Personal Statement Writing Advice

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I’m going to help with your college personal statement. No pressure or anything, but along with your last will and testament, the college personal statement is probably one of the most important compositions you will ever write.

How important is the personal statement? That depends on what kind of student you are. You probably fall into one of the following three categories. As found on Edusson you’re the kind of student who’s in the 95% percentile on the SAT, your grade-point-average is a 4.0 and you have an impressive list of activities and leadership positions, then the personal statement might be a little less important for you.

The college may already have decided they want you; all you can do in your personal statement is blow it by coming off like a personality-free grade-seeking robot. You can now stop reading this article and go back to annotating the complete works of William Thackeray. But most students fall into that gray area in the middle. If this is you, I want you to imagine that the person reading your personal statement will be comparing you to 99 other applicants who, on paper, have all the same qualifications as you; the same test scores, the same GPA, the same favorable teacher recommendations, maybe one or two extracurricular activities.

Your personal statement is what will set you apart from the other 99. Let’s call this student Doris. Her college personal statement is absolutely crucial to Doris. It could very well determine whether or not she gets accepted. Or maybe you’re a lackluster student with poor grades and no extracurricular activities. Let’s call this student Jane. The college or university usually admits a few students with weaker qualifications to give a break to students who stand out in some non-academic way, who look like they might really do something special if given the chance. Jane might bring something interesting and valuable to the school. She might be a deep thinker who has made some mistakes or has had some bad luck, like family problems. Or maybe nearly all of the students at the university are the same –homogeneous– in some way, culturally, racially, economically– and Jane would bring a perspective to class discussions and study groups that others won’t have. The university wants that, not out of generosity, but to create a lively intellectual environment where not everyone sees through the same cultural lens. So that could be Jane’s chance.

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