How to Write a Personal Philosophy Statement

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A personal philosophy statement serves as an introduction to you, focusing more on your beliefs and values than on life experiences and biographical data. These are most often used in teaching programs and apply specifically to your ideas about teaching and learning. However, you might be asked to write a personal philosophy statement as a college assignment or for an application when applying for a job, a scholarship, or for admission to a university or program.

1 Contemplate your philosophies

Contemplate your philosophies. If you have never thought a lot about your specific values and beliefs, do some self-reflection to identify what is important to you. Think about turning points or significant events and people in your life. How did these events and mentors shape who you are? Also, think about your educational and career choices. What has drawn you to these fields? Keep a list of the important words, phrases and events.

2 Talk

Talk to a friend or peer about your philosophies. According to the Iowa State University Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching, "most of us become more thoughtful about the 'big' questions when we bounce them off of our colleagues, consider their responses, re-evaluate our positions, revise, talk some more." Continue taking notes of significant words and phrases.

3 Structure your ideas into an outline

Structure your ideas into an outline. The University of Minnesota Center for Teaching and Learning says you should "read through your notes and underscore ideas or observations that come up in more than one place." Group similar ideas together to create sections of your outline.

4 Write the introduction to your personal philosophy statement

Write the introduction to your personal philosophy statement. Begin with a strong sentence that clarifies who you are. Consider telling a brief story about a significant event or person in your life or starting with a well-known quote. Then, explain how this connects to your philosophy.

5 Write paragraphs

Write paragraphs about each of the sections of your outline. Incorporate a topic sentence for each theme, and add supporting details. The University of Minnesota Center for Teaching and Learning website states, "it's important that you provide concrete examples from your teaching practice to illustrate the general claims you make in your teaching philosophy." This advice applies to fields other than teaching, as well.

6 Add a powerful conclusion

Add a powerful conclusion. End with a paragraph that summarizing your main points and overall philosophy. Leave a lasting impression on your readers.

  • According to Cal Poly Career Services, "Be careful of stating opinions that are too strong or controversial." Even though a personal philosophy is personal, it shouldn't offend or alienate readers.

Kerri Cox is an elementary librarian and former high school English teacher. She began writing for Internet publications in 2009. Her informative articles, focusing on education and parenting, have been published on Cox has bachelor's and master's degrees in education from Missouri State University.