Personal Statement Deconstructed
Writing a Personal Statement can be both an intimidating and a fearful task especially since concisely and unabashedly, it must convey who you are.Difficult task, but one that be done in such a way that it makes one candidate stand out from the others.
It is that essay that should stand on its own two feet without relying on the support of grades, however good or bad.More so in the case of the latter, I would say.
Browsing through a book of personal statements that got students into Harvard, I picked out the main ingredient in each of the winning statements.It was the display of exceptional circumstances that made each of them different and astounding.Behind these circumstances was an individual who had struggle to overcome an adversity, be it discrimination, poverty, a handicap or an ailment.These struggles brought out the character of the writer and defined the perseverance of the person enduring the hardship.
Fortunately, not everyone has an adversity to overcome but instead, may have the power to impact others lives in a positive, meaningful experience.Share that experience with those who only know you through your statement.Let your experience define you as it usually does, whether good or bad.Colleges want to know what you did with the lemons life handed to you so let them have that.Show then you made that lemonade.
While it is never a good idea to appear boastful, there are no points given for underselling yourself.Those x number of words are all you have to present yourself so use them to your advantage, not your disadvantage.You are only as good as your statement.
Skills and ambitions, within the realm of reality of course, tell the reader your innate qualities and how you can use those to achieve your goals.Highlight those strengths that will help your ambition.They are your tools or resources that you will use to make your product.Write about how you used your creativity to overcome failure since it is just the other side of the same coin and Colleges know that.
Every person is unique and it is this differentiation that the statement must convey, with an element of truth and sincerity.The readers of personal statements are seasoned people who can be empathetic to truth but not lies.
Once you gain the trust of the reader with your opening lines, make sure you honour that trust throughout your essay.