How to Write a Great Personal Statement

Updated: Dec 28, 2020


A personal statement, also known as a college application essay, is an essay to be read by college admissions committees explaining to them who you are. This is quite possibly the most open-ended aspect of your college application. While, at this point, you likely have minimal say in what your transcript or test scores might look like, you still have complete control over your personal statement. You should avoid looking at this as intimidating, and instead see it as an exciting opportunity to show colleges what you’re made of and why they should want you on their campus. When reading your personal statement, colleges are, first and foremost, looking for a peek into who you are and what you care about. Specifically, schools are looking for leadership, tenacity, and demonstrated interest. Additionally, colleges and universities will look at your personal statement as a measure of your writing ability.


Leadership: Colleges want to see that you have emerged as a leader in your community and that holding a leadership role is important to you. Every school wants fearless leaders on their campus—show them that you can be one by weaving references to your leadership skills into your essay.

Tenacity: Tenacity is determination and persistence. Colleges want to see that you are equipped with a growth mindset and that you are prepared to look a challenge in the eye. Use your essay as an opportunity to showcase an obstacle that you have overcome and to explain what you learned from this experience. When the going gets tough, the tough get going. Universities want to know that when campus life throws you a curveball, be it an impossible Statistics problem-set or a personal dilemma, you will not shy away from the challenge.

Demonstrated interest: Showcasing your interest in a particular university will come more naturally in your supplemental essays for that school than it will in your general personal statement. Demonstrated interest will show schools how much you like their school and how likely you would be to enroll if admitted. In college-specific personal statements, show colleges that you have spent ample time researching and considering their school, and that you know for a fact that it is a perfect fit for you. To do this, you will have to put in time and effort. Find programs and majors that interest you in your top schools and make sure to include them in your personal statement. Explain how and why your experiences up to this point, and the experiences you hope to gain make these schools appealing to you.


Schools will use your essay to get insight into your writing ability. No one expects you to be a best-selling author, but colleges want to hear your voice and see that you are capable of writing clearly and fluidly.

If writing doesn’t come naturally to you, I know it helped a lot of my friends to film themselves telling a story aloud and then play the video back and type out what they had spoken. Regardless, you should definitely read your essay draft aloud once you have written it—hearing it spoken will help you catch grammatical errors and awkward wording. Additionally, make sure you have someone read over your essays before you submit them. Others might catch errors you hadn’t seen or have general suggestions on how to improve your essay’s cohesiveness and appeal. Do not be afraid to ask for help and be open-minded when it is offered!


The most important tip here is to write about something you are passionate about. If you write about something you love or is of great importance to you, the writing process will be fun and will go smoothly. On top of this, your reader will be able to hear your passion and excitement in your writing voice and this will make you an appealing college candidate. Your statement should tell a story about you in your writing voice-- it does not have to be, and in fact, should not be, as rigidly structured and grammatically flawless as your high school essays have been. Be you and have fun with it!

Summary of Personal Statement Tips:

· Show leadership, tenacity, and interest

· Read your statement aloud

· Have multiple people read/review your statement

· Write about something you are passionate about

·Have fun with it!

Please contact us at if you have any further questions regarding this topic. We will be more than happy to explain it further over a free consultation. Thank you!

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