Helpful Tips for Writing a Great Personal Statement
The personal statement graduate school wants to see for every applicant, is perhaps one of the most important aspects of a college admissions application. It’s no wonder why so many college bound students find this part of the admissions process the most stressful and intimidating. However, there are ways to write a great personal statement that will not only impress the colleges and universities you’re applying to, but also speaks truly to who you are as an individual.
Don’t Start Writing Right Away
It may be tempting to begin drafting your personal statement as soon as you receive the prompt but unless you’re a whiz at writing essays, it is best to read the prompt and then give yourself some time to think about it. Of course you’ll want to make sure you allow yourself a large enough window of time so that you can take your time writing your statement without missing the deadline for submitting it along with the rest of your application.
Once you’ve read the prompt and have given yourself a day to think about it, begin brainstorming what your talking points will be for your personal statement. Instead of trying to write out the actual essay right then and there, simply make a bullet list of simple sentences that could serve as the basis for each of the points that you want to address.
Write Just to Write
After your bullet list has been created, now is the time to sit down and begin drafting your essay. Because the idea of trying to write the perfect personal statement tends to cause a lot of pressure, don’t feel the need to get your first draft completely polished. Work around this by simply typing whatever is on your mind as it relates to what you’ve written on your bullet list. Don’t think about whether it makes sense or in what order you want to talk about certain topics. Just begin typing out paragraphs and don’t stop until you’ve truly run out of things to say.
Organize Your Chaos
One of the most helpful ways to write essays is to go back and organize what you’ve already written instead of trying to write everything in a perfectly organized manner from the beginning. Practicing this system will make it much easier to spot mistakes, grammatical errors/typos and gives you a chance to read the essay out loud to catch any sentences or topics that don’t quite make sense or directly relate to what information the prompt is asking for. Additionally, this method makes it easier to trim down the personal statement to fit the word count.
Ask for Extra Eyes
No student should be the sole editor of his/her personal statement essay. While it’s great to have a parent or other family member read and critique your essay, it’s even better to have one of your teachers or even your school’s guidance counselor review your work and provide their feedback. Some students even go as far as to hire a professional, freelance editor to help them improve their essay. For the best results, you should have at least three people read your personal statement.
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