Tips For Writing Your Personal Statement


Kendall West

Hello again, Dolphins! Every student over the course of their high school career wonders what waits for them after they walk out of Whitney Young’s High doors for the last time, as high school for most is the road to a two or four -year university, and to adventures beyond. Yet the road to college can be confusing and superfluous. One of the scariest and most essential parts of the transition from high school to college is the formation of a personal statement essay. A personal essay is a short work of autobiographical nonfiction characterized by a sense of intimacy and a conversational manner. While the personal statement is one of the most common writing assignments from freshmen to seniors, it can be a daunting task for many. Although being able to compose a coherent version of yourself in words is clearly an important skill, the pressure of one’s character being summed up in a mere 650 words can leave students without a clue where to start.


To circumvent this personal statement writing block, the Beacon is bringing you helpful writing tips to help paint your personal statement portrait to the best of your ability. 

  • Organize Your Thoughts Before You Start

Taking time to outline and bring structure to your personal statement can be a huge aid to your writing success. The personal essay can be about anything, so having a plan can make your essay more fluid and cohesive. Using an outline will also help keep you on track if there’s a page or word limit. You’ll be able to gauge how much “space” you still have left to get out everything you want to say.

  • Take Your Time

An important thing to remember when writing your statement is not to rush it. The perfect statement will take time to craft. It won’t be ready in a couple of hours. Or even a couple of days. Sometimes it’s worth taking a break for a few days, then coming back to it afresh.

  • Concentrate on Your Strengths or What Make You, You

While you don’t wanna boast too much in your essay, at the end of the day you are trying to sell yourself to an institution. Try to focus on what makes you a unique and worthwhile student and person; you should write about your experiences, your knowledge, and your future plans.

  • Use Your Own Voice and Ideas

It’s good to do research on writing strategies and what certain institutions look for in personal statements, but be careful not to dilute your own voice.  You are most definitely unique, and it is worthless to follow some set rules or patterns, or someone else’s ideas. After all, this is about you, not somebody else.

  • Get Someone to Proofread your Writing

Poor grammar and spelling mistakes are a surefire way to have your application tossed away without a second glance. It doesn’t matter if you’re competing against 3 or 3,000 other students–incorrect English always looks bad. You can use your parents, your teachers, your friends, or anyone who has your best interest at heart. The more people you show it to, the more feedback you will get, and the better the final version will be. Of course, some advice will be better and some less so, but it is easier to ask many people first, and differentiate later.

  • Read it Aloud Many Times

Reading your essay aloud can help give you a fresh perspective on your writing. This strategy can help with the cohesion of your paper and might help you notice any choppiness between paragraphs.

  • Find the Perfect Words and Expressions

Try to use professional and elevated vocabulary in your writing. An example would be “presume” instead of “think”. Impress admissions officers with your use of language. Also, try to have an interesting and compelling hook, to pull the reader in. describes the perfect hook on their website when they say “Starting with something funny, interesting, unusual or surprising will give a good first impression. But do not try to squeeze something funny out of your brain; that is useless. The perfect opening sentence will just hit you in a random moment, so just wait and don’t overthink it.”

  • Be Honest

This statement is supposed to paint a picture of who you are for colleges, which is why it’s so important, to be honest. Be confident in your story and skills. Don’t try to create a false image of yourself because the truth will always come out, and most admissions officers can see right through that.

  • Once you submit, stop reading!

Once you finish and submit your personal statement, probably don’t keep reading it. Waiting is the worst part, and if you keep reading and re-reading, you might feel it’s not as good as you thought previously, but this is normal. Remember, if you write honestly and confidently there’s nothing to worry about.


A student who is actively working on their personal statement, Carly Garrett ‘21 had this to say, “the things that helped me the most when working on my personal statement were online resources and examples. These showed me that you can truly write about anything at all, and gave me the freedom to pursue my own topics.” Another student, Devin Shaw ‘21 says, “Personally, I found it quite hard to write my personal statement during this time not having all the in-person resources high school seniors are usually accustomed to, but the tips I read about helped a lot”. But, at the end of the day, be yourself, write confidently and honestly, and we at the Beacon are sure you will get in wherever you want! We would love to hear your comment! Leave one below at our WYDubTV socials.


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