Posts in Personal Statements
I Did the Transition from Military to College. Here are the Strategies I Used to Write My Personal Statements

While I work as a college admissions coach now, I used to be in the Army -- for six whole years! So when I write, at work especially, I tend to default to the concise, bottom line up front (BLUF), way of writing we use in the military for evaluation reports, operations orders, and basically everything else.

Read More
Q&A: Should my college admissions essay relate to my intended major?

Depends. If your application is for graduate school where you generally already have a field of study chosen, or for direct admission into an undergrad college like X University’s College of Education, you should definitely tie your main application essay into your future major or focus area.

Read More
Q&A: Can I talk about a mental illness on my college applications as a reason for a dip in my grades?

As an on-again, off-again admissions reader, I’ve always been trained to take into account extenuating circumstances like an illness (in whatever form) or death in the family when evaluating an applicant’s profile.

Read More
College Essays 101: How to Answer the 2019-20 Coalition App Essay Prompts

Offering free college planning tools and a space to consolidate and save documents for your college application, Coalition for College aims to give all students, especially low income and first-generation students, access to college. One perk of the Coalition App is that it allows you to save your essays and notes to yourself in one place, MyCoalition Locker. You can have mentors, teachers, and parents read your drafts and provide feedback.

Read More
College Essays 101: How to Answer the 2019-20 Common App Essay Prompts

Between all the other choices you have to make (what should I study? Where should I apply?), there’s no need to add “What essay should I choose?” to your list of stressors.  The beauty of having seven prompt options is that there is no wrong essay question. In the common app essays, what matters is that admissions counselors want to see your unique story and your own voice.

Read More
5 Tips for Writing a Stellar Transfer Personal Statement

Whether you’re transferring from a community college or a four-year university, your transfer personal statement should be quite different than one written by a high school senior as a prospective freshman.

Read More
How to Apply for College Scholarships and Earn Free Money

Scholarships are a great source of free funding for college to help pay for tuition, room and board, and other enrollment fees. There are thousands of scholarships, from all kinds of organizations, and you can find details for each online relatively easily and you should start applying for them as soon as you’re done with college applications.

Read More
2019-2020 Common App Essay Prompts

CommonApp has announced that the essay prompts for 2019-20 will remain the same as last year’s.

Common App cites feedback from counselors determined that “the existing essay prompts provide great flexibility for applicants to tell their unique stories in their own voice.”

Read More
Coalition Application Essay Prompts for 2017-19

While the most popular college admissions application is the Common Application, over a 100 colleges are now using the Coalition Application, a competitor to the Common App first announced back in 2015.

Read More
2018-2019 Common Application Essay Prompts

The Common App is available for students to apply to more than 800 schools (private, public, large and small). An essential part of the Common Application is the Writing component which includes the Personal Essay section. Most, but not all of the 800 colleges that use the Common App, require the Personal Essay to be included in your application for submission. So, with all most all colleges you apply to, you can be sure a personal essay, or more commonly called the personal statement, will be a part of it.

Read More
Do's and Don'ts When Writing Your College Admissions Essays

As the name states, personal statements are inherently personal and meant to communicate your qualifications and show what kind of person you are. For this reason, each statement an admissions team member reads is uniquely different from any other, as it should be. That said, there are still some general do’s and don’ts to consider when writing your personal statement.

Read More
How to Use Tone Effectively in Your Personal Statements and Other Admissions Essays

Tone is more than how you write, it’s how you write it, and the tone of your personal statement can significantly impact your college application. Your choice of words, level of formality, and the writing style you choose to use comprises your writing tone and can reveal a significant amount about how you view yourself, your academic/career path, and your community.

Read More
Choosing a Writing Style for Personal Statements

The style you choose to use for your personal statement offers important clues about you and your character. Much like your high school English class essays, the style of your personal statement can reveal your ability to write, your attention to detail, and how you choose to communicate.

Read More
4 Steps to Writing a Top Tier Statement of Purpose

The statement of purpose, or what I like to call the cover letter essay because of its similar structure, is generally used for graduate school applications and focuses much more on describing the skills, experiences and education that has prepared you for the program you’re applying to than a personal statement would. Its main purpose concentrates less on telling your story and more on communicating the qualities that make you a perfect candidate. Ideally, the statement of purpose should convey your genuine interest in and enthusiasm for the program of study you’re pursuing, and what you have done in the past to nurture that passion.

Here are 4 steps for writing a statement of purpose:  

Read More
Writing a Personal Statement for Transfers, Veterans, Grad Students, and Job Seekers

As you apply for college programs at various point in your life, you’re personal statement should differ as a result. Admissions committees expect a personal statement for a transfer student to be much different than a college admissions essay from a incoming freshman student. With that in mind, here are some unique considerations to keep in mind when writing personal statements as an undergrad, transfer, veteran, graduate school applicant, or job seeker.

Read More
What is a Personal Statement?

A personal statement, also known as a statement of purpose, is a priority tool used by college admissions teams as a part of the college application process. The personal statement is particularly useful as it essentially serves as a self-manifested demonstration of your unique qualifications. The personal statement also provides a glimpse into your writing ability, creativity, and career goals. Admissions committees look to personal statements to gain insight about you and understand your motivations as they relate to school and career choices.

Read More
Brainstorming for Your Grad School Statement of Purpose: 4 Questions to Consider Before You Start Writing

Getting starting on your graduate school statement of purpose can be stressful and perplexing as the statement of purpose is unlike any other writing assignments you regularly complete. I would even venture to say it’s worlds apart from the personal statement you wrote for undergrad. While a personal statement should intentionally focus on the writer’s personal narrative (i.e. on who you are and how you got there), a graduate school statement of purpose, on the other hand, should emphasize the writer’s academic interests, skills, and career goals. But of course, your grad school statement shouldn’t be devoid of personality either.  

Here are four questions to consider before you start writing your graduate school statement of purpose.

Read More
Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Start Writing Your Personal Statement

Brainstorming ideas for your college admissions essay can be the most challenging part of the process of writing a personal statement. I recommend that before you start writing you consider a few questions: what do colleges want to know about me? What makes me interesting and more qualified than my peers? How will I contribute to learning and the campus culture once admitted? And how can I answer these questions in 1000 words or less?

Each response to those questions is unique. Nonetheless, you should deliberately plan time to brainstorm ideas for the content of your personal statements. When choosing a topic, it’s important to dig deep and be vulnerable. These elements are key to telling the story you want to convey to admissions officers.

In preparing to write your college admissions essays, here are some questions collected from around the web to get you started with brainstorming topics:

Read More
How to Avoid the Common Pitfalls that Annoy Admissions Officers

There are some clichés in personal statements that seem to happen over and over again. While having one or two clichés won’t prevent you from getting into a good college, it is nice to avoid them as don’t add depth to your writing, nor do they particularly work to help your application stand out. There are also a number of common occurrences I’ve seen when reading personal statements that are just annoying and don’t add any value to the application.

To help you out, here’s a short list of clichés and topics/ideas to avoid when writing your personal statement:

Read More