How to Write a Personal Statement for College

Published: 2017-10-17 14:54:01
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Harvey Mudd College
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Essay
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Personal statement for college

A personal statement can be required for either academic or other purposes such as job application. Writing a personal statement gives one an opportunity to sell himself/herself in the application process. But before writing a personal statement, one need to differentiate between general personal statements and specific personal statements. General (comprehensive) personal statements allow one maximum freedom regarding what one writes. Those are the kind of personal statements usually prepared for standard law school or medical application forms. Specific personal statements require one to respond to specific questions.  Those type of personal statements is often required for those applying for graduate or business schools. When one is writing such statements, one must be careful to respond only to the specific questions asked in the application form. Sometimes, business schools require applicants to submit multiple essays.

How to start a personal statement

Irrespective of the nature of the personal statement, there are rules that must be followed.  

Tell a story: The essay should not be boring to the admission panel committee. To write an interesting personal statement, a student should show or demonstrate concrete experience. Distinguishing oneself using the story would make one memorable.

Find angle: Writing a personal statement which looks like you are reading from the same script with anyone else might not interest the committee. One ought to find a “hook” or an angle.

Carry out some research: A school might with to know why you are applying to instead of other schools. One should, therefore, do some research on what makes the school his/her preferred choice.

Present a well-written statement: Successful applicants are not only those who write well but also those who do it correctly. Before submitting your statement, it pays to proofread it several times. One can ask someone to peruse through it before submitting. Apart from adhering to stated word limits, one should also express oneself clearly as well as concisely.  

What to write about in a personal statement

Avoid some subjects: When writing a personal statement, it is important to know what should be included and what should be avoided. For example, certain experiences gained in high school might not be relevant and so to controversial topics such as politics, racism, and politics.

Focus on your introduction: an Introductory paragraph is the most important because it is a “door” to your essay. One would be interested in continuing depending on the introduction part of the statement. It should grab the reader’s attention because it becomes the framework for the remaining part of the statement.

Respond to questions asked: If one is applying to more than one school, one may find that there are some similarities in some sections. However, one should not be tempted to employ the same personal statement for all applications even when certain sections of the application are similar.

Narrate what you know: besides the requirement for details such as field/subject experience and knowledge in the middle part of the essay, some people do graduate without grasping the finer details of their area of specialization. One ought to write specific content about the field they hope to enter by using experience and knowledge gained in the past field of study. A professional language ought to be used throughout. Some of the important knowledge and experience worth referring include research, books read, classes, internship, conversations with professionals, and seminars attended in the past.

Avoid common clichés: Certain statements have been repeated several times in the past or many submitted personal statements. They are tiring statements and must be avoided at all costs. For example, an applicant hoping to join a medical school might suggest that one reason for applying to join the school is because he/she is good in sciences and math and has a passion for helping people with medical problems.

sheldon

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