General Advice

  • Answer the questions that are asked.  Don’t use the same statement for all applications. 
  • Tell a story.  Show or demonstrate your points using concrete examples from your experience. 
  • Be specific.  Broad sweeping statements will not make you stand out as an individual.  Illustrate your points with personal examples or experiences.
  • Find an angle.  An angle helps you to focus and make your statement interesting.
  • Have a strong opening paragraph.  Your first paragraph should state your thesis and grab the reader’s attention.
  • Avoid clichés and quotes.  This statement is about you and should not borrow from other’s words.
  • Write well.  Be meticulous about your writing style.  Type and proofread your essay very carefully. 
  • Don’t write a descriptive resume. This is a common mistake.  Don’t restate your resume in prose.  This information can be found in other parts of your application. 
  • Avoid writing about high school experiences.  Professional schools will expect that you have had significant experiences while in college.
  • Be positive.  Don’t badmouth the profession. 
  • Be honest. 
  • Find a balance between creative and cautious.  This can be tricky.  There is a fine line between creative and interesting and odd and gimmicky.  Don’t write your personal statement as a legal brief or as a poem. 
  • Be concise.  This is greatly appreciated by those who are reading thousands of applications.
  • It’s hard to be a stand-up comedian.  Humor is difficult and can be misinterpreted.  It’s best to avoid it.