College Admission Essay Tips

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Your personal statement is really what makes you stand out from everyone else, and in my opinion it was my favorite part of the application process because I had the chance to be creative and show my true self and potential. It should contain a good amount of who you are and what you have done in life that has gotten you to this important milestone. When writing your personal statement ask yourself what qualities you have learned so far and how you can apply that to your future.

According to Topher Jordan, Research Assistant at the University of California, Riverside, “Never sound cliché. Yes, you want to advertise who you are to the people reviewing your application, but chances are they have read your story more than once. Make it as detailed as you can but don’t glam it up, just make it about what you gained from these experiences. Think really hard about what you learned from them.”

“Write about overcoming adversity. Not in the classroom per se, but adversity in your personal lives. Explain what the adversity was and how you overcame it. The deeper the better,”stated Andrew Jesena, a graduate from UCLA.

It is totally fine if you are not sure what you want to major in as well. I thought I wanted to be a Doctor and save lives for a living. Although a great career choice, I changed my mind once I took my first film theory class. I found my love for creative research and reporting on topics I find interesting. I graduated with a major in Media and Cultural Studies with a concentration in Film and Visual Media, and a minor in Spanish (which I declared after my year abroad in Spain).

When writing, think of something that you didn’t already say in your application. I wish I can remember what I wrote back in 2007 when I was applying to college, but I know it included what I learned so far from life experiences, which were my perseverance and positive attitude for school and staying involved. Be honest with yourself while writing, and remember that what you learned and gained from the smallest experiences or hobbies matter.

“I would recommend a high school senior to add a little creativity in their personal statement. They have to keep in mind that every year admission officers read hundreds of thousands of essays and I feel like yours would really stick out if it was something they have never read before,” stated Trixie Aquino, Residential Activities Coordinator at Good Shepherd Volunteers.

Finally, before you submit your application, make sure you have it proofread more than once by a family member, teacher, or friend. Your first draft will never be perfect and there will always be room for improvement both in content and grammar. Getting your personal statement proofread by different people you trust and know you well, also helps tremendously when it comes to finding out more about yourself. You never want to sell yourself short, so by receiving tips and pointers your image is improved while presenting yourself to a university.

Remember, colleges are more concerned with what you have learned, and how you can apply that to your future aspirations. Have fun with it and write from the heart.

For general tips on your college personal statement, check out this video by UCLA Undergraduate Admissions: http://www.admissions.ucla.edu/prospect/perstmt.htm

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