Personal Statement Writing - A Complete Guide With Examples
A well-written personal statement is the ultimate selling tool and is a fundamental requirement for college applications. Knowing how to write a personal statement is a serious advantage in the college admissions process.
Follow a standard personal statement format to summarize your skills, experience, interests, accomplishments, and attitudes.
The high school, college, and university application process is challenging and requires at least one personal statement essay to accompany additional documents. Most admissions are determined by three major factors:
- Your GPA
- The letter of recommendation
- Your personal statement
When the admissions committee officer reviews your application, it begins with your school transcript and overall academic record. When your academic record indicates your ability to complete a college curriculum, the officer then turns to your personal statement.
What is a Personal Statement?
Your personal statement college essay serves multiple purposes:
- It's an opportunity to get to know you better. The reader wants to know about your life experiences and personality beyond your academic performance. Write a personal statement in a way to grab the reader's attention and making them feel welcomed.
- It provides a snapshot of your personality and any unique attributes you may possess. When submitting a personal statement as part of a scholarship application, present yourself as eager, determined, and focused. So, you come across as a good fit for the graduate program as well as their institute.
- It's a demonstration of your priorities. What do you want to achieve in life? How do you plan on achieving your goals? Why should they consider your application among the thousand other applications for admission?
- It tells your personal story. Everyone has a story. Your reader wants to know yours. Your story does not have to be full of drama, but it should display meaningful introspection on your part.
What's the Purpose of Personal Statement?
College admissions and scholarship grants are not solely based on the academic record.
The purpose of your personal statement is to honestly and candidly reveal your personality to the reader. They want to know you before they consider you for a scholarship. They want to see how ambitious you are and how focused you are on reaching your academic and personal goals.
A well-written personal statement can make all the difference. Give them the time and attention needed to separate themselves from the crowd and to present you in the best possible light.
Because your personal statement is of such importance you might want to consider a professional essay writing service like us.
Whether you’re submitting it to a prestigious graduate school, law school, or medical school, seeking help is the best option if you don’t have good writing skills.
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How to Write a Personal Statement?
The personal statement is your chance to introduce yourself to admission officers and scholarship committees. The trick is to write clearly, and honestly...and to get to the point without belaboring any of it.
How to Start a Personal Statement?
To begin writing your personal statement...just begin.
Don't be concerned with word count. Write as much as you can without repeating yourself.
With that rough draft in hand, check the word count. If it exceeds the guidelines, simply eliminate irrelevant details and any redundancies or repetition. Compress your writing into fewer words and remove everything that doesn't contribute to a concise, to-the-point presentation.
Take your time while writing your personal statement. It is not possible to write it within a couple of hours or even a couple of days. Take a break while you are writing your personal statement. Come back with a fresh mind.
Focus on Your Strengths
Avoid using statements like "I am not good at math, which is why I don't like it." Statements like these leave a negative impact on the reader and send the wrong message. Emphasize the positive aspects of your interests and academic background and avoid negative statements.
Be Honest in Your Writing
The topic of your personal statement is "you." You have to write all about yourself, your interests, your achievements, your goals, your ambition, your skills...but you need to do so openly and honestly.
The person reviewing your application will have reviewed many personal statements before yours. He will know what honest writing is and what exaggeration and hyperbole are.
Don't try to create a false image in the mind of your reader by adding superfluous details. Admission officers understand that you're a young person with limited life experience. Don't make yourself sound like something you're not.
You’ve probably read several personal statement samples before you started working on your own, don’t try to copy any of those.
Use Expressions that Sound Professional
What do you want to do in life?
What do you want to accomplish in life?
Do you see the difference between these two sentences?
The only difference between them is just one word. Do – Accomplish
Just a single word can change the tone of the statement. Accomplish sounds much more "seasoned" and "reasoned." Use strong, precise words in your writing. Even when two words have the same meaning, the proper vocabulary can still change the context of the statement.
You can also use words from other languages in your writing. Over-use of a Thesaurus is not recommended. You want to sound intelligent and well-read, not supercilious.
Proofread your Personal Statement
No matter what type of academic essay you’re writing, basic rules apply to each of them. Be sure there are no spelling mistakes, grammatical errors, and punctuation missteps in your writing.
Take Feedback from your Friends and Family Members
If you need ideas about what you should be focusing upon, seek feedback from your friends and family by asking them to read and proofread it.
If they find any mistakes, correct them. If they don't understand something you've written or find it awkward, let their feedback guide you to make it sound more effective.
How to Format a Personal Statement
Here is a personal statement format that will be your guide while writing a personal statement for your college application or scholarship application.
Open your essay by sharing your interest in a particular course of study for which you are applying. Don't start your essay by mentioning your accomplishments.
Your introductory paragraph does not need to be too long. Simply give an overview of your personality and interests as a capable individual of getting admission in that specific field.
You can share a small story or incident that lead to your interest in the field that you are applying to. What made you passionate about learning more about it. For instance, someone who witnessed a road accident and lost someone close might want to go to medical school to save lives.
The idea of the introduction is to highlight your personality as well as your interest in the particular degree.
Body of your Personal Statement
In the body of your personal statement, emphasize your personality. You can mention your educational background, involvement in extracurricular activities, and experience, but do so in a way that indicates how they were helpful in shaping your personality.
Stress your best qualities in the body paragraphs to create your positive image. "Who are you now and why?" Answer this question in a way that the reader is likely to want to get to know you even better.
In the third body paragraph of your personal statement, mention your future goals and how your preferred course of study will help you fulfill them. How do you plan on pursuing this career in the future? Describe your career objectives and how you plan to achieve them.
In short, the body of a personal statement should present a short summary of your educational background without turning it into a resume. In case of inconsistencies or poor grades, you can use this opportunity to provide explanations.
Next, share an anecdote or a short story that sparked your interest in a particular degree or field, or something that highlights your problem-solving skills. Keep it short and concise, you don’t want to bore them with too much detail.
Lastly, explain why you are the best fit for this degree at their particular institute. What makes you stand out from the rest of the students applying to that college.
Write the conclusion with a strong sense that you are qualified for admission or for a scholarship award. Summarize your experience and your objectives with positive, declarative statements.
Similarly, you may get asked to provide a college application essay from the institute you’re applying to. Some students confuse the two personal statements and college application essays and consider them the same thing.
Both these application essay types are different and follow a unique structure and syntax. While we have covered everything there is to know about writing a personal statement, check out this article if you want to learn about writing a college application essay.
Personal Statement Examples
Here are some admissions applications and sample personal mission statement examples that exemplify best practices of personal statement writing.
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Frequently Asked Questions
How long should a personal statement be?
The length of a personal statement is defined by the institute that you are applying to. It can range anywhere from 500 to 1000. It all depends on the country and college that you are writing for.
In case the word limit isn’t specified don’t go over 500 words. It is the ideal length as it isn’t too long or too short.
Remember that the college admissions committee members go through each essay quickly as they receive thousands of them. So, you must deliver your message efficiently without dragging your essay.
How to open a personal statement?
Most students waste a lot of time coming up with a killer opening for their essays. They want to make their introduction catchy by using quotes or sayings. This is an incredibly wrong approach and is off-putting.
The admissions committee wants to get to know you, your interests, and why you want to apply to the institute. So, wasting your time thinking of some quotation will not do you any good.
Instead, start your personal statement by your interest in the course you are applying to and your reasons for choosing it.
This is your opportunity to introduce yourself, show them that you are enthusiastic about the course that you are applying to. What do you find exciting about studying it, what do you hope to learn, etc.
What do I write in a personal statement?
A personal statement is about ‘YOU’. It is your introduction to the admission committee and, based on it, they take the decision of moving on with you.
Do you introduce yourself in a personal statement?
Yes, writing a personal statement is actually your chance to introduce yourself to the admission committee. Tell them who you are and why you are a perfect fit for their college or university.
What is important in a personal statement?
Showcasing your own personality, achievements, aspirations, and qualities that would make you an asset to the institute.