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Keep your goals in mind
Telling your personal story, like any storytelling, can take many forms. From short and choppy to verbose and ornate. Introducing one's self in a personal statement can take many forms and shapes--as varied as individuals themselves speak. However, a successful personal statement is a narrow form of introduction which narrowly focuses on the question posed by the application form by answering two central questions--"Who am I?" and "What Can I offer?" The successful personal statement never strays from these twin objectives--introducing yourself and describing your potential as a successful candidate. Hence, it is important to isolate key accomplishments, turning points, and events in one's life which shed light on these central themes. Analyze your resume, personal history and memory to isolate certain key "defining moments" in your life.

Personal Assessment
The personal statement writing process can be an exciting process because it presents the opportunity to tell and explore your own personal history. What we write down, what we focus on, what we highlight and explore gives an insight as to our own particular and unique values, hopes, aspirations and ideals. Keep this in mind. The information you present, as much as how you present it, can portray you either as a positive and eager individual or as an easily discouraged person merely going through the motions of the application process. Always keep in mind the particular image you wish to portray when sifting through your personal facts and writing your essay.

Some of the topics to explore and develop for essay purposes include:
  1. hobbies
  2. projects you have completed
  3. particular jobs and responsibilities
  4. accomplishments -- both professional and scholastic
  5. major life events that you believe have changed you
  6. challenges and personal hurdles you have overcome
  7. life events which motivate you to apply for this particular course of education.
  8. individuals who influenced, prepared, or motivated you to pursue a particular profession or school
  9. particular traits, work habits, attitudes or sensibilities that you have developed which will insure your success in school or in a profession.
  10. your goals
Always remember to explore these topics with the underlying purpose of showing how these events, experiences and people have affected you in such a way that will help you succeed in the school you are applying to. Keep in mind, as you create your list, that you wish to give the reader the impression that you have the motivation, direction, and drive to succeed in their school or program. At this stage, focus on writing down, as specifically as possible, the different events and accomplishments that you feel should be mentioned. You need not be concerned with grammar or other technicalities this early on. The important point is that you adequately describe your chosen events and accomplishments.

Organizing Facts
Now that you have listed your interests and past jobs, read these facts carefully and isolate the emotion that each fact/event triggers. Does the memory of an event or activity or accomplishment trigger pride? Resolution? A sense of "making peace and moving on"? Does it motivate you to forge ahead and do more to correct a mistake? Once you are emotionally engaged, try to identify one trait that make yous feel good or particularly proud of AND isolate the personal trait that you feel was improved or took some time to improve. Then isolate the events, experiences, or people with personal traits, goals and motivation. Circle the facts and pair them with specific personal traits or personal qualities. You should then write short sentences explaining how each pairing would help you become successful in the particular school or program you are applying to. Now you are now ready to find an organizing structure or format for your essay.

AdmissionsEssays.Com's BioGraph(sm) questionnaire automates the three steps above to let our writers gain a quick and comprehensive view into an applicant's personal attributes, potential, and values in order to highlight their personal achievements and potential for excellence. This is then used by our writers to craft the most effective sample personal statement possible. You can then use this statement as an inspiration for organizing your final statement.

Choosing a Format
Just as stories could be told in various forms, ranging from the novel to a short story to parables and allegories, one's personal story can fit into many types of presentations. Nevertheless, certain formats predominate over others because these formats are more commonly used. Below are just three popular organizing and thematic formats AdmissionsEssays.Com uses in developing custom personal statements.
  1. Overcoming Adversity
    This format emphasizes one's tenacity, patience, and diligence in dealing with, overcoming, or making peace with unpleasant life-transforming events or characters. Far from placing blame or making excuses, this format isolates the applicant's ability to thrive despite external and/or internal hindrances.

    1. Be Descriptive. Use facts to back up ALL your assertions. Never state specifics--describe them. How exactly are you "more mature"? What experiences have you had that would warrant an attribution of "entrepreneurial" and "creative"? Although most Admissions Committees are not looking for statements that describe some sort of personal revelation or enlightenment, use your personal facts to describe who you are and why you are exceptional.
    2. Emphasize your positive attitude by stating your future plans. Fit this material with certain facts or programs about the school that you have researched.
    3. Show a proactive attitude through your word choices and sentence sequence.


    1. Do not dwell on how you suffered or how much of a "victim" you were.
    2. Don't place blame or judge--you don't want to come off as bitter and angry.
    3. Don't engage in self-pity.

  2. Personal Growth
    This format surveys the achievements and accomplishments of the applicant and comments upon these events. The comments trace the evolution and transformation of the individual into a successful and determined candidate.

    1. Use a positive, active voice
    2. Focus on the changes in your attitude and perspective giving concrete factual examples of these changes.
    3. Give a clear, concise and adequately developed description of key events from which you derived personal growth and wisdom.


    1. Make excuses for failed and dashed expectations.
    2. Explain why things did not work out and most importantly what you have done to cope with disappointments. However, outside of illness or other unforeseen circumstances, don't explain away bad grades or bad semesters. If applicable, do explain how personal setbacks have given you a new attitude which translated into a concrete accomplishment.
    3. Try not to overfocus on personal enlightenment but focus instead on concrete outcomes or consequences of such personal revelations.
    4. Appear to feel sorry for yourself.
    5. Focus on just ONE achievement.
    6. Appear angry or bitter.

  3. Family History
    This format tells a family member's story and how the applicant interacted with that person's legacy or was inspired by that person's achievements. This format is often used to show how historical influences color and shape an individual.

    1. Isolate personal traits and attributes
    2. Briefly describe a family member who has inspired you to pursue your education or particular professional vocation.
    3. You may discuss, briefly, any struggles that your family has overcome.


    1. Overstate family problems.
    2. Appear to be asking for pity.
    3. Place so much importance on your family's struggle that you lose focus on your own struggles and achievements. Remember that the Family History format's purpose is to highlight YOUR achievements & YOUR ability to cope with family obstacles.
STEP 1: Strategy
STEP 2: Organization
STEP 3: Execution
STEP 4: Revision
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