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How to Write your Personal Statement in 4 Easy Steps

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❶The personal statement essay is your chance to state your achievements and qualifications in a manner that will be compelling to admissions committees. These essays are answers to past prompts from either the Common Application or the Universal Application, both of which Johns Hopkins accepts.

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You want to show that you know how to think. A big part of what will attract admissions officials to your character will be the quality of your insightfulness. How do you think about the world? What events from your past have influenced your mindset? Where are you headed? Above all, be sincere. Too many applicants write what they think an admissions committee wants to hear. Were there other people there? What emotions were coursing through you at that exact moment?

Make it easier for your reader to remember you by writing a story as your introduction. If you have chosen a specific activity to write about, in addition to writing about the activity itself, colleges want to know why this particular activity has made an impact on your life.

Perhaps playing baseball taught you teamwork, or made you appreciate the value of practice and determination in achieving your goals. Colleges want to know how you have grown as a person through your own experiences and how they have changed you, and stating why such experiences were important to you aid in convincing admissions officers that their school could use more students like you. It goes without saying that you should spell-check your essay before sending it off to colleges.

As your personal statement is one you will presumably be using for the majority of your college applications if your colleges use CollgeApp , there is no excuse for sending off an essay that is not completely free of mechanical and grammatical errors. In addition to the automatic spellcheck on Microsoft Word, set time aside to read over your paper out loud.

This will allow you to catch things your mind might otherwise overlook; because you are able to hear any wrong grammar or sentence structure, you are less likely to skip over it.

It is also wise to ask for a second opinion: Ask them to read it and tell you what they thought the central message they got out of it was; if it is the same message you were hoping to send to admissions officers, your essay has succeeded. I would assign people, aptly named Fixer-Uppers, to fix everything that needed fixing.

That old man down the street with chipping paint on his house would have a fresh coat in no time. The boy who accidentally tossed his Frisbee onto the roof of the school would get it back.

The big pothole on Elm Street that my mother managed to hit every single day on the way to school would be filled-in. It made perfect sense! I was like a ten-year-old FDR. I always pictured a Fixer-Upper as a smiling man in an orange T-Shirt. Maybe instead, a Fixer-Upper could be a tall girl with a deep love for Yankee Candles. Maybe it could be me.

Bridget the Fixer-Upper will be slightly different than the imaginary one who paints houses and fetches Frisbees. I was lucky enough to discover what I am passionate about when I was a freshman in high school.

On my first day, I learned that it was for developmentally-disabled students. To be honest, I was really nervous. Long story short, I got hooked. Three years have passed helping out in APE and eventually becoming a teacher in the Applied Behavior Analysis summer program. I love working with the students and watching them progress. Instead, I told him I wanted to become a board-certified behavior analyst.

A BCBA helps develop learning plans for students with autism and other disabilities. Basically, I would get to do what I love for the rest of my life.

He laughed and told me that it was a nice change that a seventeen-year-old knew so specifically what she wanted to do. I smiled, thanked him, and left. But it occurred to me that, while my desired occupation was decided, my true goal in life was still to become a Fixer-Upper.

My childhood self would appreciate that. Bridget takes a somewhat different approach than Stephen, but her essay is just as detailed and engaging. The essay is arranged chronologically. Bridget starts each paragraph with a clear signpost of where we are in time:. I wanted to become a board-certified behavior analyst. It helps that the metaphor is a very clear one: Every childhood Fixer-Upper ever.

Ask your parents to explain the back row to you. This essay uses many techniques that make Bridget sound genuine and make the reader feel like we already know her. The second technique is the way Bridget coins her own terms, carrying them through the whole essay. It would be easy enough to simply describe the people she imagined in childhood as helpers or assistants, and to simply say that as a child she wanted to rule the world. The third technique is to use sentences of varying length, syntax, and structure.

However, at key moments, Bridget emphasizes that the reader needs to sit up and pay attention by switching to short, colloquial, differently punctuated, and sometimes fragmented sentences.

The last key moment that gets the small-sentence treatment is the emotional crux of the essay. As we watch Bridget go from nervously trying to help disabled students to falling in love with this specialty field, she undercuts the potential sappiness of the moment by relying on changed-up sentence length and slang: The best essays convey emotions just as clearly as this image. Explain the car connection better.

It would be great to either connect this into the essay more, or to take it out altogether and create more space for something else. It would take the focus off of her and possibly read as offensive or condescending. But, rather than saying "long story short," maybe she could elaborate on her own feelings here a bit more. What is it about this kind of teaching that she loves? What is she hoping to bring to the lives of her future clients?

How can you use this discussion to better your own college essay? Here are some suggestions for ways to use this resource effectively. Make a note whenever you find an essay or part of an essay that you think was particularly well-written, and think about what you like about it.

Does it help you really get to know the writer? Does it show what makes the writer unique? Once you have your list, keep it next to you while writing your essay to remind yourself to try and use those same techniques in your own essay. It can either be very dramatic did you survive a plane crash? Either way, it should be personal and revealing about you, your personality, and the way you are now that you are entering the adult world.

Let me level with you: And in order to have time to rewrite, you have to start way before the application deadline. Let it sit for a few days untouched. What is in the wrong place? Do this several times over, and your essay will be much better for it! Interested in learning more about college essays?

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Write your own awesome personal statement with our COLLEGE APPLICATION ESSAY LAB, which will guide you through the process, providing tips and even more examples along the way. Before you start, check out our own sample essays—or scroll down for the Best of the Web.

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College essay — basically the same as a personal statement. (I'll be using the terms interchangeably.) (I'll be using the terms interchangeably.) Essay prompt — a question or statement that your college essay is meant to respond to.

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The personal statement essay is your chance to state your achievements and qualifications in a manner that will be compelling to admissions committees. Most of the other components of your application are numbers (test scores, GPA, etc.) or out of your control (letters of recommendation). How to Write your Personal Statement in 4 Easy Steps As this is a college essay with a point to make about your character, a substantial portion of your essay should answer the “so what?” question. if it is the same message you were hoping to send to admissions officers, your essay has succeeded. Need Money to Pay for College?

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