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Useful Information on How to Write a Personal Statement

Most universities require a personal statement as a part of a student’s application. This document should describe you as a suitable candidate for the degree program or certain career path. Many young people have a fear of writing such an essay. But it is a great way to demonstrate their skills, school achievements, and career goals. An excellent personal statement is the first point of contact with an educational institution. It can give you a competitive advantage over other candidates and put admissions officers by your side.

But why is it so difficult to write about yourself? Usually, modesty and lack of confidence prevent us from discussing our achievements. Most high school students do not consider themselves talented and experience doubts before joining a college or university. And that’s exactly what you shouldn’t do. The selection committee wants to see the enthusiasm, sincere interest, and clarity of thought in your text. A university personal statement is, on the one hand, a paper that has specific purposes, but on the other hand, it is an opportunity for creativity and sincerity. Therefore, you should write it with pleasure and optimism!

If you can overcome your anxiety, and understand a few of the principles of this document, your effective personal statement will significantly increase your chances for successful admission and career growth. Catch attention, tell a unique story, share career goals, and demonstrate your analytical skills. Your aim is to reveal essential parts of your personality to interest the selection committee members. In addition, it should be coherent and well-organized. Make crafting a personal statement an exciting experience. Craft it in such a way to be worth re-reading in 20 years with your children. And we will be happy to help you with this!

What Is a Personal Statement

A personal statement is a short essay that you submit when applying to a university or career position. In simple words, it is a report on your goals, talents, school achievements, and strengths. However, it should not be a copy of a resume or a chronological listing of facts from your life. Rather, this paper demonstrates your mindset and gives the admissions committee an idea of how good you are for a particular program. A good personal statement is like a sales copy. If it is performed at the highest level, then university officials will definitely “purchase” you!

Consider this document, not as one more “school assignment”. It is a reflection of your uniqueness. A university does not need a crowd of identical clones. The leadership of educational institutions is looking for unique personalities who are not afraid to be themselves. Successful students will develop science, culture, business, and other fields of our life. And your essay shows between the lines how ready you are for a chosen career. So, be honest, original, and responsible when crafting this important paper.

In this article, you will find many recommendations on how to write a personal statement properly. They will give a deep understanding of both the preparation and the writing itself. Nevertheless, you need to carefully study the requirements of the particular university, in which you want to enroll.

Generally, a personal statement can be of two types: direct answers to the questionnaire or in free form. It is much easier to answer the questions, but not all applicants cope even with this simple task. A free form of paper provides much more opportunities and methods. Most often, it contains an interesting story in which your school experience, career goals, and motives for getting into a college are depicted. Continue reading and write the best personal statement!

How Long Should a Personal Statement Be

An important question that many applicants ask is: “How long should a personal statement be?” Some of them suppose a paper has to be very long and include all the tiniest details of their lives. For others, even creating two or three paragraphs is a difficult task. The answer to this question is usually given by an educational establishment, which indicates the approximate size of a personal statement. However, even if this information is unavailable, two criteria must be followed. First, the writing should be informative and include all the necessary points. Second, it should be easily readable and not overloaded with information.

Usually, 550-600 words are perfect for a personal statement. This is about two pages or 5-6 paragraphs. The first paragraph is an opening one, and it introduces you to readers. In the following paragraphs, you can develop the proposed topic, and give facts and examples. In the last paragraph, it is useful to summarize everything that you have written. The size of the statement is an important factor, but it is much more important that each phrase contains useful information for the selection committee and helps to fulfill the goals of the application.

What to Include in a Personal Statement

The value of every word in a personal statement is very high. On two pages, you need to create a comprehensive image of your personality and invoke a pleasant impression with the members of the selection committee. However, the information that you provide in the introduction, body, and conclusion should not be presented in the form of a dull list. Those elements that we discuss in this subsection should be naturally intertwined in the text and represent a holistic product. Your essay will be amazing if you can combine the following elements in it:

  • Personal skills. Of course, representatives of a college or university need talented young people to study in their educational institution. The employers with whom you will build your career also need this. Tell them about your skills. In what situations you used your skills? How you can develop them?
  • Life interests. Do not try to think up some imaginary interests for yourself. Write the truth. Very often, life’s passions are exactly the qualities that may help you to become a brilliant student and build a successful career.
  • An experience. Each high school student in his life faces different obstacles and problems that must be solved. Indicate your real experience to demonstrate an ability to deal with life issues.
  • Career and academic goals. Show your ability to dream and plan. Goal-oriented people with inspiring ambitions are needed in any university.
  • What can you bring to this university? Your admission is a mutually beneficial cooperation. You are looking for high-quality education, and the university is looking for talented students who will develop its reputation. Let the admissions officers know that you are the perfect candidate to become a star of this establishment.
  • Values. An issue of values is usually difficult to understand and define. You can do certain exercises to determine your values in order to better understand yourself. However, the values do not need to be listed in the text. They are perceived through your actions and decisions, as well as through motives that guide you in life.
  • Conclusions. In the last paragraph, try to summarize everything you have written in your personal statement. Make it truly emotional and touching to the reader. This paragraph should finally convince the admission board that you are a student whom they will give a lucky ticket.

This guideline will help you to write a superb personal statement. At the same time, you do not have to limit yourself by some formal rules. Your essay is a creative work that must strike a balance between free thinking and academic format. Think, write, and edit until your paper is truly flawless.

How to Start a Personal Statement

If you want to eat an elephant, then you need to do it a bite at a time. Starting a personal statement may seem like a daunting and overwhelming task, but it can be done easily if divided into small, understandable steps. You already know that your paper should contain approximately 550-600 words and around 5-6 paragraphs. It should include quite a bit of information, such as your career goals, interests, and strengths. To ensure that the final paper is not a bunch of unrelated phrases, we recommend that you do thorough preparatory work. And the best way to start is brainstorming.


We all have pretty rigid opinions about ourselves and our lives. We often don’t think about our motives, and we rarely contemplate our values. Brainstorming will help you remember the significant events and decisions that you made during your school years, and more deeply comprehend and analyze them. You may come across numerous insights, Aha! moments and get to know yourself better. This means that your college personal statement will be closer to the core of your identity.

Brainstorming can be done on your own or with people who know you well (for example, peers from the school). Write down all thoughts and do not criticize anything. You will choose the main points later. At this stage, the main objective is to get a lot of information, which you will subsequently analyze.

For effective brainstorming, ready-made questions relating to different aspects of your personality will help you. These questions will help you reveal your skills, interests, values, and strengths in a natural and interesting way. Each question must be answered several times, as the first answer will be superficial and obvious. Dig deep and be original! If you do not know what to ask yourself, you can use our list:

  • What occasions in your life have influenced you the most? Why?
  • What problem are you proud of solving? How did you solve it?
  • How do you spend your free time? Would you like to change something in your daily routine?
  • What would you change in this world?
  • What story from your childhood do you still remember? How did it influence you? How is it related to your future career?
  • What actions are you ashamed of? What would you like to change in your actions?
  • What would you do if you had unlimited resources?
  • Your favorite book. What have you learned from it?
  • What is your favorite school subject? Why?
  • What career do you dream of?
  • What are you proud of?
  • What do you like and dislike about your high school?
  • What details of your personality distinguish you from other people?
  • What personal traits may help you in your career?
  • Why are you interested in the chosen field of knowledge?
  • What are your long-term goals?
  • What was the most memorable occasion in high school?
  • How do you feel about solving life problems?
  • Why should the selection committee choose you?

Of course, this list is not complete. You can add to it or change the above-mentioned questions. The main point is to find the answers that best describe your personality and show your motivation. After brainstorming is over, you should decide on the topic of your university personal statement.

Topic Selection

First of all, you need to remember that there is no single topic that suits you the most. You can write a brilliant paper with various structures and content. So first, make a shortlist. Look at the questions and see, which were the easiest for you to answer. Where did you catch more insights and what themes/memories/ideas resonated in your soul? Choose 3-5 topics and move on to the next step.

We suggest using the technique: “Notes on napkins”. You take your chosen topics and expand each of them in a few sentences so that the handwritten text fits on a napkin. These mini-essays may contain stories or answers to questions. Do not try to do it too responsibly: this is just a preparatory exercise. Good topics might be:

  • An obstacle from which you learned a lesson.
  • The story that characterizes you best.
  • Your career plan.
  • Your school achievement.
  • Your beliefs and way of thinking, etc.

Do the preparatory stage of work thoroughly and without hurry. It is better to choose a really good topic than to suffer, trying to write about something irrelevant. The essay should fulfill its purpose, but at the same time, you should admire it. Deep ideas found during brainstorming and a relevant topic are 50% of success in writing a personal statement.

How to Write a Good Personal Statement

After you have written down a few dozen ideas and chosen the most suitable topic, you can start writing an essay. Remember that writing a personal statement is a prolonged process. You will be able to edit as much as you need. Do not try to write perfectly right away. To craft an excellent paper, rely on the following basic rules:

  • Write in the first person. Usually, this is forbidden in school essays, but not in a personal statement. You are writing about yourself, so be honest and sincere. Do not try to invent anything and feel free to share your impressions and opinions. There are no “wrong stories” or “wrong experiences”. Everything you write is a reflection of your uniqueness, which is necessary for the college.
  • Be sure to mention in your paper a university or the course you wish to enroll in. People love to be given attention. Admissions officers are looking for candidates who think not only about themselves but also about the college and the chosen specialty. Find a way to connect your school past with your professional and academic future. Your knowledge of the traditions and mission of the educational institution will be an advantage for readers.
  • Remember that one paragraph is equal to one idea. You can reveal in each paragraph individual traits of your personality or aspects of your career goal. Do not mix unrelated points. The structure of a personal statement should be clear and coherent. Support each idea with examples, and provide your assessment and opinion.
  • Write more than two pages and then start erasing. Leave the strongest data and the most interesting examples. Reread your text and try to replace the cliches with original phrases and synonyms. Make sure the text contains the right number of words and paragraphs.
  • Keep editing until you are completely satisfied with the text. Reread it after a while. Try to read an essay as if you were an admission board member. If you have any doubts about its quality, look for a way to make it better. After ending a personal statement, be sure to check the text for spelling, stylistic and punctuation errors! It must be flawless.
  • Ask your school friends or relatives to read your personal statement and give their feedback. Remember that this is a crucial essay on which the selection committee’s decision may depend. Also, you can use our professional personal statement writing service. They regularly perform writing personal statements and help young people to get into coveted universities.

Once the work is done, feel free to submit it. You did everything that you could, which means academic and career success will definitely come!

Personal Statement Format

When starting a personal statement, you must adhere to standard formatting rules. If a college does not provide its specific requirements, then we recommend not to be original in the format issue and follow the generally accepted rules for writing academic essays:

  • Times New Roman font. 12 points. Do not experiment and try using an unusual font. Better show your creativity in the content.
  • Interval one and a half or double. Indent – one inch.
  • Try to avoid italics or bold font. However, in exceptional cases, you can use similar formatting.
  • Specify your data and contacts in the heading.

The format of personal statement should not distract the members of the selection committee from the content of the essay. However, blunders can also make a negative impression. You can first consult with specialists who know the preferences of the selection committee of a particular university

The Importance of Writing Personal Statements

Writing a personal statement is a creative process. You write with your heart and edit with your mind. The mind of everyone works logically according to the same laws and principles, but every soul has its own unique shades. Feel free to show yourself as too sentimental or too boring or focused on one idea, or vice versa, multi-directional. During editing, you will analyze your text logically and adjust it to the requirements of the university and general recommendations for writing your personal statement. But when writing, it is important to give free rein to feelings.

Why is a personal statement such an important document? In fact, it is the only way you can get the attention of the selection committee. Its members read hundreds of essays from high school students, and it is very difficult to stand out from the competition. The first impression is the strongest one, and therefore your paper may either pave the way for you to the desired career or become a big obstacle to it. Be sure that the members of the admissions committee, first of all, consider bright, attractive applications, and not gray and stereotyped ones. Your efforts will definitely bring the desired results!

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Tips for Writing Personal Statement

Whose opinion should you listen to when you write a personal statement? Of course, to the opinion of university professors and members of admissions committees. It is they who decide on inviting you for an interview at the university. Here are some tips from leading experts that high school students should pay close attention to:

  • Read the requirements of a particular college very carefully. Often, there are questions that need to be answered. Answer them as specifically as possible! Many applicants, unfortunately, don’t do so.
  • Show in your writing that you understand what you are doing. Demonstrate knowledge of the program or say that you have read books related to the course. Be specific, not vague. At the same time, do not brag on purpose, but be honest.
  • If you submit personal statements to several universities, they must be different! Show your respect for the institution, and don’t just change the heading with the college’s name. The essay must be related to a specific course.
  • Do not check spelling only with Microsoft Word. Digital text editors can’t find all errors, and they don’t understand idiomatic expressions.
  • Rely on one idea that connects everything in your text.
  • Use professional services for a consultation. Investing in professional knowledge will bring you big dividends.
  • Be honest and confident!

If you carefully read this article and use all its tips, then you have a considerable odds of becoming a student of the chosen program. Being a student is exciting and honorable. We wish you success on your academic path and we are confident that your personal statement will truly surprise every admissions officer.