Writing a personal statement is an intimidating process. But the truth is that it is only intimidating when you don’t have enough knowledge about it. That’s why you need to be sure to take enough time to write and polish your admission essay to the point where you understand that this is something you would be proud of even 30 years from now, even if you don’t get accepted to the institution you choose. Here are some valuable tips that will help you come up with a solid personal statement that will raise your chances of getting accepted to your dream college.
Do Your Research
Wherever you go and whatever you do, it is always best to come prepared. When it comes to the personal statement, you need to read everything there is on college essay format, the dos and don’ts, success stories, and other information that can help you get closer to writing a good admission essay.
Every school has its own specific guidelines when it comes to a personal statement. If you are applying for several programs, it is reasonable to write separate admission essays. That way, all of them will be unique and as relevant as possible to your chosen programs. Keep in mind that the people who will be reading your statement go through hundreds of pieces per day, and they can definitely tell when they see a “universal” personal statement that can kind of be used for a lot of purposes, without relating to a particular institution and a particular studying program.
The admission essay is about creativity. You need to be sure to avoid cliche phrases and structures because the admissions committee has already seen all of them. Wondering what qualifies as a cliche? Be sure to research that! Apart from hundreds of articles that explain it in detail, you can read some personal statement samples and highlight the cliches you manage to find on your own in there. It is something you see in every second application essay.
Instead of using the cliches, you need to come up with some “hooks” that will make your personal statement irresistible. Something one wants to read to the very end because it keeps them so engaged. It is like reading a short story. You don’t want your reader to get bored after the first two sentences. Instead, you need to make sure to keep them interested and engaged. This might take some time, but the end result will definitely be worth it.
Highlight What Makes You Unique
The application procedure is standard. Every other applicant will be going through the same steps as you. They will be submitting the same documents as you. In fact, some of them will even have the same or even better scores than yours, c’est la vie. However, your admission essay is where you can say, “It’s my time to shine.” It is the only part of your application that will actually make you stand out among your competitors.
You need to describe your relevant experiences, your knowledge, and maybe skills or personal qualities that make you a better catch. It is like that “Why should we hire you?” everyone needs to answer when trying to get a job. Think about it from the perspective of the admissions committee: why should they recruit you? What makes you better than hundreds of other applicants they have? If you manage to prove you are better than others, you’ll definitely get a place at your dream institution.
Don’t Be Afraid to Experiment
The admission process is so predictable and boring sometimes that the admissions committee members just need a break. They need to see someone who is completely different, not afraid of experimenting and taking risks. A few years ago, a story about one girl went viral. She was applying for a study at Yale and was requested to “Write about something you love to do?” No doubt, some people wrote about how they love singing or dancing, but this girl, Carolina Williams, was different. She wrote about how much she loves ordering pizza from her favorite pizza place, how happy she feels waiting for it, and how over the moon she is when she gets the beloved meal. The story went viral not only because of how unique the personal statement was, but also because Carolina actually got accepted to Yale. She wasn’t afraid to be different, and it definitely paid off.
Polish Your Grammar
Writing an admission essay is like making a first impression. Only when you meet someone face-to-face, they will be evaluating the way you look, while with writing, people will be looking at your grammar. That is why it is crucial to go through your personal statement several times before you actually submit it. You need to proofread and edit it, removing all the unnecessary parts, and making sure the piece reads and sounds well.
There is no need to worry in case your grammar is not that good. Luckily, there are lots of tools you can use to manage the problem. For example, you can try using Grammarly: it will help you remove all syntactic and semantic mistakes, fix your spelling, and if you get a Premium account, you will get some advanced options like synonyms and phrasing suggestions to make your writing sound more professional.