10 Tips To Make An Impression with your Personal Statement

January 19th, 2014 by Jennifer Frankel

pencil176511139Most scholarships require that you include a personal statement with your application. They want to know more about you on a personal level and see what makes you stand out. They want to feel like you are not just words on paper, but that you are a well-meaning, interesting, and deserving human being! So how do you do that? What’s the secret? Here are 10 tips on how you can make an impression with your personal statement:

  1. Provide them with insight into your character. Think about yourself, what makes you tick, and highlight some of your best qualities. This includes your traits and triumphs!
  2. Consider the goals of the scholarship you are applying to. Many organizations who give out scholarships have a purpose and a mission. Get to know the organization and what they are trying to accomplish. Then, take an introspective look and see how your goals align.
  3. Make sure you understand the prompt – that is, if there is one. If you are suppose to write your personal statement based on a prompt, be sure that you clearly understand what it is asking. Have someone else read it and talk it over with them.
  4. Clearly define a structure to your statement. Your personal statement should have a beginning, middle and end. They want to see that you put thought into your personal statement, and that you tell a story that cohesively flows!
  5. Keep your statement simple. Depending on the award, you may be limited to a number of words – and it’s almost impossible to tell them everything you’d like to in that short amount of space! So, instead of trying to say everything, be simple, direct, and write your letter in a thoughtful and intellectual manner.
  6. Don’t try to overuse big words. Sometimes we get caught up in making a big impression that we overdo it. Don’t worry about trying to show them that you can use big words – write your personal statement as you would talk to a professor.
  7. Be specific – give examples! Remember the old saying, “show, don’t tell”? The same thing applies here. Make sure to give concrete, relevant examples that convey your points.
  8. Find a central theme or idea. To bring your story together, finding a theme or idea can help bring your story together and make it even more powerful.
  9. Edit, edit – wait – and then edit again. Once your done writing your personal statement, be sure to review it for grammar, flow, vocabulary and syntax. Read the prompt again and make sure it’s answering the question. Wait a few days, then read and edit again. That way you’ll catch any of the small mistakes you may have missed.
  10. Get help. It’s important to get your friends, family, or faculty (international student advisors, professors, career centers, etc.) to read over your personal statement and prompt to give you feedback.

Want to know about other tip and tricks for submitting a scholarship application? Check out our other relevant blogs to help you on your way!

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