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How to Write a Personal Statement for a College Application

February 13, 2020

Among the many things every that the technical progress brought to a student, you can name the Common Application. It is a well-known online platform that allows each student to submit their college application documents for the admissions committee. The procedure is simple: they fill the required forms and add the necessary documents like the information about their school grades and other achievements. The platform will save these data, and a student can use the package to submit to any college.

The standard list of these documents includes at least one application essay – a paper on a particular topic that is also called a personal statement. Some colleges require several themes, but you will need to write one private comment in any case. The importance of an application essay is crucial. Many experts even consider the personal statement no less than a quarter of your success. Thus, a student always searches for essay guides and tips on this assignment or a statement example to base own story on. There is a lot of such “help write” resources.

It is not easy to write a great personal college essay, even if, in the past, you could write great texts. This one is different. The grade you get for the personal statement is not direct, but they will evaluate it. And it all can depend on how you can in your account choose the best topic and reveal something about yourself – as it is personal.

That’s why we have created this article to help the students. We’ll provide guides on how to choose a topic that will let you present your ideas in the best way and what to write to compose an excellent example of a personal statement.

Why do colleges need that essay?

The leading cause why you write a personal statement during the college application process is to let the admission officers know more about you. There are many more applications than the college you target towards may accept. Many high school students submit similar SAT scores, test results, recommendation letters, and certificates. You already compete with all other candidates at this early stage. It is why your statement essay is necessary. It must persuade you that you are the best match for that college.

It might look like a proto-CV, and it has the same goal – to make the college admissions get interested in students and want to meet them on campus. It is how they will read your statement and evaluate you besides the test scores. And this is what you should keep on mind always when you write it – think of the impression you want to make, and how they might understand the ideas you put into the text.

1: What person are you?

It is an essential question. Colleges and universities value their reputation. They need to know if you share their beliefs and can present them as your alma mater proudly. As for you, it is a chance to let them learn about your best qualities, sturdy sides, and the weak sides you honestly admit and explain how you work on them.

2: Are your writing skills good enough?

No matter which college you enroll in and which subjects you learn, you will write a lot. Appropriate skills can help you with all those writing assignments. But there is one more factor: your writing is the reflection of your thinking. And they will judge the way you express your thoughts by that essay. You don’t have to write on a Pulitzer Prize level, but you should work on making your written speech clear and concise. The requirement to track and fix any possible errors and typos comes by default.

3: Did anything affect your school records, and which extenuating circumstances you have?

The first and foremost rule is to submit only the correct information about yourself. If there were some periods of decline or gaps, the admissions officers would know about that from your documents. You can’t hide that. But you can explain the reason why. If there were any emergencies in your life that you had to fight, the personal statement is a proper possibility to describe them. Colleges want to know how you overcome such difficulties.

4: Why this college/university?

The schools you apply always to need to understand why you choose them. Colleges work on their public image diligently and support certain scientific and social positions. Your essay lets the admissions see if you support and share those positions too.

A personal statement starts from choosing a topic

Every student or an ex-student knows this feeling of doubt: do I choose the topic wisely? Is this what they want to hear from me? Is there the “right path” guide to follow?

There is no ready answer to this. But there is one good recommendation: don’t search for a topic that you think “right” to do you justice. It won’t work if this sphere does not appeal to you. Instead, choose the subject that is important to you – and you’ll see how it all becomes more natural to write about.

Prompts of the personal statement essays

When you submit via the dedicated online platforms like the Common App, you see the prompts for the personal essay to choose from. They are wide to give you freedom of interpretation, and also, they let you choose your focus.

Prompt 1: Tell a story about some important event from your life

The goal: Show conditions and circumstances that shaped your personality.

Tips: Don’t tell a story of your life from birth till now. Choose one most vivid example and focus on it. Think of the importance of that event for your personal development and tell about that in an essay.

Prompt 2: Explain how you cope with problems

The goal: Prove that you can deal with the college challenges successfully.

Tips: Be honest and select some of the real problems or failures you faced in the past to show how that challenge influenced you. Illustrate your problem-solving skills and how you can adapt and which lessons you can learn from even the negative experience.

Prompt 3: Issues of understanding the diversity

The goal: prove that you can collaborate with people who differ from you mentally and physically.

Tips: Choose this prompt if you have a good story to tell. It is a great option to present yourself as an open person, and it is advantageous if you can connect your ideas with the statements that are supported by the chosen college.

Prompt 4: Your plans for the future

The goal: describe your interests and prove that you can plan your work and put efforts to reach the target.

Tips: think about the individual programs dedicated to the particular field that appeals to you. Consider this thoroughly, discuss this with your parents too.

Prompt 5: Describe why you choose this school

The goal: describe the arguments that influenced your decision to apply to this college or university. Most of the schools want to know this, and they can make this prompt obligatory or include this question into the other prompts.

Tips: you can connect this prompt with the previous one about the plans for the future. Name the pluses of the school, which you think will help you to reach your goals.

Prompt 6: Creative Topic

In some schools, it is the option you can use if none of the prompts suits you. Or, it can be a catch with a weird topic, but you still should interpret it. The goal is to prove your flexibility and originality, show how you can explain the things and look at them from different points of view.

Practical Essay Tips on Making a Strong Personal Statement

After choosing the prompt and deciding what and how you will write in a personal statement, you start the writing itself. Pay attention to the following tips:

  1. Take your time. As the personal statement essay is so vital for the college application, you will need much more time to make it properly and polish to perfection. Start to write early, revise and edit it, and then let yourself rest for several days before getting back to your text. You will undoubtedly see more things to correct. Do this a couple more times.
  2. Be specific. It is the key to all prompts. If you are very interested in some idea and can spend hours talking about it, still choose one of the aspects and make it as narrow and targeted as possible. Tell about the formal events, participants, feelings, and life lessons.
  3. Don’t try to pretend someone else. Choose the things that you love or think meaningful for you, use your everyday words and the casual style. However, your writing mustn’t be full of colloquialism, make your language clear, but not primitive.
  4. Read the essay aloud several times. Listening to the sound of phrases, you can detect the awkward sentences or word choice you might not note on writing. Also, read it aloud to your family or other people you trust to get the advantage of the new sight.
  5. You will face enough issues when you become a student, starting from the junior year and so forth. And this challenge is just the first one. Still, you need to fight it. Or, refer for help for the Domain, and we’ll gladly assist you with this demanding task.

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