Among college application season is the dreaded empty page that you must write, known as the personal statement.
While working to improve your standardized college entrance examinations, developing the college essay can be distressing. But fear not, today's blog post will answer common questions about the personal statement and include valuable tips and tricks on writing an effective and stellar essay!
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For starters, many colleges and universities typically require only one essay in their application process. However, some may incorporate various prompts that a student must answer in addition to their primary personal statement.
To properly construct a strong personal statement, you must first understand why schools require the essay.
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Why Colleges Ask For A Essay
More often than not, the college admissions office is looking to evaluate high school candidates beyond the conventional resume-like application. The personal statement allows universities to assess more information about who you are as an individual, besides the unified test scores and grades that are submitted by students worldwide.
In addition to grasping a better understanding of who you are a person, colleges utilize the personal statement to evaluate the level of writing skills an applicant possesses.
As previously mentioned in a previous blog article, universities are looking to grant admission to prospective students that can successfully manage the school's campus coursework and academic rigor. Through the personal statement, universities have a better perception of your scholastic writing capabilities in comparison to the school's current students.
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Another significant reason colleges ask for an essay is because they would like to give you an opportunity to explain any possible extenuating circumstances that may have impacted your high school career and records. The admissions officer considers multiple factors that may have an impact on a high school student and makes use of the personal statement to acquire outside information that otherwise would go unnoticed in the standard college resume.
As such, it is extremely valuable that students explain any relevant cases or situations through their personal statements.
One more particular reason that universities ask for the college essay is none other than figuring out why an applicant is interested in that specific school. With competition increasing every year, the admissions officer look forward to potential candidates who have a sincere and genuine excitement for the school that they are applying to.
How Long A Personal Statement Be
When students are constructing their personal statements, keep in mind that you have a maximum of four thousand (4,000) characters and forty-seven (47) lines to completely convey and write your essay.
While this may seem like a daunting task, most students will gradually find that they have a lot of relevant experiences and skills that they want to communicate to the admissions officer.
A quick and common tip that students should follow is to start their drafts on a Google or Word document, then copy the statement over to the application system to submit it. This assures that you never lose your entire work.
What Should You Write
The big question that most parents and students have is "what should I write"?
7EDU has compiled the following checklist to ensure that you are incorporating the essentials into your personal statement:
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1. An explanation of why you want to study the course
The college admissions officer is looking to understand why a student is motivated to learn a particular course further, at a university-level. They are evaluating how a student has developed a specific interest or passion and what you may have done in the course of following that curiosity.
2. Talk about your extracurriculars outside the standard class
An important recommendation on what you should be integrating with your personal statement is the external activities you have participated in order to pursue your aspirations.
After providing an overview of your passions and interests, it is fundamental that you discuss how you may have continued that enthusiasm beyond your high school's curriculum.
However, be cautious of writing out a list of the things that you have done. The admission officer is evaluating your ability to critically reflect on your actions and interests as well. As such, it is crucial that you relay your self-thoughts as you write about your extracurriculars.
3. Show and expand on relevant skills
Student applicants writing the essay should remember to demonstrate applicable aptitudes and skills to the courses that they want to study at the university.
A great tip for students is researching the course that the college you are applying to has, and incorporating that into your personal statement. By doing so, you will illustrate that you have a genuine curiosity for the university and the studies that you intend on enrolling in once admitted.
4. Reflection of experiences
This advice refers a bit back to #2. Throughout your college essay, be sure to take into account how your adventures have affected and impacted you.
The college admission officer will care more about what you took away from your relevant experiences rather than the number of things you did.
What Makes A Stellar Essay
High school students writing a personal statement must remember that a stellar essay does not come immediately - it will take you several drafts, revisions, and polishing before you finally perfect your application.
Since many drafts are required to develop a strong personal statement, you should take note of your college's deadline for the statement and begin to work backward. By utilizing and being aware of your allotted timeframe, you will have adequate time to ask for help from your career advisor or teacher beforehand and more time to refine your writing.
Another valuable component of a stellar essay requires one keyword - 'personal'. Remember that the college admission officer is looking to learn about you holistically, aside from the plain resume-like university application.
Your statement should reflect why you are a great student candidate for the coursework that you are trying to gain admission into, all based on who you are with your personal skills and experiences.
“To shine your brightest light is to be who you truly are.” - Roy T. Bennett
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