for wanting to study computer science and reiterate your commitment to the subject. This is your chance to leave a lasting impression on the admissions committee.
Who reads my computer science personal statement?
The computer science personal statement is read by the admissions committee of the computer science department to which you’re applying.
This committee is made up of professors and industry professionals who are experts in the field of computer science. They will use your personal statement to determine whether or not you’re a good fit for their program.
Usually, the admission review process includes several rounds, and your computer science personal statement will be read by multiple members of the admissions committee.
How long should my computer science personal statement be?
Your computer science personal statement should be between 500 and 1000 words. This is enough space for you to introduce yourself, talk about your motivation for wanting to study computer science, and discuss your skills and experience.
Speaking in pages, your computer science personal statement should be one to two pages long. If your personal statement is longer than that, the admissions committee is likely to skim it, or even worse, not read it at all.
What should I include in my computer science personal statement?
There are a few things you will want to include in your computer science personal statement. In general, you should provide the admissions committee with convincing motivation and evidence that will portray you as someone both passionate and promising as a future computer science student.
Some things that you may want to include in your computer science personal statement are:
- Source of motivation for studying computer science
- Evidence of programming or quantitative abilities
- Relevant work experience
- Relevant projects
- Future career aspirations
Your personal statement may also include other information that you feel is important for the admissions committee to know about you. However, make sure that whatever you include is relevant to computer science and will help you stand out as a strong candidate.
What should I not write in my computer science personal statement?
There are a few things you’ll want to avoid including in your computer science personal statement. First, avoid repeating information that is already available in your application. The admissions committee will already have access to your transcripts, test scores, and resume, so there’s no need to include this information in your personal statement.
Second, avoid including information that is not relevant to computer science. The admissions committee is looking for evidence that you’re passionate about computer science and have the skills and experience necessary to succeed in their program, so including information about your hobbies or extracurricular activities may not be the best way to go forward.
An exception to this is if you’re including information about extenuating circumstances that have impacted your academic performance, in which case you should briefly explain how these circumstances have affected you and why you’re still a strong candidate for their program.
Finally, avoid using cliches, quotes, or formulas in your computer science personal statement. The admissions committee is looking for an original and authentic voice, so be sure to write in your own words.
Tips on writing a top-notch computer science personal statement
Now that we’ve gone over what to include and what not to include in your computer science personal statement, let’s talk about how you can write a top-notch personal statement.
First, start by brainstorming a list of your computer science-related experiences, skills, and accomplishments. This will give you a good starting point for your personal statement and help you determine what information is most relevant to include.
As you’re drafting your computer science personal statement, be sure to keep the following tips in mind:
- Write in clear, concise, and easy-to-understand language
- Use active voice
- Be honest and authentic
- Personalize your statement to the program you’re applying to
- Proofread your statement for grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors
By following these tips, you can write a computer science personal statement that is sure to impress the admissions committee and increase your chances of getting into your dream program.
Computer science personal statement examples
Now that we’ve covered the basics of what a computer science personal statement should include, let’s take a look at some computer science personal statement examples.
“I have been programming since I was 12 years old, and ever since then I have been fascinated by the possibilities that computer science offers. I am motivated by the idea of being able to create something from scratch and see it come to life, and I know that computer science will allow me to do just that. In addition, I have experience in working with code from different languages, which has taught me how to think critically and solve problems. My skills in critical thinking and problem solving are essential for studying computer science, as they will allow me to tackle complex challenges head-on.
Apart from my skills and experience, I am also passionate about learning new things. This is why during my free time I volunteered for Code for America, where I worked with a team of designers and developers to build a civic engagement platform. This experience showed me the importance of collaboration when it comes to creating something amazing, and it solidified my belief that teamwork is key to success.
Another project I got involved with was the development of a computer game for blind children. This project was important to me because it allowed me to use my skills for something good, and it also showed me how computer science can be used to create inclusive technologies.
Last year, I also had the opportunity to intern at Lyft, where I worked on a team that developed a new feature for the Lyft app. This experience was invaluable, as it gave me insights into the inner workings of one of the world’s most successful companies. It also showed me how computer science can be used to solve real-world problems.
Ultimately, I believe that I would be an excellent candidate for your computer science program because of my passion for the field combined with my skills and experience. I am confident that I have what it takes to succeed in computer science, and I hope to use my skills and knowledge to make a difference in the world.”
“I have always been interested in the way computers work and how they can be used to solve problems. This interest began when I was very young and has continued to grow as I have gotten older. My father is a computer scientist, so I have been exposed to computer science my entire life. In high school, I took several computer science courses and really enjoyed them. I also competed in several programming competitions and did well in them. In the following essay, I want to highlight my accomplishments as a computer science candidate and express my passion for this exciting field.
I am a computer science major at *NAME* University. I have taken several computer science courses and have gotten exceptional grades. My favorite course so far has been Introduction to Algorithms, for which I worked as a teaching assistant during my third year. I also competed in the Association for Computing Machinery International Collegiate Programming Contest, and our team placed in the top 100 out of 6,000 teams worldwide. This experience showed me that I have the ability to solve complex problems and work well under pressure.
As a student, I also worked as a part-time research assistant in the AI and Robotics laboratory, where I assisted in the development of a computer vision system for an autonomous robot. This experience allowed me to develop my skills in programming and computer science. In addition, I have also been a member of the Student Senate and have served on the Executive Board of the Student Government Association. These experiences have allowed me to develop leadership skills and learn how to work with others.
I am interested in computer science because it is a field that is constantly changing and evolving. There are always new problems to solve and new ways to solve them. I find this challenge exciting and invigorating. I am also interested in computer science because it is a field that combines creativity with logic. I enjoy using both my creative and logical sides when solving problems.
I am applying to your program specifically because I believe that it will allow me to further develop my skills in computer science. I am looking forward to taking classes from renowned professors and working with other talented students. I believe that your program will provide me with the skills and knowledge that I need to become a successful computer scientist.”
“Computers have always been a part of my life. As a toddler, I would watch my father work on computer programs for his business. Fascinated by the blinking cursor on the screen, I would ask him what he was doing and how it worked. My parents bought me my first computer when I was in grade school and I taught myself how to program in BASIC.
Since then, computer science has been my passion. I have pursued every opportunity to learn more about it, including taking computer science courses in high school and college and working as a research assistant for a computer science professor. I am excited to continue learning about computer science at the graduate level and to pursue a career in this field.
One of my biggest accomplishments in the field of computer science so far has been developing a computer program that can generate 3D models of human faces. This program has the potential to be used in a variety of applications, such as video game development, computer-aided design, and even law enforcement. I am currently working on submitting this program to a computer science conference for publication.
I have also been involved in a number of extracurricular activities related to computer science. I am a member of the Association for Computing Machinery and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. I have also volunteered my time to teach computer science to elementary and middle school students through a local program called Girls Who Code.
Besides this, I have worked on several personal coding projects of my own. For example, I created a computer program that can solve Sudoku puzzles by using a technique called constraint satisfaction. I also developed a website for a local business called Joe’s pizzeria. My skills in computer science have also helped me in my other hobbies, such as photography and video editing. For the latter, I made a light correction tool that can automatically color-correct a video based on the primer of a still image.
I believe that my passion for computer science, as well as my experience in the field, makes me an ideal candidate for a graduate program in computer science. I am excited to continue learning and expanding my skills in computer science so that I can make an impact in this field. For this reason, I am excited to submit an early decision application to your computer science graduate program.”
What should I do after I have my first draft?
After you have completed the first draft of your computer science personal statement, you should follow these steps to edit, polish, and finalize your computer science personal statement:
1. Check the word count: Most programs will give you a word or a page limit for your computer science personal statement. Make sure you stay within that limit, as going over it can make you seem like you can’t follow instructions.
2. Proofread and edit it: This step is crucial. A well-written and error-free computer science personal statement will make you look more professional and competent. Use spell check and grammar check, and then have someone else proofread it for you.
3. Ask for feedback: Once you’ve proofread and edited your computer science personal statement, ask a few people for their feedback. Choose people whose opinions you trust and who will be honest with you.
4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 as needed: After you’ve received feedback, make the necessary changes to your computer science personal statement. Then, proofread and edit it again. Repeat this cycle until you’re happy with your statement.
5. Modify personal statement for each program: Don’t just submit the same computer science personal statement to every program you apply to. Tailor it to each individual program, highlighting why you’re a good fit for that specific school.
6. Submit: Once you’re happy with your computer science personal statement, submit it along with the rest of your application.
Make sure you give yourself enough time to do all of the steps above so that you can submit a strong statement. Remember, this is just one part of your overall application package, so make sure all other elements are strong as well—such as your grades, letters of recommendation, and resume.
We hope that this guide has been helpful and that you feel more confident in your ability to write a stellar computer science personal statement. Remember, the most important thing is to be yourself and let your passion for computer science shine through. As long as you are genuine and articulate your interest in the field, you are sure to impress admissions officers. Best of luck!
Elmar Mammadov is a software developer, tech startup founder, and computer science career specialist. He is the founder of CS Careerline and a true career changer who has previously pursued careers in medicine and neuroscience.
Due to his interest in programming and years of past personal experience in coding, he decided to break into the tech industry by attending a Master’s in Computer Science for career changers at University of Pennsylvania. Elmar passionately writes and coaches about breaking into the tech industry and computer science in general.