Posts in Personal Statements
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.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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:  

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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:

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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:

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Q&A: What Should I Wear to My College Interview and Other Questions

What should I wear to a college interview?

I’m struggling with figuring out what to wear for a college admissions interview I have scheduled for next week. I know that people say not to go too over the top, but my interview is going to be inside at a medical office during the business day.  Should I wear a full suit?

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Appealing to the Reader's Senses: Writing A College Admissions Essays that Gets Noticed

When you’re writing a narrative or telling a story in your personal statement, using sensory details is one of the most effective ways to captivate the reader which makes your essay more likely to stand out. Sensory details help the reader figuratively see, hear, feel, smell, and taste your words.

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How to Effectively Revise Your College Admissions Essay

The revision process is one of the most critical steps in writing effective personal statements and essays. Still, you make ask WHY EXACTLY is revising my essay important? Three main reasons:

  • To develop better content

  • To correct formatting and grammatical errors

  • To become a better writer over time  

So, how should you go about revising your essay. Here are some tips:

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How to Interpret the College Admissions Prompt

Before you start writing your college admissions essay, it’s important to understand the essay prompt. As simple as it seems, this can be difficult if you can’t figure out exactly what the prompt is asking. Here are some points to consider after reading the prompt and before you begin writing:

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