How to Write a Personal Statement
How often do you like to talk about yourself? Not in a superficial way – in a true, heart-to-heart kind of way. Is that a little uncomfortable? Don’t worry, it is for most people. Personal statements are – well, personal, and not many students are all that comfortable with the idea of delving into their personalities, traits and strengths that deeply. Much like an admission essay, a personal statement is a tool that colleges use to identify excellent candidates for their learning institution. The key to writing a great personal statement lies in honesty and personal quality. Compiled below is a comprehensive list of what colleges look for in a great personal statement.
- Your goals. When writing a personal statement, you should be clear and up front about what you hope to achieve in the future. Colleges don’t respond well to applicants that don’t identify any future endeavors or seem to have any grasp on where they’re going in life. You don’t necessarily have to have all the answers, but you should be able to positively identify a few major goals you hope to achieve with the aid of your college education, and why they are important to you.
- Your strengths and weaknesses.A personal statement is a statement that’s personal – get it? That means you’re going to have to take a good, long look at yourself and reflect on who you are. What are your values? What are your innate strengths, and what are you striving to improve? Colleges respond well to students that have a thorough understanding of themselves and their capabilities. What have you learned, and what are you still striving to learn? Think long and hard about this piece.
- You individuality. There is no one else on earth like you, and you want the college to care deeply about that fact. When you’re undergoing your self-examination, take note of what makes you unique. What individualizing factors, skills, values or experiences do you possess that contribute positively to your life (and, by effect, could contribute positively to the school)? Remember that you are a highly unique individual with unique points of view, expertise and goals; this should be communicated effectively in your personal statement.
- How you make it interesting. Colleges will receive thousands of personal statements, all of which will include the above three components. You need to set yourself apart. You need to make yourself interesting. Maybe you can write in a witty and humorous way; maybe you can use a story or anecdote to make the statement more interesting. Hook your reader form the first sentence, and you’ll better guarantee that they’ll keep reading.