Here are some tips that can help you cope with the pressure of writing a personal statement:
- Don’t avoid the negative. Just because something less that perfect has been recorded on your application doesn’t mean that you have lost all hope. Better that the jury find out the truth from you in an insightful essay than from your record with no context. Mention it and put a positive spin on it, but do not dwell on it.
- Answer the question. Ultimately, the school wants to know why you are interested in their academic program. Be sure that this is your primary message in your personal statement.
- Be original. Introductions and conclusions are the highlights of your essay and deserve to be treated as such. There are many ways to spice up a personal statement without a great deal more work involved. Get the reader’s attention with an intriguing introduction and leave them wanting you back with a conclusion that keeps them interested.
- State your goals. The main purpose of a personal statement is to state events in your life that have lead you to this point. The jury wants to know why you are passionate about your chosen field. Make sure that you state positive characteristics about yourself, but don’t get distracted or stray from the topic.
- Don’t exceed two pages. There is one thing worse than a personal statement that is too short and does not give enough information, and that is a personal statement that is too long. By this time, the jury has read essay after essay, and they are looking for something different. If your essay is too long, it is likely that your reader will not finish reading it. This is a very common mistake that personal statement writers make. More is not always better.
- How are you different? Making your personal statement unique is very important. You want to keep your reader’s interest. Think about what the essay is wanting from you and what others might write about. Come up with a different angle from which to approach your essay. Take an experience that you had or a trait that you possess that sets you apart and use it to your advantage.
- Be specific. Rather than mentioning many experiences, focus on one or two. Details are going to draw in your reader and make your personal statement memorable. Too many focuses will confuse your reader and they will leave your essay not knowing anything more about you than when they started.
- Legibility is key. Proofreading your essay for spelling and grammar mistakes is imperative. If your personal statement is not legible, the jury is likely to ignore it completely. Your writing is a reflection on your abilities and intelligence. Always have an outsider review your personal statement before submitting it.