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Purpose of the Personal Statement
Part of colleges comprehensive
review process
Opportunity to provide information that
supports and augments the review
Helps readers know and understand
Adds clarity, depth and meaning to
information collected in other parts of the
Completes the application for admission
An admission decision will never be based
on the content of a personal statement
Purpose of the Personal Statement
1. Break down the prompts or questions into
2. The prompt is to help you to brainstorm your
3. Be sure you understand the prompt or
4. You do not need to respond literally to the
prompt or question

There is no one correct way to write a personal
statement, but in general those who will read your
essay are looking for two important things:

1. HOW the essay provides evidence of your
achievements that isn't reflected in other parts of
your application

2. HOW and WHY the events that you describe have
shaped your attitude, focus, and, most of all, your
intellectual vitality.

Characteristics of a Good
Personal Statement

1. Is thoughtful and honest
2. Conforms to guidelines
3. Answers the question!
4. Transforms blemishes into positives
5. Highlights your ability to think critically
6. Exudes confidence
7. Ability to translate
Getting Feedback on Your Personal Statement

Getting feedback from others is a critical part of writing
your essay. If your teachers, peers, or parents have
suggestions, listen carefully. You don't have to take every
suggestion, but try them out and find out which ones work.
You'll want to be very specific in asking for feedback; if
there are sections of your essay that you are particularly
concerned about, ask your readers to pay special attention
to those parts.
Style Tips

Word accuracy. Use a simpler word in place of a longer or more obscure word.

Make sure that every word you use means what you think it means.
Be yourself!
Avoid empty words and phrases like "basically,: "really," "goals and dreams.

Use active verbs whenever possible. Substitute more active verbs.
For example:
1. Instead of: My love of science was fostered by my second grade teacher
2. Write: My second grade teacher fostered my love of science
Avoid predictable (and stereotypical college essay phrases) such as I
learned a lot," "I learned to work with others," "It was a fun and challenging
Avoid using clichs. They detract from the freshness of your essay.

Things to Consider
1. Do not use words that demonstrate indecisiveness;
e.g., should, could, have to, etc.
2. Do not generalize, provide examples
3. Do not use repetitive words or phrases
4. Be concise
5. Cut down, to bulk up
6. Edit! Edit! Edit!


Personal Statement Instructions and Prompts

Respond to both prompts, using a maximum of 1,000 words total.

Allocate the word count as desired. An applicant may wish to respond to one
prompt at greater length; we suggest the shorter answer be no less than 250 words.

Stay within the word limit as closely as possible. A little over 1,012 words,
for example is fine.

Prompt #1: Freshman
Describe the world you come from for example, your family, community or school and tell us how your world has
shaped your dreams and aspirations.

Prompt #1: Transfer
What is your intended major? Discuss how your interest in the subject developed and describe any experience you have
had in the field such as volunteer work, internships and employment, participation in student organizations and
activities and what you have gained from your involvement.

Prompt #2: All Applicants
Tell us about a personal quality, talent, accomplishment, contribution or experience that is important to you. What about
this quality or accomplishment makes you proud and how does it relate to the person you are?

Step 7: The Personal Statement
Step 7: The Personal Statement (continued)
Compose essays in a
program, then paste
into application
Times out after 40
minutes of inactivity
Gives word count for
each essay
In reading your application, we want to get to know you as well as we
can. Theres a limit to what grades and test scores can tell us so we ask
you to write a personal statement.

Your personal statement consisting of responses to two prompts is
your chance to tell us who you are and whats important to you. Think
of it as your opportunity to introduce yourself to the people reading
your application. Be open, be honest, be real. What you tell us in your
personal statement gives readers the context to better understand the
rest of the information youve provided in your application.

A couple of tips: Read each prompt carefully and be sure to respond to
all parts. Use, specific, concrete examples to support the points you
want to make. Finally, relax. This is one of many pieces of information
we consider in reviewing your application; an admission decision will
not be based on your personal statement alone.
Step 7: The Personal Statement (continued)
Use this box to clarify other
information in application
Word-count limit has been
increased to 500 words
(previously 250 words)
We believe
in you!
Never let setbacks or fear dictate
the course of your life. Hold on to
the possibility and push beyond
the fear.