Personal Statement Writing Do’s and Don’ts

When you apply to a college, your application package will typically include a personal statement. Be sure to read the instructions, but expect this statement to be between 400 and 500 words.

With this statement, it is your chance to show a college admissions officer that you are right for a certain academic institution and should be accepted. Sure, it can seem daunting, but with this statement, you can really give yourself a chance to shine. You will introduce yourself, talk about your background, your interests and what your future goals are.

Of course, you don’t want to wax poetic, but you do want to be clear about your aspirations and what brought you to those goals. However, there are also a number of things you should not include your personal statement. Here are some personal statement writing do’s and don’ts.

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Don’t Write Informally

Of course, when you are writing your personal statement, you don’t want to be informal. Sure, you may not have to be 100% formal, but you do want to avoid colloquialisms, abbreviations and words that may not be standard. When a college admissions officer reads your statement, you want to come off as professional and like someone who can excel in college.

Many students have an urge to write informally because they believe the message will come off as more conversational, but this can backfire very quickly.

Do Start With an Outline

Another important tip for writing your statement is to have an outline written out before you complete the statement. Unless you are a master at constructing essays, you want to start off with a brief diagram and outline of where the statement will go.

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Ideally, you want to have something like a thesis that declares what you will be talking about in the statement and then you want to support that thesis. For instance, if you mention that you are interested in science and want to offer meaningful contributions to the field one day then you want to talk about the why and how you became interested in those fields.

Don’t Use Offensive or Curse Words

Just like you don’t want to be informal, you also don’t want to use words that are offensive. These words are typically curse words, but you may also run into other words that may be offensive. You want to stay away from using these words by all means necessary.

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If you are applying for a UIC online program, you want to avoid giving the admissions officer any reason to deny you. Of course, this is common sense, but you would be surprised by how many students try to slip in an expletive here and there, which is never excusable.

 Do Proofread

On top of everything, you want to be sure that you read and re-read your statement a few times before turning it in. The last thing you want is for a glaring mistake or typo to stand out. By reading your statement a few different times, you will increase your chances of catching a mistake. In the end, mistakes can slow down the flow of the statement, which could lower your chances of admission.

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