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!
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!
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.
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:
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.
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:
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.
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:
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.
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:
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!
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:
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
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!
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:
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.