Graduate school applications usually consist of many parts and a personal statement is almost always a part of the requirements.
Regardless of what the college defines as its application judging criteria, the personal statement is given a lot of weight when it comes to making admissions decisions.
Hence, it is necessary to absolutely ace your personal statement to ensure admission into your dream school.
Keep reading to find out how you can write an impressive personal statement when applying to college.
Make It Personal
This might seem like a no-brainer but your personal statement needs to be all about you.
Many applicants spend a lot of time researching what alumni of their dream school have written previously and basing their personal statements around them.
While it makes sense on paper that if the school has accepted it in the past why won’t they do it again, the trick does not work in real life!
The chances of someone having a life exactly like yours are slim so you need to take the personal statement and make it your own. Stop trying to think about what admissions committees want to hear and start writing about your experiences that make you unique.
This is the only way you should start your draft and then refine it from this point forward.
Make It Interesting
The goal should be to always make your writing interesting enough that the reader actually wants to read your writing. However, the stakes are a lot higher for a personal statement because this can dictate your future quite easily.
The first thing that you need to do when writing a personal statement is to think about how you are going to grab the admissions committee’s attention with a stack of very well-written personal statements.
If you are starting with a quote from a famous person, you are already at the bottom of the pile.
The only way to set yourself apart from the crowd is to do something unexpected, creative and different.
A trick that many published authors use often is to start in the middle of the story, start with something completely random or something negative (if you’re feeling like taking a small risk). If you start with something random or in the middle of the story then you are creating mystery and intrigue around what you are going to say next.
Moreover, people generally tend to write about things that they are happy about so starting with a negative thought can be disorienting enough to catch the reader’s attention fully.
Meet The Requirements
You would be surprised at how many applications don’t get through only because they did not meet the formatting requirements outlined by the college.
While it may be an honest mistake during the stressful submission process, admissions committees take these requirements extremely seriously. They directly relate mistakes like these to an inability to follow instructions and rules which translates to a person they don’t want at their institution.
Personal statements can have many formatting requirements such as fonts, font size, spacing, margins, word count and page numbers.
You should always aim to double-check every single requirement on the list to make sure you are following these correctly.
Mention The Why
By mentioning your personal experiences and unique qualities, you are addressing the committee’s “why you?” question.
The next important point is to address the “why us?” question.
The committee will need a clear answer as to why you have chosen this specific institution for your application efforts and why you are likely to accept admission if given the chance.
The answer to this question cannot be surface-level.
It has to be something that invokes deeper emotion toward the university and shows a commitment to your future.
While it is okay to mention how the location of the university is ideal for your commute or how your family members have a legacy at the university, you need to be able to show how this college is the only way you can accomplish your career goals.
Make Editing A Priority
Many applicants spend so much time writing and staring at their personal statement that they think it is perfect when they are done writing the content.
However, you need to take a break away from the draft and come back to it later so you can find syntax errors in your writing. Poor writing is a major reason why applications get rejected.
Lack of proofreading is a big red flag for universities as it shows a lack of interest and commitment to the application.
Using an essay writing service can make it really easy to make sure that the personal statement is written exactly the way the college requires it and free of errors.
Make Alumni Connections
If you are applying for a competitive graduate program then there is a high chance that the application process will include an interview.
These interviews are usually conducted by alumni but you don’t have to wait that long to connect with an alumnus.
Reach out to people over the internet or email them and ask them for advice. Most students that graduate from an institution hold a sense of pride in their colleges so they are highly likely to offer some great advice on what to write for the personal statement aspect of the application.
They have been through the process too so they can also offer some insider tips and tricks on how to secure scholarships and what the school likes hearing from students.
You can also get a better sense of the culture of the university so that when you do have to decide where to go, you will have an insider perspective on student life.
Finally, writing a personal statement can be a great and enjoyable experience if you are writing with your heart and truly showing the committee why you want to go to this school. This is the perfect time to make a great first interaction with committee members and impress them.