You’ve decided to take the next step in your academic career and apply for college or graduate school. You’re feeling really good about your choice and have the grades and/or experience to showcase your success. Then you see it: you have to include a personal statement with your application package. This can strike fear in even the most qualified applicants. How can you effectively put into writing what makes you a good fit for the program or school?
- Take your time. Don’t wait until the last minute to start working on your personal statement. A poorly crafted statement can take a toll on your chances of being admitted, especially if it is a competitive program. Think of applying for college like applying for a job – you want to put your best foot forward and show what makes you a better candidate than everyone else. What you write matters, and you want to give yourself a chance to think things through and really highlight your best attributes. Once you create a rough draft, put it down and come back later to re-read and revise. Have others read it as well to provide feedback and catch details you may have missed. They may also have valuable insight about information you overlooked or never considered.
- Follow the prompt. This sounds obvious, but it’s amazing how many people become focused on the story they’re trying to tell and stray off topic. You’ve written an amazing 500-word essay on your volunteer work, only to realize that you didn’t really answer the question the prompt was asking. Developing an outline with the key points you want to include can help you stay on track and balance content to make sure you hit each topic before you’ve reached the maximum word count. Even if there is no word limit, you still want to stay focused and be clear, concise, and engaging with what you say. Longer isn’t always better.
- Make connections. You completed an internship in your field … so what? Draw connections between what you have done and what you want to do. How does your experience prepare you for future endeavors? How does it make you a stronger applicant for the major you’re targeting? Show that you have put thought into your decision and aren’t applying just because you think you should, your parents are pressuring you, or it’s what all of your friends are doing.
- Add value. While your personal statement is about you – hence the “personal” part – it’s also about the school, the program, and the industry. Many prompts will ask why you chose this specific university or major. Do your research and explain why it’s the ideal fit and what attracted you. But go a step further as well and discuss what you have to offer. Does your background or hardships you’ve endured give you a diverse perspective? What will your presence and experience bring to the program that will make it more enriching for everyone? Instead of blending in, what makes you stand out?
Writing your personal statement is not something that should be taken lightly. It is a critical part of your application and can be a strong influence on whether or not you are accepted. Grammar Chic can help you to better organize your thoughts, revise your essay, and ensure you have a polished final product that you are proud to submit. Feel more confident about this next step in your academic career by contacting Grammar Chic today at (803) 831-7444 or firstname.lastname@example.org.