How to Write a Personal Statement

Writing a personal statement for a scholarship application can be hard to do. You want to try conveying the story of who you are but you don’t want to write to impress your reader or write in clichés.  I’m here to help you navigate what can sometimes be that fine line between the two and help you find the best way to tell the story of who you are.

Your statement should convey a clear image of who you are based on your interests, motivations, accomplishments, aims, and ideas. This should be done through a clear theme or purpose that unifies the ideas and information that you are presenting to the reader. You might recognize this theme before you ever start writing your statement or it might take you a couple of drafts. Either way is fine! Try to keep things simple instead of cramming as much information about yourself as you possibly can into one page. The best way to do this would be to write it in a way that is similar to how you would write to a mentor (thoughtful and intelligent). Use specific names, references, and illustrations to help you sound more real and natural as opposed to impersonal and artificial. In order to write a compelling personal statement you’ll need to talk about how your life has been, is, and could be. Write in a way that will engage your reader and make them want to get to know you.

Don’t try to talk yourself up by bragging about your awards or credentials, let them speak for themselves. Talk about the things that have motivated, inspired, and shaped you (illustrate why you care about the things that you do). Each sentence should reflect some thought, fact, reflection, or experience that is yours. Focus on the things that have either meant the most to you or have had the greatest impact on your life. Avoid being too general or abstract, this will only detract from the image of yourself that you’re trying to create. Lastly, don’t get frustrated! Instead, try to think of it as a way of being able to creatively tell who you’ve been, who you are, who you want to be, and where you want to go in life. Remember that your life is a journey that is unique to you!

-Lara

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