How To Write A Personal Statement For Masters (17 PDF Sample Examples)

Published: 14 Mar 2022 Study Abroad 105,556 views

How To Write A Personal Statement For Masters (17 PDF Sample Examples)

A personal statement for masters program is one of the most important parts of your college application and writing a good one is what’s the exception between receiving an offer and being rejected.

If you’ve been tasked with presenting a personal statement, you should keep in mind that whatever you submit must put you forward as the right candidate for the course. Additionally, it should convince the admissions officers that you deserve a place on your program of study.

Achieving the above, is a skill most postgraduate students are yet to acquire but thankfully this article on How To Write A Personal Statement For Masters covers everything you need to know on doing this.

In this article you’ll learn:

  • What is a personal statement?
  • Tips for making your personal statement for masters stand out
  • How to write a personal statement for masters
  • Personal statement for masters sample
  • Examples of personal statement for masters
  • Conclusion – things to avoid when writing a personal statement for masters

Read:  Admission Interview Tips .

What Is a Personal Statement?

A personal statement AKA admissions or application essay or statement of purpose is a type of essay or written statement a candidate presents to a college, university, or graduate school they are applying to, explaining why they want to attend that school, study a particular course, and why they would be a perfect fit for these things.

A personal statement for masters is an essay you submit specifically for your postgraduate application. Writing one presents the opportunity for you to promote yourself to a school and show the admissions teachers that you are the perfect candidate for a course.

Tips For Making Your Personal Statement For Masters Stand Out

Before we get into how you should write a statement of purpose for masters, we would first like to share with you certain tips to include in your essay to make it stand out from that of other applicants and be convincing enough to any admissions officer that reads it. The tips we have mentioned here, cover general things like starting and ending your personal statement, timing, length, and what to include and what not to include in the essay, etc.

1. Starting And Ending A Personal Statement

When starting a personal statement, you would want to right off the bat grab the reader’s attention. To do this, start the statement by writing about your degree of choice, next why you want to study it and then how you got interested in it.

The next 2 sentences after that should cover a summary of your background in the chosen field, and you conclude by saying what you plan to do once you acquire your graduate degree.

Also start with that the evaluators reading want to hear first, then every other information should come second. You will notice we’ve used in the sop examples for masters we will share with you later in this article.

2. Plan Ahead

A personal statement is not something you rush while writing, which means if you want to get something good before you application then you must start to decide things like the length and how long it should take to complete.

Let us throw more light on this…

For length, a personal statement should be brief ranging somewhere between 500 -700 words, although schools often detect how long it should be. So, this is dependent on the institution you are applying to.

In terms of what to say in a statement, you could include personal experiences like why you were driven to apply for the program, an experience you had with a scholar in your chosen discipline, a course you took that inspired you to pursue masters, or a key moment during your studies which further motivated you.

No matter what you decide to write, just keep in mind that you need to take your time to craft something good even if it means creating several drafts before the real thing and do not forget to proofread the statement for errors.

3. Research Your Program Of Study

Researching your program of study is one way to establish that you truly understand the discipline you’re getting into and prove to the admissions officer that you thoroughly thought about it before applying.

And because you want to put yourself forward as a serious candidate, one way to make you research easier is for you to visit the website of the department you are applying to. This page will contain information about faculty members, their specialisation, and publications.

From the intel, you gathered there you can now identify which professors match your interests and which ones you will benefit the most from learning under. After you’ve found this out, relate the same in a sentence or two in your statement of purpose for masters.

Example: “I would be honoured to study under the tutelage of Professor Nadia whose work I found resonated strongly with my beliefs and intended projects in this course”.

4. Avoid Clichés, Junks, And Many Details

When writing a statement of purpose for master degree try to avoid clichés, junks, and unnecessary details so that you don’t lose or bore your readers in between. Be as concise as possible, even if it’s your chance to express yourself.

A personal statement is an opportunity for the admissions committee to get information that tells the that you are suitable for the course. So, when you overpower your statement with too many words, stories, and useless details, you come off as someone who is just trying to meet the word count.

5. Include Your Personal History Only If It Adds To The Statement

Do not include your personal history in your statement of intent for masters if it is not relevant to your purpose of study. This means no need for you to tell that story about that time you helped someone treat a cut and immediately realised that you wanted to be a doctor or nurse or how you developed a taste for reading at a very young age.

We can guarantee you that the hundreds of other applications competing for the same spot you are felt the same way, so saying those things really doesn’t make you unique.

On the other hand, if you are going to add personal history to your statement, you can put in things like an internship you did and the experience you got from the job, a major research project you ran by yourself, publications you’ve read or published, conferences you’ve attended or presentations you’ve done. These experiences are more concrete and are directly related to your program of study. They also set you apart from other applicants.

6. Don't Use The Same Personal Statement For All Your Applications

One common mistake applicant make that you shouldn’t is using the same statement of purpose for master degree for all your applications. Using the same information repeatedly even if you are going to change the university names is risky and could land you in a big mistake on a day you forget to be thorough.

All programmes have their own unique set of questions they want to see answered and information they need in your personal statement.

And even if some of them like extracurricular activities, proposal for project, why you are applying to the school, your unique qualities, and research works you’re doing might appear the same, do not use one statement to respond to all of them.

Write a new unique personal statement every time you want to apply.

Check out:  How to Write a Good CV for Students - Resume Examples for Students (PDF).

How To Write A Personal Statement for Masters

When writing a personal statement for masters there are several steps and ground rules you need to follow to ensure that it comes out good enough to impress the admissions team of a school, and ultimately convince them to give you a spot on your program of study.

If writing one is something you are currently struggling with and can’t seem to get down the process of it right no matter what, this section on how to write a personal statement for masters, discusses in detail everything you need to get help with yours.

There are 4 parts to consider when writing your personal statement and we have listed them below:

1. Planning A Personal Statement

A personal statement is a piece of writing showing your academic interests and is only for application purposes which means there is no room for any autobiographical information in it about your personal life. Be as to-the-point as possible when writing it and stick to telling the school why you are the right person for the course, plus any other extra information detailing your achievements.

Before You Start:

Allot plenty of time to write your msc personal statement so that you don’t rush it. Remember, this simple piece of writing is your one shot at convincing a school that you are the best applicant they’ve seen and as such can either make or break your application.

Read the information expected of you from the university, rules and guidelines given, selection criteria and understand what they mean. Also research the institution.

Do a thorough research on the course you are applying for; this will help you explain better why you want to study it. The tutors interviewing you can tell when you are lying and presenting yourself as uninformed can cost you the admission.

Ensure that you don’t use the same personal statement for all your applications.

When Writing:

When writing the statement there are some questions to ask yourself that can help you plan it better. Those questions are:

  • Why you want to study a master’s and how does it benefit you in future?
  • How does the course you have chosen fit into your pre-existing skill set?
  • How do you stand out from the crowd as an applicant - e.g., work experiences you’ve had in the same field you are applying for?
  • What do you aspire to do or be as a future career and how will the course help you achieve that?
  • How can your work or skillsets contribute positively to the department/ university you are applying to, or society at large?

On the other hand, if you are applying for the masters to change from the field you studied in your undergraduate to another field, you should tell the school why you decided to take a different path in your studies.

Questions to ask yourself for this include:

  • Your reason for deciding to change your discipline.
  • How your undergraduate degree will be material for bringing fresh insights into your masters course.
  • How changing your study path will help you attain your future career.

2. Structuring A Personal Statement

Having good structure for your personal statement for master degree is important because it ensures that everything from the beginning, middle, and ending of the statement is written and equally falls in place perfectly.

We’ve left some tips for you below to help you:

Start your personal statement with an attention-grabbing introduction that is not dramatic or cliché. That means you should not begin with any of these over-used phrases we’ve listed out below:

For as long as I remember…

Since my childhood…

I want to apply to this course because I’ve always felt a strong connection to it…

All my life, I have always loved…

My interest in (course) always ran deeper than…

I’ve always been zealous about…

Ever since I was a child, I’ve always wanted to pursue a career in…

My past educational experiences have always…

'My passion for Child Psychology is influenced by my curiosity in how autism affects the personality of children living with this condition. That's why I dedicated the 3rd year of my undergraduate study interning with the Child Rehabilitation Centre in my community, which caters to the patients and work closely with their families in developing care plans that work for their child.

You would want to be as snappy as possible with your opening because the admission officer has over a hundred applications to read and can’t waste all their time on yours. This means you should avoid overpowering it with unnecessary facts, quotes, and stories from your life.

The middle part of your ma personal statement is where the main content of the write-up should be. This is where you show your dedication to the course you’ve chosen, what motivated you to choose it, and why you are the right candidate for it.

When writing the middle part of a graduate personal statement, you should:  

  • Give concrete reasons why you want to study a course at the University. The reason could be because of how the course is aligned to your future career or the University’s reputation in teaching that program.
  • Mention relevant things like projects, dissertations, or essays you’ve done, and any work experience you have.
  • Show proof of your core skills like and how they can contribute to the department.
  • Prove what makes you a unique candidate.
  • Discuss who your main influences for wanting to study the course are and why.
  • Add experiences like memberships to clubs that are related to your field, papers you’ve written before, awards, scholarships, or prizes.
  • Draw focus to how the course links to your past and future.
  • Mention your academic and non-academic skills and how they fit the course.

For Formatting:

  • Keep the statement length between 250 -500 words or as directed by the school.
  • Sentences should be no more than 25-30 words.
  • Use headings to break up the content – Why this university? Why this subject? Etc.
  • Make claims and provide evidence to back each of them up. This can be done by discussing your work experience and academic interests.

Language and tone to use:     

  • The tone for your masters application personal statement should be positive and enthusiastic, to show you eagerness to learn and so that you convince the evaluators that you have what it takes to succeed.
  • Use exciting and refreshing language, and an engaging opening line.
  • Ensure you grammar, punctuations, and spellings are accurate.
  • Avoid exaggerated claims you cannot backup.
  • Don’t use cliché generic terms and keep your focus on the course.

Keep the ending of your essay for master degree application concise and memorable, leaving no doubt in the admission officers mind that you deserve a spot on the program.

To create the best ending summarise all your key points without dragging it our or repeating yourself. The ending should be simple, end on a positive note and make it clear that the school will be lucky to have you on their program.

Personal Statement for Masters Sample

In this section, we have left a masters personal statement example for you, which you can use as material to write yours for any course of study you are applying to a school for.

My passion for Filmmaking, was influenced by my growing up reading novels and plays by my idols William Shakespeare, Tennessee Williams, and Maya Angelou, which graciously provided me with the opportunity to not just hear good stories, but also appreciate great storytellers whose plays still shake the foundations of the film industry.

Growing up, I loved movies and found myself fascinated by the stories, the characters and most importantly the realization that the human mind could create something so beautiful and gripping. I studied each film like a guide and whenever they ended, I would act out the scenes on my own, putting on a one-woman show for myself whenever I was alone at home. These things would later form the basis of me writing my first published book which was a drama titled The Reward of Evil Deed.

To me, loving literature and chasing it down all these years was something that made me different, but I also enjoyed it because films are more than something I just wanted to watch and forget, it is something that I wanted to be a part of. I didn’t just want to appreciate great films, I wanted to make them.

During my bachelor’s degree in India, I had the privilege of taking Literature classes stemming from British, American, and Indian literature to broaden my mind. I was also opportune to read great authors like John Donne, John Milton, Emily Dickinson, Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, Anton Chekov, Virginia Woolf, and of course Margret Atwood who I follow closely on Instagram. Three years later not only did I graduate as one of the best students in the school, but I did so with a first-hand knowledge of what it means to be a passionate storyteller whose art transcends time, language barrier, and location.

In addition to devouring Literature and watching satirical films like it’s the news, I am also an avid reader and prolific writer who throws herself into whatever she sets her heart on. I am the proud author of Forgetting Bangalore which is a personal memoir about my three years of studying in India, read amongst my closest friends who I shared those times with. In school, I also wrote the script for a short film for the class Psychology assignment titled The Ordeal which I uploaded to my YouTube page and uploaded to my application form.

Apart from writing for myself, I also function as a content creator/marketer for companies I have worked for in the past and is still working for now. I play the Bass guitar well and occasionally dabble in Lead guitar.

For far too long, I have aspired to be, but now I want to become a filmmaker and I strongly believe that through your institution that I would be able to learn and master all the aspects associated with filmmaking. I hope to attend Central Film School next year, enrolling in MA Practical Filmmaking under the tutelage of the amazing Faculty members.

Although I don’t have the professional skills or much of a background in filmmaking, I am passionate and have a zeal burning strongly that it will set the film industry on fire. I am a good storyteller, I am brilliant, resilient, and determined to succeed, and when I want something, I push until I get it, I am also a fast learner. I strongly believe that these attributes are what will help me successfully complete this master’s program.

Personal Statement PDF

You can also download this statement of purpose sample for masters degree pdf here and take your time to read it later – Personal Statement For Masters Sample .

See Also:  Student CV Template .

Examples of Personal Statement for Masters

We have taken the time to source for some of the best postgraduate personal statement examples, which you can use in addition to the personal statement for masters program example as a template to write yours.

While you scroll through our list, you will find the perfect masters essay example for any field you wish to apply for, from business administration, to Psychology, to information technology, and lots more.

1. msw personal statement

We have found one of the best msw personal statement examples out there for you.

social work masters personal statement .  

2. personal statement for masters in public health

mph personal statement examples

3. personal statement for masters in management

Personal statement for master degree sample for masters in management .  , 4. personal statement for masters in education example.

personal statement for masters in education example

5. psychology masters personal statement

psychology masters personal statement example

6. sample personal statement for masters in data science data science masters personal statement

7. speech and language therapy personal statement statement of purpose for masters sample: speech and language therapy

8. business administration personal statement personal statement for masters in business administration

9. personal statement for masters in cyber security pdf masters degree personal statement examples for cyber security

10. personal statement for masters in finance msc finance personal statement examples

11. statement of purpose for masters in information technology pdf msc personal statement examples for information technology

12. international development personal statement statement of purpose for masters example

13. msc international business management personal statement international business management personal statement examples

14. computer science masters personal statement

statement of purpose for masters in computer science pdf

15. personal statement for masters in economics statement of purpose sample for masters degree in economics

16. mha personal statement statement of purpose format for masters in health administration    

Conclusion – Things to Avoid When Writing A Personal Statement For Masters When writing a personal statement for university masters, there are some things you should avoid, so that you don’t ruin your essay. We have listed out those things below: •    Avoid negativity. •    Following an online template blindly. •    Do not include unnecessary course modules, personal facts, or extra-curricular activities in your personal statement. •    Do not lie or exaggerate an achievement or event. •    Do not include inspirational quotes to your statement. •    Avoid using clichés, gimmicks, humour, over-used word such as 'passion' or ‘driven’. •    Do not make pleading statements. •    Avoid mentioning key authors or professors in your field without any explanation. •    Avoid using sentences that are too long. •    Avoid flattering the organisation or using patronising terms. •    Do not repeat information in your statement that you have already listed in your application. •    Avoid waffling i.e., writing at length. •    Don’t start writing your personal statement at the last minute.  

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  • How to Write Your Personal Statement | Strategies & Examples

How to Write Your Personal Statement | Strategies & Examples

Published on February 12, 2019 by Shona McCombes . Revised on July 3, 2023.

A personal statement is a short essay of around 500–1,000 words, in which you tell a compelling story about who you are, what drives you, and why you’re applying.

To write a successful personal statement for a graduate school application , don’t just summarize your experience; instead, craft a focused narrative in your own voice. Aim to demonstrate three things:

  • Your personality: what are your interests, values, and motivations?
  • Your talents: what can you bring to the program?
  • Your goals: what do you hope the program will do for you?

This article guides you through some winning strategies to build a strong, well-structured personal statement for a master’s or PhD application. You can download the full examples below.

Urban Planning Psychology History

Table of contents

Getting started with your personal statement, the introduction: start with an attention-grabbing opening, the main body: craft your narrative, the conclusion: look ahead, revising, editing, and proofreading your personal statement, frequently asked questions, other interesting articles.

Before you start writing, the first step is to understand exactly what’s expected of you. If the application gives you a question or prompt for your personal statement, the most important thing is to respond to it directly.

For example, you might be asked to focus on the development of your personal identity; challenges you have faced in your life; or your career motivations. This will shape your focus and emphasis—but you still need to find your own unique approach to answering it.

There’s no universal template for a personal statement; it’s your chance to be creative and let your own voice shine through. But there are strategies you can use to build a compelling, well-structured story.

The first paragraph of your personal statement should set the tone and lead smoothly into the story you want to tell.

Strategy 1: Open with a concrete scene

An effective way to catch the reader’s attention is to set up a scene that illustrates something about your character and interests. If you’re stuck, try thinking about:

  • A personal experience that changed your perspective
  • A story from your family’s history
  • A memorable teacher or learning experience
  • An unusual or unexpected encounter

To write an effective scene, try to go beyond straightforward description; start with an intriguing sentence that pulls the reader in, and give concrete details to create a convincing atmosphere.

Strategy 2: Open with your motivations

To emphasize your enthusiasm and commitment, you can start by explaining your interest in the subject you want to study or the career path you want to follow.

Just stating that it interests you isn’t enough: first, you need to figure out why you’re interested in this field:

  • Is it a longstanding passion or a recent discovery?
  • Does it come naturally or have you had to work hard at it?
  • How does it fit into the rest of your life?
  • What do you think it contributes to society?

Tips for the introduction

  • Don’t start on a cliche: avoid phrases like “Ever since I was a child…” or “For as long as I can remember…”
  • Do save the introduction for last. If you’re struggling to come up with a strong opening, leave it aside, and note down any interesting ideas that occur to you as you write the rest of the personal statement.

Once you’ve set up the main themes of your personal statement, you’ll delve into more detail about your experiences and motivations.

To structure the body of your personal statement, there are various strategies you can use.

Strategy 1: Describe your development over time

One of the simplest strategies is to give a chronological overview of key experiences that have led you to apply for graduate school.

  • What first sparked your interest in the field?
  • Which classes, assignments, classmates, internships, or other activities helped you develop your knowledge and skills?
  • Where do you want to go next? How does this program fit into your future plans?

Don’t try to include absolutely everything you’ve done—pick out highlights that are relevant to your application. Aim to craft a compelling narrative that shows how you’ve changed and actively developed yourself.

My interest in psychology was first sparked early in my high school career. Though somewhat scientifically inclined, I found that what interested me most was not the equations we learned about in physics and chemistry, but the motivations and perceptions of my fellow students, and the subtle social dynamics that I observed inside and outside the classroom. I wanted to learn how our identities, beliefs, and behaviours are shaped through our interactions with others, so I decided to major in Social Psychology. My undergraduate studies deepened my understanding of, and fascination with, the interplay between an individual mind and its social context.During my studies, I acquired a solid foundation of knowledge about concepts like social influence and group dynamics, but I also took classes on various topics not strictly related to my major. I was particularly interested in how other fields intersect with psychology—the classes I took on media studies, biology, and literature all enhanced my understanding of psychological concepts by providing different lenses through which to look at the issues involved.

Strategy 2: Own your challenges and obstacles

If your path to graduate school hasn’t been easy or straightforward, you can turn this into a strength, and structure your personal statement as a story of overcoming obstacles.

  • Is your social, cultural or economic background underrepresented in the field? Show how your experiences will contribute a unique perspective.
  • Do you have gaps in your resume or lower-than-ideal grades? Explain the challenges you faced and how you dealt with them.

Don’t focus too heavily on negatives, but use them to highlight your positive qualities. Resilience, resourcefulness and perseverance make you a promising graduate school candidate.

Growing up working class, urban decay becomes depressingly familiar. The sight of a row of abandoned houses does not surprise me, but it continues to bother me. Since high school, I have been determined to pursue a career in urban planning. While people of my background experience the consequences of urban planning decisions first-hand, we are underrepresented in the field itself. Ironically, given my motivation, my economic background has made my studies challenging. I was fortunate enough to be awarded a scholarship for my undergraduate studies, but after graduation I took jobs in unrelated fields to help support my parents. In the three years since, I have not lost my ambition. Now I am keen to resume my studies, and I believe I can bring an invaluable perspective to the table: that of the people most impacted by the decisions of urban planners.

Strategy 3: Demonstrate your knowledge of the field

Especially if you’re applying for a PhD or another research-focused program, it’s a good idea to show your familiarity with the subject and the department. Your personal statement can focus on the area you want to specialize in and reflect on why it matters to you.

  • Reflect on the topics or themes that you’ve focused on in your studies. What draws you to them?
  • Discuss any academic achievements, influential teachers, or other highlights of your education.
  • Talk about the questions you’d like to explore in your research and why you think they’re important.

The personal statement isn’t a research proposal , so don’t go overboard on detail—but it’s a great opportunity to show your enthusiasm for the field and your capacity for original thinking.

In applying for this research program, my intention is to build on the multidisciplinary approach I have taken in my studies so far, combining knowledge from disparate fields of study to better understand psychological concepts and issues. The Media Psychology program stands out to me as the perfect environment for this kind of research, given its researchers’ openness to collaboration across diverse fields. I am impressed by the department’s innovative interdisciplinary projects that focus on the shifting landscape of media and technology, and I hope that my own work can follow a similarly trailblazing approach. More specifically, I want to develop my understanding of the intersection of psychology and media studies, and explore how media psychology theories and methods might be applied to neurodivergent minds. I am interested not only in media psychology but also in psychological disorders, and how the two interact. This is something I touched on during my undergraduate studies and that I’m excited to delve into further.

Strategy 4: Discuss your professional ambitions

Especially if you’re applying for a more professionally-oriented program (such as an MBA), it’s a good idea to focus on concrete goals and how the program will help you achieve them.

  • If your career is just getting started, show how your character is suited to the field, and explain how graduate school will help you develop your talents.
  • If you have already worked in the profession, show what you’ve achieved so far, and explain how the program will allow you to take the next step.
  • If you are planning a career change, explain what has driven this decision and how your existing experience will help you succeed.

Don’t just state the position you want to achieve. You should demonstrate that you’ve put plenty of thought into your career plans and show why you’re well-suited to this profession.

One thing that fascinated me about the field during my undergraduate studies was the sheer number of different elements whose interactions constitute a person’s experience of an urban environment. Any number of factors could transform the scene I described at the beginning: What if there were no bus route? Better community outreach in the neighborhood? Worse law enforcement? More or fewer jobs available in the area? Some of these factors are out of the hands of an urban planner, but without taking them all into consideration, the planner has an incomplete picture of their task. Through further study I hope to develop my understanding of how these disparate elements combine and interact to create the urban environment. I am interested in the social, psychological and political effects our surroundings have on our lives. My studies will allow me to work on projects directly affecting the kinds of working-class urban communities I know well. I believe I can bring my own experiences, as well as my education, to bear upon the problem of improving infrastructure and quality of life in these communities.

Tips for the main body

  • Don’t rehash your resume by trying to summarize everything you’ve done so far; the personal statement isn’t about listing your academic or professional experience, but about reflecting, evaluating, and relating it to broader themes.
  • Do make your statements into stories: Instead of saying you’re hard-working and self-motivated, write about your internship where you took the initiative to start a new project. Instead of saying you’ve always loved reading, reflect on a novel or poem that changed your perspective.

Your conclusion should bring the focus back to the program and what you hope to get out of it, whether that’s developing practical skills, exploring intellectual questions, or both.

Emphasize the fit with your specific interests, showing why this program would be the best way to achieve your aims.

Strategy 1: What do you want to know?

If you’re applying for a more academic or research-focused program, end on a note of curiosity: what do you hope to learn, and why do you think this is the best place to learn it?

If there are specific classes or faculty members that you’re excited to learn from, this is the place to express your enthusiasm.

Strategy 2: What do you want to do?

If you’re applying for a program that focuses more on professional training, your conclusion can look to your career aspirations: what role do you want to play in society, and why is this program the best choice to help you get there?

Tips for the conclusion

  • Don’t summarize what you’ve already said. You have limited space in a personal statement, so use it wisely!
  • Do think bigger than yourself: try to express how your individual aspirations relate to your local community, your academic field, or society more broadly. It’s not just about what you’ll get out of graduate school, but about what you’ll be able to give back.

You’ll be expected to do a lot of writing in graduate school, so make a good first impression: leave yourself plenty of time to revise and polish the text.

Your style doesn’t have to be as formal as other kinds of academic writing, but it should be clear, direct and coherent. Make sure that each paragraph flows smoothly from the last, using topic sentences and transitions to create clear connections between each part.

Don’t be afraid to rewrite and restructure as much as necessary. Since you have a lot of freedom in the structure of a personal statement, you can experiment and move information around to see what works best.

Finally, it’s essential to carefully proofread your personal statement and fix any language errors. Before you submit your application, consider investing in professional personal statement editing . For $150, you have the peace of mind that your personal statement is grammatically correct, strong in term of your arguments, and free of awkward mistakes.

A statement of purpose is usually more formal, focusing on your academic or professional goals. It shouldn’t include anything that isn’t directly relevant to the application.

A personal statement can often be more creative. It might tell a story that isn’t directly related to the application, but that shows something about your personality, values, and motivations.

However, both types of document have the same overall goal: to demonstrate your potential as a graduate student and s how why you’re a great match for the program.

The typical length of a personal statement for graduate school applications is between 500 and 1,000 words.

Different programs have different requirements, so always check if there’s a minimum or maximum length and stick to the guidelines. If there is no recommended word count, aim for no more than 1-2 pages.

If you’re applying to multiple graduate school programs, you should tailor your personal statement to each application.

Some applications provide a prompt or question. In this case, you might have to write a new personal statement from scratch: the most important task is to respond to what you have been asked.

If there’s no prompt or guidelines, you can re-use the same idea for your personal statement – but change the details wherever relevant, making sure to emphasize why you’re applying to this specific program.

If the application also includes other essays, such as a statement of purpose , you might have to revise your personal statement to avoid repeating the same information.

If you want to know more about college essays , academic writing , and AI tools , make sure to check out some of our other language articles with explanations, examples, and quizzes.

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Personal Statement

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A personal statement is a vital component of college and job application . It showcases an individual’s unique experiences, skills , and aspirations, providing a narrative that highlights their strengths and goals. Crafting a compelling personal statement allows applicants to express their personality and motivations, helping them stand out in a competitive field. It’s an opportunity to reflect on past achievements and outline future ambitions, making a memorable impression on selection committees.

What Is a Personal Statement?

A personal statement is a crucial part of college and job applications, allowing individuals to highlight their unique experiences, skills, and aspirations. It serves as a narrative that showcases strengths and goals, helping applicants stand out. By reflecting on past achievements and outlining future ambitions, a well-crafted personal statement makes a lasting impression on selection committees.

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Personal statement format

A personal statement is a crucial component of applications for college, graduate school, scholarships, or jobs. It is your opportunity to highlight your achievements, experiences, and goals. Here is a format for writing an effective personal statement:

  • Begin with a strong opening sentence that grabs the reader’s attention.
  • Introduce yourself and state the purpose of your personal statement.
  • Mention what you are applying for (e.g., a specific program, scholarship, job).
  • Discuss your academic achievements and experiences.
  • Mention relevant courses, projects, or research that have prepared you for the program or job.
  • Highlight any honors or awards you have received.
  • Detail your work experience, internships, or volunteer work.
  • Focus on experiences that are relevant to the program or position.
  • Emphasize any skills or knowledge you have gained.
  • Include any extracurricular activities, hobbies, or interests that demonstrate your well-rounded character.
  • Mention leadership roles, community service, or other achievements.
  • Show how these experiences have shaped you and your aspirations.
  • Clearly state your short-term and long-term goals.
  • Explain how the program or job aligns with your career aspirations.
  • Describe what you hope to achieve and how you plan to contribute to the field.
  • Summarize the key points you have made.
  • Reiterate your enthusiasm and readiness for the program or position.
  • Thank the reader for considering your application .

Example Personal Statement

Personal Statement for University Introduction : I am excited to apply for the Master’s program in Environmental Science at XYZ University. With a strong academic background in biology and a passion for environmental conservation, I am eager to contribute to cutting-edge research in sustainability and climate change mitigation. Academic Background : I graduated with honors from ABC University with a Bachelor’s degree in Biology. During my undergraduate studies, I completed a research project on the impact of urbanization on local wildlife, which sparked my interest in environmental science. I have taken courses in ecology, environmental policy, and data analysis, providing me with a solid foundation for advanced study. Professional Experience : Over the past two years, I have interned at the Green Earth Organization, where I assisted in conducting field surveys and analyzing data on endangered species. This experience has honed my skills in data collection, statistical analysis, and report writing. Additionally, I volunteered with Clean Water Initiative, where I led a team to organize community clean-up events and educate the public on water conservation. Personal Achievements and Extracurricular Activities : Outside of academics and professional work, I am an avid hiker and nature photographer. I have also been a member of the university’s environmental club, where I served as president and organized several successful campus-wide sustainability events. These activities have strengthened my leadership and teamwork skills. Goals and Aspirations : My short-term goal is to gain in-depth knowledge and research experience in environmental science through the Master’s program at XYZ University. In the long term, I aspire to work as an environmental consultant, helping businesses and communities implement sustainable practices. I am particularly interested in developing innovative solutions to reduce carbon footprints and protect natural habitats. Conclusion : In conclusion, I am confident that my academic background, professional experience, and passion for environmental conservation make me a strong candidate for the Master’s program in Environmental Science at XYZ University. I am eager to contribute to your esteemed program and am grateful for your consideration. Thank you for taking the time to review my application.

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7. Engineering Master Personal Statement

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Tips for an Effective Personal Statement

When writing a personal statement, always bear in mind that you write to impress. So we have outlined for you some tips for an effective personal statement.

  • Understand Your Goal. Bear in mind what your goal is in writing a personal statement . Remember that you are not the only one who is trying to grab that position or admission, so make it a point to put your best foot forward. This is what you do when you have a goal. It keeps your steps solid and for sure you won’t lose your track.
  • Create an Outline. Like a college essay, your personal income statement should have a layout. Use the funneling technique on this one. Start from the most general points and narrow it down to the specific ones. It also helps you organize your thoughts better so your words will not jumble.
  • Be Genuine. This is not the hardest thing to do in the world. All you need to do is tell honestly what your skills and accomplishments are. A personal statement is an overview about your personality. Even if it is a written letter, an employer or a supervisor will know if you are telling the truth or not.
  • Be Specific. Some schools or business statement establishments would send a list of questions that they need you to answer and include on your personal statement. Answer those questions concretely and with substance. Do not veer away from your main point. Focus on your answer and be straightforward.
  • Maintain a Positive Tone. A personal statement is not the place for you to vent out your frustrations in life nor an opportunity to show your weaknesses and appeal for emotions. Make your words sound positive. Provide energy and liveliness when sharing about a certain lesson you learned or an obstacle in your life and how you were able to overcome it.
  • Check and Revise. Sometimes when we are writing, we often misspell things or use inappropriate words especially when we are in our deep thoughts. So before you put your letter in an envelope and put it in your mailbox, be sure to proofread your work. Check your spelling, choice of words and arrangement of thoughts.

How Important Is a Personal Statement?

University admissions hold interviews based on the applications they receive. How you write your personal vision statement will be a determining factor for you to land in an interview and consequently get into college. So if you are planning to write a personal letter of poor quality, you better think twice. Here are the reasons why you need to write a compelling personal letter.

1.  It gives you a better shot.

Whether you are aiming for a university admission or landing a job at a prominent income statement for company , an effective personal letter gives you a better shot compared to others. Remember that you are not the only participant in the race. In order for you to win, you need to give it with an undivided attention.

2.  It gets your name on the list.

Yes, it does. The truth is your personal letter is your only key to have your name on the master list. Some universities are a little picky when it comes to admitting new applicants. They do filtering to ensure that they choose the right students for the right program. Not only that. They are very selective because the applicant they choose will soon become a fruit of their own tree and they certainly don’t want it to be a bad one.

3.  It boosts your confidence.

A personal statement is always given a head of time during an application examples or admission process. This gives the school or a company an overview of who to select from the many applicants. Writing a bold and convincing personal letter could get you ahead of others. You get picked from the basket of people longing for that post. Then in the process you get called for an interview.

You know that your personal statement caught the attention of the school board or the employer and so you are confident that you are just a few steps away from landing that position you always hoped for.

A personal statement need not be a novel-long narrative of yourself. Just as long as the important words and details are there, that’s fine. However, never settle for less. Always aim for the best. Have you ever seen an advertising brochure?

It usually comes as a single sheet example in pdf , a cardboard or a photo paper maybe, folded into half or a quarter, but contains all the necessary information you want to know about a certain product. That is how your personal statement should be, brief, concise, and effective.

What should be included in a Personal Statement

A personal statement is a critical component of many applications, providing an opportunity to showcase your qualifications, experiences, and motivations. Here is a comprehensive guide on what should be included in a personal statement:

1. Introduction

  • Compelling Opening : Start with an engaging story, quote, or anecdote to capture the reader’s attention.
  • Brief Overview : Introduce yourself and state your purpose for writing the personal statement. Mention the program or position you are applying for.

2. Academic Background

  • Educational Qualifications : Detail your academic achievements, including your degree(s), GPA, and any honors or awards.
  • Relevant Coursework : Highlight specific courses that are pertinent to the program or role.
  • Research Projects or Theses : Discuss any significant research projects, theses, or academic papers, emphasizing their relevance to your field.

3. Professional Experience

  • Internships and Jobs : Describe your professional experiences, focusing on internships, jobs, or volunteer work that relate to your application.
  • Responsibilities and Achievements : Outline your roles, responsibilities, and key accomplishments in these positions.
  • Skills Gained : Highlight the skills and knowledge you acquired, and how they prepared you for the role or program.

4. Personal Qualities and Skills

  • Key Attributes : Mention personal qualities that make you a strong candidate, such as dedication, motivation, and resilience.
  • Technical and Soft Skills : List relevant technical skills (e.g., programming languages, lab techniques) and soft skills (e.g., leadership, communication).

5. Motivations

  • Passion for the Field : Explain why you are passionate about the field or profession. Share any personal experiences or events that sparked your interest.
  • Career Aspirations : Discuss your long-term career goals and how the program or role fits into your career plan.

6. Future Goals

  • Short-term Objectives : Describe what you hope to achieve in the immediate future, such as completing a degree or gaining specific experience.
  • Long-term Vision : Outline your long-term professional aspirations and how the program or role will help you achieve them.

7. Conclusion

  • Recap Main Points : Summarize the key points of your statement, reinforcing your enthusiasm and readiness for the opportunity.
  • Thank You : Express gratitude for considering your application and indicate your eagerness to discuss your application further.

How to Write a Personal Statement.

How to Write a Personal Statement.

Writing a personal statement can be a challenging task, but it’s an essential part of many applications. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you craft a compelling and effective personal statement:

Step 1: Understand the Purpose

  • Purpose : A personal statement is a narrative that highlights your background, achievements, motivations, and goals. It aims to show why you are a suitable candidate for the program or position you are applying for.
  • Audience : Consider who will be reading your statement and what they are looking for in a candidate. Tailor your content to meet their expectations.

Step 2: Brainstorm and Outline

  • Self-Reflection : Think about your experiences, achievements, and goals. Identify key themes and stories that showcase your strengths and motivations.
  • Outline : Create an outline to organize your thoughts. A typical personal statement includes an introduction, academic background, professional experience, personal qualities, motivations, future goals, and a conclusion.

Step 3: Write the Introduction

  • Hook : Start with a compelling opening that grabs the reader’s attention. This could be a personal anecdote, a quote, or a unique experience related to your field.
  • Overview : Briefly introduce yourself and state the purpose of your statement. Mention the program or position you are applying for.

Step 4: Discuss Your Academic Background

  • Education : Detail your academic achievements, including your degree(s), GPA, and any honors or awards.
  • Research Projects : Mention any significant research projects, theses, or academic papers, emphasizing their relevance to your field.

Step 5: Describe Your Professional Experience

Step 6: highlight personal qualities and skills, step 7: explain your motivations, step 8: outline your future goals, step 9: conclude your statement, step 10: revise and edit.

  • Proofread : Carefully proofread your statement for grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors.
  • Feedback : Seek feedback from mentors, professors, or colleagues to improve the clarity and impact of your statement.
  • Polish : Make necessary revisions to ensure your statement is concise, coherent, and compelling.

What is a personal statement?

A personal statement is a written description of your achievements, skills, interests, and goals, typically used for university or job applications.

How long should a personal statement be?

Generally, a personal statement should be 500-800 words, but always check the specific guidelines of the application.

What should be included in a personal statement?

Include your introduction, academic background, professional experience, personal qualities, motivations, future goals, and conclusion.

How should I start my personal statement?

Start with a compelling hook, such as an anecdote, quote, or personal experience, to grab the reader’s attention.

How personal should my personal statement be?

Be personal enough to reflect your unique experiences and motivations but maintain a professional tone throughout.

Can I use the same personal statement for different applications?

Tailor each personal statement to the specific program or job to address their unique requirements and expectations.

Should I mention weaknesses in my personal statement?

If relevant, briefly mention weaknesses, but focus on how you have addressed and overcome them.

How do I make my personal statement stand out?

Highlight unique experiences, demonstrate passion for the field, and provide specific examples of your achievements and skills.

Is it okay to use quotes in a personal statement?

Yes, but use them sparingly and ensure they are relevant to your narrative and add value to your statement.

How do I conclude my personal statement?

Summarize your key points, reiterate your enthusiasm for the opportunity, and thank the reader for considering your application.


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Statement of Purpose 

The statement of purpose is very important to programs when deciding whether to admit a candidate. Your statement should be focused, informative, and convey your research interests and qualifications. You should describe your reasons and motivations for pursuing a graduate degree in your chosen degree program, noting the experiences that shaped your research ambitions, indicating briefly your career objectives, and concisely stating your past work in your intended field of study and in related fields. Your degree program of interest may have specific guidance or requirements for the statement of purpose, so be sure to review the degree program page for more information. Unless otherwise noted, your statement should not exceed 1,000 words. 

Personal Statement

Please describe the personal experiences that led you to pursue graduate education and how these experiences will contribute to the academic environment and/or community in your program or Harvard Griffin GSAS. These may include social and cultural experiences, leadership positions, community engagement, equity and inclusion efforts, other opportunities, or challenges. Your statement should be no longer than 500 words.

Please note that there is no expectation to share detailed sensitive information and you should refrain from including anything that you would not feel at ease sharing. Please also note that the Personal Statement should complement rather than duplicate the content provided in the Statement of Purpose. 

Visit Degree Programs and navigate to your degree program of interest to determine if a Personal Statement is required. The degree program pages will be updated by early September indicating if the Personal Statement is required for your program.

Writing Sample 

Please visit Degree Programs and navigate to your degree program of interest to determine if a writing sample is required. When preparing your writing sample, be sure to follow program requirements, which may include format, topic, or length. 

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Explore events.

Read the full text of Supreme Court’s decision on Trump’s immunity

Former presidents are immune from prosecution for their official actions taken while in the White House, but don’t have immunity for unofficial acts, the Supreme Court ruled Monday.

personal statement examples pdf

Former presidents are immune from prosecution for their official actions taken while in the White House, but they don’t have immunity for unofficial acts, the Supreme Court ruled Monday .

Supreme Court 2024 major cases

personal statement examples pdf

“A former president is entitled to absolute immunity from criminal prosecution for actions within his ‘conclusive and preclusive constitutional authority,’ ” the ruling says. “There is no immunity for unofficial acts.”

It seems highly unlikely that the 45th president will go to trial on charges of trying to subvert the 2020 election before voters cast ballots in this year’s presidential contest, in which Donald Trump is the presumptive Republican nominee.

If you’re unable to read the full text on mobile, the PDF is available here .

Supreme Court's Trump immunity decision

More on the Trump Jan. 6 case

The latest: What is presidential immunity? The Supreme Court ruled that former president Donald Trump is immune from prosecution for his “official acts” in office. Here are key takeaways from the Supreme Court’s immunity decision and what’s next in Trump’s case with special counsel Jack Smith .

The trial: The Supreme Court’s immunity decision likely means that Donald Trump’s federal trial can eventually proceed in D.C., but only after additional delay. The March 4 trial date was taken off the calendar and jury selection was postponed indefinitely.

The charges: Trump pleaded not guilty to charges that he plotted to overturn the 2020 election in the run-up to the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. Here’s a breakdown of the charges against Trump and what they mean, and things that stand out from the Trump indictment .

The case: The special counsel’s office has been investigating whether Trump or those close to him violated the law by interfering with the lawful transfer of power after the 2020 presidential election or with Congress’s confirmation of the results on Jan. 6, 2021. It is one of several ongoing investigations involving Trump .

Can Trump still run for president? While it has never been attempted by a candidate from a major party before, Trump is allowed to run for president after being indicted in four criminal cases and following a conviction in one of them. The three other cases are pending.

personal statement examples pdf

Reactions and Highlights of the Supreme Court Decision on Trump’s Immunity

The ruling makes a distinction between official actions of a president, which have immunity, and those of a private citizen. In dissent, the court’s liberals lament a vast expansion of presidential power.

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Charlie Savage

Charlie Savage

Here are some key excerpts from the Supreme Court ruling on presidential immunity.

The Supreme Court declared on Monday that former presidents have immunity for their official actions, upending the case against Donald J. Trump over his attempts to subvert his 2020 election loss.


We conclude that under our constitutional structure of separated powers, the nature of Presidential power requires that a former President have some immunity from criminal prosecution for official acts during his tenure in office. At least with respect to the President’s exercise of his core constitutional powers, this immunity must be absolute. As for his remaining official actions, he is also entitled to immunity. At the current stage of proceedings in this case, however, we need not and do not decide whether that immunity must be absolute, or instead whether a presumptive immunity is sufficient.

In the majority opinion, written by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., the conservative supermajority explained that Congress has no authority to pass criminal laws regulating powers that the Constitution assigns exclusively to presidents. Where the two branches share overlapping authority, presidents may or may not have immunity depending on whether applying criminal law to those specific facts would dangerously intrude on the functions of the executive branch.

Taking into account these competing considerations, we conclude that the separation of powers principles explicated in our precedent necessitate at least a presumptive immunity from criminal prosecution for a President’s acts within the outer perimeter of his official responsibility. Such an immunity is required to safeguard the independence and effective functioning of the Executive Branch, and to enable the President to carry out his constitutional duties without undue caution.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor, joined by her liberal colleagues, wrote a vehement dissent , portraying the ruling as a sharp expansion of presidential power — not just for Mr. Trump but for all presidents. She cited the famous World War II ruling that upheld the internment of Japanese Americans in the West to invoke the fear that presidents may feel freer to abuse their power.

Justice Sotomayor dissent

Looking beyond the fate of this particular prosecution, the long-term consequences of today’s decision are stark. The court effectively creates a law-free zone around the president, upsetting the status quo that has existed since the founding. This new official-acts immunity now ‘lies about like a loaded weapon’ for any president that wishes to place his own interests, his own political survival, or his own financial gain, above the interests of the nation.

At earlier stages of the Trump case, lower court judges had ruled that Mr. Trump had no immunity from prosecution over the allegations in the indictment regardless of whether the acts were official or unofficial. The Supreme Court sent the case back to the Federal District Court judge who would oversee any trial, Tanya S. Chutkan, to conduct that analysis. The majority, however, declared that Mr. Trump is clearly immune from prosecution for his alleged interactions with Justice Department officials in trying to enlist their help in overturning the 2020 election.

Certain allegations — such as those involving Trump’s discussions with the Acting Attorney General — are readily categorized in light of the nature of the President’s official relationship to the office held by that individual. Other allegations — such as those involving Trump’s interactions with the Vice President, state officials, and certain private parties, and his comments to the general public — present more difficult questions. Although we identify several considerations pertinent to classifying those allegations and determining whether they are subject to immunity, that analysis ultimately is best left to the lower courts to perform in the first instance.

Even as Chief Justice Roberts wrote that a president talking to a vice president counted as an official act, he suggested that it might not qualify for immunity in the context of Mr. Trump’s pressure campaign on his vice president at the time, Mike Pence, to disrupt the certification of Electoral College votes. He noted that Congress has legislated extensively to define the vice president’s role in that task and that the president plays no direct part in it, suggesting that allowing a prosecution based on that act would not unduly impair executive branch functions. By contrast, the chief justice suggested that another context — a president talking to a vice president about casting a tiebreaking 51st vote in the Senate on legislation that is part of the White House’s agenda, for example — more likely would be immune. But he still left that issue to Judge Chutkan to consider.

Opinion of the court

It is ultimately the government’s burden to rebut the presumption of immunity. We therefore remand to the district court to assess in the first instance, with appropriate input from the parties, whether a prosecution involving Trump’s alleged attempts to influence the vice president’s oversight of the certification proceeding in his capacity as president of the Senate would pose any dangers of intrusion on the authority and functions of the executive branch.

During oral arguments, a Justice Department lawyer had suggested that even if the court were to rule that presidents are immune for official acts, prosecutors should still be able to introduce evidence about Mr. Trump’s official acts to help the jury understand the unofficial ones that would be the basis of charges. If so, a ruling that presidents have immunity for official actions would not have been particularly disruptive to the case prosecutors want to present to the jury. But in a major victory for Mr. Trump, Chief Justice Roberts’s opinion ruled out letting prosecutors use testimony or records about any official acts that are subject to immunity.

If official conduct for which the president is immune may be scrutinized to help secure his conviction, even on charges that purport to be based only on his unofficial conduct, the ‘intended effect’ of immunity would be defeated.

One of the court’s six conservatives, Justice Amy Coney Barrett, split from her colleagues on that issue. In a concurring opinion, she said she agreed with the three liberal judges in dissent that prosecutors should be allowed to use such evidence under certain circumstances. As an example, she pointed to a hypothetical bribery case, saying it would “hamstring the prosecution” not to be able to tell the jury about an official act that an ex-president had taken a bribe to perform.

Justice Barrett concurring in part

Yet excluding from trial any mention of the official act connected to the bribe would hamstring the prosecution. To make sense of charges alleging a quid pro quo , the jury must be allowed to hear about both the quid and the quo , even if the quo , standing alone, could not be a basis for the President's criminal liability.

In a footnote, Chief Justice Roberts addressed Justice Barrett, saying “of course” prosecutors could tell the jury that a president had taken an official act in a bribery case; they just could not present documents and testimony inviting the jury to scrutinize a president’s motivation and the legitimacy of that official action.

The five-justice majority’s declaration that official actions that are subject to presidential immunity cannot be used as evidence could matter for evidence about the inflammatory speech Mr. Trump delivered to his followers ahead of the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol or any of his postings on Twitter leading up to the 2021 riot. It is established that speech that is protected by the First Amendment can be used as evidence about a defendant’s related crimes. But while leaving the first crack to Judge Chutkan, Chief Justice Roberts’s opinion raised the possibility that Mr. Trump’s words may count as official actions; and so would apparently be inadmissible at trial.

He is even expected to comment on those matters of public concern that may not directly implicate the activities of the Federal Government — for instance, to comfort the Nation in the wake of an emergency or tragedy. For these reasons, most of a President’s public communications are likely to fall comfortably within the outer perimeter of his official responsibilities. There may, however, be contexts in which the President, notwithstanding the prominence of his position, speaks in an unofficial capacity — perhaps as a candidate for office or party leader. To the extent that may be the case, objective analysis of “content, form, and context” will necessarily inform the inquiry. Snyder v. Phelps, 562 U. S. 443, 453 . But “there is not always a clear line between [the President’s] personal and official affairs.” Mazars, 591 U. S., at 868. The analysis therefore must be fact specific and may prove to be challenging.

Simon J. Levien

Simon J. Levien

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said on X that the court has been “consumed by a corruption crisis.” She pledged to file articles of impeachment against the justices, though she did not specify which. The last time a Supreme Court justice was successfully impeached was in 1804, and it would require that she and her fellow Democrats win significant support from Republicans, who control the House, to even bring any impeachment to a vote.

Richard Fausset

Richard Fausset

The Supreme Court’s immunity ruling will also reverberate in Fulton County, Ga., where Trump and 14 of his allies have been criminally charged in a sprawling racketeering indictment. In January, Trump’s Georgia lawyers filed a motion arguing that the case should be dismissed on immunity grounds. But prosecutors have been waiting on the Supreme Court, and have said they will file a response to Trump within two weeks of the issuance of the immunity ruling.

The Georgia case has also been stalled by a pretrial appeal over the issue of whether the Fulton County district attorney, Fani T. Willis, should step down from the case because of her romantic involvement with a lawyer she hired to manage the prosecution. The state appellate court is not expected to rule on the matter until after the November presidential election.

personal statement examples pdf

Read the Supreme Court’s Ruling on Immunity

The court rules that former presidents have absolute immunity for core constitutional powers, and are also entitled to at least a presumption of immunity for official acts.


Maggie Astor

Maggie Astor

Republicans responded to the ruling with triumph, and Democrats with dismay.

In reactions mirroring the ideological split of the Supreme Court justices in their ruling granting presidents immunity for official actions, Republicans expressed triumph on Monday and Democrats dismay.

Senator J.D. Vance of Ohio was the first of former President Donald J. Trump’s top running-mate contenders to weigh in, calling the decision “a massive win, not just for Trump but the rule of law.”

Other Republicans also praised the ruling as a rejection of what they characterized as Democrats’ using the government against Mr. Trump for political purposes.

Senator Steve Daines of Montana, who leads Republicans’ Senate campaign arm, said the Supreme Court had ended a “sad chapter of Joe Biden’s weaponization of the Justice Department.” Stephen Miller, a top Trump adviser, called the decision “another setback for the Democrat Party’s illegal and unconstitutional crusade to outlaw dissent, jail the opposition leader, impose authoritarian rule, replace democracy with the deep state and liberty with leftwing oligarchy.”

The Justice Department operates independently of the president, and there is no evidence that President Biden has had any involvement in its prosecution decisions.

Mr. Trump wants to eliminate the department’s independence and has called for prosecuting his political opponents, purging federal agencies of civil servants who might oppose his policies and greatly expanding executive power.

Democrats expressed fear for the future of American democracy, as Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan and Ketanji Brown Jackson did in their dissenting opinion . “Simply frightening. May God have mercy on this nation,” Jaime Harrison, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, wrote alongside Justice Sotomayor’s quote: “With fear for our democracy, I dissent.”

Mr. Biden’s deputy campaign manager, Quentin Fulks, said on a call with reporters that the Supreme Court had “handed Donald Trump the keys to a dictatorship.” Shortly before that, the Biden campaign put out a statement saying that the ruling did not change the facts of Mr. Trump’s actions leading up to and on Jan. 6, 2021: “Donald Trump snapped after he lost the 2020 election and encouraged a mob to overthrow the results of a free and fair election,” it said.

“Our democracy has been gravely wounded,” Eric H. Holder Jr., who served as attorney general under President Barack Obama, wrote in a post on social media , saying the Supreme Court had given presidents free rein to commit crimes. “There is no basis in the Constitution for this Court constructed monstrosity.”

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York said the Supreme Court had been “consumed by a corruption crisis” and pledged to file articles of impeachment, though she did not specify against which justices. Justices Samuel A. Alito Jr. and Clarence Thomas have been under scrutiny because a flag associated with the “Stop the Steal” movement flew outside Justice Alito’s house after the 2020 election, and Justice Thomas’s wife was involved with efforts to overturn the election.

Supreme Court justices can be impeached, but only one has been — more than 200 years ago — and Republicans currently control the House.

Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, called Monday “a sad day for America” and added , “Treason or incitement of an insurrection should not be considered a core constitutional power afforded to a president.”

The district court judge overseeing Mr. Trump’s trial in Washington will have to determine whether his specific actions are protected under the ruling. That will take time and very likely delay a trial past the election — at which point, if Mr. Trump wins, he could order the Justice Department to end the case.

“I don’t see how this case could go forward before the election,” Alina Habba, a lawyer for Mr. Trump, said on Fox News.

Outside groups focused on democracy also condemned the ruling.

“The Court has issued an instruction manual for lawbreaking presidents,” said Michael Waldman, the president of the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University. “Make sure you conspire only with other government employees. You’ll never be held to account.”

Michael Gold , Simon J. Levien and Mattathias Schwartz contributed reporting.

Michael Gold

Michael Gold

The Trump campaign has already sent two fund-raising emails off the Supreme Court decision, a now standard response to developments in Trump’s legal entanglements. “Official acts cannot be illegally prosecuted - BIG WIN FOR DEMOCRACY & OUR CONSTITUTION!,” one said.

Maggie Haberman

Maggie Haberman

Trump has moved on to what was an inevitable statement from him: saying on Truth Social that the Supreme Court decision “should end” all the other court cases against him, which he has falsely tied to President Biden and paints with the same brush. He includes his criminal conviction in New York and the separate successful prosecution of his company for a decadelong fraud by the state's attorney general, Letitia James.

Linda Qiu

Anticipation and family members of some justices filled the court for the momentous decision.

The tension and sense of anticipation was palpable inside the Supreme Court on Monday morning, as the justices delivered the remaining opinions and some of the most eagerly awaited decisions of the term.

“Sorry this is not the case you’re waiting to hear so I’ll try to be concise,” Justice Amy Coney Barrett quipped, before delivering the court’s first majority opinion of the day, in a case about suing over regulations .

It was indeed not the case that most observers inside and outside the court were counting down to: on the scope and limits of presidential immunity .

In the audience was Michael Dreeben, a former deputy solicitor general who argued for the government in that case. Mr. Dreeben was greeted by several people before proceedings began, and as the justices spoke on the immunity case, he took notes on a small pad and occasionally twiddled his pen. But he showed little emotion as Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. delivered the majority opinion, effectively ruling against him in deciding that presidents have some immunity from criminal prosecution.

The parents of Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh and the wife of Chief Justice Roberts, Jane Roberts, were also in attendance. Justice Neil M. Gorsuch was absent.

Chief Justice Roberts preemptively addressed possible criticism of the ruling as he emphasized that the decision “does not protect any particular president, but the presidency,” and added that presidential immunity did have limits.

“Saying it so doesn’t make it so,” Justice Sonia Sotomayor sharply countered at the beginning of her dissent from the bench , a rare moment that underscored her profound disagreement with the majority.

Justice Sotomayor, who dissented on behalf of the other liberal members of the court, cut a note of exasperation through her lengthy speech, seemingly to sporadically add “imagine that,” “think about that,” and “interesting, history matters right?” as she read from her written words. When discussing and rebutting the majority, she looked several times to her colleagues on her immediate left, Justice Clarence Thomas and Chief Justice Roberts. They did not return her gaze.

“We fear for democracy,” she said in conclusion.

The court then turned to lighter matters, as the chief justice concluded the term and recognized retiring workers for their service.

“On behalf of my employees — colleagues” — he said, misspeaking to laughter. “On behalf of my colleagues, I thank the employees.”

At the sound of the buzzer and prompted by a staff member, the audience then rose as the justices filed out, concluding the last day of official business until the new term in the fall.

An earlier version of this article misstated the relatives of Supreme Court justices who attended Monday’s session. Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson’s family was not there.

How we handle corrections

In a call with reporters, the Biden campaign is using the decision to sound an alarm. “They just handed Donald Trump the keys to a dictatorship,” Quentin Fulks, the deputy campaign manager, said. “We have to do everything in our power to stop him.”

Senator John Barasso, who ranks third in the Senate Republican leadership, put out a statement heralding the Supreme Court decision as ending “weaponization” of the justice system.

Outside the court, there was little sense that the justices had issued a momentous decision on presidential power. TV cameras and reporters outnumbered the few protesters. A small contingent was calling to abolish the death penalty. One woman with anti-Trump flags was blasting jaunty music with the lyrics “shame on you.” And one Trump supporter wore a sign blaming Democrats for ruining his life.

A vehement dissent laments a vast expansion of power that makes the president ‘a king above the law.’

The Supreme Court’s three Democratic appointees railed in dissent against the conservative majority’s ruling that former President Donald J. Trump has some immunity for his official actions, declaring that their colleagues had made the president into “a king above the law.”

Writing that the majority was “deeply wrong,” Justice Sonia Sotomayor added that beyond its consequences for the bid to prosecute Mr. Trump for his attempt to subvert the outcome of the 2020 election, it would have “stark” long-term consequences for the future of American democracy.

“The court effectively creates a law-free zone around the president, upsetting the status quo that has existed since the founding,” she wrote, in an opinion joined by the other two Democratic appointees, Justices Elena Kagan and Ketanji Brown Jackson.

Insulating the president of the United States — the most powerful person in the country and possibly the world, she noted — from criminal prosecution when he uses his official powers will allow him to freely use his official power to violate the law, exploit the trappings of his office for personal gain, or other “evil ends.”

“Orders the Navy’s Seal Team 6 to assassinate a political rival? Immune. Organizes a military coup to hold onto power? Immune. Takes a bribe in exchange for a pardon? Immune. Immune, immune, immune,” she wrote, adding: “Even if these nightmare scenarios never play out, and I pray they never do, the damage has been done. The relationship between the president and the people he serves has shifted irrevocably.”

Justice Sotomayor also wrote that how the majority had applied the new standard of immunity to official acts to Mr. Trump’s case specifically was “perhaps even more troubling.” Its analysis, she added, operated as a “one-way ratchet” — helping the defense but offering no help to the prosecution.

For example, she wrote, the majority declared that all of Mr. Trump’s actions involving Vice President Mike Pence and the Justice Department counted as official conduct but did not designate any actions in the indictment as falling into the non-“core” category of official conduct that it said could be prosecuted. Nor did it designate as clearly private actions any of several things that Mr. Trump’s team had conceded looked unofficial, like Mr. Trump’s interactions with a personal lawyer.

Justice Sotomayor railed in particular that the majority had declined to rule out immunity for Mr. Trump’s role in organizing fake slates of electors, pressuring states to subvert the legitimate election results, and exploiting the violence of the Jan. 6 riot to influence the certification proceedings.

“It is not conceivable that a prosecution for these alleged efforts to overturn a presidential election, whether labeled official or unofficial under the majority’s test,” would pose any danger of intrusion on the authority and functions of the executive branch, she wrote, adding that “the majority could have said as much,” but did not.

Sometimes justices conclude their dissents with a softening and polite qualifier, writing “Respectfully, I dissent.” Justice Sotomayor instead concluded this one harshly: “With fear for our democracy, I dissent.”

An earlier version of this article incorrectly omitted words from Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s dissent. She wrote, “Organizes a military coup to hold onto power? Immune. Takes a bribe in exchange for a pardon? Immune. Immune, immune, immune,” not “Organizes a military exchange for a pardon? Immune. Immune, immune, immune.”

While joining her five fellow Republican appointees in declaring that former presidents have immunity from criminal prosecution for their official actions, Justice Amy Coney Barrett filed a concurring opinion that nevertheless reflected some flavor of dissent.

She disagreed with the majority’s holding that the Constitution does not permit prosecutors to tell a jury about an ex-president’s official actions that are relevant to some private action being charged. As an example, she pointed to a hypothetical bribery case, saying it would “hamstring the prosecution” not to be able to tell the jury what official act an ex-president took a bribe to perform.

In a footnote of the majority opinion, Chief Justice Roberts addressed Justice Barrett’s example of a bribery case. He disagreed that the court’s ruling meant prosecutors could not mention any official act, saying “of course” prosecutors could point to the public record to show that a president performed the official act in question. What prosecutors may not do, Chief Justice Roberts wrote, is admit testimony or private records that would invite a jury to scrutinize the president’s motivations for the act and second-guess its propriety.

In an interview with Fox News’s digital team, Trump heralded the decision as an absolute victory, although it falls somewhat short of that. He blamed Democrats for the prosecutions and said, “And now the courts have spoken.” He said he can now campaign freely. It’s worth bearing in mind that Trump is set to be sentenced in Manhattan next week on his criminal conviction for falsifying business records to cover up a hush-money payment to a porn star in 2016.

Adam Liptak

Adam Liptak

Reporting on the Supreme Court since 2008

Thomas and Alito took part in the case, despite calls for their recusal.

Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr., rejecting calls for their disqualification, participated in the decision on the scope of former President Donald J. Trump’s immunity from prosecution.

Experts in legal ethics have said that the activities of the justices’ wives raised serious questions about their impartiality.

Virginia Thomas, known as Ginni, helped shape the effort to overturn the 2020 election. “Biden and the Left is attempting the greatest Heist of our History,” Ms. Thomas wrote in a text message to Mark Meadows, President Donald J. Trump’s chief of staff, during the fraught weeks between the 2020 presidential election and the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.

Justice Thomas has not given a public explanation for remaining on the case, and he has taken part in other cases arising from the election and the 2021 attack. But he recused himself in October from a case concerning John Eastman, a conservative lawyer who had advised Mr. Trump. Justice Thomas, for whom Mr. Eastman had served as a law clerk, gave no reasons for his decision to disqualify himself from that case.

Justice Alito has been more forthcoming. He explained why he would not recuse from the case in a letter to Democratic lawmakers in May after The New York Times reported that flags that have been used to support the “Stop the Steal” movement had been displayed at his homes in Virginia and New Jersey .

The justice said his wife, Martha-Ann, was responsible. “My wife is fond of flying flags,” he wrote. “I am not. She was solely responsible for having flagpoles put up at our residence and our vacation home and has flown a wide variety of flags over the years.”

The court recently adopted a code of conduct for the justices . It allows individual justices to make their own decisions about recusal.

One provision of the code says that “a justice is presumed impartial and has an obligation to sit unless disqualified.”

A second provision says that “a justice should disqualify himself or herself in a proceeding in which the justice’s impartiality might reasonably be questioned, that is, where an unbiased and reasonable person who is aware of all relevant circumstances would doubt that the justice could fairly discharge his or her duties.”

The flags displayed at his properties, Justice Alito wrote, did not require him to recuse from the case. “A reasonable person who is not motivated by political or ideological considerations or a desire to affect the outcome of Supreme Court cases,” he wrote, “would conclude this event does not meet the applicable standard for recusal.”

Indeed, he wrote, he had an obligation to sit and hear the case.

An earlier version of this article misspelled the name used by Virginia Thomas, the wife of Justice Clarence Thomas. She is known as Ginni, not Ginny.

There’s so far been no reaction on social media to the ruling from the three people in closest contention to be Donald Trump’s vice presidential running mate: J.D. Vance, Marco Rubio and Doug Burgum.

Mattathias Schwartz

Mattathias Schwartz

The ruling is “absurd and dangerous,” a “monstrosity,” Eric Holder, who served as attorney general under President Barack Obama, wrote in a post on X. He argued that the Supreme Court is giving presidents free rein to commit crimes so long as they act within their “constitutional authority.”

Alan Feuer

Here’s one of the sleeper holdings in the court’s ruling: The decision finds not only that a president can’t be charged for any official acts, but also that evidence involving official acts can’t be introduced to bolster accusations made about unofficial acts. If I’m reading this right, Chief Justice Roberts has reversed himself from his position during oral arguments.

The Government does not dispute that if Trump is entitled to immunity for certain official acts, he may not “be held criminally liable” based on those acts. But it nevertheless contends that a jury could “consider” evidence concerning the President’s official acts “for limited and specified purposes,” and that such evidence would “be admissible to prove, for example, [Trump’s] knowledge or notice of the falsity of his election-fraud claims.”

Then, he posed a hypothetical situation about a president giving away an ambassadorship for a bribe. Roberts said that prosecutors should be allowed to introduce not only evidence about the bribe (a private act) but also the ambassadorial appointment (an official act) — otherwise, the jury would hear about only one side of the quid pro quo.

While the ruling cuts against what the Biden team would have wanted to see, they appear to be prepared to use the issue to highlight Trump’s conduct on and before Jan. 6, 2021, and the deluge of lies about the election he had lost.

One of the important findings by the court is this: The justices have given former presidents an expansive amount of protection against prosecution by ruling that there is presumption of immunity for acts that fall within “the outer perimeter” of a president’s official duties. That’s the same broad standard that protects presidents and former presidents against civil lawsuits. Whether the “outer perimeter” test holds up in Trump’s case remains to be seen.

While Trump’s lawyers requested immunity for anything he did while in office, during oral argument they suggested they would be pleased if the court set this broad “outer perimeter” standard.

Circling back to the court’s view of the specific allegations in Jack Smith’s indictment: Chief Justice Roberts's ruling expresses skepticism that Trump could be prosecuted for the speech he gave on Jan. 6 or any of his tweets that day. Roberts notes that “most of a president’s public communications are likely to fall comfortably within the outer perimeter of his official responsibilities.” But he leaves open the possibility that Trump could face charges for his words if they were delivered as “a candidate for office.”

The President possesses “extraordinary power to speak to his fellow citizens and on their behalf.” Trump v. Hawaii, 585 U. S. 667, 701. So most of a President’s public communications are likely to fall comfortably within the outer perimeter of his official responsibilities.

There may, however, be contexts in which the President speaks in an unofficial capacity—perhaps as a candidate for office or party leader.

Several of the justices’ family members also attended the last day of the court's term, including Justice Kavanaugh’s parents and Jane Roberts, the chief justice’s wife. Michael Dreeban, a lawyer who argued on behalf of the special counsel in the immunity case, was also present. He took notes as Chief Justice Roberts delivered the opinion but showed little emotion.

Inside the courtroom, the anticipation and tension was palpable. Before Justice Amy Coney Barrett delivered the first opinion of the day — in a case about suing over regulations — she quipped, “Sorry this is not the case you’re waiting to hear so I’ll try to be concise.”

Trump posted a victorious message on his social media site, Truth Social: “BIG WIN FOR OUR CONSTITUTION AND DEMOCRACY. PROUD TO BE AN AMERICAN!"

As Justice Sotomayor's appalled dissent makes clear, this ruling is a dramatic expansion of presidential power — not just for Trump but for all presidents. She cites the notorious World War II ruling that upheld the internment of Japanese Americans on the West Coast.

The Supreme Court majority ruling sets the stage for a new appeals fight if prosecutors continue to want to tell the jury about former President Trump pressuring former Vice President Pence to disrupt the counting of Biden’s Electoral College votes — a linchpin to understanding the fake electors scheme , according to the indictment.

Chief Justice Roberts says Trump’s pressuring of Pence was certainly official conduct, but leaves open the question of whether it counts as the core kind for which Trump has absolute immunity, or a lessor kind where he has only a presumption of immunity that can be overcome.

In a concurring opinion, Justice Clarence Thomas questioned the legitimacy of the appointment of the special counsel, Jack Smith: “If this unprecedented prosecution is to proceed, it must be conducted by someone duly authorized to do so by the American people.” That is an issue that the judge in the Trump classified documents case, Aileen Cannon, just held a hearing about . Notably, none of the other eight justices joined his concurring opinion.


If this unprecedented prosecution is to proceed, it must be conducted by someone duly authorized to do so by the American people.

Chief Justice Roberts’s analysis suggests that Trump talking to Pence about the Electoral College vote might not be entitled to immunity because Congress has legislated extensively to define the vice president’s role, and the president plays no direct part in that process. Chief Justice Roberts suggests that another context — a president talking to a vice president about casting a tie-breaking 51st vote in the Senate on legislation that is part of the White House’s agenda — is more likely to be immune.

But despite telegraphing that likely result, the Supreme Court does not just say that. It instead sends the issue back to Judge Chutkan.

Reporting from Washington

Presidents are partly shielded from prosecution, the Supreme Court rules.

The Supreme Court ruled on Monday that former President Donald J. Trump is entitled to substantial immunity from prosecution on charges of trying to overturn the last election, a blockbuster decision in the heat of the 2024 campaign that vastly expanded presidential power.

The vote was 6 to 3, dividing along partisan lines. Its immediate practical effect will be to further complicate the case against Mr. Trump, with the chances that it will go before a jury ahead of the election now vanishingly remote and the charges against him, at a minimum, narrowed.

The decision amounted to a powerful statement by the court’s conservative majority that presidents should be insulated from the potential that actions they take in carrying out their official duties could later be used by political enemies to charge them with crimes.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., writing for the majority, said Mr. Trump had at least presumptive immunity for his official acts. He added that the trial judge must undertake an intensive factual review to separate official and unofficial conduct and to assess whether prosecutors can overcome the presumption protecting Mr. Trump for his official conduct.

If Mr. Trump prevails at the polls, the issue could become moot since he could order the Justice Department to drop the charges.

The liberal wing, in some of the harshest dissents ever filed by justices of the Supreme Court, said the majority had created a kind of king not answerable to the law.

Broad immunity for official conduct is needed, the chief justice wrote, to protect “an energetic, independent executive.”

“The president therefore may not be prosecuted for exercising his core constitutional powers, and he is entitled, at a minimum, to a presumptive immunity from prosecution for all his official acts,” Chief Justice Roberts wrote. “That immunity applies equally to all occupants of the Oval Office, regardless of politics, policy or party.”

The alternative, the chief justice wrote, is to invite tit-for-tat political reprisals.

“Virtually every president is criticized for insufficiently enforcing some aspect of federal law (such as drug, gun, immigration or environmental laws),” he wrote. “An enterprising prosecutor in a new administration may assert that a previous president violated that broad statute. Without immunity, such types of prosecutions of ex-presidents could quickly become routine.”

In dissent, Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote that the decision was gravely misguided. In a rare move and sign of deep disagreement, she summarized her dissent from the bench, making off-the-cuff remarks that underscored her frustration.

“Today’s decision to grant former presidents criminal immunity reshapes the institution of the presidency,” she wrote. “It makes a mockery of the principle, foundational to our Constitution and system of government, that no man is above the law.”

In her own dissent, Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson wrote that “the court has now declared for the first time in history that the most powerful official in the United States can (under circumstances yet to be fully determined) become a law unto himself.”

Mr. Trump embraced the outcome on social media, celebrating the ruling. “Big win for our constitution and democracy,” he wrote in all-capital letters. “Proud to be an American!”

President Biden warned that the decision set a dangerous precedent. “The power of the office will no longer be constrained by the law, even including the Supreme Court of the United States,” he said, urging voters to prevent his Republican rival from winning a second term. “The only limits will be self-imposed by the president alone.”

The chief justice’s opinion recounted the events surrounding the assault on the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, in an understated, almost antiseptic summary, while the dissents called them a singular threat to democracy. And where the chief justice stressed the importance of protecting all presidents, the dissents focused on Mr. Trump.

Chief Justice Roberts wrote that it was not the Supreme Court’s job to sift through the evidence and to separate protected conduct from the rest. “That analysis,” he wrote, “ultimately is best left to the lower courts to perform in the first instance.”

But he issued guideposts for Judge Tanya S. Chutkan, of the Federal District Court in Washington, who is overseeing the case.

Mr. Trump, the chief justice wrote, is “absolutely immune from prosecution for the alleged conduct involving his discussions with Justice Department officials.”

He added that Judge Chutkan should determine whether prosecutors can overcome Mr. Trump’s presumed immunity for his communications with Vice President Mike Pence.

“We therefore remand to the district court to assess in the first instance, with appropriate input from the parties, whether a prosecution involving Trump’s alleged attempts to influence the vice president’s oversight of the certification proceeding in his capacity as president of the Senate would pose any dangers of intrusion on the authority and functions of the executive branch,” he wrote.

Other parts of the indictment against Mr. Trump, the chief justice said, require “a close analysis of the indictment’s extensive and interrelated allegations.”

That includes, he wrote, Mr. Trump’s statements on Jan. 6, among them ones he made at the rally on the Ellipse.

“Whether the tweets, that speech and Trump’s other communications on Jan. 6 involve official conduct may depend on the content and context of each,” Chief Justice Roberts wrote in a characteristically noncommittal passage.

He added, in a kind of refrain that ran through his opinion: “This necessarily fact-bound analysis is best performed initially by the district court.”

In all, the majority opinion was a broad defense of executive power and a detailed recipe for delay.

It was joined by the other Republican appointees: Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel A. Alito Jr., Neil M. Gorsuch, Brett M. Kavanaugh and, in part, Amy Coney Barrett.

In dissent, Justice Sotomayor wrote that “the long-term consequences of today’s decision are stark.”

“The court effectively creates a law-free zone around the president, upsetting the status quo that has existed since the founding,” she wrote, adding: “The president of the United States is the most powerful person in the country, and possibly the world. When he uses his official powers in any way, under the majority’s reasoning, he now will be insulated from criminal prosecution.”

She gave examples: “Orders the Navy’s SEAL team 6 to assassinate a political rival? Immune. Organizes a military coup to hold on to power? Immune. Takes a bribe in exchange for a pardon? Immune. Immune, immune, immune.”

Chief Justice Roberts rejected the prosecutors’ arguments that evidence about official acts could be presented to the jury for context and information about Mr. Trump’s motives.

Mr. Trump contended that he was entitled to absolute immunity from the charges, relying on a broad understanding of the separation of powers and a 1982 Supreme Court precedent that recognized such immunity in civil cases for actions taken by presidents within the “outer perimeter” of their official responsibilities.

Lower courts rejected that claim.

“Whatever immunities a sitting president may enjoy,” Judge Chutkan wrote , “the United States has only one chief executive at a time, and that position does not confer a lifelong ‘get out of jail free’ pass.”

A unanimous three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit agreed. “For the purpose of this criminal case, former President Trump has become citizen Trump, with all of the defenses of any other criminal defendant,” the panel wrote in an unsigned decision . “But any executive immunity that may have protected him while he served as president no longer protects him against this prosecution.”

In agreeing to hear the case, the Supreme Court said it would decide this question: “whether and if so to what extent does a former president enjoy presidential immunity from criminal prosecution for conduct alleged to involve official acts during his tenure in office.”

The court heard two other cases this term concerning the attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6.

In March, the court unanimously rejected an attempt to bar Mr. Trump from the ballot under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, which makes people who engage in insurrection ineligible to hold office. The court, without discussing whether Mr. Trump was covered by the provision, ruled that states may not use it to exclude candidates for the presidency from the ballot.

On Friday, the court ruled that federal prosecutors had improperly used an obstruction law to prosecute some members of the pro-Trump mob that stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6. Two of the four charges against Mr. Trump are based on that law. In a footnote on Monday, Chief Justice Roberts wrote that “if necessary, the district court should determine in the first instance” whether those charges may proceed in light of the decision last week.

The court decided the case restoring Mr. Trump to the ballot at a brisk pace, hearing arguments a month after agreeing to and issuing its decision a month after that.

The immunity case has moved at a considerably slower tempo. In December, in asking the justices to leapfrog the appeals court and hear the case immediately, Jack Smith, the special counsel overseeing the prosecution, wrote that “it is of imperative public importance that respond­ent’s claims of immunity be resolved by this court.” He added that “only this court can definitively resolve them.”

The justices denied Mr. Smith’s petition 11 days after he filed it, in a brief order without noted dissents.

After the appeals court ruled against Mr. Trump, he asked the Supreme Court to intervene. Sixteen days later, on Feb. 28, the court agreed to hear his appeal, scheduling arguments for almost two months later, on the last day of the term. Another two months have passed since then.

At the argument, several of the conservative justices did not seem inclined to examine the details of the charges against Mr. Trump. Instead, they said, the court should issue a ruling that applies to presidential power generally.

“We’re writing a rule for the ages,” Justice Gorsuch said.

The court’s announcement of that rule on Monday elicited some of the sharpest dissents ever by justices of the Supreme Court.

Justice Jackson, for instance, said the practical consequences of the majority opinion “are a five-alarm fire that threatens to consume democratic self-governance and the normal operations of our government.”

Before reading from her prepared remarks, Justice Sotomayor appeared to address the chief justice directly: “Saying it so doesn’t make it so.”

She quoted mockingly from the majority’s opinion on how criminal prosecutions would have an even more chilling effect on the ability of a president to take “bold and unhesitating action.”

“Think about that — that makes no sense,” she said.

In her written dissent, Justice Sotomayor, joined by Justices Jackson and Elena Kagan, said: “The relationship between the president and the people he serves has shifted irrevocably. In every use of official power, the president is now a king above the law.”

Justice Sotomayor ended her opinion in unusual fashion. “With fear for our democracy,” she wrote, “I dissent.”

Chief Justice Roberts said the dissents were overwrought.

“They strike a tone of chilling doom that is wholly disproportionate,” he wrote, “to what the court actually does today — conclude that immunity extends to official discussions between the president and his attorney general, and then remand to the lower courts to determine ‘in the first instance’ whether and to what extent Trump’s remaining alleged conduct is entitled to immunity.”

Linda Qiu contributed reporting.

News Analysis

In taking up Trump’s immunity claim, the Supreme Court bolstered his delay strategy.

The Supreme Court tossed former President Donald J. Trump a legal lifeline months ago by making its original choice to hear his immunity claims, a move that substantially aided Mr. Trump’s efforts to delay his federal trial on charges of plotting to overturn the 2020 election.

By deciding to take up Mr. Trump’s argument that presidents enjoy almost total immunity from prosecution for official actions taken while in office — a legal theory rejected by two lower courts — the justices bought the former president several months before a trial on the election interference charges can start.

There is now only a slender possibility that Mr. Trump could still face a jury in the case, in Federal District Court in Washington, before Election Day.

Given the Supreme Court’s leisurely pace in issuing its decision and the amount of legal business left to conduct in the trial court, the odds are steep that voters will not get a chance to hear the evidence that Mr. Trump sought to subvert the last election before they decide whether to back him in the current one.

If Mr. Trump is successful in delaying the trial until after Election Day and he wins, he could use the powers of his office to seek to dismiss the election interference indictment altogether. Moreover, Justice Department policy precludes prosecuting a sitting president, meaning that, once sworn in, he could most likely have any federal trial he is facing postponed until after he left office.



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    Personal Statement When I was younger, my passion was riding horses. At first, school was a means to an end because if I did not maintain my grades I would not be able to go to the barn to ride. However, as I continued on in my education, school work was no longer just a means to an end; it became a passion of mine.

  6. PDF Writing an Effective Statement of Purpose/Personal Statement

    Personal Statement. (more biographical) Focus on the intersection of your personal, academic, and professional lives. Detail various life experiences that have developed your character, work-ethic, and perspective. Explain how your background particularly suits your for this program and/or will allow you to contribute a unique perspective to ...

  7. PDF Personal Statement Examples

    We would like to show you a description here but the site won't allow us.

  8. PDF

    personal statement could look like. This booklet also includes examples of several dif. ent types of personal statements. The personal statement may be a narrative with an in. roduction, a body and a conclusion. This type of statement tells a story, hence narrative, which may be easy to write since most stories c.

  9. PDF Personal Statement Examples

    Personal Statement Example #1 This personal statement was written by an Auburn student applying for the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship. Names have been removed for privacy. Young, fragile Sweya stared with an intensity that struck my core. I held her on my lap as I taught her how to administer eye drops to protect her good eye.


    EXAMPLES OF PERSONAL STATEMENTSE. ES OF PERSONAL STATEMENTS LawIt was not until my senior year at Haverford that I. ecided to apply to law school. Once I made my decision I quickly became excited by it and. the possibilities it opened up.In pursuing a career in law I can follow an interest I have had sinc.

  11. How to Write Your Personal Statement

    Strategy 1: Open with a concrete scene. An effective way to catch the reader's attention is to set up a scene that illustrates something about your character and interests. If you're stuck, try thinking about: A personal experience that changed your perspective. A story from your family's history.

  12. PDF Personal statement

    statement. Whether it's called a personal statement, a statement of purpose or a letter of intent, the goal is the same—you have about 500 words to petition for admission into a program that probably receives 10 times more applicants than it can accept. A well-written, thoughtful personal statement will help elevate you above the crowd.


    Below are some sample prompts for personal statements from common fields of graduate study. These prompts were adapted from actual prompts by programs in these fields. Notice ... Sample-Scholarship-Personal-Essays-and-Research-Proposals.pdf. University of Central Missouri Career Services. (n.d.) The personal statement.

  14. PDF Personal Statement Template

    A personal statement allows you to demonstrate your suitability for a role by providing evidence against the essential criteria as outlined in the job description. If used alongside a CV, it should expand on the CV rather than repeat it and add your personal qualities. You should provide details of your relevant skills and experience and ...

  15. PDF Personal Statement Example

    Personal Statement. I was naturally drawn to the medical field because of my early exposure to health implications faced by family members and myself. My father's Type 2 Diabetes and insulin pump was often a conversation starter, as my friends inquired about his new state of the art beeper. During my sophomore year of high school, I was ...


    A personal statement is an opportunity for you to support or enhance other parts of your application. It ... Use examples to go with your statements. Write with a distinct voice. Be clear and concise. Step 4: Take a break! After finishing your draft, set it aside for a few days. Come back to it with fresh eyes and perspective.

  17. PDF A Guide to Personal Statements

    Examples "My first exposure to the concept of genetic disease was whilst doing work experience at a deaf school. I found it incredible that the assortment of four bases could have such a tangible effect on health and development. This sparked my curiosity in the theory of genetic mutation, and was my first introduction to iochemistry ...

  18. PDF Example of a Personal Statement for a Masters

    Example of a Personal Statement for a Masters Describe your reasons for wanting to study this particular course and what you believe you will gain from it.

  19. PDF Writing Personal Statements for Graduate School

    ld to describe your scholarly interests.• Graduate school is extremely challenging—inte. ectually, emotionally, and financially. Convey that you have the energy and perseverance to succeed through examples of challenges you . w you've overcome them.What to avoid:• Cliché: Statements like, "I've always wanted to help people," "I ...

  20. PDF Personal Statement Samples

    Personal Statement (Please structure your essay in paragraphs and limit your response to 50 words, single-spaced. Essays that exceed the word limit are penalized in the scoring.) Tell us about yourself and your goals including the following: What about you background and/or interests make you competitive for this particular

  21. Personal Statement

    Here is a format for writing an effective personal statement: Introduction. Begin with a strong opening sentence that grabs the reader's attention. Introduce yourself and state the purpose of your personal statement. Mention what you are applying for (e.g., a specific program, scholarship, job). Academic Background.

  22. PDF Personal Statement Worksheet

    person reading your statement. > Do be enthusiastic - if you show your interest in the course, it may help you get a place. > Do expect to produce several drafts of your personal statement before being totally happy with it. > Do ask people you trust for their feedback. Don'ts when writing your personal statement

  23. PDF Example Personal Statements 21-22

    Example Personal Statements 21-22 Examples of real statements written by ex-students over the past few years DO NOT COPY OR PLAIGIARISE These are for ideas only. Please also check out the Personal Statement Pre-record resources Subject Guides (with subject specific personal statement advice)

  24. Statement of Purpose, Personal Statement, and Writing Sample

    Please also note that the Personal Statement should complement rather than duplicate the content provided in the Statement of Purpose. Visit Degree Programs and navigate to your degree program of interest to determine if a Personal Statement is required. The degree program pages will be updated by early September indicating if the Personal ...

  25. Read the full text of Supreme Court's decision on Trump's immunity

    Former president Donald Trump sits in Manhattan Criminal Court for the start of the third week of his trial for falsifying documents related to hush money payments on April 30. He was later ...

  26. Reactions and Highlights of the Supreme Court Decision on Trump's

    Shortly before that, the Biden campaign put out a statement saying that the ruling did not change the facts of Mr. Trump's actions leading up to and on Jan. 6, 2021: "Donald Trump snapped ...