PS Tip 95: College personal statement

If you’re writing a personal statement for college, you’re probably struggling to know what you should or shouldn’t include. This can be tricky, as at the age of 16 most people don’t yet know what they want to do with their lives, and even if they do it’s hard to come across as credible.

You’ll probably have been given some guidelines by the college you’re applying to, which is always a good start – It’s vital that you know in advance what your word/character limit is, what should be included, and how your personal statement should be submitted. Additionally, the college has probably given you an idea of what they’d like to see in your statement, so these points can be covered in precisely the same way they would be for a job or university statement.

The key thing that colleges are looking for is that you’re genuinely interested in learning. With that in mind, a good starting point is to do some research into the subjects you’re applying for, and perhaps mention some books that you’ve read to prepare yourself for college. If you have any paid work or work experience, use that to demonstrate both your work ethic and your reliability; both strong traits that any educational institution would look for.

If you don’t have much in the way of work experience, consider your extracurricular interests. Involvement or organisation of clubs and societies demonstrate motivation, leadership and other worthy characteristics that would be beneficial to your future college.

Finally, pay very close attention to the editing tips covered earlier – one of the key factors that will differentiate your statement from someone else’s is the quality of the writing. Simply turning in a statement devoid of spelling, punctuation and grammar errors will place you ahead of many competitors.

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