Personal Statement Writing
Personal statement essay
- Being your personal essay paper early in the application process
- Take some time to consider the personal essay topics and ponder the reasoning behind each of the questions.
- Use clarity, focus, and organization.
Your personal essay writing should follow a logical structure. Remember that the board of admissions has never met you. Get advice from those who know you best – teachers, classmates, and your family – so that you know how your personal essay affects the admissions staff.
Avoid using irony, humor, and clichés.
There is a time to be funny, but when you sit down to write your personal essay paper, that isn’t one of those times. Take it seriously. Anyway, what might appear amusing to you isn’t necessarily going to translate among those who’ve never met you. The personal statement gives you a chance to give the admissions board a complete picture about who you are. A paper that is ironic or cliché-ridden won’t get the job done.
Don’t make them feel sorry for you.
Perhaps you’ve experienced some difficult, painful moments in your life. Rather than using this as a way to elicit sympathy, this is a perfect opportunity to highlight how you overcame them, how much stronger you’ve become as a result, and the right perspective on life that you have gained by dealing with these challenges.
Illustrate your ideas by using concrete examples.
In almost every personal statement, the student boasts about their qualities and yet most of them only speak about them in a general sense like, “I’m motivated and have leadership skills” without offering any examples. A successful personal statement paper utilizes specific examples so that the student demonstrates how they’ve been able to put these qualities into action. In addition, you will want to expand on your examples and explain how you’ve grown as a result. You need to convince the admissions board that you have a strong sense of self and that you have real goals in life that this college/university can best help you achieve. Make sure your experiences are recent ones. Talking about that weekend when you were ten and you opened a lemonade stand is not going to be helpful.
Finally, give yourself plenty of time to fix grammar/spelling mistakes.
Read a draft to friends or family, asking them for feedback. Then, revise your work to make it more clear in terms of content and style. Using poor grammar and making mistakes with punctuation will raise flags among the board of admissions. Remember that spell check is your best friend.
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Special Instructions for Members of the Armed Forces
Do you have military service? Your college/university will definitely see this as an asset. Your personal statement should include the following:
- Explain how your military service has been integral in the development of your academic goals;
- Specify if you are entitled to educational benefits as a result your military service or through the death of a parent or spouse who was in the military;
- State if you are affiliated with the military, such as but not limited to, the spouse or dependant of someone who is on active duty or is currently participating in an ROTC-type program.