Writing Successful Personal Statements. Angela Gulick Writing Lab September 2013. Introduction. The purpose of this workshop is to give you tips on writing personal statements for admission to other schools and for scholarships. This workshop has three goals:
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The purpose of this workshop is to give you tips on writing personal statements for admission to other schools and for scholarships. This workshop has three goals:
Personal statements are used to “fill in the gaps” not provided by other documents such as college transcripts, portfolios, cover letters, letters of support
Personal statements are used to show your human side, a side not always clear from grade point averages and extracurricular experiences alone.
Personal statements are used to show your ability to follow directions.
Personal statements are used to show your writing, organization, and critical thinking abilities.
Tip One: Read the application materials carefully and answer the question(s) posed. Underline any verbs you see. Pay attention to formatting issues/page lengths. Don’t guess or approximate an answer. If you don’t understand the question or aren’t sure how to answer it, seek outside suggestions (such as the Writing Lab ).
Tip Two: Understand what readers want to see. In general, readers want to see people with drive, focus, and a passion for where they are headed next. Readers want to see candidates with a “game plan” or clear purpose. Some readers may wish to see past experiences/knowledge, and some may not. But most readers want to see applicants who know what they want and are prepared to work hard to accomplish these goals.
Tip Three: Consider a chronological approach unless given other directions. This approach divides your statement into three sections:
Note: The following slides offer tips for writing your personal statement. However, keep in mind that you shouldn’t try to accomplish all of these goals.
Stage One: Before
Stage Two: During
Stage Three: After
Pitfall Number One: The Timeline Approach
Pitfall Number Two: The Extreme Approach
Pitfall Number Three: The Generic Approach
Pitfall Number Four: The “Jerry McGuire” Approach