3 Easy Tips To Write Your Personal Statement And Get Admitted

3 Easy Tips to Write Your Personal Statement & Get Admitted

Does your dream college require a personal statement for their admissions process?

Many of my seniors who are applying to state universities will complete a personal statement for their application, rather than respond to an essay prompt. Prompts on the Common Application are typical for college admissions essays. Although the personal statement is also used to determine college admissions, it’s quite different.

What is a personal statement?

Think of the personal statement as a brief bio, about 1 to 1-1/2 pages. It should be just as interesting and creative as an essay. When I say “bio”, the first response from you may be to start with “I was born…” That’s boring and too far back.

Here are three tips I share with my seniors so that they write a compelling personal statement to get admitted:

1. Brainstorm about 3-4 highlights of your life story.

You can start by listing experiences, activities, or people that are important to you. Taking this first step will help you think more broadly about who you are and what matters to you.

2. Focus on an important experience that you think speaks to who you are.

Nothing is more boring to read than a laundry list of your accomplishments. This won’t help you stand out. Focusing on one experience will be more interesting to your reader because it will:

  1. a) have more depth
  2. b) grab the reader’s attention, and
  3. c) keep you from rambling.

Yes, it will take more time for you to write. But it will also have more impact.

3. Use your own writings but not the writing of others.

Your personal voice is critical in a personal statement.

Reviewing personal statements that others have written to get into college will get in the way of telling your own story. If you need more inspiration, you can incorporate what you’ve written in your other college admissions essays.

Remember that the personal statement, like the college admissions essay, is written from the heart (not the head). In short, that means it should not be treated as something you write for school, i.e. no five-paragraph essay allowed.

If you are applying to schools that require admission essays rather than personal statements, here are some tips for making your college essay to stand out among thousands of others. And what if you come across a college application with questions noted as “optional?” Should you still answer them? Click here to find out.

Whether you need to write a personal statement or a classic college essay to get admitted, it just takes a little planning to ensure your chances of admission success.

Which colleges are you applying to that require a personal statement?

If you’re looking for one-on-one guidance to help you get into (or pay for) college, click here to learn more. 

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This article was originally published on July 26th, 2016, and has since been updated.