Things to Consider when Writing Your Personal Statement

Things to Consider when Writing Your Personal Statement

Writing your personal statement for college applications can be a tough and challenging task. There are so many questions you may ask yourself while trying to craft the perfect essay that will make you stand out from other applicants. What’s the best way to describe yourself? What achievements or extracurricular activities should you choose to highlight? How do you choose between different prompts?

One important thing to keep in mind when writing your personal statement is to focus on a particular theme or topic. Instead of trying to cover countless topics and achievements, it’s better to choose one meaningful aspect of your life and make it the central part of your essay. By doing so, you’ll be able to give admissions officers an in-depth, focused glimpse into who you are as a person.

Many applicants fall into the trap of making their personal statements cliché and generic. While it may be tempting to use cliché ideas or rely on generic statements, it’s important to remember that admissions officers read hundreds, if not thousands, of essays. They are looking for essays that are unique and surprising. So, avoid common phrases and cliché topics, and instead, find a fresh and unexpected angle to approach your essay.

When writing your personal statement, don’t be afraid to tackle tough topics or discuss challenging experiences you’ve faced. Admissions officers appreciate honesty and vulnerability. Sharing stories about overcoming obstacles, dealing with personal loss, or even discussing tough subjects like abuse or breakups can actually make your essay more memorable and impactful.

Another important aspect to consider is to make sure your personal statement is free from plagiarism. While it’s fine to seek inspiration from books, articles, or other essays, copying someone else’s work is not only unethical but can also destroy your chances of getting admitted. Always make sure to check your essay and ensure that the words you’re writing are yours and yours alone.

Last but not least, remember that the personal statement is your chance to show college admissions officers a glimpse of who you are beyond your grades and test scores. It’s an opportunity to let your personality shine and let them get to know the real you. So, don’t be afraid to let your true self come through in your writing. Be honest, be authentic, and most importantly, be yourself.

Reflect on Your Experiences

Start by taking a look at your résumé and fixing any gaps or inconsistencies. Think about what experiences have become meaningful to you and why. Consider the classes you have taken, the relationships you have built, and the pressure you have faced. These experiences can help you develop strategies for success and give you the faith that you can overcome any obstacle.

It is important to keep in mind that not everything you write about has to be overly serious or related to academics. Sometimes the most impactful experiences come from outside the classroom. For example, a volunteer trip or a book you read may have sparked a passion in you or taught you an important life lesson. These experiences can be just as helpful in finding your unique voice and helping you stand out.

Find a Common Theme

When reflecting on your experiences, try to find a common theme that ties them all together. This could be something like communication, leadership, or a passion for helping others. By identifying this theme, you can show the admissions committee that you have a clear sense of who you are and what you value.

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Think about the activities you have been involved in and how they have helped shape you. Were you a captain of a sports team? Did you volunteer at a local charity? Have you taken on leadership roles in clubs or organizations? These achievements and experiences can be used to demonstrate your strengths and your dedication to something greater than yourself.

Be Genuine and Authentic

When writing your personal statement, it’s important to be genuine and authentic. Avoid clichés and generic advice that often comes up in college essays. Instead, think about what makes you unique and what sets you apart from other applicants.

Don’t be afraid to talk about your struggles and how you have overcome them. Admissions committees are often impressed by applicants who have faced adversity and have come out stronger on the other side. This shows resilience and a willingness to tackle challenges head-on.

Remember, the personal statement is your chance to show the admissions committee who you are as a person. So take your time, think about what you want to say, and write from the heart. Your personal statement will be much stronger if it truly reflects who you are and what you have to offer.

Showcase Your Strengths

When writing your personal statement, it’s important to showcase your strengths and highlight what makes you unique. Here are 10 tips to keep in mind:

  1. Discover your strengths: Take some time to reflect on your talents, skills, and personal qualities.
  2. Even as you describe your strengths, choose ones that are relevant to the prompt or the particular institution you are applying to.
  3. Answer the prompt: Make sure to address the prompt directly and provide a clear answer.
  4. Particularity is key: Avoid vague statements and instead provide specific examples to support your strengths.
  5. Brainstorming your strengths: Make a list of your achievements, extracurricular activities, volunteer work, and other experiences that demonstrate your strengths.
  6. Share your story: As a writer, you have the chance to challenge and improve yourself. Show authenticity in your personal statement by making it personal and sharing your unique experiences.
  7. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box: Consider interests or strengths that may not be as common among students.
  8. Show, don’t tell: Instead of simply stating your strengths, provide specific examples and anecdotes that illustrate them.
  9. Get feedback: Share your personal statement with others and ask for their input. A fresh set of eyes can often catch things you may have overlooked.
  10. Always revise: The first draft is rarely the best. Take the time to revise and improve your personal statement.

Remember, showcasing your strengths is your chance to stand out to admissions officers and make a strong impression. Take the time to craft a personal statement that highlights your best qualities and makes you a compelling candidate for admission.

Stay Authentic and Genuine

One way to do this is by sharing a personal story or experience that has had a significant impact on your life. For example, if you’re an immigrant and your journey to this country has shaped your perspective, don’t be afraid to describe the challenges you’ve faced and how you’ve overcome them. This will not only show your resilience but also give the admissions officers a glimpse into your unique background.

Another important point to consider is to choose a topic that genuinely interests you. Don’t feel pressured to write about a popular or trendy topic if it doesn’t resonate with you. Instead, focus on something that you’re passionate about and that you can speak about with depth and authenticity. Remember, the goal is to stand out and make a lasting impression, so staying true to yourself is key.

Throughout the brainstorming and drafting process, it’s easy to get caught up in what you think the admissions officers want to hear. But don’t forget to stay grounded in your own voice and style. While it’s important to follow the guidelines and requirements set by the institution or the application, don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through in your writing.

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It’s also worth mentioning that being genuine and authentic doesn’t mean you can’t put your best foot forward. Take the time to carefully craft your personal statement, check for grammar and spelling errors, and ensure that your thoughts flow smoothly. This shows that you’ve put in the effort and that you’re serious about your application.

Create a Compelling Narrative

To create a compelling narrative, start by brainstorming significant events, achievements, or experiences in your life. Think about how these events have shaped your personality and influenced your choices. Consider talking about any challenges or obstacles you have faced and how you overcame them. This will showcase your resilience and determination.

While writing your personal statement, also consider your future goals and aspirations. What do you hope to achieve in college and beyond? How has your past shaped your ambitions? By showing colleges that you have a clear vision for your future, you demonstrate that you are motivated and focused.

A compelling narrative should also include specific examples and evidence to support your claims. Rather than simply stating that you are a hard worker, explain the result of your hard work. For example, you could talk about how you won a national award for an academic project or how you worked multiple jobs to save money for college.

Furthermore, it is important to be honest and authentic in your personal statement. Colleges can often see through exaggerated or insincere claims. Instead, focus on showcasing your true self and your genuine passions and motivations.

When crafting a narrative, it is also important to show, not just tell. Rather than simply stating that you are a leader, give an example of a time when you demonstrated leadership skills and the impact it had. Use concrete examples and anecdotes to bring your narrative to life.

Don’t forget to consider the prompts provided by the colleges you are applying to. While it is important to stay focused on your personal narrative, you should also make sure to address any specific questions or requirements outlined in the prompts.

Finally, as you work on your personal statement, always remember to draft, revise, and edit. Your first draft may not be your best, so take the time to review and improve your writing. Also, seek feedback from others, such as friends, family, or teachers, to ensure that your narrative is clear and impactful.


More College Essay Topics

When it comes to writing your personal statement for college applications, it’s important to choose a topic that reflects your unique experiences, interests, and aspirations. While some colleges provide specific essay prompts to choose from, others give you the freedom to write about any topic you choose. Here are some more college essay topics to consider:

1. Overcoming Adversity

Discuss a difficult situation you have faced in your life and how you were able to overcome it. This could include personal challenges, such as a family divorce or a serious injury, or academic challenges, such as struggling with grades or a specific subject in school. Reflect on what you learned from the experience and how it has shaped your character and personal growth.

2. Your Passion or Hobby

Write about a hobby or activity that you are truly passionate about. Describe how you discovered this passion, why it is important to you, and how it has influenced your life. Discuss any meaningful experiences or accomplishments associated with this hobby and how it has helped you develop as a person.

3. A Book or Speech That Inspired You

Talk about a book or a speech that has had a significant impact on your life. Describe why this particular piece of literature or speech resonated with you and how it has influenced your thoughts, beliefs, or actions. Explain how it has shaped your perspective on the world and how you relate to others.

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4. Volunteering or Community Service

Discuss a volunteer experience or a community service project that has been meaningful to you. Describe why you chose to get involved in this particular cause or organization, what you did to contribute, and how it has impacted your view of the world and your desire to make a difference.

5. Career Aspirations

Write about your future career goals and why you are interested in pursuing them. Explain what sparked your interest in this field, any related experiences or internships you have had, and what steps you are taking to prepare for a career in this area. Discuss how your chosen field aligns with your skills, interests, and values.

Explore Your Cultural Heritage

When writing your personal statement, it’s important to explore and reflect on your cultural heritage. Your cultural background plays a significant role in shaping who you are as a person and can provide valuable insights into your character and experiences. By embracing and acknowledging your cultural heritage, you can craft a personal statement that reflects your authenticity and uniqueness.

One strategy to explore your cultural heritage is to think about the articles, books, or events that have captivated you. Consider how these experiences have influenced your beliefs and values. Have you been inspired by the stories of others who have overcome obstacles? Have you developed a love for a particular form of art or music that is deeply rooted in your cultural background?

In addition, take advantage of any volunteer or community activities related to your cultural heritage. By actively engaging in these activities, you not only demonstrate your commitment to your culture but also showcase your ability to contribute to a diverse and inclusive community.

When selecting which aspects of your cultural heritage to include in your personal statement, choose events or experiences that have had a profound impact on your personal growth. Avoid clichés and generic statements, but instead focus on specific examples and how they have shaped you as an individual. It’s essential to be honest and true to yourself rather than trying to fit into what you think the admissions committee wants to hear.

Taking the time to reflect on your cultural heritage can also be a catalyst for self-discovery. It may prompt you to explore areas of your identity that you haven’t previously considered or question long-held beliefs. Embracing your cultural heritage will not only provide you with a deeper understanding of who you are but also give you the confidence to share your unique experiences and perspective with others.

Remember, the personal statement is your opportunity to stand out from other applicants and showcase your character and potential. By weaving your cultural heritage into your narrative, you can provide a fresh and authentic perspective that will captivate the admissions committee. It’s important to go beyond simply stating your cultural background; instead, strive to demonstrate how it has shaped your worldview and influenced your choices and aspirations.


What is a sports injury challenge or success?

A sports injury challenge or success refers to the experience of a person dealing with a sports-related injury and how they overcame it or achieved success despite the injury.

What can I write about in my personal statement if I had a sports injury?

If you had a sports injury, you can write about the challenges you faced during the recovery process, the lessons you learned from it, and how it has shaped you as a person. You can also talk about any success or achievements you had in your sport despite the injury.

How can I make my sports injury story stand out in my personal statement?

To make your sports injury story stand out, focus on the personal growth and resilience you gained from the experience. Highlight any accomplishments or milestones you achieved during your recovery and how it has positively impacted your life, both on and off the field.

Should I only talk about the challenges or also the successes in my personal statement?

In your personal statement, it is important to strike a balance between discussing the challenges you faced due to the sports injury and highlighting the successes or achievements you had despite the injury. This shows resilience and determination, as well as the ability to overcome obstacles.

Alex Koliada, PhD

By Alex Koliada, PhD

Alex Koliada, PhD, is a well-known doctor. He is famous for studying aging, genetics, and other medical conditions. He works at the Institute of Food Biotechnology and Genomics. His scientific research has been published in the most reputable international magazines. Alex holds a BA in English and Comparative Literature from the University of Southern California, and a TEFL certification from The Boston Language Institute.