A document you write about yourself to inform universities and colleges in which you are applying to for placement is called a personal statement. It is usually a short document of under a thousand words, which contains a subjective testimonial written in expressive, error-free language.
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In order to write a personal statement successfully, you need to convey your passion and enthusiasm for the avenues in life and work you have chosen to pursue. You must indicate the talents and aptitudes you have already gathered to make your future profession a reality, and you must demonstrate a set of attractive, useful, and desirable skills. Although personal statements vary between countries, states, and educational institutions, they are similar in what a candidate needs to demonstrate.
This piece of writing is all about the person writing it—that is, you. You are the one who needs to express your interest for the subject of your choice to the admissions tutors. You must show enthusiasm and potential, as well as demonstrate your suitability for the courses you wish to enroll in.
Steps for Writing a Personal Statement
- Read everything you can obtain about the college or university and its activities. You can only express enthusiasm when you know what it is you would like to do, and where you want to do it.
- Make a list of your personal merits—from the way you organize your belongings, to the way you learnt how to ride a bike or catch public transport, to the methods you have found that help you memorize educational material. You will not use all these details—this list will later be condensed to exactly what you need to say.
- Try to remember one brief anecdote that illustrates the best of your skills, talents, gifts, and/or attributes.
- Remember all the aspects you need to cover. The talents you need most to show are not only the ones associated with the courses in question. They can be what you like to do in your free time, the languages you speak, whether you play an instrument or participate in a sport, which books you like to read, and other personal points.
- Write three central paragraphs that cover your awareness of the ethos of the institution you want to join, the merits you hold that match with those ethos, and why you feel you are a suitable candidate.
Key Points to Consider
- Make your tone unassuming but confident. It is just as misleading to be falsely modest, as it is to be cocksure and grandiose.
- If you quote books, or mention art or music, or any other cultural activity with which you are familiar, do so in a way that shows you understand their relevance, and that you experienced them for reasons other than the application alone.
- It is not wise to show off knowledge, experience, or connections to sport or culture in an imposing or arrogant manner.
- Being amusing or humorous is not an appropriate tone either. It is fine to be a bit more casual than in an application letter, but you must never fall into a conversational style of writing.
- Lengthy anecdotes about family, travels, encounters with famous people, or excessive wealth or poverty are not suitable inclusions for personal statements.
Do and Don’t
- Avoid quoting other people’s direct praise of you.
- Avoid driving a point home too strongly. It is enough to support your statement with experience and short paragraphs about your abilities without repetition.
- A personal statement must never criticize or condemn, and must always be positive and upbeat.
- A successful personal statement appeals to the reader’s feelings, but must not overflow with emotion.
- Make sure the tone matches the occasion and the establishment you are addressing. Avoid colloquialisms and slang. Jargon too is to be avoided.
- It is fine to make references as long as they are up-to-date and relevant.
- Avoid presenting heavy facts and data: the statement is about only one person: you. This does not mean you can be casual. Make a logical outline or plan, provide pertinent facts, and remain practical.
Now that you have acquainted yourself with the basic personal statement writing tips and rules, you can check out our personal statement samples to link theory with practice.
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