If you're interested in attaining a master's degree in healthcare administration, you've probably set your sights on an exciting career as a manager in a healthcare environment such as a hospital, surgical center, nursing home or outpatient care center. But first things first. The program you've identified has likely required that, along with your undergraduate grades, you submit a personal statement. This is your opportunity to sell yourself to the graduate admissions committee, both in terms of your past accomplishments and your future.
Read your graduate admissions packet carefully with regard to the personal statement. Some schools set specific length requirements, which you should follow, or pose certain questions that you must answer.
Develop a structure for your personal statement, starting with a basic introduction, body and conclusion. As you prepare this draft, remember that you are telling a story -- the story of a life you've already lived as well as a story of your future that you can only envision for now. Remember that there is no one “right way” to craft a personal statement, but it should sound like you, and it should be professional and sincere. Every sentence should be relevant to your quest to gain admission.
Set yourself apart from other applicants right from the start by opening your statement with an anecdote that underscores your commitment to healthcare. This short story might come straight from an undergraduate classroom experience or even a paid, part-time job in a healthcare environment. Ideally, it should reveal, in poignant terms, why you chose healthcare administration as your profession. Close this compelling opening paragraph with your purpose for writing -- that you are seeking admission to the graduate healthcare administration program and believe you would make a valuable addition to the campus community in myriad ways.
Segue gracefully to your background, including your academic work, special projects, articles that have appeared in publications, presentations at healthcare conferences or anything of which you are particularly proud. This is the portion of your personal statement in which you should frame your past in a memorable perspective. Remember that the graduate committee already has your college transcript; now it wants to learn what healthcare has meant to you personally.
Reach into the future and share your personal goals, tying them to how a master's degree in healthcare administration will help you attain them. This is where you must be specific and offer examples. Some graduate programs emphasize individual research, whereas others focus on internships and clinical experiences. Prove that you've done your homework and demonstrate that the graduate school is an ideal fit for you, both personally and professionally.
Conclude on a strong note, but avoid cliches and hollow phrases. In other words, don't present yourself as a “hard worker” and “good student” who “embraces challenge” and wants to “help people.” Better to present such notions by way of examples, or point to other traits and characteristics that you believe make you a distinguished candidate for admission.
Ask several people who know you well to read your personal statement and provide a critique. You may integrate some ideas and disregard others, but the idea is to return to your personal statement after a few days and then revise and strengthen it accordingly.
- MHAdegree.org: Salary for Masters in Healthcare Administration: Jobs and Career Outlook
- MySciNet: Sell Yourself: Guidance for Developing Your Personal Statement for Graduate School Applications
- Purdue University: Online Writing Lab: Examples of Successful Statements
- University of St. Andrews: Framework for Writing a Successful Personal Statement for a Postgraduate Course
With education, health care and small business marketing as her core interests, M.T. Wroblewski has penned pieces for Woman's Day, Family Circle, Ladies Home Journal and many newspapers and magazines. She holds a master's degree in journalism from Northern Illinois University.