Tips How to Write a Personal Statement
If you are a student and applying to a graduate school, you would need to submit a personal statement. It works as a main part of your application and your selection will depend on how well you have written this statement. You can also call it a personal essay.
Ideally, the grad school where you are applying will check this document before anything else about you. So without an effective and appealing statement, the chances of getting clearance in the basic selection stage are very low for you.
This article will provide you the guidelines and tips so that you can write your personal essay effectively and get an admission to your preferred college.
What is a personal statement?
It is an essay about yourself which you are required to present to the grad schools where you apply for the study. It has to be submitted through the UCAS which stands for Universities and Colleges Admissions Service.
Your personal essay describes your achievements, ambitions, skills that make you suitable for the program and your readiness to study it. The admission officers of the grad schools generally look for those applicants who are motivated, passionate and prepared for the program. So they look at your statement to know if you are one of those matching the criteria.
Why you need it?
The admission officers or the committees of the grad schools will check your essay to understand you, know your goals, whether they are matching with the program objectives or not, what value will you add to the program and what can you get from the program.
It’s all about you, so you have to express yourself in the best way and present yourself as the best applicant for that program. You have to do this by highlighting your strengths and significant achievements that they wouldn’t find in your academic certificates.
Since this is your only chance to impress the admission officers, you would want to prepare a strong and effective statement presenting yourself. So you have to write something eye-catching that is not just a convincing pitch but an actual reflection of your suitability for that particular program.
The writing method and theme is much similar to the statement of purpose or intent. But remember that these two can’t be used interchangeably. There is a slight difference between the two. So many programs require both these statements.
A personal statement is more about your personal interests, goals and academic experiences. On the other hand, a statement of purpose is more about your academic and professional credentials, your future plans and interests.
In in this type of statement, you can mention your life experiences and specifically those events that have helped you become more determined and stronger. It may not be directly related to the program you are interested in, but you can show how the change in your personality has enabled you for it. You can mention how your experiences and achievements have motivated you for that particular field of study. Also, mention how you can contribute in the field if you get a chance to study in that program.
How to write an outstanding personal statement
Here are the guidelines for writing a strong statement to present while applying to a grad school.
Express yourself in your style
This is because the admission office staff of the universities and colleges expect each personal essay to be unique from person to person. They want you to be unique in your writing and not just a copy and paste style description of who you are and what you can do.
There are fair chances that two or more applicants will be having the same characteristics. So, in this case, the person who is reading consider some of them to be plagiarised. You wouldn’t want this to happen with your statement as it will reduce your chances of admission.
To avoid this situation and stand out from the crowd, you have to focus on your own style rather than just what you are about to write in your essay. Think about how would you explain certain things if you were asked to in front of your friend. Obviously, you will be having your own personal touch in your style of speaking and selection of words. You can find a good sample online, but don’t copy them and use them as a guide to prepare your essay in your own words.
The way you speak and express your thoughts should be reflected in your personal essay. This will significantly differentiate your statement from those with similar goals, experiences, thoughts, and plans. In order to have a high chance of getting selected in your preferred grad school, you have to be unique and outstanding writing a statement.
As mentioned above, there will be many applicants with similar things in the statement. But only those will have the chance to get a call for an interview who have efficiently written it. In this case, efficient means the ability to convince the selection committee about their suitability for the program.
Make your first paragraph striking
You may be having a question about “how to start a personal statement?”. This section will answer your question. The staff of the admission committees of grad schools has to go through the stacks of applications coming in for each program. So they will not be reading each of them in detail and typically written statements will get rejected instantly.
They will be checking them quickly and therefore, you have to be eye-catching from the very first paragraph of your statement. Avoid using words like “I am passionate about…” or “I love to do…” because these are too common words. The person checking the personal essays would not want to read any such words.
So write about you in straight lines. But at the same time, be polite as well as familiar. You may start with the strongest point about you. But make sure you make it clear from the very first paragraph why you are a good fit for the particular program.
The admission officer will be having clear ideas about what he is looking for in a personal essay. So you have to present exactly what they are looking for in a quickest possible way. For this, you have to understand the study program you are applying to and its requirements. Then only you will be successful in displaying yourself as a suitable applicant.
Prepare for the actual writing
In order to write everything you intend to, you should make a basic structure or outline of all the things you are going to include. Make a list of it before you start writing a personal statement;
- Your goals and ambitions
- What you want from that program
- How can you contribute in the field that you are aspiring to choose
- Your skills and experiences you have attained in your previous study
- The researches, internships and any other activities that are relevant to and help with the program
- Your thoughts and ideas about the field you want to go for
- Your intention and plans for the study
- What resources you have or will acquire in order to successfully perform required activities during the program
- Your plus points that you think can help you study a particular program efficiently
- Your eagerness and readiness to do the hard work you may have to do during the study
This list and outline should be enough for you to get started writing your actual personal statement.
Ideally, it should not be longer than 600 words. So whatever you write should be long enough to explain what you want, but shouldn’t be taking too much space that you can’t include other important points due to the number of characters limit.
Take an A4 size paper and write your essay in around 500 words. Your statement should reflect your knowledge about the program you are applying for. So whatever you write should be specific to it and precise in nature.
Uniqueness and plagiarism free content is a must for any piece of content, be it an article, research papers or dissertation. Your personal essay is not an exception and therefore you should never try to copy from those of other students. You can refer to the examples online, but don’t copy them. Make your personal statement completely unique.
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Proofread and edit
This statement will play a key role in your admission process, so you should make it perfect in terms of quality and format. Once you have your statement written completely, you should proofread it. While reading your essay, look for the extra words or information, spelling mistakes, and grammatical errors.
Apart from this, you should also make sure that whatever you have written is not having too long sentences. The reader that will decide your selection would want to read and understand quickly. So you should make your sentences as short as possible. Also, divide the content into short paragraphs to make it look less boring. If you take care of these things, there will be higher chances that the admission staff will read your statement carefully.
You should read your essay several times. You can also get your friend or previous classmates or teachers to read and give you the feedback. That will help you find the potential weak points in your statement. The final personal statement should be a polished and perfect document that can ensure your selection for the program you want to attend, in your preferred grad school.
Hope this article will be helpful in writing a strong personal essay statement that you can submit with a confidant.
Best of luck!