Personal Statement Tips: Main Aims of Your Paper
The personal statement is perhaps one of the most difficult types of short essay to write, because it is both frustratingly open-ended and extremely high stakes. The personal statement is, after all, frequently the element of the college application that makes the difference between acceptance and rejection.
In many cases, schools do not offer prompts, requirements, or even expected word counts when requesting personal statements from new applicants, which only makes the process of writing it even more maddening! One way to make the writing process a bit easier is to focus on the main goals or aims of the personal statement. Below is a list of the goals you should keep in mind when drafting your own.
Outline Your Past Achievements
One of the central goals of the personal statement is to make the reader aware of your academic, work, and extra-curricular accomplishments. While this information may also be included in your transcripts or your resume, the personal statement is the place where you have the most control over how your work is packaged and perceived. Do not assume that your readers are already familiar with your accomplishments simply because they are mentioned in your other application materials; take the time to describe, in a flattering way, your proudest achievements in your personal statement.
Express Your Interest in the Program
Another main goal of the personal statement is to convey that the applicant is a good fit for the college or graduate program they are applying to. Use personal narratives and anecdotes to make it clear to your readers that you have a passion for your intended major or field of study, and connect this narrative to your list of accomplishments. Show the admissions committee that you are a driven, passionate student who has a clear desire to pursue a specific academic career, and use your past achievements to illustrate that point further.
Share Your Personality
A good personal statement should also convey your individuality. Mention a few interesting personal details that are relevant to your academic progress or your desire to join the program to which you are applying; this will help endear you to the readers and give them the sense that they know you. Also insert personality into your paper by writing in your own unique voice and style; do not write a paper that is overly dull or generic. A bit of humor or a few literary flourishes are perfectly acceptable, as long as they are done in a tasteful way!