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Writing with a Distinctive Voice
Once you've gathered your information and selected a structure for your essay, you are now ready to write your statement. A key element of the writing process is choosing a particular point of view from which to present your information. Of course, your choice of perspective depends on the particular style you have developed over the years. The following is an analysis of the advantages and disadvantages of applying a particular writing voice to personal statement drafting.
  1. Third Party Narrator. In terms of personal statement drafting, this approach is creative, different, and, if done correctly, very effective. A third party's viewpoint is particularly effective in telling stories of personal growth and evolution. This narrative voice often employs the perspective of a teacher, parent or a friend telling your personal story
  2. First Person. This is the most basic and common voice. This employs the use of the word "I." This approach is great for most formats. Professional and graduate school applicants most often use this approach because it is the most direct. The greatest danger this approach presents, is boring the reader if you do not vary your sentence structure. Avoid placing subjects in front of predicates consistently throughout the essay; reverse their order. Pay attention to sentence length and word choice to vary the look and feel of the essay.
  3. Second Person. Uses the word "You." This is a rarely used voice but crucial for building empathy between the reader and the applicant. It is often used in a storytelling format. The problem with this approach is that it may be too personal for the reader.

Writing the Statement: the Power of a Good Introduction
Your introductory paragraph may be the most crucial portion of your entire essay. This is your opportunity to grab the attention of the reader and encourage them to read your essay intently. Take your time and think through possible alternative approaches for presenting your information. For example, you may employ an opening quote, anecdote, or narrative passage among many other approaches. Instead of saying, "This is my personal story....," try, "[Written from the perspective of Joe's 5th grade science teacher] I first met Joe when he was a shy, young freckle-faced boy sitting at the back of my Science class. He was always curious about stars and moons, often asking me ...

" An effective opening line engages the reader and draws them in to your essay, compelling them to read your personal story closely. The rest of your introduction should be a short summary of what is to come. However, don't just write a summary. Dramatize and highlight the following paragraphs of your essay. In essence, your introduction should be an exciting preview of the body of your statement.

The Body: Getting the Message Across
The main paragraphs should consist of events, experiences and activities you have already organized in chronological order or in order of importance. You should feel free to give special prominence to "play up" those accomplishments that you believe deserve particular attention. Be specific and detailed. Tell the readers that you deserve to get admitted to their school. Let them know in no uncertain terms that you qualify over and above the rest for a spot in the entering class. Be careful not to sound redundant. Each and every paragraph should have a separate theme, and developed within and throughout the paragraph. Your final body paragraph should end on a positive note restating your goals in terms of its anticipated fulfillment at the institution to which you are applying.

The personal essay, like any persuasive writing piece, is a "front loaded" document. Emphasize your point at the beginning of the document. Thus, dramatic flourishes should not be reserved for the conclusion of your essay. Conclusion paragraphs may not be needed if the last paragraph of your body is striking enough. However, if you decide to write a conclusion, make sure not to merely restate your introduction. While it's acceptable to restate your goals and motivations, you should do so in a manner that will leave a lasting impression with the reader. Rather than claiming, "I have worked hard in school as a tutor, and I believe that I will be successful at your school," try, "my GPA, experiences, and incomparable traits make me the outgoing, accomplished and promising candidate that your school is looking for." Be clear, straight forward, and end with a bang!
STEP 1: Strategy
STEP 2: Organization
STEP 3: Execution
STEP 4: Revision
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