How to write a personal statement for college

How to write a personal statement for college

Statistics show that college enrollment is on rise. The number of college students enrolling for full-time courses is expected to increase to 10.4 million.

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The number of part-time college students will also continue to rise to 6.6 million. This means that thousands of personal statements and college applications are submitted each year to colleges and universities.

After submitting your good grades, excellent test scores, and your field of study, you need to write a unique personal statement. It is important to ensure your writing is impressive enough to help you get an admission or win a scholarship.

What is a personal statement?

A personal statement is a type of essay that you must write as part of college application. In this type of writing, you express your interest in joining a college or university.

It provides an opportunity for you to explain why you want to study a particular subject.  Articulate how skills you possess will make it possible for you to major in a specific field.

When your aim is to win a scholarship, you need to write a personal statement for scholarship that will capture your reader’s attention. Here is a guide that will equip you to write a personal statement that stands out from the crowd.

What is the importance of a personal statement?

A personal statement is about you. Admissions officers in a college or university are able to find out more about you through your personal statement.

What you share in this type of essay should not be the same as what is in your resume or transcripts. Talk about your unique experiences, good qualities, and beliefs that you have not included in other application documents. Your personal statement should capture the following

1.     Personal statement for college

When applying for college admission or a scholarship, you are required to write a personal statement that reveals the real you. College admission officers or committees want to know your personality.

They want to read something unique that sets you apart. Consider including the following:

Tell your story and make it interesting as you explain what you are bringing to the table. Provide relevant examples to elaborate your points instead of listing accomplishments.

Your personal statement should complement other applications and supporting documents. All application documents should help admission officers to understand you.

This means that you should avoid repeating yourself in such documents. You do not have to repeat information about your grades or high school accomplishments.

Such information can be found in other documents like your transcripts. Creatively express yourself in your personal statement and bring out your personality that cannot be seen in data.

2.     Personal statement for scholarship applications

When pursuing a bachelor’s degree, the odds of getting a scholarship are 1 out of 8 students. Winning a scholarship depends on your grades, test scores, and the subject you are studying.

To make your application complete, you need to write a personal statement to show why you deserve to be awarded a scholarship. In this case, your personal statement should not only tell your story but should also align with the goals of scholarship provider.

You may want to apply for college admission and a scholarship at the same time. Make sure your personal statement highlights your strengths. You can acknowledge some of your weaknesses but do not focus on the negative.

How to write a good personal statement for college

The first step to writing an excellent personal statement is to understand a personal statement definition and purpose.  A personal statement requires you to write about yourself in a way that readers can know your personality.

It is essential to pay attention to the required word count and other requirements. Read on and find out how to write a good personal statement in a unique way

1.     Personalize your personal statement

Make your personal statement personal. Write about your story. Make your story unique even when it looks like a common occurrence.

Everyone’s journey is unique. Find out what makes your story different from others. When writing a personal statement for a college application, admission officers will be looking at several things.

They will be looking for what makes your story different from others. They want to find out if you can write a common story in a new but interesting way.

2.     Speak naturally

When writing a personal statement for university, use a genuine tone. When your tone is genuine, you sound real, and it reflects who you are.

Represent yourself well with your tone of voice without using complicated words. Your writing should be easy to read and understand.

Using big words that require readers to check their dictionaries can make you look like a show-off. Avoid such words, especially if you are not sure of their meaning or how to use them in a sentence. It is safer to be simple but effective in your personal statement.

3.     Consider your audience

Think about what your audiences are expecting from you before you start writing your personal statement. When applying for college admission, admission committee expects to read a personal statement that aligns with goals and culture of the university.

You might want to write a personal statement for master’s degree scholarship. Think of what the scholarship provider expects to read from you.

For example, a scholarship provider might expect to read how you will support what they do, like their mission. Whether you are applying for college admission or a scholarship, give your audience what they expect from you.

4.     Write a relevant story that shows a connection to your college major

Most college essays that are successful tell a story and explain its significance to a reader. It ends with a connection to a college the student is applying.

Your story should include things that attracted you to a college, like location, sports, or other activities. You can write about the major you are interested in and why you want to join that program.

Mention what you think makes the program great. Make sure you are specific. Do not copy information from other places and paste it in your personal statement.

Write what you think clearly and concisely. The point is for college admission committee to understand why you are interested in joining the college.

5.     Check your personal statement length

Most students ask, “how long is a personal statement supposed to be?” Follow the instructions provided on the required word count.

Mostly you can be asked to write up to 500 words. In some colleges, you can be asked to write 600 to 650 words.

Once you finish writing your personal statement, counter-check the word count and ensure it is not below the required length. After editing your work, confirm word count is within the correct length.  Do not exceed the length with many words instead, stick to the range provided.

6.     Edit and proofread your paper

After you finish writing your personal statement, save it on your computer and take a break from your work. Stay away from your essay for a few hours or days if possible before you can look at it again.

Staying away gives you a mental break. You can resume your work later when you are more focused. Proofread your work with a clear mind and fresh eyes.

You will be able to notice mistakes that your eyes could not see before. Correct all grammar, punctuation, and spelling mistakes.

Admission officers evaluate your writing skills. They will look at your grammar, clarity of your work, and how engaging your story is.

Ensure you make all these corrections before submitting your work. Look at your entire personal statement from your topic, style, structure, and engagement.

Your writing should impress admission committees or scholarship providers with a clear and engaging story. Ask your friend or relative to read your work and help you identify any errors that you might have missed.

Consider suggestions from other reviewers and incorporate them in your work. When your work is thoroughly polished, you can hit the submit button.

What is the general format personal statement?

Generally, your personal statement  format should have a theme that shines through your story organically. You do not have to follow the traditional format that has five paragraphs and a thesis statement. Your writing should flow seamlessly from start to finish with a natural tone that reveals who you are.

Personal statement outline

An outline guides you in your writing process and ensures you capture all major points. Knowing what to include in your personal statement is important.

“Do I need to put my name on my personal statement?” This is a common question that most students ask. Here is how you can structure your work

1.     Heading

Write a heading for your personal statement and include the name of your document with the words “personal statement.” Write the name of the college and department and include your name.

2.     Introduction

This opening paragraph is where you write why you are attracted to a particular major in the college you are applying to. State qualities you possess that make you a perfect fit for the program. In the last sentence of your introduction, define yourself in a brief but clear way

3.     Body paragraphs

You can divide your body paragraph into three sections. Write about your most recent accomplishments that define you. Put your best accomplishments forward.

The second section tells your present story. Narrate a story that shows your best qualities like determination, confidence, and leadership. Focus on showing a positive self-image.

The third section of your body paragraph explains your future plans. Make sure you forecast your future positively.

Explain how the college you are pursuing will help you achieve your future career goals. Narrate how joining this college will help you evolve in the coming years.

4.     Conclusion

A concluding paragraph should briefly summarize your past, present, and future goals. Make the last sentence of your conclusion impactful so that a clear picture of you remains in the minds of readers.

How to select personal statement topics

Choosing the best topic for your personal statement can be a daunting task. In most cases, you will be provided with essay prompts that help you select a topic. Some of the common prompts a college can provide are

  • How you overcame failure
  • How you handled a challenge and demonstrated leadership
  • An experience that transformed your life and how you think
  • A book or movie that inspires you

Sometimes you may need to choose a topic when prompts are not provided. Here are steps you can follow in coming up with an engaging personal statement topic

1.     Brainstorm topic ideas

Have a brainstorming session about interesting events in your life. Take 10 to 15 minutes and think about defining moments and how they changed your life.

Think about lessons you learned and note down things that come to your mind. Some of the defining moments can be an accident you were involved in, an experience with your best friend, or traveling to a new place. You can brainstorm ideas on what you enjoy doing or people who inspire you, among others.

2.     Choose the best ideas

After thinking about defining events in your life and writing them down, you need to identify the best idea. Select 2 to 4 interesting ideas from your list.

3.     Free write your topic ideas

Write about your shortlisted ideas. Pick the first topic idea and start writing freely for 15minutes.

Do the same with the other shortlisted topics. When free writing, you should not worry about the structure, format, or other writing details.

The essence of free writing is to get ideas from your head to paper. Let ideas flow and keep writing without disruptions like edits.

You will edit your work after you finish writing your final draft. Keep remembering and writing as ideas flow from your mind to your paper or computer.

After performing free writing on all your shortlisted topics, choose one that seems to be most enjoyable and flows easily. This is how you will identify the best topic for your personal statement. Consider the following

  • A topic that is easy to write in 15 minutes
  • You are able to narrate a story about a specific topic
  • A topic that represents who you are
  • A topic that is not easily found in other application documents you submitted

When writing a personal statement for a college application, think about your qualities and highlight them. Write about your interesting story or defining background.

You may be writing about a simple topic. Make it insightful and engaging. Make your voice unique or have a different perspective on what you are writing.

Include something significant that happened to you or an achievement that has not been mentioned in your applications. This will helps the admission officers to know you better.

Writing a personal statement can be difficult for most students, and the stakes are always high. You can buy personal statement, especially when faced with writer’s block, and you need to beat deadlines.

Tips on how to write a personal statement for college

Writing about yourself might not be an essay thing to do. When applying for college admission or a scholarship, the application process requires you to write about yourself

You need to write an effective personal statement that will set you apart from thousands of other applicants. The following tips will help you craft a compelling personal statement

1.     Be creative

personal statement

When writing your personal statement, you need to be as creative as possible. This is not similar to an analytical paper that students are familiar with.

Write a meaningful story that reflects who you are. The topic you choose is very important as it should inspire you and make your writing process less stressful.

Ensure you select an enjoyable topic that inspires you to write an engaging story. Freely express yourself and let your audience see your personality through your writing.

2.     Make your writing natural

Write your paper using a conversational style that feels natural. Make it more refined and less fluffy.

Your tone of voice should be natural, as if you are talking to a mentor you admire. Get inspiration from personal statement examples online and analyze conversation styles.

3.     Show instead of telling

A personal statement should not list what happened, what is happening, and what will happen in future. This is boring. Make your personal statement exciting by bringing your audience in the moment of the action.

Show your readers what happened. Describe what you saw, heard, the smell and feeling at a particular moment.

Put yourself in that moment and use your senses to paint a vivid image in your reader’s mind. This way, your personal statement will not sound like a report with a list of things that happened.

Perform research before you start writing your personal statement. Read personal stories and listen to podcasts.

Analyze stories that you read or hear and find out what writers or presenters are doing right. Find out how they make their stories engaging and what you like or dislike about their stories.

Get inspiration from analyzing techniques that can be helpful to you. When conducting research, you can look for a personal statement template that you can use.

4.     Incorporate dialogue

Including dialogue in your writing makes your essay engaging and breaks long monotonous texts. A dialogue between two people brings exciting action to the story you are narrating.

This is an effective writing technique that you can occasionally use when crafting your personal statement. Do not use it too much instead, strike a good balance.

What you need to avoid when writing a personal statement for college

There are common mistakes that you need to avoid if you want to write an effective personal statement. Below are things you should be aware of and avoid

1.     Reporting all events of what happened

Do not report all events that happened at a particular time. Write what is relevant to your topic and the story you are narrating. An event that does not add value to your topic should not be part of your writing.

2.     Avoid adding too many experiences

Do not include very many experiences. Choose one relevant experience that you believe is the best.

Write details about it in a way that brings out who you are. When you use many experiences, it may not bring out your personality properly, and your readers might get confused.

3.     Avoid cliché language

Steer clear from quotes, especially from famous people. You can use a message from someone you know but avoid using quotes in general.

Your personal statement needs to be unique, and quotes do the opposite. Make your writing unique and avoid ambiguous words as well.

When writing, be specific. Add details and make what you are saying clear. Make sure your readers understand what you mean.

4.     Not thoroughly proofreading your work

Proofreading may seem obvious when you finish writing your personal statement. Sometimes you may be working on a tight deadline, and you rush through proofreading stage.

When this happens, you are likely to submit your work with spelling and grammar errors. It is crucial that you thoroughly proofread your work and correct all spelling and grammar mistakes. You may use proofreading software that will help polish your work before you submit.

Key takeaway

When applying for college admission or a scholarship, you need to understand how to write an effective personal statement. Capture the attention of admission officers with an engaging story that reflects your personality.

Structure your work properly and use a tone of voice that is natural. Avoid complicated words that might make you look like you are trying too hard. Freely express yourself when writing about an event. Let your readers see the real you.

Increase your chances of winning a scholarship by aligning your writing to the goals of scholarship providers. To get help writing your  personal statements, order for a write my personal statement writer.

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