10 steps to writing a personal statement [2019]

10 steps to writing a personal statement [2019]

A personal statement is your ticket to getting approved or rejected in your university admission.

Some people call it an application essay while others may call it a statement of purpose. Whichever sounds good to you, personal statements are essays that are written as part of a graduate school application.

Often, the personal statement is limited to 4, 000 characters or two pages.

In the 2 page application essay, you have to convince the admission board that your are the best applicant for a specific course.

If you are struggling with your application essay, ask for one-on-one help here or continue reading.

Step 1# Consider the context

Personal statements are read by admission review boards which consist of professors. For this reason, it is important that you carefully think about your audience before writing.  Think of the application essay as a single package for the admission committee to hear your voice.

Often times, the admission committee sifts through thousands of applicants to find the best essay. In light of this, you will want your application essay to engage the audience and demonstrate that you are unique.

Step 2# Read the prompt before writing

Some colleges give simple instructions on the personal statement while others give detailed instructions. In the application form, there are clear instructions on the maximum and minimum length of the essay as well as the topic to select.  In other situations, some universities will give little to no guidance.

To stand out from the crowd, understand the instructions first before writing.

Step 3# Plan your personal statement

Just like any other academic essay, plan your statement of purpose. Do not biographical information on your personal or professional life.

Try to convey why you are the right person for the course through your narrative.  In planning, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Why do you want to study a Bachelors in communication studies and how will it be of use to you?
  • Why you and not other applicants?
  • How can you contribute to the course or university?
  • How does the course relate to your past and present skills?

Step 3 # Make it personal

The statement of purpose is your chance to take the audience through your life’s journey. Instead of simply stating that you love a specific course, you need to say ‘why.’  Tell a story. Stories are easy and interesting to the readers. If you are a good story teller, you can rest assured to stand out in the crowd.

Answer the right questions. When did you know you loved this field? Who inspired you to study engineering? Which life events moved you in this direction?  When telling your story, be genuine but stay focused.

Step 4 # Structure

Like any other element in an application essay, the structure of your statement must be professional.  Use short and logical paragraphs. Your admission essay ought to have an attention grabbing introduction, engaging body and thoughtful conclusion.

Here at viselance, our writers focus on having a catchy hook and headline that will make your statement of purpose unique.  You might consider using subheadings but keep the sentence short as well.

Besides, when you make a claim, remember to back it up with evidence.

For example this admission essay paragraph from the University of Sussex makes a claim then backs it up with evidence from work experience.


Step 5# Go straight to the point

Do not waste your time with useless tales. Narrate everything as fast as you can in few words.

I write on page of masterpiece to ninety one pages of shit,” I try to put the shit in the wastebasket” Ernest Hemingway

With this information, spend a lot of your time editing and proofreading your application essay.  If you have 10 hours to submit the essay, write in 4 hours and edit in 6 hours.

Step 6# Explain why you want to study the course

Here is where you need to be specific. What inspired you to take a course in Journalism studies? Talk about what you have done to purse the course.  However, avoid overusing cliché words like “passionate”, ‘dreamt’ etc.

Step 7# Mention extra curricula activities

When writing your statement of purpose you also need to identify what you have done outside the classroom.  Have you engage in any volunteer or internship activities? But it is important that you don’t give a long list of extra curricula activities. Focus on those activities that related to your course.

For example, you can mention some of the popular books, journals or magazines you have read.  Perhaps you have volunteered in the Red Cross; mention it. If you are applying for a course in the medical field, stating your volunteer activities in the Red Cross may give you an upper hand.

If you have to mention these activities, try to be unique and avoid activities that everyone else will mention.

Step 8# Reflect on extra curricula & how they are relevant to the course

An excellent personal statement reflects on how the extra curricula activities relate to your course. This is a reflection which should explain what you have learnt from your experiences.

There is no need of outlining external activities if they did not help you.  You don’t have to be fancy about anything.

Step 9# Consider your language

Have you thought about your tone? Who are you writing the personal statement to? Why are you writing?

Use a positive, less formal but enthusiastic tone.  The copy should be persuasive and show a willingness to persuade the admission board that you have what it takes to excel.

On top of this, use accurate grammar without punctuation or spelling mistakes.  Also avoid using generic terms and making exaggerated.

Step 10# Be human. Identify the challenges but in a positive way

For you to engage the audience, you have to show them your human side. Here is where you outline the challenges you have faced towards your dream career. Is it a bad semester or bad work experience?

After outlining the challenges, explain the tricks you used to get back in good state.

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