Saturday, October 10, 2009

5 Things Every College Personal Statement Should Include

Applying for college is not as simple as completing the application and submitting it to your top choices. Many colleges ask you to include a personal statement with your application. While an application requests specific information from you, a personal statement is similar to a personal essay. It allows your personality to shine as you provide added details about who you are as a person, the reasons you want to attend the college you’re applying for and the educational and career goals you have set for yourself. College acceptance is very competitive so creating a personal statement that stands out from the rest can really make the difference.

List and explain your personal experiences and qualifications

The first item you should include in your personal statement is experiences you have had related school, extracurricular activities, community service, or work. Colleges like to see that a student is well-rounded and has participated in a variety of activities inside and outside of the classroom. When you are describing these experiences, make sure to be as specific as possible and supply details about each experience. Talk about how you felt and the lessons that each activity taught you.

What makes you unique?

Everyone has a characteristic, trait or experience that makes them unique. Now is the time for you to figure out what makes you special or impressive. College acceptance is a highly competitive arena, so you need to include in your personal statement something that jumps off the page and grabs the attention of the admission officer or board that is pouring over the mound of applications sitting on their desk. Provide a thorough explanation as to why they should choose you over all of the other applicants that are competing for your position in the institution.

List and fully explain the reasons why this college is right for you

Think of yourself as a matchmaker. What does this college or university offer that makes it the right one for you. It may be that it specializes in a specific course of study or that its ranking as the top pre-med program will help you achieve your dream to become a top surgeon.

Match your wants and needs with the institution has to offer, explain why it’s important to you and include how you became interested in the school.

Paint a picture of you

Learn how you can paint yourself in a bright and glowing light using the personal statement you submit with your college application. One of the things you want to include in your personal statement is any work experience you may have that is applicable to the area you wish to study. By sharing relevant work experience, you’re showing the admission officer that your interest in pursuing a line of study that will lead to a career is something you take very seriously. It may also be that your work experience is what sparked your interest in the area of study to begin with. For example, if your summer job was as a camp counselor for children education programs, this may have led to your interest in becoming a teacher. Or maybe your stint at a local medical clinic made you realize that medical research is where your interests lie. Connecting the dots between your experience and interests with what the college can offer you helps to complete the picture.

Describe your career goals

Everyone has a dream career that they wish to pursue. Your personal statement should include your specific career goals. It shows that you are able to organize your thoughts, set goals and take the steps necessary to achieve your goals. Try not to be too general in sharing your goals. For example, if you want to be a pediatrician or a thoracic surgeon, then say this. Don’t just say you want to be a doctor. You’ll also want to share the reasons you’ve set this career goal. If your work with children during a summer camp program that caters to children with epilepsy made you realize that you want to help treat children then say this. Whatever your reasons, make sure that you share this in your personal statement when addressing your career goals. Michael Gluckstern


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