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Personal story: how much details?

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I am starting to work on my leadership letter for Vanier (scholarship). I went through a lot of hardships as a child and teenager but it has definetely informed and shaped my interest into the field of social work as well as my community involvement. I wonder, how much in depth should I go with my personal story? I've got two pages max to squeeze everything in.



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I'm sure you've already seen the prompt and the evaluation criteria?

I think this part of the application is the one part where you really should present your personal story / narrative and how it shapes you as a doctoral researcher. You should go into as much depth as you need to effectively answer the points in the prompt. Since you mention the length limit, it sounds like you might be worried about fitting everything in. So, my advice would be to first remember that the main goal of this essay is to answer the prompt in the way that best addresses the evaluation criteria, not to tell your personal story. 

So, if you are running out of space, think about how you want to address each of the listed criteria and what story/stories from your past that you want to use to address them. Can you think of ways to present the story in a short/direct manner that minimizes the amount of exposition you have to do, or perhaps there is another story/simpler story that has the same effect. Note that in the evaluation criteria guide, it lists 6 points to consider and only 2 of them are directly asking you to share a story from your past life circumstances. The other points ask you to discuss your leadership experience and how you used your leadership skills, rather than how has your history shaped your work today. So be sure to cover all of the suggested points!

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