Components of a Strong Personal Statement: How to Write a Unique College Essay

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    Personal statements are an important part of your college application. Not only do they help personalize the admissions process, but they also allow you to stand out from your peers and leave a lasting impression. Many students are unsure how to write a good college essay and often wonder what to write their college essay on. 

    If you are wondering how to write a good essay for college applications, read on! In this article, we will discuss components of a strong personal statement, as well as practical writing tips — such as how to write a college essay introduction.

    What makes a good college essay?

    A personal statement is not the same as your typical, 5-paragraph, high school essay. You do not need to include a formal thesis statement at the end of your introductory paragraph (in fact, you probably shouldn’t). Likewise, avoid using overly technical or intellectual language. Now is not the time to show off your SAT vocabulary! Instead, use your personal statement to communicate who you are as a person.

    The best way to communicate who you are as a person is to infuse your language with personality. An effective personal statement should be memorable. College admissions officers want to gain a more thorough understanding of who you are; your personal statement is your opportunity to give them this opportunity. 

    One of the most important tips for knowing how to write a good college application essay is to focus on cultivating your narrative voice. Showing the way that you think, using your standard vocabulary, and conveying warmth, honesty, and humor are great ways to cultivate a personal style and sense of overall voice. In short, when you are trying to focus on how to write a good essay for college applications, consider these five steps:

    How to choose your essay topic

    Do not repeat information that can be found elsewhere in your application. Use every aspect of your college application as a unique opportunity to share something important about yourself. Sometimes students feel pressured to choose an “impressive” topic and use “impressive” vocabulary in their college essays. This is not necessary. Your SAT and ACT test scores, high school transcripts, and GPA will speak to your academic capabilities. Your college essay should speak to your passions, personality, and sensibilities. 

    College essay topics that stand out

    As you consider unique college essay topics and college essay topics that stand out, review these four winning college essay examples. Reviewing various college essay topic examples and successful sample essays is an important step to take while brainstorming. 

    The most important thing to remember when thinking about creative college essay topics is that how you write about the topic is just as important as the topic itself. Many successful essays discuss seemingly unremarkable topics in remarkable ways. For example, you might choose to write about your passion for theater in an essay that features stage directions. 

    In short, it’s okay if you don’t have an extraordinary topic, such as spending the summer with your grandmother in Argentina and learning her secret family recipes. As long as your topic is meaningful to you and you try to find an engaging, unique way to approach your topic, your personal essay will likely be successful.

    College essay topics to avoid

    As you consider unique college essay topics and college essay topics that stand out, review these four winning college essay examples. Reviewing various college essay topic examples and successful sample essays is an important step to take while brainstorming.

    The most important thing to remember when thinking about creative college essay topics is that how you write about the topic is just as important as the topic itself. Many successful essays discuss seemingly unremarkable topics in remarkable ways. For example, you might choose to write about your passion for theater in an essay that features stage directions.

    In short, it’s okay if you don’t have an extraordinary topic, such as spending the summer with your grandmother in Argentina and learning her secret family recipes. As long as your topic is meaningful to you and you try to find an engaging, unique way to approach your topic, your personal essay will likely be successful.

    When considering college essay topics to write about, you will also want to avoid trying to tell your entire life story. Pick a small piece and focus on that. After all, this is a brief essay.

    Personal statement writing tips

    Personal statements are an important admissions factor. Give yourself plenty of time to write several drafts and think deeply about the prompts. Here are some important writing tips to consider while writing your personal statement.

    Remember, it is important to focus on writing a strong, compelling introduction and a meaningful, conclusive final paragraph. 

    How to write about yourself

    What makes a great college essay? There are lots of answers to this question. One of the most important factors to consider, however, when crafting a successful personal statement, is learning how to write a good college essay about yourself. Sometimes it can feel awkward or intimidating to write about yourself. So what should you do

    First, take plenty of time to reflect on the essay prompt. Take notes, write down your stream of consciousness, and discuss the topic with people you trust. Do your best to write the way you speak. You might even want to try brainstorming out loud so you can reflect on your natural voice and tone before you sit down to write the essay. The most important thing is to be thoughtful and genuine. There is no one right way to write about yourself, just as there is no one right way to be yourself.

    Write several drafts and ask trusted individuals — such as your parents, peers, high school guidance counselors, and/or teachers — if the essay sounds like you. This will be a good indicator of whether your essay requires further revisions.

    How to write a good “why this college” essay

    Now that we’ve discussed how to write a college narrative essay, as well as what makes a good university essay, let’s focus on one of the most popular supplemental essay prompts: Why this college? There are lots of factors to consider when focusing on how to write a good “why this college” essay. Some of the most important ones are listed below:

    It’s important to use lots of specific details in this essay. Show that you have properly researched the school by sharing specific programs and opportunities that excite you and tie into your overall academic and professional goals. This is also a great opportunity to show why you would thrive at this particular school and what you would contribute to the school and campus culture. 

    Key takeaways and moving forward

    There are lots of components involved when one considers what makes a good college essay. Most notably, you want to cultivate a strong narrative voice while discussing a meaningful topic. Be genuine and authentic. You don’t need to select an “impressive” essay topic that you don’t care about to stand out. Stand out by demonstrating your passion and personality.

    If you are struggling with any part of the college application process, or feel you could benefit from professional attention, reach out to learn more about our services. Similarly, if you are set on attending an Ivy League college, many students work carefully alongside a college counselor as they prepare their college application materials.

    Contact a Prepory college admissions coach and start your college admissions journey.

    Our college admissions experts are here to guide you from where you are to where you should be. Through our comprehensive curriculum, individualized coaching, and online workshops, you are set for success as soon as you connect with us.

    During our initial consultation, we will: 

    • Assess your student’s applicant profile and higher education goals 
    • Provide detailed information about our services and programming
    • Share tips on how to navigate the U.S. college admissions process 

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