When applying to undergraduate programs, the time you need to write a personal statement for college can be one of the most daunting aspects of the process. It is also one of the most important, because it is your best opportunity to demonstrate who you are as a person, helping to humanize you in a manner that the other aspects of the application, such as your transcript, cannot.
How to Write a Personal Statement for College
Schools take different approaches to how you should compose your personal statement for college. Some will ask you to discuss specific aspects about yourself and your life experience. In such instances, it is essential that you respond to each prompt in detail. Provide not just the factual information requested, but also in a manner that offers insight into your personality and character. Other schools will offer you the chance to write a more open-ended essay about whatever you choose to discuss.
In each case, the most important thing you can do is to write in your own voice. Do not try to be overly formal. An essay that is too dry will tend to make you lose the reader’s interest. Worse yet, it will cause you to blend in with the multitude of other applicants. Remember that the admissions committee is reading hundreds if not thousands of these essays, make yourself stand out. At the same time, you should make sure that your writing is grammatically sound and with a sense of purpose that reflects the seriousness with which you are taking this process.
Open-ended Essay Prompts
In the instances where the essay prompt is open-ended, you should not try to tell your entire life story or focus too much on your academic achievements or anything else that will be covered in your transcript. Instead, you should try to convey something uniquely personal about yourself. Anecdotes that show how you overcame a challenge, accomplished something meaningful or demonstrate your strength of character and how you have grown and developed through interesting or unusual experiences can be particularly effective in this regard. Discussing your personal interests, hobbies and extracurricular activities and how you have pursued them will also help distinguish you as an individual and set you apart from other candidates.
How to Close an Essay
In closing the essay, there are three main things you should discuss. First, it’s always beneficial to discuss the specific reasons you wish to attend the program you’re applying for. Also, discuss the ways that you are a good fit for it both academically and socially. Lastly, talk about what you hope to take from your education there and what you can contribute to the school’s community during your time there.
For example, you can discuss your intention to engage actively both inside and outside the classroom. You could include extracurricular activities and clubs you plan to participate in. You could also talk about the resources that the school offers which you intend to take full advantage of.
This will demonstrate not only your suitability for the school but also the fact that you have researched it extensively and are very serious in your desire to pursue your undergraduate studies there. Schools want individuals who will maximize their time there both as students and as eager participants in all that campus life has to offer. By demonstrating your enthusiasm for both, you are bound to impress the admissions committee.
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