7 Great Tips to Help you Write that Memorable Personal Statement
By Dr. Kat Cohen, CEO and Founder of ApplyWise
1. The Handshake
Think of the personal statement as a handshake with an admissions officer. While you might think of your grades as your personality and your extracurriculars as your social verve, think of the personal statement as your poise, your presentation. Remember, it is a personal statement, a statement about you—it is not an essay.
2. "They said what..."
Yes, you should get personal. No, you should not be telling the admissions officer things only your psychiatrist or best friend should be hearing. Sex and personal relationship problems are off-limits.
Also, there are certain topics that have been written about ad naseum. Try to avoid these topics:
- Your week-long family vacation to a foreign country in which you learned about different cultures.
- A brief community service experience and how you changed the world.
- News-grabbing current events (If you're from Texas, don't write about Hurricane Ike).
3. The Devil is in the Detail
You may write about a life changing moment. Please do. However, don't think that you have to write with overarching themes. Sometimes the best essays are about simple, basic and even mundane topics (the doll on your bed, your fear of garbage disposals, a day in the life of... just to name a few). Just make sure that your essay is a written representation of you.
4. Make sure to structure your essay correctly.
Remember these points:
- Font: Use Times New Roman and 12-point font size
- Identification: Be sure to include your name, the name of your high school and date of birth in the header of your essay (especially if it is attached on a separate sheet of paper).
- Print only on one side of the paper.
- Many of these formatting settings are already applied to your essay while you work on it within the online application. If you decide, however, to save your essay and work on it in on your computer or are using a program like ApplyWise, make sure it remains correctly formatted.
Singular subjects require singular verbs. Plural subjects require plural verbs. This may seem a bit elementary, but it is often overlooked by students.
6. Have a catchy first sentence.
If it grabs the reader's attention, the reader will read on. Don't try to start the writing process with your opening sentence. Write your essay first. Explore your theme. Then come back to the beginning - and nail it.
This is a necessity! After completing your essay, always thoroughly review it. Email it to people you trust so they can look over your essay for mistakes that you might have missed. Getting a second opinion never hurts.
How to Best Prepare for Your Standardized Tests
February 1, 2013 – Dr. Kat and Victoria, a former student and now a freshman at Dartmouth, use Session 1 as a guide to discuss how best to prepare for the standardized tests students take junior year.
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