The personal statement is the most powerful you will wield while trying to convince an institution that you are the right choice for a particular course. You get to show them everything great about yourself, including skills, experience, and values. There is a lot of pressure to produce the perfect paper, and many students doubt their abilities. Consequently, they even think about hiring people to write this important document for them. It would be a mistake since the paper is about you and no one knows you better than yourself.
Why Write the Paper Yourself?
The perfect paper does not exist, and the admissions board does not seek to be impressed by your skills. Instead, it wants to learn about the important things about you, such as your achievements, personality, and ambitions. These are the things the board will evaluate to consider whether you would be an asset to the university.
However, that doesn’t mean you should submit a poorly written paper; presentation is still important, and essay proofreading will grant you that. Just make sure you write the paper yourself. There is nothing wrong with drawing inspiration from another person’s personal statement as long as you don’t copy-paste it.
Here’s a rundown of reasons why you should write this crucial paper yourself.
Every person is unique, and we are all carved from the different experiences we have gone through in our lives. Your personal statement is an avenue to showcase your uniqueness to the world. It needs to be engaging and, most importantly, personal. When you copy someone else’s work, yours is no longer unique. Even having someone else write your personal statement won’t capture that essence that makes it yours.
Universities Run Plagiarism Tests
It might be common knowledge, but we should stress that colleges perform plagiarism tests on papers. So, you cannot just edit and resend a personal statement from the internet. Writing your own makes it less likely to have traces of plagiarism.
Noteworthy, you should conduct plagiarism tests on the paper even if you did it yourself. Some phrases might still match online even though the content is your own.
Your Personal Statement Might Come Up During Interviews
In some interviews, some universities are thorough and will reference specific aspects of the personal statement you submitted. If you write it yourself, you will have nothing to worry about since all that information was already in your head after all. If someone else writes it, you might be caught off guard by some of the questions and even stuck trying to find an answer.
Here’s an example: you are at an interview, and the interviewer asks you why you like “punk literature.” You have never heard of this term before, and you struggle to find an answer. However, your personal statement clearly says that you like the genre, but you won’t know what to say since someone else wrote it.
When your responses conflict with some of the things in your personal statement, it might raise suspicion.
Writing a Personal Statement
Now that we’ve tried to sway you to write that personal statement yourself, we’re ready to provide some tips you can use to produce a top-notch piece.
Writing a personal statement might seem like a challenge, but you can easily complete it once you know what to do. Starting is usually the challenge, but once you’re past that, you should be fine. Here are some tips that should make writing easier.
Personal statements need you to take your time when writing. Start working on it as early as possible, probably weeks or even months prior to the submission date. When you give yourself time, you’ll be able to craft a great paper since you’ll have enough time for preparation. Don’t wait until the last few days to start thinking about this task. Procrastination leads to rushing, and rushing encourages mistakes.
Plan Before Writing
When writing papers, you don’t just jump in and start typing. You need a plan for what you are about to do. Before beginning the paper, create its outline. An outline is a brief list of all the points you plan to include in the piece. You should arrange these points according to how they will appear in the paper.
While still in this phase, you should plan to answer what, why, and how?
- What is it you want to study?
- Why do you want to study it?
- How do your past experiences and skills prove this?
Take your time and come up with several skills you possess that you believe are relevant in making your case for studying a specific course. Then, show some examples that depict how you display these skills.
Use the Correct Format
Your personal statement will look professional if you use the right format. Break it down into paragraphs and include an introduction and a conclusion. Ensure every paragraph talks about a different topic. That way, your personal statement will be neat and easy to follow.
Here are the components of a good structure:
- Paragraph 1: the introduction
- Paragraph 2: academics
- Paragraph 3: your interest and how you have manifested it
- Paragraph 4: interests and hobbies
- Paragraph 5: conclusion
Make each paragraph flow into the next to increase readability.
Create a Powerful Introduction
The opening sentence to your introduction should grab the reader’s attention. Start by highlighting why you are applying for that specific course and mention some of your main skills. In your introduction, dive right in and get to the point. Don’t try to use catchy phrases and words to impress the board. Some of these phrases are overused and considered clichés. For example, “It is what I have always wanted to do since I was a kid.”
If you find yourself stuck at the introduction section, start with the other paragraphs and then return to it. The introduction and conclusion can be written last.
Include Relevant Examples
Having a number of extra-curricular activities is great, but if you list them, ensure they relate to the course.
Here is a trick you can use: for each example you make, ask yourself, so what? Then answer that question. You were on the soccer team, so what? Follow up by talking about the skills you developed from that. For this example, you can say you developed focus and teamwork.
Don’t try to include everything you have ever done. Be selective and only choose what you think will work best in your favor.
The admissions board wants to know who you are, and you need to oblige them in your personal statement. Be as sincere as you can within reason and highlight what makes you unique. When your statement is not personal, it sounds generic or fabricated. The panel has read hundreds of personal statements. Therefore, to stand out, you need to show your unique self.
Proofread Your Work
Once you are done writing, go through your work and eliminate any errors you find. From there, you can even have a family member or friend go through it. It’s easy to be biased and miss some errors in our work, but someone else might identify them.
While we might have provided some advice for your personal statement, you should seek more information and help from teachers, parents, and even friends. They will be there to support you when you get stuck. Also, don’t be afraid to compare notes from other online sources. Just beware of the consequences of copying.
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