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Sample Personal Statement for the PHD in Educational Studies: Teaching & Teacher Education, Arab Woman, Muslim from Kuwait

I look forward to contributing to the diversity of your distinguished PHD Program in Educational Studies: Teaching & Teacher Education at the University of XXXX: as an Arab woman, a Muslim, and someone extremely devoted to the field of Education. I feel strongly that I have a unique perspective to contribute to discussions as a woman raised in a very conservative home in Kuwait, with traditional Islamic values and norms that so often run into tension or compete with the values of liberal, secular modernity. Thankfully, however, many traditional, conservative-minded parents in my country place a high value and priority on the education of their children, my parents included. Thus, I was fortunate to grow up attending a private, bilingual school where the curriculum was more or less equally divided between Arabic and English - K-12.

I obtained a scholarship through Kuwait’s Ministry of Higher Education to complete my undergraduate degree in English Education. I have long had my sights set on becoming a language teacher in Kuwait’s public-school system, especially since being a teacher is a highly valued profession in Kuwait. By the time I finished my undergraduate studies in Kuwait, however, I came to the realization that I wanted to learn more and become an expert in the field of education; pursuing the terminal degree in my field, the PHD. Now, I hope to become not just a teacher but a professional who helps to transform the entire educational system in Kuwait into a fully multilingual system. I will earn my MA in TESOL from the University of Pennsylvania next year, in preparation for entering your distinguished and competitive PHD Program at the University of Michigan.

Kuwait has only one university in the entire country that offers a Master’s Degree in Education and no university has a doctoral program. Furthermore, finishing my graduate studies in the USA is fundamental to my own philosophy of education, which is fully international. I look forward to learning from my peers from all over the world at the University of XXXX, as I have been doing here at the University of XXXX. The postgraduate scholarship that I received from the Gulf University of Science and Technology is not only covering my expenses at the Master’s level, but also all the way through my PHD Program. This scholarship program is extremely competitive and, frankly, I was shocked when I found out that I had been awarded this most coveted prize. It was my dream come true.

Still conservative, dedicated, I want nothing more than to immerse myself as fully as possible in my doctoral studies and the beautiful campus in XXXX provides an excellent environment to settle down and work hard towards the PhD. I could not be more excited about the prospect of practicum experience on campus at the University of XXXX. I appreciate your embrace of diversity at the U of X and I feel safe as a Muslim woman on campus at XXXX, even in these troubled times.

Degree sought, field, or place of origin!

Every child needs a champion.

Toxic culture of education

PHD Educational Psychology, Russian Woman, Statistics

Born and raised in Russia and now a US citizen, I have spent the last 12 years in New York City. As a fully bicultural as well as multilingual Russian-American woman, my central long-term goal is to teach, in America, Russia, or both - alternating between the two lands that I call home. The XXXX Graduate Center is my first choice for graduate study towards the PHD in Educational Psychology. I also hope to be selected for funding since I am an experienced, talented, and very hard-working research assistant.

Your program at XXXX is ideal for my interests and aspirations given your focus on Quantitative Methods in Educational and Psychological Research. I recently had the wonderful experience of speaking with Dr. Rindskopf who encouraged me to apply. I would be especially honored to have Dr XXXX as my mentor, since categorical data and causal inference are some of his areas of research interest and also the areas in which I seek to most distinguish myself as a graduate student at XXXX. Generally speaking, I am most interested in nonparametric statistics and would like to dedicate my research to the analysis of categorical data and causality inference.

Working towards my MS in Statistics, I have learned how to handle empirical, categorical datasets, perform and analyze contingency table data, and execute dichotomous, polytomous, and ordinal logistic regressions, as well as multivariate log-linear modeling of categorical data through effective use of SAS. I have learned a lot about statistical modelling, methodology, limitations in the applicability of methods and applications to real and simulated data – particularly with respect to categorical data analysis.

I hope to have the honor of serving as a research assistant at XXXX Graduate Center and to go on to gain teaching experience as a fellow at the Center. I have excelled in my studies towards the MS Degree in Statistics and will be graduating this coming December, 2017. As a part of my current graduate program, I have acquired a solid foundation in Nonparametric Statistics, Analysis of Categorical and Ordinal Data, Association Analysis, Linear/Loglinear Modeling, Experiment Design, Statistical Inference, Probability Theory, Advanced Statistical Computing, etc. I have already contributed to a variety of research projects in these areas. I look forward to a long career giving 100% to teaching and research in Quantitative Methods in Educational and Psychological Research, sharing my experience and knowledge with new generations of students as excited as I am about these areas of study.

I have studied very closely how Statistics plays an integral role in modern medicine in everything from analyzing data to determining treatment efficacy to the development of clinical trials. Throughout the course of my studies towards the MS, I’ve gotten to know some extremely talented researchers who were my course instructors. Their work and enthusiasm have inspired me and left me highly motivated to follow in their footsteps.

I first earned a BA in Marketing and worked as a Marketing Analyst for 4 years, learning a lot about Data Analytics in the digital marketing field. I soon realized, however, that being a part of corporate/office structure/life is not for me. I am a religious person and would like to do something valuable for people and society. Nowhere do I see as much potential for me to do this than in the area of Quantitative Methods in Educational and Psychological Research. My finest years so far have been spent in academia, studying and learning, and I want to dive in head first into a thoroughgoing exploration of Quantitative Methods in Educational and Psychological Research, helping researchers to make sense of all the data collected.

I want to use my studies thus far in Statistics as a foundation for excellence in Quantitative Methods in Educational and Psychological Research. Being accepted to your competitive program at XXXX will provide me with an opportunity to learn from thoughtful and caring mentors in my field and the sheer excellence of those around me, absorbing the prevailing wisdom of a field, giving my heart and soul to what I love most.

I thank you for considering my application to The Graduate Center at XXXX.

Great Accomplishments in Education

Horace Mann (1796-1859)

Horace Mann grew up in a time when education was not easily obtained for those that lived in the poor rural areas of the United States. Though Mann’s own early education was limited, he attended Browns University, studied law, and later enjoyed a highly successful political career. 

It was during his time serving as a representative and senator in the legislature of Massachusetts and lastly Secretary of the Massachusetts Board of Education that he used his influence to create change in the American educational system. 

We can pay our respects to Horace Mann for teacher training colleges, free libraries, and free public education to all children thanks to taxation.

Freidrich Froebel (1782-1852)

Freidrich Froebel was a German educator. His philosophy of education influenced people like Horace Mann and Maria Montessori. 

Based on the belief that a young child possessed innate qualities that would unfold gradually within a natural setting, he set up kindergartens where free expression, creativity, social interaction, motor activity and learning by doing were the focus. 

Many of these same tenets can now be found in contemporary early childhood programs across the world.

Charlotte Mason (1842-1923)

The British pioneer Charlotte Mason’s dream was that all children, no matter what social class, should have the opportunity to obtain a liberal arts education. 

Mason was dedicated to improving the way in which children were educated; seeing the importance of educating parents in areas of discipline and the training of children, she began the Parents’ Education Union. 

It was Mason’s belief that children learn best through “living books” rather than dry textbooks and through real experiences: her methods included an emphasis on the enjoyment of the arts and the study of great artists and musicians. 

Many of her educational practices were well suited to home education and her methods have become the foundation of many homeschoolers.

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Sample 1st Paragraph for the MA Degree in Special Education, Military

I hope to excel in your distinguished program at XXXX because of the fact that I am a very highly motivated professional and a very hard worker. You program will build upon and amplify many of the things that I learned as an undergraduate student earning my BS in Family Studies and Early Childhood Development at XXXX. XXXX Program will prepare me for realizing my long term goals in the area of education, helping children with special needs. Currently, I am first and foremost a soldier. My education at Syracuse will help me to better serve my country in many ways, especially after I retire from the military and return to my first love, teaching. My principal professional dream in life is to open an educational facility for special needs children in my home state of North Carolina and to help support their parents throughout the difficult challenges that they face. I owe most of my inspiration to my niece, with who I have been especially close throughout the 13 years that she has been with us.

Jean Piaget (1896-1980)

Anyone who has taken a child psychology class will have studied the developmental and learning theories of Jean Piaget, a Swiss psychologist. Fascinated with how children reasoned, Piaget began researching and writing books on the subject of child psychology, and when he later married and fathered three children, he was supplied with enough data to write three more books! 

Piaget’s research and subsequent theories have become the basis and foundation of our understanding of normal child development.

Margaret Bancroft (1854-1912)

Bancroft’s intelligence, imagination, and dedication to her students set her apart as an extraordinary educator: at the age of 25, she embarked on a courageous and lonely endeavor by opening the first private boarding school in Haddonfield, New Jersey, for children with developmental delays. 

Bancroft believed that disabled children needed special schools, adapted material, and well trained teachers, not institutions. Bancroft’s students responded to her love and patience and individually-tailored instruction, and under her influence, the medical profession began to awaken to their responsibility to help correct defects and disabilities in children. 

Admirers of her skill came to train with Bancroft, and later became leaders in the field of special education.

Booker T. Washington (1856-1915)

Born into slavery and later freed, Booker T. Washington knew the difference an education can make in a person’s life firsthand. 

As a young man, he was appointed to head the Tuskegee Institute now called Tuskegee University, which was originally a teacher’s training college for African-Americans. 

Washington was leader of the college from its infancy to the time of his death, and became a dominant and influential figure among politicians and the general public. He did much to pave the way for later civil rights and desegregation of public education: it was his belief that education was the African-American community’s best chance for social equality and a better future.

John Dewey (1859-1952)

It was while he was a professor of philosophy and the head of the Chicago University’s teacher college, that John Dewey exerted his greatest influence in education and promoted many educational reforms through his experimental schools.

It was his view that children should be encouraged to develop “free personalities” and be taught how to think and to make judgments rather than to simply have their heads filled with knowledge. 

Dewey also believed that schools were places where children should learn to live cooperatively. A member of the first teacher’s union, he was concerned for teacher’s rights and their academic freedom.

Maria Montessori (1870-1952)

Montessori methods remain the popular choice for many parents who seek an alternative education for their young family members, especially for the early childhood through the primary years.

Before she took an interest in education, Montessori was the first woman in Italy to obtain the training to become a doctor and was assigned the post of medical care to the patients of a mental institution.

It was there that she encountered “backward” children and where her passion for education was ignited. She began with a daycare facility in one of the poorest neighborhoods in Rome, putting her theories into practice.

Her methods were influenced by her previous training in medicine, education, and anthropology; the results were extraordinary and soon drew much attention from many parts of the world, including America. She’s now one of the most famous educators in the world.

John Holt (1923-1985)

Whereas Horace Mann fought for the free public education of all children, John Holt raised awareness of the need for reform in America’s schools. 

Holt became convinced that the present system stifled the learning of most children mainly because of fear; disillusioned by the inability to bring reform and improvement to public schools, he left teaching and devoted his time to the promotion of his ideas. 

He believed that children learn best when allowed to follow their own interests rather than having learning imposed upon them; his exposure to proponents of home education lead him to later conclude that the best place to set up a natural environment for learning was a child’s home. His books had a profound impact on the growth of the home schooling sector internationally.

Marie Clay (1926-2007)

Born in Wellington, New Zealand, Marie Clay became an international leader in the study of children’s acquisition of literacy and her methods of teaching reading and written language have swept through the United States and other English speaking nations since their inception three decades ago. 

The reading recovery component was developed as a means of lifting the low achieving first grader to take her place alongside the average learner. The structure of the program calls for close observation of the student by the teacher to design lessons that constantly build on what a child already knows and take them to the next level. 

Her methods involve children being surrounded by a language-rich environment and encouraged to choose reading books that align with their personal interests.

Jerome Bruner (born in 1915)

To combat the behaviorist approach to education, Bruner developed cognitive psychology and promoted a constructivist approach--his discovery learning theory is based on the assumption that children learn and remember better what they discover for themselves, as well as the fact that they are better able to remember new information if they connect it to something that they already know.

Bruner’s research and subsequent theories on child development closely aligns with the work of Jean Piaget.

Howard Gardner (born in 1943)

Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences has redefined educators’ views of how students learn and should be assessed.

Historically-speaking, intelligence has been measured through the ability to problem solve and to demonstrate cognitive ability through various controlled verbal and performance type tasks. 

However, Gardner’s theory broadens the field of how individuals display their intelligence by including the following intelligences: linguistic, logical-mathematical, musical, bodily-kinesthetic, special, interpersonal, and intrapersonal.