Essays! Who likes writing essays? Especially when they are about ourselves?, They should be easy because we are writing about us but those types of essays always turn out to be the most difficult ones. I am not a great writer or grammar genius as you have probably noticed based on my last posts; therefore I am living proof that if I did it you can definitely write a great personal statement. Just a warning, do not expect your first draft to be the final one. I wrote several drafts before I submitted my final one.
Every time I wrote a draft I always thought it was perfect and assumed it would be my final one but as soon as I received feedback reality hit me and off I went to write another draft. Bear in mind that personal statements are at least 500-700 words limit. I believe somewhere between a page and a half double space. Word limits vary depending of the college you are applying to, so do your research and most importantly do not be discouraged!
-Start early, like really early-
You might think ‘oh I can pull an all-nighter and be done; it’s only 500 words’ unfortunately this is not your typical school essay. This is your life you are writing about and you want your life to be persuasive enough to enter into the people’s hearts who will be reviewing your application at the college admissions’ office. So, what are you waiting for?
What do I write about? I kept asking myself, what is so interesting and different in my life? For me everything seemed normal about my life. I did not feel unique. Let me tell you something, you are unique and different. Therefore start thinking about your triumphs, challenges, accomplishments, experiences in your life or community, the culture surrounding you, and its influence in your life.
If you still have no idea… here are some questions to ponder about:
- What details of your life either personal/family problems, accomplishments/achievements set you apart from other applicants?
- Any unusual obstacles in your family (financial, health issues, abuse) or community hardships you had to overcome? What have you had to overcome to be who you are?
- What are your career goals? A field of study you have in mind to learn more about?
- What skills do you have (debater, technician, singer, leader)?
- If you have work experiences list it and how has it showed your responsibility, commitment or leadership?
Narrow down your topics and start analyzing how they have shaped every aspect of your life.
-The usage of “I”-
You are going to write about yourself. Do not use he/she, use “I”. It is your story and you are telling it. Write a fresh and memorable story about your talents, personality, and obstacles using “I” and “me.”
Make strong points about your life story, be persuasive. Basically, sell your story. Make them want to buy it and show them that like your story there are no more than two. Provide specific examples, do not just say something bad happened in your life but explain what that bad thing that happened was.
-Proofread and ask for help-
Grammar, spelling, and sentence structure should be reviewed and edit again and again. You are reading your personal statement over and over that at some point everything looks great and you do not notice any errors anymore. However, this is a distracting way and many errors are dismissed. Instead ask for feedback to your family, teachers, friends, or mentors. All of them could offer you significant help to make of your personal statement something more outstanding and lively.
Wow!! I wrote so much! I promise I will not write this much anymore.
Have you started your personal statement?