How to Write a Personal Statement – 3 Helpful Writing Tricks

Colleges and universities are competitive places. Many applicants are required to write personal statements to be accepted, so writing a powerful piece can be the tipping factor for students who are on the border. Writing a personal statement can be challenging for high school seniors who are not strong writers, but with the right tricks anyone can write successfully.

Most personal statement assignments will ask writers to do one of two things. They will either have a completely open topic, where you can write about yourself creatively; or, the assignment will ask you to answer a single topic. No matter what the assignment is, there are a few things you should always include.

Trick #1: Be Unique

The first trick is to write about what makes you unique. Colleges want to see how you stand out from the crowd. Many students will write about the same thing: their family. This is not a unique topic, because everyone has a family and it is challenging to set yourself apart from other applicants when you show how similar you are to other applicants.

Trick #2: Show Your Learning

The second trick is to focus on what you have learned. College admissions boards want to see that you can learn without being told specifically what you have learned. They want to see original thought and they want to see that you can come up with ideas on your own. They do not want to see clichés, so when you explain what you have learned, you will need to be sure you are not using clichés metaphors that make you look like every other applicant. Some of the best personal statements are about experiences that did not go as expected, because people learn from failure and those stories tend to be compelling.

Trick #3: Follow the Rules

The third trick is to follow good rules of writing. Those include being specific and including details that readers can relate to, like concrete images and well-told stories. You will also need to get the reader’s attention from the very beginning by using a strong, vivid hook. College admissions professionals want to see your creativity, so they know they are not getting a boring drone who can only write what a teacher tells him or her to write.

Your personal statement will help colleges learn things that your ACT scores and grade point average cannot show; understanding that fact can keep you motivated to write an unforgettable piece.

Posted by February 19th, 2013