Guidance for Writing a Great Personal Statement

Are you seeking guidance for writing a great personal statement? There is no single formula for creating the personal statement that will get you in to the school of your choice. There are, however, a few strategies you can follow to write your best personal statement.

The principal role of the personal statement is to provide the admissions committee with a detailed representation of the candidate. The committee wants to learn about the applicant beyond the standard application materials, including transcripts, test scores, resume and letters of recommendation. The personal statement itself should provide insight into the applicant’s reasons for pursing the degree program, including long term goals, motivation, and commitment.

A well-written personal statement will make a candidate stand out from the other applicants. Countless applications list many of the same exceptional qualifications and experience as well as similar career goals. Creating a personal statement which is notable for its unique content requires a great deal of preparation and planning. Personal statements need to be meticulously organized and focused on setting the applicant apart from the larger group by highlighting individual characteristics.

Personal Statements Are Carefully Scrutinized by Admissions Committees

Whether the personal statement includes an effort to disclose or explain a misstep along the way or to communicate the applicant’s all-encompassing passion for the degree program or specialty, the content must be clear, the ideas must flow well, and it must be in the applicant’s own voice and words. The writing should be proofread carefully to eliminate all mistakes in grammar and punctuation. The personal statement must be reviewed for content and good command of the language. Avoid repetition of the same words, even though they may be the point of the personal statement, because variety of wording will keep the reader interested.

If you can convince the admissions committee of your genuine passion for the field or degree program, the personal statement will accomplish its purpose. Personal statements should include a memorable creative or compelling story or anecdote which “shows” the reader your commitment, rather than just “telling” them. The story could be personal, based on a family experience, or it could be an account of a encounter with a friend or stranger. The personal statement’s story should reveal the candidate’s inspiration to pursue the degree program. Personal statements should always be “personal,” well-written, grammatically correct, accurate and representative of your voice and writing style. The best guideline to follow is to always write from your heart.

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