Personal statement: what it is, and why write it?

Personal statement: what it is, and why write it?

A personal statement is a special essay that is written by a school or university entree, in which they tell about themselves, their motivation, their goals in life. There is a subtle difference between a statement of purpose and a personal statement: the former only has to include academic and professional experience and goals of the entree, while the personal statement must also tell something about the matriculant as a person. A personal statement typically contains the following sections or paragraphs:

  • Introduction;
  • The explanation of why the matriculant chose a particular profession;
  • The explanation of why the matriculant chose a particular school or university;
  • The matriculant’s academic background;
  • Matriculant’s intentions and goals.

 

It is not necessary to separate these sections with headers or numbered lists. Usually, a personal statement is one whole text.

Qualities of a good personal statement

A lot of aspiring students do not know how to write a personal statement, and they seek a personal statement writer. If you are such a writer, you need to know the necessities. Here is a short list:

  • It should contain a narrative. A personal statement is not just a bundle of facts, it is an essay;
  • It still has to include facts and examples from its author’s biography;
  • It should be targeted to a school or program to which the supposed author is enrolling;
  • It should be written well;
  • It should not be too personal and should not contain things like health, relationships etc;

Explaining the list

Let’s explain these brief points in detail. First, it should contain a narrative. A personal statement is a coherent text in which you write about “yourself”, seamlessly going from one point to another. Each point should somehow prove that “you” are a promising applicant.

Second, it should contain facts and examples. This is the tricky point because generally you, as a copywriter, know nothing at all about the biography of a supposed author. If you contact the matriculant directly, you may ask them about the important parts of their biography, so you will have material to write about. However, if you do not have direct contact with the client, you will have to guesstimate and advise the client to correct any parts they do not like.

Third, it has to be targeted. This is easier because usually you know the school or programme the client tries to enrol to. Use the Internet to collect information about this school or programme, its requirements and values, and adjust your narrative to fit its key points towards these values.

Fourth, it has to be written well. This means you should avoid cliched phrases. Examples of such phrases are “Ever since my early childhood…” or “For the entirety of my life…”. However, avoiding cliches does not mean you have to be overly creative. You should not write a personal statement so it does not read like an essay but a short story, a legal brief or a police report. And, of course, you should avoid bad grammar and spelling mistakes.

Fifth, it must not be too personal. Usually, this point is moot for a copywriter, who never knows “too personal” facts about the client such as health issues, past relationships, hobbies that have nothing to do with the chosen profession, etc. However, if the client demands to include this information into the personal statement, you should politely refuse and explain that this is not the sort of information that needs to be put into the statement.

Tips for good writing

Another big part of writing a personal statement is that it has to attract attention. Remember, the school or programme in question receives tons of mediocre texts from prospective matriculants, and this one has to catch the attention. How to achieve that? Well, the aforementioned requirement for good writing is a major part of this. However, you should remember that the introduction part should be written in the most captivating way. This is the crucial part of the personal statement that will be read first, and you should make absolutely sure that it contains no cliches, grammatical errors or boring phrases. The requirements for the rest of the statement are laxer, but it does not mean that you can write badly in the end. When the text attracts attention, it will be read in full, from the beginning to the end, and it should not disappoint the reader.

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