You are finally at the stage in your academic career where you have to start writing admission essays and sending out applications to the colleges you want to attend. If you are completing your undergrad studies, then you have to try and get into the graduate programs you want to pursue. Regardless of whether you are just starting college or going for a graduate degree one thing you have to do is fill out the application and with that come your personal statements.
Surely, there is no perfect formula for writing a personal statement for college. There are a number of guidelines that you can utilize that will help you create something that will show you are not just like everyone else. There is one thing you need to know prior to starting your personal statement – you need to be unique in your delivery so the admissions officers cannot help but want to learn more about you.
Here are a few tips that can help you get the attention of the admissions officers, which can improve your chances of getting into the school or graduate program you have your heart set on.
Do not be a set of numbers
Some students focus so much time and attention on their grades and how well they do on entrance exams that they think nothing else is important. The reality is, your GPA and how well you do on exams matter, but most students applying have the same caliber of grades and test scores.
Your personal statement gives you the chance to show you are more than just the numbers you provide. If you did not fare as well on your entrance exams as you like, or if you do not have the perfect GPA, your personal statement can show other sides of your personality. There are sides that can’t be presented with your grades, sides that show your dedication to other things, such as an athletic team or community service.
Read and Follow Instructions
This is a basic thing to remember. You are going to have a set of rules and guidelines for each of your applications and personal statements. Do not ignore those instructions. If you demonstrate in your application that you cannot follow simple directions by ignoring word count limitations, you are giving the admissions officers reason to ignore, if not throw out, your application.
Tailor your Personal Statement
Before you start writing your personal statement, do some research into the school or program that you want to attend. This will allow you to give direct reasons in your personal statement that will encourage the committee to keep your application for further review and potentially offer you a spot in their school or program. Do not be fooled into thinking you can write one personal statement for every application. They need to be specific per institution.
One important aspect to personal statements is showing your personality. You want to show the admissions officers that you are not like everyone else that is submitting an application. Highlight your unique abilities while demonstrating what person you are. Remember when writing your personal statement being unique does not mean portraying yourself as someone you are not. Show the admissions officers why you are the person you are today and exactly why you are the ideal candidate to join their school or program. Be unique but be genuine.
Tell a Tale
When we tell you to tell a tale, we do not mean be the next great novelist. Start your personal statement with something that grabs the reader’s attention from the very first line. So many applicants are locked into generic opening sentences that admissions officers have read countless times. Break away from opening lines such as “The most life-changing moment in my life was…” Tell an interesting story about a time in your life that helped shape you into the person you are today. Start with how you felt or what the weather was like when you tell your story.
Remember, even when telling a story do not forget to highlight how the time shaped you, helped you grow, and allow the story to give insight into who you have become as a person. If you tell the story readers are unable to forget, you are increasing your chances of being accepted.
When it comes to filling out your applications for college and writing your personal statement, it is essential to follow directions, be yourself, and write something that engages the readers. You want to show them who you are as a person and impress them with your achievements, both academic and personal.