A Guide for Writing an Undergraduate Personal Statement Essay

What is a personal statement?

A personal statement is a document submitted by an applicant to support their application to join a college or university. It demonstrates the applicant’s passion and enthusiasm for pursuing a university course and their skills and experiences to back it up. Therefore, the personal statement needs to create a strong impression on the university or college admission team for admission. Through the student’s personal statement, the admission team determines their suitability for the course or subject and decides whether to give them a place in the institution.

Purpose of personal statement

The purpose of a personal statement is to provide more information about the applicant and convince the admission faculty of their eligibility for the chance to study in the university. It aims to paint a vivid picture of the applicant to help the admission team understand them at a personal level. This is why the personal statement should provide additional information that is not available in the student’s resume or transcript. The personal statement is also written to compliment the application. An application for undergraduate includes other documents such as the transcripts and resumes. However, each document gives unique information about the students. For example, the transcripts reveal the student’s academic performance and competence. On the other hand, the short application answers provided during the application aim to test the student’s critical thinking capability. The personal statement compliments these documents by revealing the personal or social aspect of the applicant, including their academic ambitions and career goals. These pieces of information put together help the admission evaluate the applicant and make an informed decision.

What to include in a personal statement Essay?

The personal statement requires the student to give a reason for choosing the course and prove that they understand what is involved. It should contain:

  • The reason for applying for the course, you should demonstrate your enthusiasm towards the course by explaining how it aligns with your career goals.
  • It should also describe your experience, qualifications, and skills and how they are aligned with your course.
  • Describe any current or prior engagements and their relevance to the course. For example, you can explain how your current job is related to the course and how it will help boost your skills.
  • You can also include your ongoing plans or activities before starting the course and how they might influence your admission to the university.

The process of writing a personal statement essay

Do research

Before writing your personal statement, it is necessary to research techniques and tips for writing a good personal statement. Remember that you are competing against many applicants and the better your application standout the higher the chances of getting considered for the course. Research by talking to relevant personnel such as the admission staff and inquire about the requirements for personal statements. An excellent place to start is the university website you are applying for. Look for the course you are applying for and identify essential requirements to include in your application. Attend university open days and talk to the academics about the courses of your interest and ask relevant questions specific to your application.

Brainstorm the ideas

Having collected the relevant information, it is time to think about the content of your application. You will need to be as personal as possible, so it is important to take time and think about some defining moments in your life. Think about how such moments impacted your life and the lessons learned. Think about particular activities or events you have decided to prioritize. For example, if you are applying for a nursing course, then you can talk about spending time volunteering at care facilities for older adults in your community or community health education programs in your locality.

As you brainstorm, you can think about personalities that inspire you either through their literary work or achievements. In what ways do such persons inspire you and how has the inspiration impacted you in making specific life changes or taking actions. For example, you can talk about a singer or songwriter who inspired you to start writing songs. You can also think about the things you are proud of, such as personal qualities, or milestones, or things in which you are good. Even as you collect ideas, it important to link them to the course or subject of choice to demonstrate your passion and commitment to the application.

Organize your ideas

The brainstorming stage only helps identify ideas for your personal statement. However, your paper should be organized to ensure easy review by the admission team. Having an order also demonstrates your commitment to the application and articulating your ideas clearly and precisely. Organize your thoughts to establish a flow in your personal statement.

Create the first draft

Having brainstormed and gathered enough ideas, start by writing your first draft focused on the important questions while keeping to the character limit. You should also consider the choice or language and tone to employ in your statement. It is advisable to write in an active voice, use paragraphs, keep the sentences short, check spelling and grammar.

Review your draft

Personal statements are taken seriously by the admission team and thus requires thorough review to ensure that it meets its purpose. The review process ensures that you submit only reliable evidence, whether the statements are a true representation of you, clearly understood by third parties, and that everything is included. This means that you might not be the right person to review the draft. Get an opinion of another person who knows you such as a friend or a family member. This stage is important, especially for obtaining a different opinion to understand how the admission team will receive your personal statement.

Write the final draft

This is the last stage of producing a personal statement that will be submitted to the university. Write the final draft while taking into account the opinions and changes suggested from the review process. As you produce the final draft, it is important to ensure that you remain within the word limit. This is mainly because most universities provide text limits based on the objective of the application and the capacity of the review team. After writing, proofread your work for any grammar, spelling, or punctuation errors.

Sample of a personal statement

Follow the link to Download a sample of personal statement essay for guidance.

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