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How to choose a topic for your personal statement
Most times, there are only a few prompts available to you. Common personal statement prompts include:
- Your identity is centered around your activities, interests, talents, and background.
- Becoming successful after a failure
- Time when you were able to rise to the challenge or show leadership
- The experience that changed your belief system
- You have a problem you would like to solve
- You are attracted to a subject or an idea
We are often asked the following question about personal statements: “How do you choose what topic to write about?” Some students find that the prompt for personal statements triggers a strong and immediate idea. Many others are more uncertain, at least initially.
Students are often encouraged to focus less on the prompt and more on what aspects of themselves are worthy of being highlighted. This is particularly helpful if the prompt is “topic of choice”, as it might be that you choose the topic you like best.
These stories can be a great catalyst for students who have a compelling story to tell or a unique background. Simple topics can be interesting and informative for students who have a different voice or perspective.
When choosing a topic for your personal essay, remember to take into account the rest of your application. You might consider addressing one of these topics if you are returning after a gap year, have failed one class in sophomore year or are passionate about something that isn’t on your application. The admissions committee wants you to get to know yourself and to understand who you are. These are all topics that can help them do that.
Many students still struggle with choosing the right topic. Because personal statements are often considered to be very important, it is understandable.
Tips to Write a Personal Statement For College
1. This assignment can be viewed as creative writing.
Many students find personal statements difficult because they have never written them before. High school students are used to writing analytical papers and academic reports, but not creative storytelling pieces.
Creative writing is about having fun and sharing a story. You will enjoy writing your essay if you choose a topic that interests you. You don’t need to be well-researched or very impressive. Your transcript and test scores will be used to demonstrate your academic abilities. The personal statement should allow you to express your personality. This will make it easier for admissions officers to read your essay.
You don’t have to use the five-paragraph format. Instead, you can write without a thesis. Although your story should contain an overarching message it doesn’t have to be stated explicitly. It should flow naturally.
Writing should feel natural. Although it may be more polished than a conversation with a friend, your writing should feel natural. It can be hard to find the right balance, but it is possible to use a tone that feels natural when speaking with a mentor or long-time friend.
2. Show, don’t tell.
Students make the most common mistake of simply stating what happened. Instead of bringing the reader into the moment and telling a story, this is one of the biggest mistakes they make. It is boring to read: “I was overjoyed when I completed my first half-marathon.” It is much more interesting to see the writing that actually shows what happened and how the writer felt at the time. “As my heart beat in excitement as I crossed the last bend before the finish line,” “I was excited as I reached the finish line. My burning legs and gasping lungs were drowned by adrenaline. I was about to complete my first half-marathon! I found this almost impossible, considering that I could barely run a mile a year ago.
If you feel like you are writing your essay as a report and have trouble getting beyond the “telling”, imagine yourself in the moment that you are writing about. How did this moment make you feel emotionally and physically? What made this moment special? What were you able to see and hear? What thoughts did you have?
You can also read memoirs and personal essays like The New York TimesModern Love Column. Podcasts of personal stories can also be listened to, such as . What are the secrets of engaging storytellers and writers? What was it about a story that you didn’t like? Analyzing real stories can help identify the techniques you resonate with.
3. Use dialogue.
Including dialogue is a great way to keep your writing interesting. Instead of writing “My brothers taunted” to you, share what they actually said. It is more powerful to read:
They taunted, “Where’s your fire Princess Clara?” “Having trouble?” They prodded me with the ends the chewed branches. With a few easy scrapes of rock on wood, they ignited a red, roaring flame. After I had left the fire pit, my face was still burning. The camp smelled of shame and salmon.
Dialog can help break up long paragraphs of text and add action and urgency to your story. However, it is important not to overdo it. You need to find a balance between too much dialogue and occasionally using it as a writing tool. Your essay should not read like a movie script (unless that is intentional) ).
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Avoid Common Mistakes in Personal Statements
1. A summary or report on all events.
Your essay should not be a complete account of all that occurred during that period. Don’t make your personal statement a summary of events. Instead, include only relevant details that add value to the story. The goal is to let the world know what you think, what you value, and who you are.
2. You can’t write about too many events and experiences.
Another mistake is to make your personal statements a summary of your high school achievements or a resume. Your personal statement should be in the Activities Section of Common App. You can focus on one experience or a handful of related experiences and then go into more detail.
3. Using cliche language.
Avoid overused quotes from famous people such as Gandhi and Thoreau. You can also avoid quotes from famous people like Gandhi or Thoreau, unless they are a personal message. These famous quotes will not make your essay stand out and can take up valuable space that you could use to express your thoughts.
Avoid using a lot of language or exaggerated claims, such as “It was my best day ever.” These statements are so common that they obscure your message and make it difficult to comprehend what you really mean. Instead of just telling us, tell us why it was the best day of you life.