Without an essay, your application is essentially a series of numbers: a GPA, SAT scores, the number of hours spent preparing for quiz bowl competitions.
The personal statement is your chance to stand out as an individual.
We'll learn your background and interests, brainstorm essay topics, and walk you through the essay drafting process, step-by-step.
At the end, you'll have a unique essay that you'll proudly submit to your top choice colleges. Find out more about Prep Scholar Admissions now: Thankfully, applications don't simply say "Please include an essay about yourself"—they include a question or prompt that you're asked to respond to.
In addition to standardized test scores and transcripts, a personal statement or essay is a required part of many college applications.
The personal statement can be one of the most stressful parts of the application process because it's the most open ended.Admissions officers want to understand what is important to you and how your background has shaped you as a person. The most common pitfall students fall into is trying to tell their entire life stories — it's better to focus in on a very specific point in time and explain why it was meaningful to you.Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it.Tim, on the other hand, recounts a story about how a kind doctor helped him overcome his fear of needles, an interaction that reminded him of the value of empathy and inspired him to become a family practitioner.These two students may seem outwardly similar but their motivations and personalities are very different.A secondary purpose of the essay is to serve as a writing sample and help colleges see that you have the skills needed to succeed in college classes.The personal statement is your best chance to show off your writing, so take the time to craft a piece you're really proud of.Colleges want to know if you struggled with a serious issue that affected your high school record, so make sure to indicate any relevant circumstances on your application.Keep in mind that in some cases there will be a separate section for you to address these types of issues, as well as any black marks on your record like expulsions or criminal charges.Let's go through each common type of prompt, with examples from the Common Application, the University of California application, and a few individual schools.This sort of question asks you to write about a formative experience, important event or key relationship from your life.