Table of Contents
- 1 1) Grab their attention from the start
- 2 2) Avoid clichés
- 3 3) Back your statements with examples
- 4 4) Be authentic
- 5 5) Get another person’s perspective on your essay
- 6 6) Be creative
- 7 7) What can you tell them that they don’t already know?
- 8 8) Get personal, but not too personal
- 9 9) Proofread, edit, refine, reflect
- 10 Conclusion
Fall is just around the corner. You’re starting to panic. You’re feeling uninspired and have no idea what to write for your personal essay. Well, you’ve come to the right place. Read this article and your mind will transform instantly like a cocoon turning into a beautiful butterfly. The words start flowing from your fingers like a river. Your essay is done. And it’s perfect.
Now, for our predictions to be right, continue reading to discover 9 essential tips on how to go about your personal essay.
1) Grab their attention from the start
While you may spend months working on your essay, the admissions officer will only spend a few minutes reading it. Hence, you must ensure to grab their attention at the very beginning of the essay. One way to do this is by starting off with an anecdote. It’s always best to use personal life experiences to captivate the reader as it appears genuine and vulnerable. You can also use short sentences to further improve engagement as it creates more pauses and a sense of suspense. Did you notice the way we started this article? That was a trick and if you’re reading this, we got through to you.
2) Avoid clichés
Don’t start off with a famous quote by Gandhi. It really isn’t impressive at all. Most quotes are overused, oversold, and highly overrated. Unless you feel that the quote adds great value to your essay and you are highly persistent about it, don’t include it. Quotes are unoriginal.
3) Back your statements with examples
Always include personal experiences in your essay. Being vague and generic will not get you anywhere. Whether it be as simple as starting a lemonade stand that got you interested in sales or as complicated as interning at a law firm on your road to becoming a senator.
4) Be authentic
A personal essay is called a personal essay for a reason. Don’t try to be what you think the admissions officer wants you to be. This might sound cringe, your personal essays need to reflect who you are as an individual and how you were influenced to take up the course. Usually, this is the part where most students make up life experiences to show their passion for the subject. Most students don’t realize that they can see right through you. So, make them real. Don’t try to be what you think the college wants you to be. If you are genuinely interested in the subject, your experiences and words will reflect it. Authenticity is valued more than anything. Be genuine when it comes to your essays and communicate YOUR story. If it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be.
5) Get another person’s perspective on your essay
It can be difficult to write an essay that revolves around you because you’ve known yourself for too long, perhaps you’ve lost the words to describe yourself. This is why one of the most difficult questions is ‘how would you describe yourself?’. So have someone else do it for you instead. They will be able to highlight the best parts but also assess what may not fit into the essay. Sometimes an external point of view can be very beneficial in your application process.
6) Be creative
If writing is your strong suit, this is the best opportunity for you to showcase it. Use an extended metaphor throughout the essay, use symbolism, similes and so on. You can be as descriptive as you want, however, you must ensure that you avoid steering away from the narrative. Make sure there is a balance. If writing is not your strong suit, then don’t feel the need to make your essay sound like a thesaurus. You can be as simple as you wish and straightforward.
7) What can you tell them that they don’t already know?
Remember that all the other parts of your application are already kept in front of them when reading your essay. If they’ve already viewed your résumé and transcript, don’t use this box to list your extracurricular activities or academic accomplishments. Tell them more because they are aware that you are more than simply your leadership positions and test results.
8) Get personal, but not too personal
It should be vulnerable, but not targeted at soliciting sympathy. This is the one time that you can seize the opportunity to be self-centered. However, it’s easy to get carried away in the details of a narrative. Ensure that you avoid that. The whole point of the essay is to reflect on those experiences, not to dwell on them.
9) Proofread, edit, refine, reflect
The goal of the essay is to demonstrate your written communication abilities in addition to providing insight into personal experiences. Write it early, proofread and revise it, keep a sharp eye out for spelling and grammar mistakes, and make sure it is presented in a tidy and polished manner. Treat this essay just like any other class assignment. However, if you find a lost item or an incorrect “their” after you hit submit, do not panic and contact the office. No student will be rejected as a result of one aspect of their application—including typos—because of their comprehensive selection procedure. Besides, if you’re lucky the reader may not even notice such errors considering the number of essays they must go through.
Also Read – How to efficiently write the Extended Essay?
Take a breath. You’ve done it. You got through this entire article, you can get through your entire essay too. If you feel uninspired, go out, talk to people, look at old memories, take a break and then sit down in front of your laptop and just start typing. You’d be surprised at how well this technique works, especially when the words start to flow from your fingers.