Overused Personal Statement Topics

Overused Personal Statement Topics
Overused Personal Statement Topics | Source

Topics Too Commonly Used in Personal Statement Essays

Most students get stuck thinking about what they want to write about for their personal statement essay (the principal essay used on numerous college applications). Their initial mistake is thinking that the essay needs to be about some monumental event in their lives...it doesn't. As I’ve stated before in many articles, the essay ought not to focus strictly on one event, sport, trip, or award. It really should not be a book report about the event or even a laundry list of why you are so great at so many activities. The personal statement is your opportunity to show a personality trait that you’d like the admission’s office to know about you. You could portray this trait through an anecdote about a trip you’ve taken or an event within your life, but be cautious not to focus on the specifics of that trip or event. That is to say, you can use the trip as a vessel to show the admissions officers what you want them to know about you...but, the trip is not what you are trying to show them. If that doesn't make sense, read it again until it does. This is probably the biggest mistake my private counseling students make each year.

When it comes to topics, I usually try to ward folks off from writing about their preferred sport. Whilst this could possibly be your honest answer towards the question: “what’s your preferred extracurricular activity?” this is a really over-used topic and really should not be utilized for your personal statement. An admissions office knows that you’re athletic and that you love basketball, football, tennis or swimming from reviewing your activities list. They know if you spend most of your hours on a sport that you’ve played all through high school, that this is probably your preferred activity and that you are indeed athletic. All of that information is found in your application...where it belongs. This essay is not the place for you to tell them all of that one more time...they get it. You need to make yourself more than one dimensional and this is one of the few opportunities you have to do so.
Also, in case you decide on to write your personal statement about a substantial person in your life, ensure not to focus on that person. Bear in mind that individual just isn't attempting to get into college…you are. This individual has clearly created a considerable impact on your life, so write about how you might have grown due to this person. Has he/she changed your viewpoint on an issue? Has he/she given you some assistance that you’ll take with you always? Has he/she created you believe far more “outside the box”? Has he/she made you realize factors in a new light? Speak more about your reaction to the advice than concerning the individual giving you the advice.
So, what have we learned? You don't need to write about your cure for the plague, that you are a super-star athlete, or how amazing someone is. What you can do is use one of these as a vehicle to show them something about you that they cannot find in your application. All of this and more is covered in great detail in the Personal Statement Blueprint. As I show my private counseling students, the fight isn't what your "topic" will be, it is what are you going to show the admissions officers and how.


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