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How to write a good personal statement?

Applying for college application is stressful. How to I think of good answers to essay questions? college creative-writing

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Lane’s Answer

Hi Amber!

Great question! The first thing to note is that you are definitely not alone in stressing about applying to college. But stick with it! Graduating with a college degree will open up so many exciting doors for you.

My main advice for writing a good personal statement -- or any college application essay -- is to think about your own personal experiences. When an admissions officer is reading essays, they are looking to get to know you in a more personal way than they can from your GPA, SAT score, or resume.

I think storytelling is one really good way to express who you are. Importantly, you don't need to tell a life-changing story -- not everyone has had an experience that re-shaped their entire worldview. But you *do* need to tell them something about yourself. If you are passionate about something in particular, talk about something you did in that area and why you enjoyed it.

On my college applications, I wrote a lot about playing baseball. To be honest, I told pretty boring stories about my experiences with the sport . But through those stories I tried to tell the reader something about who I was: that I was a hard-worker, that I had a desire to succeed, and that I understood the importance of teamwork. Those traits are ones that admissions officers are looking for, but can't find on a resume.

Hope that helps!

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Koryn’s Answer

I would try to be as unique as possible. What are some experiences and things that you've done, that very little people have also done? Saying you like to workout and swim feels too generic, but saying you once bungy jumped off the Eiffel Tower is pretty unique! Whatever you say, try to tie it back to why you are applying and what makes you a good applicant. For example, instead of just saying you bungy jumped, tie this in with your personality...You are a risk taker that sees an opportunity and rarely passes it up. You like to stretch your comfort level and do things that seem difficult or challenging on the surface.
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Toral’s Answer

Writing a strong personal statement is tough process, and it is important to give yourself more than enough time for each step.

1: Make sure you understand the question. Try rephrasing it in your own words.

2: Brainstorm a number of possible ways to answer the question directly, drawing from your experiences. Group your ideas by themes.

3: Use these themes to start crafting a narrative. It is important to tell a clear, cohesive and compelling story - one that is backed up by specific details and anecdotes from your life. A random collection of statements about yourself will not cut it.

4: Read your first draft several times with a critical eye, editing to make sure the language and structure is concise and engaging.

5: Ask a friend, parent and/or sibling to read your essay and provide critical feedback on the content, as well as grammar and spelling. Give them enough time to review! Getting external feedback is so important - they will see things you may have missed.

6: Integrate their feedback in a revised version of your statement.

7: Take a few days or even a whole week away from the essay, then come back to it with fresh eyes. Does it effectively communicate who you are as a person and what you are looking for from a college education? If so, congratulations! But if not, what is it missing? Revisit the steps above as needed, consulting with your editors for advice as needed.