January 19, 2022

Application Insights: Make the Most of Your Personal Statement

As part of your admissions application to Penn Engineering’s MCIT Online program, you’ll need to write a personal statement—an essay designed to help us get to know the real person behind your grades and test scores. A strong personal statement can tip the scales in your favor, so we encourage you to give it your best effort.

What is the personal statement?

The personal statement is a 1,000-1,500 word essay that answers the following questions:

  • What makes you interested in the MCIT Online program?
  • How will you benefit from the program?
  • Why will you succeed in the program?
  • How will you contribute to the MCIT Online community?
  • How do you plan to incorporate an average of 15 hours per week per course of studies into your lifestyle?
  • Please describe your career goals and how the MCIT Online curriculum will help to achieve them.
  • Given that the program is designed for people without a CS background, if you feel that your resume could be perceived as overqualified, please explain why MCIT Online is right for you.

We encourage you to include detailed, specific examples from your academic, research or industry work if possible.

How can I make my personal statement stand out?

Write authentically, from the heart. Express your passion for computer science and explain why you are a good fit for the program. We won’t have the opportunity to interview you, so the personal statement is your chance to showcase your strengths and explain discrepancies.

  • Address potential weaknesses in your application. Are there gaps or inconsistent grades in your academic history, particularly in quantitative ability? Use the personal statement to provide context—and to give examples of how you will do better. It’s also an opportunity to explain why you’re a good fit for the program even if you appear to be overqualified.
  • Read the questions carefully. A personal statement that doesn’t fully address the questions could hurt your chances of admittance.
  • Explain how you will manage your time during the program. Each course in MCIT Online requires a commitment of about 15 hours a week. How will you juggle that with your other commitments, especially if you are currently enrolled in another degree program?
  • Share your accomplishments. Have you done any online learning or earned a certificate in CS and mathematics? The personal statement is an opportunity to highlight those achievements.
  • Get a second opinion. Once you’ve written a draft, ask someone who knows you well to read it. An extra set of eyes is essential to help you avoid typos and make a clear and compelling case for your candidacy.

Do I follow a different process if I applied to MCIT Online in the past?

As a reapplicant, you’ll have an additional 250 words to tell us about any changes in your circumstances since you last applied. Have you taken additional coursework to prepare for the program? Tell us about it. Did you take on a new professional role or volunteer engagement that could help you succeed in MCIT Online? We want to know—and it could make a significant difference in your chances of acceptance.

Learn more

Get more tips on the application process by watching this Admissions Webinar, checking our Application Deadlines, or contacting us. Or apply now!