Are you dreading to write that personal statement for your application?
You may feel overwhelmed by the task, but in reality your personal statement is a great opportunity. This is your chance to show the admissions committee the real you, the aspects of yourself that are not revealed by grades or test scores. Here are some tips to help you make the most out of your personal statement.
1. Start with a personal inventory. Answer a set of questions about why you are attracted to this field or this school and how your past experiences have shaped you. Some good questions might be: What do you hope to get out of this career? How have your past jobs contributed to your growth? What challenges and hardships have you had to overcome?
2. Do some research ahead of time. What exactly is it about this school or this program that sets it apart in your mind? Uncover some specific information about the school to help you clarify this.
3. Respond specifically to the questions asked. Tailor your personal statement to the school to which you are applying. Try not to cut corners by using a one-size-fits-all personal statement for every school.
4. Include only items that are relevant. Focus on a clear thesis statement about why you are a great candidate for the program. Don’t litter your personal statement with an excess of trivial details. The reviewers don’t need to know your entire life story. Also try to avoid any statements that may be controversial (political or religious statements).
5. Be positive. This is a good place to address any obstacles that you have faced and how you overcame them. Whatever you mention as part of your story, spin it in a positive light and show that you have the resilience and determination to surmount challenges.
6. Write a strong opening paragraph. No pressure, but your first paragraph will make or break your personal statement. Put effort into making that opening paragraph a memorable attention-grabber, and you will have the reader’s attention throughout the rest of the essay.
7. Make your personal statement lively and interesting. The admissions committee will most likely be reading thousands of personal statements, so don’t bore them. Make your personal statement into a memorable story that showcases the real you.
8. Get specific. Any statement you make in your essay should be backed up with facts. Don’t just say that you are driven and goal-oriented. Cite specific accomplishments to prove that this is true.
9. Show your knowledge. The admissions committee is interested in what you have already learned about your chosen field of study. Reference classes you’ve taken or books that you’ve read. Use field-specific terminology to show you understand it.
10. Proofread not just once, but many times during the writing process. Ensure that your spelling, punctuation, and grammar are flawless. Professors care about the writing ability of their students, so don’t let a few silly errors obscure your potential.
It’s hard to stand out from so many other applicants, especially if you’re applying to a competitive field. Use this opportunity wisely, and you will certainly shine brighter than your competitors.