SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
It’s common for students to have a complete mind blank when asked to write a SWOT analysis. It can be hard to step back and objectively figure out what to place in each box in the analysis matrix.
However, by looking at some examples from other students, you can start to conceptualize what’s expected of you and even find yourself agreeing with some of their points.
Take a look at these personal SWOT analysis examples and see if you can cherrypick some key points that might resonate with you.
Pick and choose the points that resonate most with you so you can create your own unique SWOT chart.
Personal SWOT Analysis Examples for Students
1. SWOT Analysis Template
Goal: Write down what your goal is.
– What do you do well (in relation to your goal)?
– What study skills do you currently have?
– What academic writing and research skills do you currently have?
– What workforce skills do you currently have?
– What soft skills do you currently have?
– What hard skills do you currently have?
– What do you think you’re not very good at (in relation to your goal)?
– What do you struggle with when studying?
– What are your weaknesses in regards to academic writing and researching?
– What workforce readiness skills do you lack?
– What soft skills do you lack?
– What hard skills do you lack?
– Are there upcoming seminars, classes, or lectures that can help you improve?
– Do you have access to resources to help you improve?
– Do you have access to people or friends who can help you out?
– What contextual factors might get in the way of your goals?
– What obstacles can you predict that might interfere with your plans?
– What factors out of your direct control might interfere with your plans?
– What resources do you lack that might cause problems?
2. Personal SWOT Analysis Example
Goal: To gain confidence at university.
– I can confidently write information on paper to communicate a message to my teacher.
– I know I am capable of achieving things when I put my mind to it.
– I did well in high school and know that I am academically minded.
– I know that I can study hard when I have exams coming up.
– I have trouble speaking in front of groups. I find it intimidating.
– I’m not really sure yet what standards are expected of me at university.
– I have trouble connecting with other people in small groups.
– I don’t have a group of friends to lean on at university yet.
– There is an upcoming library seminar on developing academic skills that I can attend.
– I will have some low-risk exams and essays coming up that I can use for practice.
– The upcoming small group work task will give me an opportunity to develop social contacts who may be able to support me through things.
– I worry that I will get anxiety leading up to the presentation I have to give in a few weeks.
– I’m not sure I’ll be able to make it to my Tuesday class every week. If I miss this class, my confidence might be impacted.
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3. Academic Writing Example
Goal: To get an A in an essay this semester.
– I find it easy to write about things if they’re interesting to me or directly related to my life.
– I have a strong vocabulary and my grammar is usually quite strong.
– I know the basics of essay writing and I know how to write strong paragraphs.
– I don’t understand referencing and the expected referencing style in my class.
– I’m not sure where to find information for writing my essays.
– I find it hard to stay focused when studying for more than 20 minutes.
– My roommate is good at writing essays and has offered to edit my work.
– My professor has offered to look at my work during office hours.
– If I attend all the classes, I should be able to get a lot of useful information off my teacher that will help me write a good essay.
– I’ve increased my workload at my part-time job lately so I have less time to study.
– I sometimes don’t understand my professor’s emails.
– I have three essays due in one week this semester.
4. New Student Example
Goal: To Get into a Routine and Comfortable on Campus.
– I’m an outgoing person who can get comfortable in most situations.
– I have a good study nook in my bedroom.
– I have moved into my new home and am settled there now.
– I don’t know my way around campus.
– I don’t understand how to use the library.
– I’m intimidated by my professors.
– There is still a week before classes start so I have time to walk around and familiarize myself.
– The student ambassadors around campus can help me out in the first few weeks.
– I have set aside an hour each day to get into a study routine.
– My schedule is inconsistent so my routine will have to be flexible.
– As the semester progresses I will have to find more time to study.
– I get easily distracted by social events that may throw out my routines.
5. College Student Example
Goal: To raise my GPA by 0.5 this year.
– I know I can do well because mid last year I got into a great routine.
– I’m more confident this year than last year because I know what’s expected of me now.
– I’m good at oral presentations but not as good at expository essays.
– I struggle to stay motivated as the semester progresses.
– I struggle with time management.
– I’m taking on more classes this semester so I’ll really need to carve out more time to study.
– I’ve joined a study group so we can discuss what we have learned and share notes.
– I know several of the professors and selected them because I like their teaching style.
– I’m taking higher-level courses this semester that I will find much harder.
– I have an internship coming up for a few weeks that will distract me.
– I’m taking on a few courses in topics I am not naturally good at.
6. International Student Example
Goal: To gain confidence in a new society and develop cultural competencies.
– I have great observational skills that I can use to learn.
– My English language is good enough to communicate in one to one conversations.
– I’m independent and willing to take risks.
– I’m good at making friends.
– I am intimidated by my professors and feel shy about approaching them.
– I worry about speaking to large groups because of my accent.
– While I’m good socially, my academic skills aren’t great.
– I could get a work visa to stay in the country after graduating.
– I can develop my English speaking skills even more through immersion.
– Getting a degree from this university is prestigious in my country.
– Discrimination based on my accent.
– Culture shock.
– I don’t have work experience in the country so employers might not want to hire me.
– I am on a tight budget.
7. Education Student Example
Goal: To develop skills and knowledge in teaching.
– I work well with students and children and can build positive rapport with them.
– I am highly motivated to become a teacher.
– I am creative and can come up with good lesson plan ideas.
– I struggle to write down my lesson plan ideas onto lesson plan templates.
– I have trouble writing academic essays.
– I am intimidated by classroom management and need to build those skills.
– My internship will be a great opportunity to build my classroom skills.
– I can get work during the summer at summer camps to improve my teaching skills.
– Jobs are very hard to get in my town.
– Classes are getting harder as I progress through my degree.
8. Sociology Student Example
Goal: To figure out how to use my sociology degree to get a career job.
– I’m good at sociology and have a strong GPA.
– I am also decent at psychology subjects that I’ve taken.
– I have great references.
– My presentation and communication skills are very good.
– I’m not sure what career path I want to take yet.
– I get very nervous heading into interviews.
– I don’t know where to look for jobs for people with sociology degrees.
– My college advisor can help me out with questions I have (see weaknesses and threats).
– I could try to specialize even more at university by choosing criminology or sociology of education subjects next year.
– There aren’t many jobs directly in sociology. I might need to do teaching or social work.
– It’s hard to get a job with just an undergraduate degree. I might need to get a masters degree (in Teaching?)
9. Bachelor of Arts Student Example
Goal: To figure out what I want my major to be
– I am good at working with people and providing help to my community.
– I have strong worth ethic and get satisfaction from a hard day’s work.
– I am good at psychology subjects.
– I am not very good at math so I don’t think I can go into a career that requires a lot of math skills.
– I’m not very academic. I’m better at doing things than learning about theories.
– I will have an opportunity to select a diverse range of subjects this semester that might help me make up my mind.
– I can go to the career fair and talk to people in various jobs to find out what they’re like.
– I need to make a decision soon.
– If I make the wrong choice, it’s hard to change my mind (it will be expensive).
10. High School Student Example
Goal: To develop the skills that I’ll need at college next year
– My teachers have told me my writing skills are at college level already.
– I have developed really good study routines this year that I can apply at college.
– I know I am better at creative activities than math and science.
– My research skills are probably not good enough for college yet.
– I’m not very good at communicating with teachers as I’m quite shy.
– When I get confused in class I get frustrated and demotivated.
– I have applied to several colleges and I’m sure I’ll get accepted into at least one of them.
– My older sister will be able to help me out as she’s good at writing college papers.
– I’ll have to pay my way next year so need to get a part-time job.
– College will be a fair way from home so I will waste a lot of time driving.
– College will be very intimidating.
11. Math and Science Example
Goal: To get a job in the science field following graduation.
– I tend to be very good at math problems and can learn fast.
– I am also very good at chemistry and physics.
– I have decent work experience through internships but not paid work.
– I am not very good at interviewing.
– I don’t know if my resume is good enough.
– I don’t know many people in the industry who can help me out.
– The science and engineering sector is growing and bringing with it lots of jobs.
– My degree allows me to go into a wide range of possible career paths.
– I know everyone graduating with me is applying for the same jobs I am.
– Many entry-level jobs are asking for people to have a masters degree.
– I am not willing to leave my home city for work (I have to care for family).
12. Digital Marketing Example
Goal: To improve my skills in digital marketing while still at university.
– I’m very good with social media platforms and know how to manipulate the algorithms.
– I have a great GPA so I’m confident I can get the degree easily.
– I’m highly motivated and know my career path.
– I have academic knowledge but not many practical skills.
– I need to have more experience before I graduate so I’m well positioned for a job.
– I can work on my own Instagram account to further develop and demonstrate my skills in getting traffic.
– The industry is growing fast so there will be jobs coming up.
– There are a lot of other people going into this career right now.
– Rapid changes in the digital marketing space will make my current knowledge redundant in a few years.
– Entry-level pay is very low.
13. Masters Degree Example
Goal: To complete my masters degree within 3 years
– I did very well in my undergraduate degree so I’m confident about my academic skills.
– I have work experience in the industry which gives me a lot of confidence.
– I’m not very good at self-study and I know that’s a big thing in a masters degree.
– I feel uncomfortable speaking up in class.
– I struggle to do group work because it’s hard to create time where everyone in the group can meet.
– My current employer will subsidize the degree.
– I could get career advancement through my current employer once the degree is finished.
– I’m working full-time and have a family so I don’t have much time to spare.
– Even with my degree subsidized, I struggle to pay my fees.
– A masters degree is going to be a lot harder than my undergraduate degree.
14. Business Student Example
Goal: To gain the skills I need to start my own business in the future.
– I’ve got good project management skills.
– I am highly motivated to start my own business.
– I’m really good at troubleshooting.
– I struggle with accounting and math which are important skills for this degree.
– I don’t have work experience in the industry.
– My degree is unique because it prepares me to start my own business as well as applying for a job.
– I could take on a management job for a few years to build more skills before starting my own business.
– My degree is in high demand.
– I don’t have much money saved up to support myself if I don’t get a job straight away. It also restricts me from starting my own business.
– I know job hunting will be competitive especially for entry-level jobs.
15. Nursing Student Example
Goal: To get a job in nursing after I graduate with a good GPA.
– I’m really good at working with patients.
– My internships so far have been really successful which shows I can do the job.
– I am confident I will pass my remaining subjects at university.
– I often turn up to classes late. I’ll need to fix this because I need to turn up on time when I get a job.
– My GPA is a bit low right now so I need to get really good grades going forward.
– My university has a great reputation and that could help me get a job.
– There are many job paths such as in hospitals and nursing homes.
– I could get a job if I make good connections during my internship.
– I don’t have much time to get a job after finishing university because I need money.
– It’s hard to get an entry-level job that is full-time and has good hours.
– Juggling work and my new baby will be hard.
16. Teacher Example
Goal: To gradually improve my pedagogical competencies in the next 12 months.
– I have very good rapport with my students.
– I am very good at catering to the needs of my students.
– I’ve got a good number of resources from previous years that I can re-use this year.
– I struggled a lot with juggling work and family time last year. I ended up working very late hours.
– I often need to get the IT guys to come and give me help with technology.
– I can get a bit burned out mid-way through the year.
– The new technology in the classroom could help me more efficiently differentiate instruction for my students.
– There is a conference later in the year that could really help re-invigorate and motivate me.
– I’ll be teaching a very different cohort this year so I’ll need to adapt.
– The new technology in the classroom is intimidating.
– My mentors won’t be close by next year so I’ll be on my own more than ever.
17. PhD Student Example
Goal: To make it through the first year of doing a PhD.
– I know I’m intelligent and have excellent research skills.
– I am confident in presenting my research at review boards.
– I’m passionate about my dissertation topic.
– I’m juggling a lot of things in my personal life so I may struggle to focus.
– There’s no one else with a topic similar to mine so I will be alone to learn a lot of things by myself.
– I know I can be stubborn so I need to focus on listening and learning from mentors.
– I like that I have a co-supervisor who can help me when my lead supervisor is busy.
– I have the chance to teach undergraduate classes which will be motivating.
– The university library has great resources for my PhD studies.
– There is a great cohort of dissertation candidates in my school who can help each other out.
– It’s going to be had to keep up with the very demanding workload.
– It’s hard to get by on low pay while working full-time on a PhD.
– I am going to be working in isolation a lot so I’ll need to carefully monitor my mental health.
18. Internship or Practicum Example
Goal: To grow my confidence in a workplace situation and see if I like this career path.
– I have good theoretical knowledge.
– I’m excited to apply my theoretical knowledge to practical situations.
– I am good at listening and learning so I think I will succeed.
– I haven’t got any practical experience yet so it will be a steep learning curve.
– I can get tired and struggle to focus during a full workday.
– I get anxious and intimidated in new environments.
– I’ll have some really experienced supervisors who can give me a lot of wisdom.
– I might be able to meet people who can give me a reference for a job in the future.
– It’s long workdays and I still have to study after work.
– I will need to find a way to get public transport to the workplace which will be hard.
19. Exchange Student Example
Goal: To broaden my horizons for an exchange semester.
– I am confident and can walk into new situations with my head held high.
– I am a good learner so I’m sure I’ll be able to adapt to the new university and its requirements.
– I am really good at breaking the ice in conversations.
– I’m not good at public speaking.
– I struggle in academics like research and writing.
– I tend to get distracted by social opportunities and forget to study.
– To learn about new cultures and meet new people.
– To take subjects at my exchange university that aren’t available at my current university.
– To experience a totally different climate.
– I won’t have family and friends to lean on.
– I’ll need to deal with culture shock.
– I won’t have a car so will need to figure out transit.
– I think I’ll struggle to get a part-time job.
20. Thesis or Dissertation Example
Goal: To get a high grade for my dissertation.
– I am pretty good at writing essays.
– My study skills are really strong after 3 years at university.
– I am good at communicating with professors.
– I’m not good at asking people to help me out so I might struggle in silence like I often do.
– I leave my work to the last minute and that won’t work with a dissertation.
– I struggle to focus and am really distracted by social media.
– My friends are doing similar dissertation topics to me so we can help each other out.
– I will have an advisor who can look over my work and point me in the right direction.
– I will have to find research participants and that scares me.
– This is a self-guided project so there is a lack of structure.
21. Teamwork and Groupwork Example
Goal: To complete our team project and get the best grade in the class.
– Each team member brings unique skills. We have a technology person, a good researcher, and a good writer.
– We all have a good understanding of the project requirements.
– Several of us have worked together successfully in the past.
– Several of us don’t feel confident with the topic.
– Some team members don’t know one another.
– One team member does not have access to a computer at all times.
– We are able to secure space in the library to meet up.
– All of us agree that this is a great chance to build our teamwork competencies.
– Disagreements on how to proceed may come up.
– It will be hard to find time to meet up.
22. Psychology Student Example
Goal: To get a career in clinical psychology.
– I currently have a high GPA.
– I am highly motivated to pursue this career.
– I have excellent references for job applications.
– I do not have career experience yet.
– I feel like a lot of things I learned at university don’t apply in the workforce.
– I don’t have a resume written yet and don’t know how to write one.
– I can do an unpaid internship over the summer while living with my parents.
– My professors can be additional references for job applications.
– I am willing to move to a new city to get a job.
– Transitioning from full-time student to full-time workforce may throw up challenges.
– I do not have a car yet and may need one to get to job interviews and any job I get.
– I may not have the experience required to get many jobs.
23. Graduating Student Example
Goal: To smoothly transition into an entry-level position in my career choice
– I have got a great GPA that will look good on a resume.
– I know exactly what career I want and I’ve got a few big businesses that I’d like to target for a position.
– I can confidently talk about my skills and work ethic.
– I’m not sure whether my resume looks the way it should.
– I don’t have social capital (By this I mean I know anyone in the industry who can help me get a foot in the door).
– I don’t have much practical work experience.
– The university is offering a career fair day where I can meet potential employers.
– I could find a resume writing workshop somewhere in the city.
– The industry is competitive so I know it may take me time to find a job.
– The economy isn’t doing well so fewer people are hiring.
– I’ll need to pay my bills while looking for a job. I may have to move in with my parents for a few months.
What does SWOT Analysis Stand For?
SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. These are the four key categories that you need to look at to develop an action plan for improving your skills as a student.
Under each column think about what you will write:
- Strengths: What are you aware that you’re good at right now? Make sure it’s relevant to your goal. For example, if your goal is to gain confidence at university, make it relevant to that and not something completely different (being really good at hotdog eating contexts is irrelevant to becoming a more confident student!)
- Weaknesses: What do you struggle with right now? Again, keep it relevant to your goal. If your goal is to get an A in your next paper, reflect on your weaknesses in essay writing.
- Opportunities: What can you think of that might be a valuable resource, support network, or another type of opportunity that can help you to meet your state goal?
- Threats: What can you think of that might make it hard to meet your goals? It’s good to know these so you can prepare ahead and minimize the chance that they will become major obstacles.
What is the Purpose of a SWOT Analysis?
The point of the SWOT analysis is to get you thinking about how you can prepare for improvement. If you know your weaknesses, opportunities, and potential challenges, you can work on the weaknesses, embrace the opportunities, and avert the threats. This will help you get closer to your goals.
Another alternative type of reflective analysis is the Johari Window, which is best completed in teams where your team members can provide input for you.
How to Do a SWOT Analysis
What to Write for Strengths
When writing about strengths on a SWOT Analysis, you want to write about things that you’re personally good at.
These strengths are ‘internal’, meaning they’re features about you that make you good at things. They’re things under your direct control.
One problem students come across is that they don’t focus on strengths that are relevant to your goals. So, focus on strengths that can help you achieve your goals.
Key considerations when writing about strengths include:
- What do you do well (in relation to your goal)?
- What study skills do you currently have?
- What academic writing and research skills do you currently have?
- What workforce skills do you currently have?
- What soft skills do you currently have?
- What hard skills do you currently have?
We have a list of 110 strength examples for a SWOT analysis that you can browse to find ones that work for you.
What to Write for Weaknesses
When writing about weaknesses on a SWOT Analysis, you want to write about things that you’re personally not very good at.
These weaknesses are ‘internal’, meaning they’re features about you that you know are not your strongest trait. Like strengths, these weaknesses need to be things under your direct control.
Remember ot keep them relevant to your goals. So, focus on weaknesses that might prevent you from achieving your goals.
Key considerations when writing about weaknesses include:
- What do you think you’re not very good at (in relation to your goal)?
- What do you struggle with when studying?
- What are your weaknesses in regards to academic writing and researching?
- What workforce readiness skills do you lack?
- What soft skills do you lack?
- What hard skills do you lack?
We have a list of 79 weaknesses examples for a SWOT analysis that you can browse to find ones that work for you.
What to Write for Opportunities
When writing about opportunities on a SWOT Analysis, you want to write about things that you can rely on to help you reach your goals.
These opportunities are ‘external’, meaning they’re not personal features about you, but resources, people, or events that you turn to for help.
Again, remember to talk about opportunities that are relevant to your goals.
Key considerations when writing about opportunities include:
- Are there upcoming seminars, classes, or lectures that can help you improve?
- Do you have access to resources to help you improve?
- Do you have access to people or friends who can help you out?
We have a list of 61 opportunity examples for a SWOT analysis that you can browse to find ones that work for you.
What to Write for Threats
When writing about threats on a SWOT Analysis, you want to write about things that are outside of your direct control that might interfere with you achieving your goals.
These external threats are examined so you can predict them and think about ways to either avoid or mitigate their effects.
Remember to talk about threats that are relevant to your goals.
Key considerations when writing about threats include:
- What contextual factors might get in the way of your goals?
- What obstacles can you predict that might interfere with your plans?
- What resources do you lack that would otherwise be helpful?
A SWOT analysis is designed to get you thinking about how to use your personal strengths and opportunities to your advantage, while also improving your weaknesses and mitigating threats that you can predict.
While these examples can help get you mind turning, remember that your SWOT Analysis needs to be unique to you. So, use these personal SWOT analysis examples by students to get your mind turning, but write your own unique SWOT matrix that’s an honest reflection of your own situation.
Dr. Chris Drew is the founder of the Helpful Professor. He holds a PhD in education and has published over 20 articles in scholarly journals. He is the former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education.