The Importance Of Writing A Good Personal Essay

Also known as application essays or personal statement essays, the personal essay is generally required as part of the college admission process. They are usually written in response to a prompt which is a question or statement given by the admissions committee. In the absence of a prompt, you would think of your own topic for the personal essay.

Some colleges ask more specific questions than others. There’s no set standard of rules you must follow in creating your response; only that it must answer any given prompts. Some essays have a professional focus while others have an autobiography focus.

These types of essays can vary greatly in length from a few paragraphs to a few pages. Generally it’s not a good idea to go longer than that because the admissions committee has so many essays to read; they may toss one that’s too lengthy.

Why does your essay need to be stellar?

The college you are applying to knows absolutely nothing about you except your academic standing. This is your chance to show them you should be accepted into their program. It’s your introduction of yourself, so you should take the opportunity and make it as appealing as you can.

Very competitive programs increase the need for your personal essay to shine above the rest. If your grades place you as a marginal candidate for acceptance, your personal essay had better be unique and compelling.

Take a self-inventory

In order to make your personal essay as good as it can possibly be, you should ask yourself a series of questions. You should be analyzing deep inside yourself for that spark you want to bring out in your essay. It should be something that’s uniquely you.

  • What makes you stand out as an individual?
  • How are you different from all the other applicants?
  • What attracted you to this particular academic program? What do you expect to contribute? What do you think you will get out of it?
  • What research have you already conducted? Was there something specific you learned from it?
  • How far will you go in your educational endeavors?
  • How has your academic career thus far prepared you for graduate school?
  • Are there some non-academic experiences that have made a contribution to your choice of education and/or career?

Make sure you don’t just write what you think the committee wants to hear. It may make you look like a pleaser rather than giving the impression you wanted.