Tips for writing your college personal statement

Here are a few tips that are going to help make your personal statement a piece of solid gold. They will help you create a personal statement that is going to catapult you into the academic institution of your choice. Just be sure that you follow the tips and add to them to make your statement more original.

Plan your writing beforehand

This will help to ensure that you get everything in and do not miss anything out. It helps you to break the writing into sections so that you can work on each independently and make sure that every element is perfect. It also helps to speed up the writing process and gives you a referral point where you can list ideas that you integrate into the statement later.

Make it concise

This means not adding any filler, and removing sentences that do not really make a point or have a use. If you have to work to get up to the word count then you need to do more thinking, come up with more ideas, and do a bit more research in order to fill your personal statement with top quality content. Also, remove any superfluous words and make your text less wordy as a result, as this will make it more concise.

Write a lot and then edit it down

Ideally, your first draft should go well over the word limit. This then allows you to edit it down so that you only have the perfect and well-chosen bits left. Do not do this the other way around where you write too little in the first draft and have to bulk it up. If this is the case then you did not plan your statement very well, and did not come up with enough ideas and thoughts before starting your personal statement.

Strike a balance between making it interesting and getting the facts down

If you were to go to the extreme and make it very concise, then your personal statement would read more like a shopping list of all your great attributes and achievements. This is not good enough, as the administrators do have to get to the end of your personal statement without passing out into a coma. So, try to strike a balance between keeping it interesting and having a bit of style, and actually getting the facts down on your statement.

Explain how and why events have changed you

Do not just list events or changes that you have gone through. Concisely describe the event and then show how it has affected you and changed you. Do not allow the reader to make inferences, even if they seem obvious. It may appear as if an event would invariably make you more professional, determined, dogged, etc, but you need to spell that out to the reader.

Make your academic achievements highly visible

You do not have to put them in bold and make the font bigger, but do make them hard to miss. Add a little comment after a very good achievement to highlight it, or structure the page so that your high grades are hard to miss by a skim reader. Say how you worked so hard that you deserved that achievement.

Show off your creative achievements

Showing off your creative achievements helps to prove you are not just a textbook memorizer, but that you are creative and are a thinker. They are looking for qualities other than your ability to ace tests. Obviously, it is good if you can ace tests, but they are aware that people who only have one facet to their academic career may suddenly lose interest or have a complete burnout.

Stick to the question and abide by the statement rules

It is very easy to wander off topic, especially if your “wanderings” are interesting or make good reading. But, you should be sticking to the question and sticking to the point. Your planning process should make this easier, as you will probably have to keep referring back to your plan as you go. The statement rules such as word limits and formatting should also be abided for the simple reason that it shows you can obey the rules.

Keep it glaringly positive

Many people are tempted to write about negative things because they want to show what they have overcome, but this is very unappealing to the administration staff. They do not like risking their reputation on a person that may be (for want of a better phrase) “Damaged goods.” So, keep your personal statement very positive and remove any negative events, comments or feelings that may have slipped into it.

Get down your priorities, character traits and values

You need to show them what your priorities are. Again, you cannot risk the administrators inferring things. That fact that you did well in your exams and your statement that you studied every night may make it appear as if education is your priority, but you need to spell it out. Otherwise, they could simply infer that you did it because you had no friends and that you will lose all interest in education once you find a romantic partner.

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