Writing an essay about yourself sounds simple, right? Well writing about yourself can prove to be a lot more difficult than a research paper about a historical figure. In order to write an effective personal statement, you need to include your skills, abilities, and experiences that you want the committee of the college you’re applying for to know. This can be stressful considering that you’re competing with numerous applicants who are all vying to get accepted to the same university. How can you make your statement unique and better than the rest?
Here are some important points that you need to remember when writing your own personal statement:
Focus on a central theme or a main point. Basically, when writing a personal statement for a university or school application, you should evidence– whether implicitly or explicitly– why you should be chosen or accepted for that particular program, and how you will be a valuable contribution to their student body. You may choose to detail the goals and activities you hope to contribute to their student body, the research you hope to contribute, or something along those lines. You may also discuss your drive to assist others in need or any other significant quality that you find relevant.
When you choose a theme, be sure that it fully represents you. This way, you should not have any trouble at all in working on it. Writing about it should be done enthusiastically and with authority. In addition, you must present supporting statements as much as possible so that the committee of the college can get a good grasp of what you are trying to convey to them.
The structure is like the backbone of your statement, each inter-related item forming a rib, a vertebra, or another part of the body of the paper. When you have a solid structure in your piece, you will notice that it flows well and what you want to state or point out in your content is well grasped by those who will interview and evaluate you. Structure involves organized ideas, good transitions, relevant themes or focal points, and more. It introduces specific points and ends with a good conclusion.
To create the structure for your piece, you need to make an outline before you start writing your statement. With this, you can include significant details of your life, presenting them in a logical order that you are sure the reader will be able to follow without difficulty or confusion. Identify ideas that are interrelated. Discard those that do not have significance or may deviate from your main focus. Categorize situations into groups like volunteer experiences, work experiences, and others. I regularly recommend writers to tell a story in their personal statements. This keeps the audience engaged and interested.
You should be very careful with the words you use. You are not there to impress the committee with huge words. Rather, you are there to impress them with relevant facts that are told in a specific and engaging manner.
One of the things you should remember when you are writing a personal statement is that you need to show your experiences rather than merely provide a list of details for your interviewers. Remember that the committee barely knows you. To put your best foot forward, you must provide explanations, backgrounds or examples in your essay whenever needed. Be anecdotal and use your emotions to show or highlight your experiences. This will give your essay a touch of originality and authenticity and give your application a competitive edge.
If the applications committee wants to see a list of activities you have taken part in in the past, they can simply refer to your resume. Your personal statement ≠ your resume. Do not treat this wonderful creative writing opportunities as a mere catalogue of your experiences.
Before you submit your personal statement, read your piece aloud or ask a teacher to proofread the essay for you. This can make it easy for you to catch errors and to rewrite a part of your content whenever necessary.
Writing your essay this way will make it an exciting read. When you take note of your structure, form, and grammar, your content will be able to make a positive impression on your interviewers. It will show that you genuinely prepared for your application, and dedicated the time and focus necessary. It will also show how serious you are about joining the institution.
About the author: Eliza Morrison Nimmich is a Co-Founder of Tutor the People, an online and in-person test prep company that provides undergraduate tutoring such as ACT and SAT, as well as graduate-level tutoring, such as LSAT prep, CPA prep, and more. Eliza works with applicants of all disciplines and levels on their personal statements. It’s a chance to add some color to the black and white statistics of your GPA and resume.