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Personal Statement

Remember, the essay prompts are a critical section of your college application because it is essentially your opportunity to tell your story–setting yourself apart from other applicants. How are you unique? How have you been impacted by outside circumstances? How have you overcome your obstacles? Will you be able to apply that same strength to the unfamiliar challenges that may develop during your college experience?

When preparing to tackle the task of constructing your personal statement, get organized! Create a chart or document with the essay prompts for all of the schools to which you plan to apply. You are encouraged to complete this as early as possible in order to have a clear idea of what is being asked of you and have ample time to develop a well-constructed response. 

As you begin writing your personal statement, begin with an outline to stay on track. Straying from the question can weaken your story. Be sure to integrate how response to the prompt is suggestive of your future success at the particular college/university. Articulate your obstacles but concentrate on your strengths and how you have learned. 

In regard to its actual construction, be sure to use correct grammar. Although, you want an interesting personal statement, avoid using informal writing. Avoid contractions. Most importantly: proofread, proofread, and proofread. Too many grammar mistakes can be distracting to the reader(s).Write you essay in advance to allow enough time to read and reread your work. Have multiple people read it as well and ask about its clarity, coherence, and if it successfully answered the question in a memorable fashion. Remember, constructing your personal statement is a process—much more time consuming than a one-draft essay. Allow time for multiple revisions to not only permit sufficient proofreading, but more importantly, the reformulation of your argument to ensure clarity, coherence, and skillful articulation.

For Princeton Review’s tips on dissecting the prompts for the 2013 Common Application, click here. Furthermore, feel free to visit your DDC counselor for guidance and support.