May 12, 2009
12
0
Status
Pre-Psychology
how much is too much to put in a statement of purpose? I've read that they don't want so stories, but I want to know if what I'm thinking of including is okay.

-growing up with a developmentally disabled brother (my research interest is in therapy for families with members with developmental disabilities)
-uncle's suicide (this relates to my research because I want to look at why African-American families are reluctant to pursue mental health)
-clinical & research experience
-learning disability (I'm iffy on this one). I struggled with reading my whole life and recieved special education services in school. I still struggled through undergraduate which is why my GPA is just a little above 3.0

any thoughts?
 

erg923

Regional Clinical Officer, Centene Corporation
10+ Year Member
Apr 6, 2007
9,798
3,490
Louisville, KY
Status
Psychologist
Hate to be ther bearer of bad news, but If you only have a 3.0, you wont be getting in anywhere except masters programs for the time being. Thats almost a guarantee, so I hope thats where you;'re applying.

However, to answer your question, the answer is no to all of the above. Don't self disclose very much, especially familial psych histories. Too much self-disclosure can casts doubts on your judegment, and motivations for graduate study. For a phd. program, a good 2 or 3 sentences that sum up how your interest in psychology started will suffice. It should be appopriate and conservative. This is not the time to pour your heart out or talk about your personal psych history. The other 500 words should focus on your academic record and research accomplishments/expereinces, and your areas of interest, both research and clinical. Overall the personal statement should tell them what you are interested in and how/why you are a good "match" for their program (or for the profesor you are wanting to work with). The statment should convey that you are quaified, mature, and prepared to jump into graduate training. Nothing more.

Some Psy.D and masters programs want something more creative and "flowery" though. However, its should still be appopriate in term of self-disclosure and should still convey the same overall message as the above.
 
Last edited:
OP
J
May 12, 2009
12
0
Status
Pre-Psychology
Thanks for the help. I have a high 3.1 right now (just finished a summer course) and hoping for a 3.4 by the end of fall. I'm applying to Counseling Psych PhD, master's and MSW

Hate to be ther bearer of bad news, but If you only have a 3.0, you wont be getting in anywhere except masters programs for the time being. Thats almost a guarantee, so I hope thats where you;'re applying.

However, to answer your question, the answer is no to all of the above. Don't self disclose very much, especially familial psych histories. Too much self-disclosure can casts doubts on your judegment, and motivations for graduate study. For a phd. program, a good 2 or 3 sentences that sum up how your interest in psychology started will suffice. It should be appopriate and conservative. This is not the time to pour your heart out or talk about your personal psych history. The other 500 words should focus on your academic record and research accomplishments/expereinces, and your areas of interest, both research and clinical. Overall the personal statement should tell them what you are interested in and how/why you are a good "match" for their program (or for the profesor you are wanting to work with). The statment should convey that you are quaified, mature, and prepared to jump into graduate training. Nothing more.

Some Psy.D and masters programs want something more creative and "flowery" though. However, its should still be appopriate in term of self-disclosure and should still convey the same overall message as the above.
 

Wildcat06

10+ Year Member
Mar 2, 2009
384
1
Status
Psychology Student
Well for what it's worth, I self-disclosed a little (one statement in the first paragraph of my personal statement about "a family history of mental illness and substance abuse") and I was offered an interview at 9 of the 12 programs I applied to and at nearly every interview at least one prof commented on how much they enjoyed my personal statement.

I think as long as you are able to provide other information and experience, it can go over well. I would just avoid the details.
 

psychgirl77

10+ Year Member
Sep 2, 2008
313
85
Status
Psychology Student
I also self-disclosed about a family member's history of schizophrenia. I only wrote one sentence about it and how it contributed to my interest in the field. I did fine in getting interviews (7/12) and got into 6 of those programs. I think it just needs to be worded well and not take up much of your statement. I personally wouldn't disclose about your learning disability, though.
 

Wildcat06

10+ Year Member
Mar 2, 2009
384
1
Status
Psychology Student
I only wrote one sentence about it and how it contributed to my interest in the field.
:thumbup:

If you are uncertain I would have someone whose opinion you trust look over it before you submit. Even better if that person is a faculty member.
 
OP
J
May 12, 2009
12
0
Status
Pre-Psychology
thanks a bunch! I only mention it and how it relates to my research interests. I've had some writing consultants look over my statement, but I'll see if a faculty member might be interested as well.