Writing a personal statement can be daunting. Whether you’re applying to a 4-year college or university,or going for your MBA, the task of writing your application essay can seem overwhelming. When you take a class, the professor tells you what she’s looking for in an essay, and you are usually able to ask questions, but on an application, you’re faced with a terse prompt and must proceed blindly. Here are some steps that might help reduce the stress in dealing with the preparation and writing of your essay.
8 Crucial Tips
- Visit the school’s website. This may seem like a simple idea,but it is often overlooked. Read the school’s “about” page and mission statement—not to copy it (no plagiarizing!), but to get a sense of the character of the place. What values does this university emphasize? Teamwork,community, success, excellence, faith, etc.? Take those keywords to heart and sprinkle them in your essay. That’s not “copying”—that’s just smart.
- Remember that the person who evaluates your personal statement may not be the same person who reviews your transcript and other data, so don’t worry about repeating yourself. If you have a significant accomplishment, make sure you mention it in your essay even if you noted it elsewhere in your documentation.
- Create an outline. As with any good writing, your essay should have a beginning, middle, and end, and every sentence should flow gracefully after each other. There should be transitions and logic to the structure of your piece. An outline also helps you feel a sense of accomplishment. You can start with something sparse and fill in more details as you get going. The hardest thing is staring at that blank screen.
- The first paragraph should be a general introduction of yourself and why you’re a good fit for the particular university. If you have a nugget of interesting history to toss in to make your first sentence stand out, all the better.
- Your next 2-3 paragraphs should discuss specific aspects of the college you intend to participate in—mention classes and clubs by name to show that you have done your research. For an MBA candidate in particular, you might want to mention how you will be an asset to the school’s reputation going forward into the future.
- For all essays, undergraduate and graduate, mention something about your ideas for how you intend to make the world a better place, even in a small way. You want to show the school that you are thinking ahead about more than your next semester. Do this even if you aren’t sure of your exact career path. Be creative!
- It’s a good idea to show a bit about who you are as a person. Do you have a few sentences about how you care for a family member during an illness, take exotic trips, volunteer for a charity? The essay reader would like to see more than just a rattling off of grades and ambitions.
- Finally, close your personal statement with a summary paragraph about how you hope to be considered for a place at the school and you would be proud to make the university your home for the next however many years, in your own words.
For further help with writing your college application essay, contact Resume Advisor today.