When it comes to a personal statement, many students have troubles with writing it because of the fear and the pressure they feel. It isn’t surprising, considering that a personal statement is a writing piece that can change their lives greatly.
What is a personal statement?
A personal statement could be the key to getting into the university of your dreams. Many applicants have good grades, amazing test scores, and impressive personal achievements but if it was enough, universities would probably be filled with smart people who don’t actually want to be there as much as others do.
That’s why, an admission board pays close attention to things you write in your personal statement: this is your chance to show what kind of a person you are, why do you want to get into a certain university, and how offering you a place could benefit this university.
It seems like a very responsible piece to write and it actually is one. However, if this knowledge leaves you terrified and unable to write a single sentence, you’re doing it wrong. Let me help you with your personal statement writing: to do so, I want to offer you 10 best tips that can aid you and make the whole process easier.
- Don’t pay attention to what others write.
Yes, it could be tempting to read others’ personal statements and use them as examples. But actually, it might do you more harm than good. Remember that you have to show your own personality instead of copying personal traits and ideas that belong to someone else. Trust that you are unique and amazing, able to stand out on your own.
- Start early and take your time.
One of the most common mistakes students make is writing a personal statement in a day, hoping that it’ll give them enough time to fix the mistakes and polish everything. While writing a personal statement in the last minute is definitely bad, writing it quickly though you have enough time ahead is not good too.
It’s better to start as early as possible: a month or two before you have to send it. Don’t rush: instead, take your time and think about all the things you would like to write, focus on editing and rewriting.
- Forget about the character count.
While personal statement size is limited by a number of characters, it’s better to forget about that for a while: this way, you’ll feel less pressure. Sure, the chances of you writing an essay that fits the limit are quite small, but at least you’ll be able to focus on the idea, not on the size, and then tailor the completed piece to a required limit.
- Explain your reasons well.
Every admission board needs to know why you are applying for a certain course, so it’s better to give them a detailed answer. Think of the main reasons for choosing this course and try to explain them well. Maybe you have only one specific reason – that’s okay, but you have to be sure that it looks appropriate before mentioning it.
- Explain how you could be useful to them.
Both you and admission board are looking for a profit: you want to receive a good education and they want to accept a student that can be useful to university in some way. Some students forget about that, speaking only about their own goals and intentions. Do not repeat their mistake: mention your features and skills that make you useful to a certain university.
- Show that you are motivated enough.
If you are really passionate about a certain course, you probably do something related to it outside of the classroom. Maybe you do some extra reading, maybe you participate in related activities, and so on. Don’t forget to mention that in your personal statement: this will show the admission board that you are really interested.
However, if you mention extra reading or things like that, avoid speaking about the most common works in a field that interests you: most of the students probably mentioned them already.
- Pick the words carefully.
Your extensive vocabulary could actually help you greatly with your application. Some words sound better than the others, some make you look smarter, and so on. Take your time to reread your personal statement and replace some words with the ones that help to create the right impression. If you have troubles choosing the right ones, use online dictionaries and synonym services.
But be sure not to overdo it: you should make the text look right, not fill it with complicated words that will make it hard to read.
- Come up with the perfect opening sentence.
You probably know how important the opening sentence is: it catches the attention of the reader as well as creates the first impression. It should be interesting, catchy, not too smart and not too frivolous – and, of course, it’s hard to come up with such sentence right away. However, your goal here is not to write it immediately but simply to remember that you have to make it outstanding. It’ll come with time if you remember about it.
- Read it out loud and show it to other people.
No matter how hard students try, not all of them are able to spot all the mistakes and flaws in their personal essays. That’s why it’s important to approach it from different angle, by reading the essay out loud or showing it to the people whose opinion is valuable to you – this way, either you will notice if something is off or the people will tell you.
- Stay positive.
Writing a personal statement can definitely be a stressful thing – but only if you view it this way. I recommend forgetting about its importance while you’re writing it, as many mistakes could be made because of stress. Try to keep calm, stay positive, and do your job well – and you will succeed!
As you see, while a personal essay is a very important paper, writing it can be not as hard and terrifying as it seems. All you need to do is to focus on the main points, mind the details, and not forget to show your personality.
I wish you good luck and hope that you’ll be able to impress an admission board with a stunning personal statement!
About the Author:
Richard Nolan is a blogger and a private tutor, sharing his experience in spheres of blogging, self-growth, and psychology. Richard writes for numerous blogs and gives useful tips for bloggers, students, and teachers. You can learn more about Richard on Facebook and Google+