Ten Tips For Writing Personal Statements

17 July 2015

I'm no expert, I don't really know what i'm doing but I thought I would share some tips that have helped me while writing personal statements. And actually I have to credit the majority of this list to friend of my sisters who was helping me not to freak out whenever I brought this up. Hopefully you'll find some of these tips helpful and useful :)
  1. Make a list of possible themes, topics, memories etc. This is a great starting point for you to expand on, or just have a general idea of how you want your essay to look like. 
  2. Make t-charts. Now I don't mean outline the entire essay, but you totally can if you want to. What i've been doing is picking different topics I want to talk about and slowly expanding on them so that I have an array of things to talk about and mention. I like doing this because it provides structure and helps me get an idea of where I want to mention things and how I want to go about it. 
  3. Have a cute notebook. Maybe this is just me but I love going shopping for school supply stuff so i'll jump at an opportunity to buy a notebook and pen. Plus it's a nice motivator to push you to write and plan.
  4. Do: Word Dumps. One thing that has definitely helped me is just writing whatever it is I want to write about in that moment and just write. It might suck but at least you now have a starting point from which you can only grow. Plus it's nice to just say everything you can think of in one go because it allows you to have an idea of what this section might sound like. 
  5. Set aside time everyday. Just spending 20 min a day writing or planning or just trying to figure out the prompts helps. This most important part of this essay is your voice. You have to find it and make sure it's infused in your essay. The second most important thing is revision. You need to dedicate time to get both of those things done.
  6. Find a peer/teacher/person to help you edit. As I just mentioned in number five, revision is important and more often than not a fresh pair of eyes is helpful if not integral top this process.
  7. Killer playlists. I swear music just makes things so much better. If your are frustrated you can take a five minute dance break, or maybe you can find a song that reminds you of a moment in your life. Or maybe it just stops you from wanting to throw everything you've written out the window.
  8. Don't be afraid to be personal. Sometimes you need to share personal experiences to show people who you are. You don't have to share everything, but don't be afraid to share some personal things. It helps you seem like a real person and helps keep your voice stable and genuine.
  9. Write this as if you were writing a story. This helps me become more invested in writing it and in turn makes my essay easier to read. Instead of it being a stiff boring essay, you can add life with metaphors and jokes and memories. You shouldn't lose the structure, you just need to make your voice shine when writing your essay.
  10. Make every word count. Don't't just write something to write it, make sure every sentence helps show your voice and answer the prompts.
  11. Just breath and remember that you are more than the words you write down. It can get pretty overwhelming trying to fit your life, your entire being into a word limit. So just breath and do your best and give yourself time to do your best. So just breath and if things don't work out one day, come back the next day with new ideas and fresh perspectives. It's important that even though this is such a long process, you just need to take it step by step.
So what are your tips or tricks for writing personal statements?
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