3 Keys to Writing a Strong Personal Statement for College Applications

College applications are an inherently stressful time in students’ lives, and perhaps the most daunting task before them is the composition of their personal statement. After years of analytical writing in high school, they are now expected to master expository writing and complete a 650-word statement that sums up the essence of themselves while also competing with every other essay. While there are many different strategies for pulling this off, all share three key characteristics that can help guide students to writing the best personal statement they can.

Be Personal in Writing Your College App

A personal statement should be just that: personal. It shouldn’t talk about anyone else, and it shouldn’t focus too much on accomplishments or academics. This is students’ only chance to talk about their stories that took place outside of the halls of academia; why waste it? While they should avoid negativity as much as possible, we often find that the best personal statements are ones in which students bare their souls, being vulnerable for the admissions committee.

Be Unique in Crafting Your Personal Essay

Students will need to compete with thousands of other applicants for admission. Their essays must thus stand out from the crowd, none more so than their personal statement. Not only must the takeaways and morals of their stories be unique, perceptive, and eye-catching, the stories themselves must be as unique as possible to that individual student. This is where getting personal pays off so well, and it’s also why essays about sports are usually duds.

Be Narratively Organized in Developing Your Personal Statement

Aside from its content, personal statements need to be engagingly written. They are, at their heart, stories of one kind or another, so tell them like stories! Make sure that even if creative, their narrative flows logically, makes sense, and feels like a cohesive whole. Stringing together a list of accomplishments into an essay will never be as authentic or moving as an organic story that knows its beginning, middle, and end.

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Tags: Higher Education, College, College Admissions, College Applications, College Consultants, Personal Statement, College Essays, Essay Editing, Application Essays, Intellectual Essays, Best College Essays, Worst College Essays