When you are filling out an application for college, one of the documents that you will have to inevitably write is a personal statement. Personal statements are tricky to write: they are intimately personal and about yourself, which can be kind of jarring, because personal information is vastly different than vanilla information about your past academic achievements.

What’s more, people generally find it difficult to write about themselves. Therefore, personal statements can be really difficult to write. So how can you actually do it? Next, we will explain several different tips for writing a compelling personal statement for your college application.

  • Know the constraints that are on you. For example, if you are given specific things that you should include (your career aspirations, for example) then you should be sure to include those. At the bare minimum, you should answer the questions that schools want answered. This process, among other things, shows that you can follow directions and articulately communicate in an academic setting.
  • You should try reading your writing out loud, and conversely, you should try just speaking out loud and then transcribing your notes onto paper. This might just sound like extra work, but consider: most people are comfortable speaking, though many do find it difficult to effectively write. So, using the previously described strategy, you can easily get your ideas out of your brain quickly (by speaking) which can then be transcribed to page. As convoluted as it sounds, it beats writer’s block!
  • If you are on a character limit, make your words seriously count!
  • Work with someone like a writing tutor. They don’t have to necessarily be trained, but it will definitely be better if you have someone trained. Regardless, if you get a second set of eyes it is good.

For more advice about writing a great personal statement, visit this insightful Purdue OWL article.