How to write a personal statement for your college application

Personal statements are a regular feature of the business world, but long before this, you may have to write one to gain entrance to a college or university program of study. Sometimes known as a statement of purpose, these pieces are important for highlighting your academic preparation, motivation, and career goals. You will want to highlight any academic experience or relevant pursuits that will undergird the selection of your program of study. Even though you are preparing for higher education, having career goals will convince your school of choice that you intend to use your education as a springboard for future endeavors. 

Leave the introduction for last

Of course, all that is knowing what you need to put into your piece, but how do you write it? It’s often easiest to construct your body first and return to the introduction at the end. This will allow you to craft a stronger introduction because you will know what you are introducing! 

What’s the appropriate length for your personal statement?

This will depend on  the institution’s parameters, and pay attention to word count (don’t go over this, but use it all). Don’t ramble your way through but be clear and direct, as this will indicate your ability to articulate yourself well and have a sense of purpose for your life (they want you to have this, and then your educaiton will pave the way for how you walk this out). If you meander through, you’ll look scattered and unfocused. As with all other forms of business writing, keep your English strong and simple. You want to communicate to the admissions team as clearly as possible!

Read my article on how to write effective paragraphs here.

Go out with a bang

You want your topic to leave a positive and memorable impact on whoever is reading it. You can include a link back to your introduction (especially powerful if you started with a strong hook), a one-sentence summary of your statement, or even an extension of your academic goals. Use very specific examples from your life, and stick to one – and only one! – subject. A narrow focus on your narrative will allow you to use the 250 or 650 words to their maximum, without straying from your point.

Edit critically!

Go back through, and ask yourself for each sentence or point: does this relate to the theme, moving the narrative forward with critical details, or is this fluff? Each and every sentence must be intentional and driving your point toward the conclusion. Eliminate anything which does not serve the end goal. And have someone who doesn’t know you well (or this particular story) tell you if they understand what you’re trying to say. You will not have the opportunity to discuss it with the admissions team, so anything that needs you to expound in order to be fully understood needs to either get cut or reworked.

Make your statement stand out! Contact me and we will discuss your vision.

Scroll to Top