Get ready, juniors! It’s almost time to start the college application process. Writing your personal statement is an important part of the process in which you can demonstrate your writing skills, show your personality, and share your interests.
Your personal statement makes your application become more than numbers on a piece of paper. All colleges receive your test scores and your grades, which may show the kind of student you are. However, what it does not show is who you are as a person.
Your essay allows the admissions committees to differentiate you from other applicants. It can be a determining factor in whether you are admitted into a school.
Fatima Hoque ’17 said, “The personal statement provides information that transcripts don’t, giving colleges a better reason to accept you.”
According to PrepScholar’s, “What Is a Personal Statement? Everything You Need to Know About the College Essay,” by Alex Heimbach on Sept 28, 2015, “The personal statement is your chance to stand out as an individual.”
Your personal essay is all about you. You express your strengths and aspirations. It should be specific to you; try to avoid generalizing. You can write about what you learned or gained from an experience. Colleges like to see your growth as a person. You can also write about a problem you faced and how you overcame it. Write about what you took away from an experience. Always try to put a positive spin on your experience, even if it was a negative one. You can also express your interests and what you did to become interested.
Some seniors gave their insight on the importance of personal statements.
“Writing a personal statement is the first hurdle to overcome in the college process,” said Jenna Palme ’17.
“Even though writing a personal statement is annoying, I feel like it’s one of the few chances you have to get yourself out there,” said Yumna Ahmed Qazi ’17. “Take it seriously, but make sure to focus on the other aspects of the college process, too.”
Many colleges utilize the Common App. The Common App is a site used to fill out and send undergraduate college applications. It makes the college application process simple because it allows you to send one application to multiple colleges. The Common App releases several prompts each year for students to work from. According to Ms. Director, college counselor, when writing your personal statement follow the prompts just to get started, but don’t just stay within the restrictions of the prompt.
Don’t worry if your think your writing isn’t up to snuff, you have plenty of resources to help you improve your essay. You can always reach out to an English teacher to ask for help. There are many resources online that will help you put all the elements you need into your essay. You can also look up successful essays written by past applicants.
College Board has tips to help your personal statement stand out. For example, start by brainstorming ideas and create an outline for your essay. Get all your ideas down on paper, worry about structure and grammar later. Make sure your essay has a strong beginning, middle, and end. You can get more tips on their website at “8 Tips for Crafting Your Best College Essay.”
Some colleges also require a supplemental essay, where you tell that particular school why you want to go there. You tell them why they should accept you, and what you would add to their schools community.
It is important to not put off writing your personal statement, to ensure a less stressful application process. Procrastination could compromise the quality of your writing or even cause you to miss deadlines.