If you’re one of the many adults returning to college, you know the importance of a personal statement. For some adult students, writing a personal statement may be something they fear and dread; but, it doesn’t have to be with the right training. Let’s say you lack in an area, such as your previous GPA or relevant experience. Writing a strong personal statement could make up for those weak points. So how should you go about doing this? Read these helpful hints to guide you along the way.
- Get to know yourself. More times than not, adult students will sit at their computer with a blank face and a blank screen. Instead, start by just simply brainstorming. Write a list of accomplishments that you’ve achieved and experience you’ve had. Let’s say you’re hoping to earn a criminal justice degree, for example, write down all of the relevant experience you’ve had. Maybe you’ve been involved in clubs and organizations that deal with criminal justice. Write down anything you can think of. It doesn’t mean you have to use them all -they’re just ideas!
- Why do you want this? Every strong personal statement answers this question. Although it may not be in the prompt, your passion to earn your college degree should come out in your writing. Going back to hypothetically earning a criminal justice degree- write down reasons why you want to achieve this goal and earn this college degree. Maybe a life experience has helped you come to this realization. Make sure to write down all of your ideas! Remember- you don’t have to necessarily write about why you’ve chosen a particular college degree, but it will help you come off as a passionate candidate by writing from the heart.
- Read the prompt. Too often adult students have an idea they are going to write about, yet it doesn’t follow the prompt given by the colleges and universities. Because colleges and universities are reading so many personal statements, one that doesn’t follow the guidelines will stick out among others- and not in an effective way. Be sure to review each prompt carefully and adjust your personal statement correctly for each school. Some colleges and universities may have very similar prompts, while others may be completely different.
- The writing process. Once you have all of your ideas put together, it’s time to write. It’s important to give yourself enough time to write because, although some personal statements may not require much length, it needs to be strong and effective. If the thought of writing in your home is already making your head hurt, dedicate time to writing your essay at your local library. Your library will be quiet and an unfamiliar environment will leave less room for distraction so you can work more productively. Remember, your personal statement doesn’t have to be written in one sitting! Writing your personal statement is more of a process. Once you feel that you’re out of ideas, take a break and come back to it.
- Review it. Once you’ve completed your personal statement, it is crucial to have others proofread it before your submission. Although this may be embarrassing, it’s necessary. There may be grammatical errors that you’ve missed or spelling mistakes. Someone may even suggest that you rewrite a section of your statement for better fluidity. Friends, family members, and co-workers are all great people to consult when writing your personal statement. You don’t have to use all of the advice they give you, but if several people are suggesting the same changes- think of their criticism as constructive and helpful!