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Online Bachelor of Arts in Integrated Social Sciences

Personal Statement

All applicants to the UW Online Bachelor of Arts in Integrated Social Sciences program need to submit a personal statement, which should address the four topics listed below.

Your ISS personal statement performs a number of important functions. It gives us an opportunity to become acquainted with your goals, influential learning experiences in your life and your reasons for choosing the ISS program. The personal statement also helps us assess your preparation in the social sciences and your readiness for bachelor’s degree completion. 

Your personal statement is a sample of your college-level writing, and we'll assess it on the following criteria:

  • Clarity: The essay is clear at the level of the individual sentence or statement so that the reader understands what you are saying
  • Depth: The level of development of your ideas and use of concrete details
  • Originality: The grounding of your essay in your individual knowledge and experience, rather than reliance on generalizations

Please do not use AI writing tools such as ChatGPT to generate your statement since it invariably produces writing that is notably unoriginal.

If you're admitted to ISS, your personal statement will be the first step on your path to reflective, integrated learning. It will become the first artifact in your e-portfolio. You’ll be asked to return to this statement in your senior capstone course, ISS 401, to assess your learning and to better understand your development in the program.

Preparing Your Personal Statement

Your statement should address the following topics and questions in an essay of 750 to 1,000 words:

  1. Write a brief introduction to your individual story. That is, create a brief sketch or snapshot of who you are and how you came to be. What facts or events do you believe were most formative? What do you consider essential to a good understanding of your identity? What has your life journey looked like, and how did it bring you to this moment of application to ISS?
  2. What are your expectations of the ISS program? What has your educational journey looked like? What do you hope to learn? What life goals — intellectual, personal and professional — will this degree help you accomplish?
  3. Discuss one significant question, issue or problem in human society that you find meaningful or compelling. Think of the types of stories that grab your attention when you follow the news or interact with social media. Why do you think this social phenomenon or problem is important both to you and others? What aspects of it do you find intriguing, promising or alarming? Use concrete detail in your discussion.
  4. Describe a memorable or impactful learning experience, something that has stayed with you and remained meaningful. This could be a particular college-level course, assignment or project you completed. However, you may also describe learning that has happened in other contexts, such as work, a volunteer experience, sport or hobby, etc. The point is to describe what you learned and how you learned it. Again, be as concrete and detailed as possible.

Submitting Your Personal Statement

Instructions for submitting your statement vary depending on your applicant type. Please click the relevant link below for additional application instructions, including how to submit your ISS personal statement.

  • New Students: Students from UW Evening Degree, UW Bothell and UW Tacoma, along with transfer students from other institutions
  • Returning UW Seattle Students: Former UW Seattle students who have not been enrolled for at least two consecutive quarters
  • Continuing UW Seattle Students: Currently enrolled UW Seattle students who want to change their major to ISS