Top five tricks to ace your personal statement
I am a master’s student and I study Biotechnology, Bioprocessing and Business Management and to get here, one of the most important things I had to perfect was a good personal statement or statement of purpose (SoP). I have put together my top five tricks to absolutely ace your personal statement.
1. Be an early bird
With something as important as a personal statement, it is crucial to start working early to ensure it is written to perfection. The personal statement needs to be descriptive and my personal experience is that it should be proofread plenty of times before submitting it. Starting well before time will allow you to pick out and correct any typos or grammatical errors and also make sure it is in the order you like.
2. Organize your thoughts
You cannot just dive into writing your personal statement. It is advisable to jot down the points you would like to cover and then organize them appropriately for the text to be cohesive. I started by making small notes of all the things that I wanted to include in my personal statement randomly, and then grouped them in a systematic fashion.
3. Follow a structure
A personal statement should always have a structure with different paragraphs correlating to different things. A blob of text without any structure is undesirable and hence, I divided my personal statement into the following paragraphs:
- Introduction: talk about yourself and why do you want to pursue your field of interest and how you are passionate about it.
- Academic background: include your degree qualification and particular courses that align with the degree you are applying for.
- Additional courses/ experience: mention all your MOOCs, extra courses that you undertook, internships you did or any other work experience you have related to your academic field of interest.
- Why you wish to pursue the course: this is a significant part because you need to be convincing here as to why you want that particular course, how it will help your career and how it aligns with your interests.
- Your future plans: how have you envisioned your future after pursuing the degree you want to. Explain what you want out of your career and how this course helps you achieve it.
- Why this university: elucidate why you want to pursue a degree with the university and how it would help your career. Also mention what you bring to the table.
- Extracurricular: talk about all your extracurricular achievements and volunteer work, which in my opinion is a very important addition.
4. Be descriptive
Speaking out of personal experience, the personal statement is one place where you can be descriptive and explain how you are passionate about your field of study. Don’t shy away from being articulate and being individualistic because that would separate you from the others.
5. Correct the tone
Write your personal statement in a formal yet conversational tone and always use an active voice. This is a place to self-reflect, so it is important to hold a conversational tone and not use passive voice.
Those were all my top five tricks to write a good personal statement. I hope you all enjoyed reading the blog and it helped you with giving a direction on where to start. It is important to note that the personal statement is one of the most important documents, even more important than your IELTS and GRE score, so definitely give it the time and attention it needs and deserves. All the best for your college applications!