After you’ve checked your personal statement, have someone else check it, and by “someone else,” I don’t mean your computer’s spell-check. While you’re at it, why not confer with a skilled essay writer? You can. Just find some well-written personal statements and read them. Get some ideas for different ways you can sound, different tones, and different techniques for achieving certain effects.
They don’t have to be college personal statements. I recommend the Best American Essays series. Ask your librarian about those. And when you read them, notice how each writer has his or her own personality. Notice how good writers show, rather than tell. That means that if Doris is telling a story about how her family’s car broke down in the middle of the desert, she shouldn’t just tell us that and stop there. She should also make us see the desert. Make us see what she sees, and feel what she feels. She might describe the surrounding desert, put in some details about the physical process of getting help or helping her parent fix the car, as well as -importantly- her thoughts and feelings while all of this is going on, all of which will be revealing to the reader that Doris has qualities that makes her more interesting than those other 99 applicants.
Now, most personal statement prompts are pretty standard and open-ended, like: “Write a personal statement that gives us a sense of you as an individual.” — that sort of thing. But some colleges ask really strange questions like, “How do you feel about Wednesday?” Or how about this one? Don’t let these kinds of questions throw you off. They’re still just trying to get a sense of who you are and how you think. Answer the question in the spirit in which it was asked, in a creative and original way. And along the way, make them conclude –without actually saying it– that you are a student they really, really want attending their school.
When it comes down to it, those wacky application prompts are really not that different from the more ordinary ones. Finally, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Talk to your school counselor and visit your local public library. Look up articles about college personal statement at Edusson platform, in newspapers and magazines. See if your local library has a database of news articles, like ProQuest.
And, when you have a draft, don’t be afraid to ask parents and teachers to read your personal statement and give you constructive feedback. But remember, no article, book, video, or school counselor can write your essay for you. It’s something that only you could create from your life history, your personality, and your imagination.
So, I’ve given you eight tips:
1) Start early; don’t wait until the last minute.
2) Organize effectively; you can check out my video on how to organize an personal statement.
3) Write with personality and emotional commitment.
4) Use specific, interesting word choices.
5) Check for conventions errors.
6) Also, read some good personal statements.
7) Read articles about personal statements, and
8) Get some constructive criticism.
Follow those 8 tips and you’ll improve your odds of getting that acceptance letter. Good luck.