Including Children In Personal Statement

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Including Children In Personal Statement

Post by WifeHatesPhysics » Thu Jul 15, 2021 7:06 pm

Hi everyone, long time lurker, first time poster.

I’ll be applying this fall for PhD programs, and the one question I haven’t seen discussed is this: I have two wonderful young children, ages 2 and 3. Is it beneficial or harmful to include that fact in my personal statement?

As a tiny bit of context, I’ve got a non-traditional educational background. I decided to leave college during my senior year 5-6 years ago, then worked as a professional in another career. My wife and I had children, which has been a joy.

After some soul-searching, I decided on returning to school and pursuing a PhD, and am more driven than ever in my academics. I’ve got a ton of relevant research experience, a good GPA, leadership experience, and professional experience.

My wife and kids are a gigantic part of my life, and leaving them out of the statement feels wrong. However, I am concerned admissions committees may view the fact that I am a father in a negative light and be concerned I’ll be less committed than a traditional student.

Any advice is appreciated.

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Re: Including Children In Personal Statement

Post by Nishikata » Fri Jul 16, 2021 5:17 am

There are positive and negative ways to incorporate any conditions in your personal statement. Hence i think it is more on how you include them rather than whether you should.

In any case, there’s no telling whether the University admission committee secretly avoids having students with families. It is actually good to state your condition honestly so that you wouldn’t erroneously go to the Universities and labs that would not be accommodating to your situation. You’re looking for a place that would be most suitable for you to develop, after all.

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Re: Including Children In Personal Statement

Post by geekusprimus » Mon Jul 19, 2021 2:10 pm

I agree with what Nishitaka has said. Any graduate program that considers your family such a burden that they'll deny you admission over it probably isn't a place you want to go, anyway. I personally wouldn't worry too much one way or the other as long as your personal statement still comes off as natural and honest. While it's by no means the majority, I've met a lot of married graduate students, and I've met more than a few with young children, too. As long as you're organized with your time, things seem to work out just fine.

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