How to Write a Great Personal Statement for University or College

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A personal statement is one of the documents you will have to submit to a University or College when you’re applying for admission there. However, not all schools want it, but most schools do want some form of written document from you.

As a rule of thumb, the opening paragraph to your personal statement is really important, as it will evoke the interest of your reader on the whole statement. What most schools don’t want to see is lots of people saying ‘I first wanted to be a Lawyer when I was five years old’ they want something unique.

What makes a personal statement unique is when a student really goes into detail about why they want to study that particular subject; something to show that the student has taken a bit more interest on that particular subject.

In this article, we are going to guide you on how to write a great personal statement for your University or College admission

How to Write a Great Personal Statement for University or College

Steps to writing a great Personal Statement

1. Know what’s involved

Before writing a personal statement you need to know what is involved; I’ve come across many statements where student did not get onto the school’s website to find out or look at what is expected of them from their statements. It is important to read and understand the instructions (if any), know the word limit, font size, spacing etc.,

The first thing I look at when I pick a statement or any piece of academic document is to see if the students follow instruction, because if you can’t follow simple instructions, you obviously can’t be a good student.

2. Always remember Personal Statement is about a ‘Person’

The first thing you have to understand about personal statement is that they want to know about you and the reason you choose the school and your choice subject. There are so many schools, why their own school? there are so many subjects, why that one?

The admission committee want to know who you are. They want to see the person. They want to see the personality. They want to see the person that’s going to be coming into their classrooms and interacting with other students, interacting with faculty, interacting with school staff, somebody who can lead, somebody who can work hard and succeed and go on to give the school a good reputation once they enter the working world.

So, they want to see a person. Now, what does this mean? They want to know your personality. They want to know, what have you done or – experiences that shows who you are. They don’t want to know what’s on your transcripts.

They see your transcripts. They know what’s on your transcripts. Don’t tell them that in the personal statement. Again, you can take out highlights. I was in the top 3% of my class in whatever, sure. That’s not on your transcript, necessarily.

But don’t tell them I took this, this, and that course and I got A’s in everything. Yeah, they know, they can see your transcript. Don’t tell them that here. They don’t want to see a student. They want to see a person. Okay? And I’ll say that many times. If you have to submit a CV or a resume, don’t tell them what you’ve done in terms of work or volunteer experience. They can see it in the resume. They can see it in the CV.

Show them the person, don’t show them the worker. Show them the person, don’t show them the student, okay? All of that, they have other documents for. Again, all they want to see is the person. Now, you’re asking, okay, yeah, I understand, you’ve said it enough times, but I could tell you that – I’ve said it to people ten times, and they still didn’t do it.

3. Creativity Matters

Think outside the box, be creative, be original, be fresh. The people who are going to be reading your statement, they’re going to be sitting in a room, they’re going to have a stack of statements. It’s extremely boring work, but they have to do it, and the more boring your personal statement, the more average it is, the more bland it is, the more unoriginal it is, the more tired you’re making them and a little bit more angry you’re making them.

Don’t make them angry, give them something fresh, wake them up. As soon as you’ve woken them up, you already have an advantage in your admissions process. Be a person. Don’t be a student.

4. Plan your Personal Statement

It wrong to do any piece of academic writing without a structure; since this is your personal story, develop an outline based on the instruction provided on the admission guideline. Write out all the salient point, make them concise so that you can arrange them within the stipulated word count. Let me say this “Develop a set of questions based on the instructions that will guide you to present a good personal story to the committee.

Your plan is what will hold your whole personal statement together and all the information that is going to come under it. Plan and prepare your story well, make is concise and very interesting.

5. Tailor your writing together and Revise

Based on your outline, make a first draft of your personal statement and be sure to confirm if your draft has answered all the questions you raised on step 4. If it does, try and look through your draft again for errors and make adjustment where necessary.


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