Personal Statement Tips or, How to Write a Kick-Butt College Essay Let’s get started! Hop onboard! Tip #1: Focus on One Event Focus on one event! It provides your essay with a focus and eliminates confusion for the reader. A singular focus allows you to: fully develop and explain one quality/experience; and make the applicant (you!) more memorable – you become the “kid who traveled to Greece” or the “student who volunteered at the Stanford University library.” Tip #2: Reflect on the Event Remember to reflect on that event! What did you learn? Be clear and specific – identify one to three lessons. Then, show how you apply those lessons at: SPHS, college, and/or your future occupation! Reflection makes my eyes hurt. Tip #3: Catch the Reader’s Attention! Open your essay with a simple, relevant hook. Admissions officers read thousands of essays – stand out! Caution: Don’t write an overly- involved hook. Quickly invite the reader into the situation, UC Berkeley then address the prompt. Tip #4: Watch the Language! Minimize usage of the verb “to be” – it will improve your essay’s vocabulary. Minimize flowery or poetic language – be direct. Some figurative language is acceptable, but be careful. Don’t over-use of the pronoun “I” or “you”! Methinks I should use better diction! Tip #5: Proofread! The old cliché is true: You never have a second chance to make a first impression! Have several readers review your spelling and grammar – you won’t regret receiving additional feedback! Boston: College Town, USA Tip #6: Don’t Neglect the Details! Don’t forget a creative, relevant title! Watch the word limit! Depending on the school, most essays are between 450 – 600 words. For Afram’s class, type the Afram at MIT! prompt across the top of the page! One Last Tip… If you’re confused, stumped, or need some advice… Don’t do anything drastic! Mr. Afram is eager to help.
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