A personal statement is an essay that describes your personalityand experiences in a reflective way. The aim of this essay typeis to persuade the admission committee that you are a second tonone candidate for the college you are applying for. Along withyour SAT, BTEC scores or other school leaving qualificationresults (depending on the country of residence), admissionofficers attentively read your personal statement. Very oftenthey select their future students with the help of this essay asonly it can show them who you really are. There are hundreds ofA-level scores, brilliant records, etc. but a personal statementis what makes you unique. As your essay is powerful andimpressive, so your college enrollment is successful.
So what is a personal essay about? It can be a story about youand your life. It also can tell about someone else who influencedyour views, your frame of mind or feelings. On the whole, apersonal statement is more towards you and the events, people andother things related to your life.
Your story can begin in different ways. If you feel insecure tostart writing about yourself, you may prelude with a short storyabout a person who has significantly influenced and inspired youlike a parent, teacher, a screen idol, a hero from yourchildhood, a coach, etc. Whatever you portray, you use it todemonstrate your own development, achievements and aspirations.
Another way to start your personal essay is to choose ananecdote, a quotation or a joke relevant to your future studiesand occupation. Some applicants raise a certain issue and buildtheir essay around it. But this task is rather challenging andrequires some outstanding thinking and writing skills from theauthor. Anyway, every applicant must focus on his or her life andpersonality. No matter how weird, plain or elegant your story is,it should be about you.
Hope you have realized what your personal statement should beabout. Still, there are lots of important things you must knowabout this essay if you indeed want to be admitted to the collegeof your dream. Commonly, school leavers buckle to their entranceessays or personal statements far in advance. We also recommendyou to read this personal statement introduction guideline andbeat your way to the successful university entrance.
What is an introductory paragraph?
The introduction is a part of the essay that needs particularcare and thorough writing. Its primary purpose is to attractreaders’ attention – draw their interest to your story and yourpersonality as well. You should do it right from the first linewithout delay, otherwise, you risk having a bored reader and evenworse you may lose him at the very start. Therefore, professionalwriters recommend employing a wise technique like hooking theaudience. It has some analogy with fishing as once you hook afish, it is almost 100 percent yours. Do fish like hooks so muchthat they are ready to eat them? No! You need a hook with nicetasty bait, only then you will be able to have a fine catch. Thisis the case of a personal statement introduction.
Here are some splendid epithets that will let you betterunderstand what an introduction should be like:
Do not make a common mistake by orienting the reader to the topicof your essay – it is a waste of time. It can be helpful but isnot essential for the personal statement. Your readers areadmission tutors who already know that you will address to yourhigh school life, experiences, volunteering, extra-schoolactivities, hobbies and so on. Do not over-explain what you aregoing to write in other paragraphs - speak to the point! What youmust do is to highlight the most important experience or eventand structure your paper around this idea.
Several approaches to effective introduction
If you want to make your introduction attractive to the readers,we suggest you a couple of ways to approach it effectively. Keepin mind that the first sentence matters.
- Grasp the nettle
- Many applicants, when having decided on a significantexperience, preface it with a generic sentence. For example,“After my first one-week hiking tour to the mountains, I knewthat I would dedicate myself to geography.” By this, they arewasting space and more likely fail to draw the interest of thereader. Do not be a bore by setting the stage or summarizingfacts, show why you are writing instead. If you start theintroduction with a short story, describe the action, not thescene.
- Be original
- If you manage to create your unique image from the firststatement, you will get more opportunities for admission. To doit, you should brainstorm carefully to pick out the mostinteresting fact about you and present it creatively. Do notconfuse it with some exotic things, just think what makes youstand out from the others and you will definitely write aneffective first line for your intro.
- Set up a problem
- Doing so, you will have a curious reader who will be eager toknow how you are going to address it in the body paragraphs. Ifyou choose this approach, your first introductory sentence can bea rhetorical question – which is a perfect solution! On the otherhand, you may touch on a current social issue. For the record: donot try to solve the problem, but show that you understand how itoccurred and what it is. Another good idea is to discuss thedifficulties you have overcome. For more effectiveness of thefirst paragraph, your story should have some element of drama.
- Sounding offbeat
- This approach will be effective only if you do not overplay.Often, students start with a joke but they should be careful asjokes, along with amusement, should serve more substantive aims.However, a successful joke can create some relaxed atmosphere andadjust the readers to the author’s style. It is important tounderstand that being offbeat is being creative and subtle ratherthan abusive.
Tips to write a killer opening
To compose a killer introduction, one should act like this:
- Show your interest in the college you apply for.
- Get right to the point.
- Show enthusiasm for studying at this college.
- Explain your motives.
- Be specific; don’t waste space on vague, generic phrases.
- Be honest, modest and a bit critical of yourself. In thisway, you will sound natural.
- Show that you are pretty aware of the college mission,academic studies, rules and students’ life. Explain why you areinterested in the college and what college activities attract youmost.
- Focus on the things that are currently important to you. Donot open your essay with the recollections from the remote past.Tell about the things that inspire you at the present day orabout the recent experiences.
- Relate your experiences to the field of your studies.
While thinking how to write the introduction for your personalstatement, you should decide on a writing style. There are manystyles to choose from:
- Academic Style. When assigned a scholarly essay, the firstthing you should follow is the formal writing style. Along withacademic language and common formats like MLA, APA, Chicago, youhave to provide your introduction with a clear thesis statementand persuasive arguments.
- Narration style. This is the style which gives a writer a lotof freedom in how to start the story. For a note: the rest of theessay can be done in a different style, for example, academic orargumentative.
- Contrast and compare style. Your whole essay will be focusedon similarities and differences of the subjects you compare,therefore, start the introduction in the same mode – create athesis statement and present the ideas for further comparison.
- Action style. If you are going to write a narrative personalstatement, action introduction will be a fine solution. The aimof this style to encourage the reader to find out what led to acertain event and what followed it. So the main task of thisintroduction is to show the cause and effects rather than astory. With the help of it, you can easily intrigue your readers.
- Quotation style.
- Are you tempted to start your personal essay with a quote?Then you should resist using quotes as most of them lookhackneyed and forced. Moreover, students tend to choose quotesthat they personally cannot interpret or sayings that are simplydifficult to understand. Admission officers already know hundredsof sophisticated sayings of famous writers, philosophers andscientists. Thus, your essay will not be original as the chancesare great that other applicants use this quote.
- However, if you cannot do without a quote in yourintroduction, please choose some amusing, obscure and unhackneyedone. Remember that you should reveal its meaning in the essaybody as well as respond to it. This way, you will tell aboutyourself.
- Question style.
- Beginning your introduction with a question is not a goodidea as the admission officers are not eager to figure out theanswers. They are reading about you and want to see yourreflections and attitudes on the experiences you have had.
- Moreover, the questions like “Are you looking for a diligentand determined student?” or “Is it good or not?” look weird.
- The question will work only if it is compelling enough and isprovided with the answers from your experience.
What is next?
Here is a collection of advice taken from experienced admissionofficers which will help you keep away from the common mistakes:
- Avoid radical statements as well as humour ones.
- Do not connect the reason why you want to enter this collegewith every word in your essay. Students have the experiences thatdo not coincide with their education and career goals. And it isOK! Keep a balance.
- Do not rely on spellcheckers or grammar check tools too much.If some grammar mistakes are accepted by professors – they knowthat you are just a teenager and still have drawbacks in writing;spelling mistakes will kill your essay immediately. Do you thinkthat the applicant who has misspelt his or her name will bechosen among the rest flawless papers? Of course, not. Professorshate spelling errors together with other typos, therefore alwaysask someone to proofread your essay.
- Do you know what kinds of students colleges need? Theyrequire people who are interested in the course and the ones whoare able to contribute to the academic and social life of thecollege. That is why choose and tell about those skills andactivities in your life that are relevant to the college’sinterests.
- Don’t brag about your achievements and avoid showing off as aselfish and opinionated person. Modesty is appreciated more!
- Admission tutors love personal statements that have a note ofindividual flavour. Being sick and tired of pomposity andclichés, they ask the applicants to write as they feel. Remaintrue to yourself, and perhaps your personal statement willattract the admission body by its sincerity and openness.
We are waiting for your feedback on this article. Was it useful?Are you looking for more advice on how to craft an impressivepersonal statement? If so, then surf our website again, we haveprepared best academic writing guidelines ever!
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