How To Write A Personal Statement

Most colleges require their applicants to submit personal statements as part of an application package. Sometimes called a college entrance essay, a personal statement can’t be easily written with a formula, but there are certain tips to keep in mind so that the text you prepare best highlights your attributes to any college entrance board.

Step One: Outline

Regardless of your personal statement’s topic or length, it is always easiest to write this kind of essay if you start with an outline. Start with an introductory paragraph, list the points you want to talk about in the body, and close with a final paragraph that sums up the essay.

Step Two: Your Attributes

Your essay should talk about personal attributes that aren’t listed elsewhere in your application packet. Some colleges ask you to answer a specific question with your personal statement. Others simply want a comprehensive essay about you. In either case, you should think about the attributes you possess that you want to highlight and fit them into the essay. What is special or unique about you?

Step Three: Examples

It isn’t enough just to talk about characteristics that make you a “good catch” for the school. Showing is always better than telling, so give some examples of how you have displayed these attributes throughout your high school career. Talk about what you’ve learned and how this has added to your character overall.

Step Four: The Future

Everyone knows that it is good to display characteristics like leadership and persistence. However, it is often how you plan to use these skills in the future that will set you apart from other applicants. Talk about your goals while at the school and beyond. Every college wants alumni who are ambitious.

Step Five: Discrepancies

You should also use your personal statement to clear up any discrepancies found elsewhere in your application packet. For example, is there a gap between now and when you graduated high school? Talk about your time off and how it helped you grow as a person and develop your goals. Are your test scores mediocre? Talk about your academic achievements despite poor scores.

Step Six: The School

During your personal statement, you should make mention of the school to which you’re applying. Take some time to learn a bit about this college so that you can talk about why you’d like to attend this school above others. Do they have a top program in your desired field of study? Do you identify with their motto? Do you want to experience a cultural change as is possible with schools far from your home? Even if you haven’t picked a school just yet, talk about the college as though you’re confident in picking them if you are accepted.

Step Seven: Edit

Your personal statement is one of the most important documents you’ll ever write. You need to proofread the text for grammar and spelling, as well as make sure the content really shines. Does your essay answer the question asked? Is there a clear beginning, middle, and end? Tell a story with your personal statement to convince any school to choose you for their program. You can also ethically get help with your personal statement online here.


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