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Writing a Personal Statement

How to Write a Personal Statement?

What is a Personal Statement?

A personal statement is like an extended cover letter that is meant to provide supplementary information along with the main application. A personal statement is an essential part of a graduate or undergraduate application for entry into a college or a University program and provides information about the applicant, including educational background, experiences, life skills, interests, preferences and personality traits. The personal statement is often referred to as the admissions essay and is usually crafted as a story, focusing primarily on personal experiences. Since every individual is different, a personal statement has no specific format and can vary widely in style, format or content. Personal statements are meant to depend heavily on the personal experiences of the student or applicant and are based on life lessons learned. The student generally provides a background or context and some relevant details about his educational, social, family or personal life and experiences. The personal statement is meant to be a unique document that relates or refers to only one individual and aims to bring out the uniqueness of every individual. A personal statement is in other words - personal. Only you can write or relate to your individual and unique personal statement because it reflects your unique identity and life experience.

What is the purpose of a Personal Statement?

Write a Personal Statement

The purpose of a personal statement is to highlight or emphasize on the uniqueness of the individual applicant. Personal statements provide detailed background information and context and show the school authorities why a specific applicant is unique, different or have experiences and qualifications that will add to the diversity of the institution. Personal statements are meant to introduce the applicant to school authorities in an elaborate way, so individuals can provide a range of details about their background, experience and qualifications. Personal statements being personal in content, offers considerable flexibility on what you can include and the contents can be about your life experiences, personal travel stories, childhood events and ultimate goals or ambitions in life, as you see it. The purpose of a personal statement is to be the best representation of the applicant. So, when you write a personal statement, it must represent you, who you are and how you see yourself in the present and in the future. Personal statements must project your ambitions, your ideas, your goals in life and your worldview or philosophy in life. Personal statements are meant to help authorities to decide whether you are a good fit for the institution and whether your values and objectives in life align with the institutional mission and objectives.

How to write a Personal Statement?

To write a personal statement, focus on the question that has been asked in the application. Does it ask you to relate your personal or past experiences or emphasize more on your future goals? Does it try to understand your philosophy in life or personal worldview or tries to get a more objective understanding of your future life direction? Thus, the first step is to determine what the admissions essay question wants you to focus on. The second step is to create an outline and despite the flexibility that personal statements allow, you do have to follow certain basic rules and try to respond to the essay question directly. Identify the main points and after you have the main points and outline, craft a proper introduction and elaborated on the main concepts of the essay.

The final stage is to add a conclusion, a reflective account of your life and future goals and suggest a clear direction on how you see your life in the future.

A personal statement is meant to show the progression from the early days of your life to the present, towards a future direction. It must reflect how your experiences have shaped you as a human being and where you are going in terms of career or life progression. A personal statement must also show that your developmental goals are important to you and that the course or program you are applying to will add to your development as a human being or will contribute to your career in a positive and definite way.

Make a strong case as to why the identified program, course or project is important to you and this section must be added after you clearly identify your career directions.

After a reflective account and emphatic conclusion on your life goals, edit, proofread and re-read your personal statement to ensure that your document reflects your personality and has a uniqueness that will be appreciated by the school authorities.

What are the different types of Personal Statements?

Personal statements are admissions essays, but generally more subjective and reflects or projects the uniqueness of an individual. Although the style and content of personal statements can vary widely, personal statements can be narrative, reflective, chronological , analytical or simply factual. Narrative personal statements narrate the events and experiences of your life to show how these events may have shaped you or influenced your thinking. Reflective personal statements help you to reflect on your achievements and provides the groundwork for future goals. Chronological personal statements identify your life experiences or achievements chronologically so may start with your childhood education and experiences and move on to your present life events to describe how your chronological life events have created or influenced your future goals.

Analytical personal statements are more objective and are meant to highlight your analytical side. It could be analysis of a specific topic, subject, or your research interest. You may analyze certain concepts and impress your readers with your analytical, logical or reasoning skills. Analytical essays may be merged with personal events, so you can create this unique mix of analysis and subjectivity in your personal statement. In fact, a good balance of objective and subjective elements could go a long way in getting you admission to a top University program.

Factual personal statements are also objective rather than subjective, and are meant to provide facts about your life, learning and goals. It answers factual questions on what you did in the past, what you are doing now and what you want to do in the future. Nothing too complicated, reflective or subjective, it is focused on providing facts about your life to the school authorities. The type of focus of personal statements can vary according to the student's or applicant's personality and you can choose your own style, content and type. As I have mentioned, since a personal statement is meant to be personal and unique, there is an enormous degree of freedom and flexibility that you get while writing a statement for admissions to a school program.

Concluding Remarks

A personal statement must project you and highlight the uniqueness of your personality. It is always wise to do some research on your school, the professors and their research interests to determine whether a specific school or program is best suited to your career goals. If the professors seem like people you can work with, look up for their research interests and try to understand whether your research goals align with their academic interests. While writing a personal statement, focus on what the question or essay wants and decide what you should emphasize on. Although you do get a lot of flexibility, some schools and professors may prefer more objective, factual and analytical statements and some will prefer subjective, narrative or personal stories. You will have to determine, what kind of story or approach would be best for you and what will be the best fit for your school. So, good luck with writing your unique personal statement. Remember that it always represents "you" as a student and as a unique human being. If you need help, there is Essay Directory. Get in touch with the support staff or writers and they will help you to write a fabulous personal statement that will definitely impress.

Reference: College Paper Writing Tips for Students: Online: