Writing your personal statement can be the hardest part of the college application process. A good personal statement should show off your positive character traits and unique qualities, and convince admissions officers that you deserve a place in the institution. Here are ten common personal essay prompts and how you should answer them.
1. Describe a part of your identity or background that has made you who you are.
This essay is a prime opportunity for you to set yourself apart from other college applicants. Colleges are on the lookout for diverse individuals with distinctive worldviews so take this chance to highlight what makes you different. Factors you can consider include your race, ethnicity, family history, and where you grew up.
2. Why do you want to attend this college?
Even if you are applying to an Ivy League college, steer clear of citing the college’s prestigious reputation as the reason you want to enroll. Choose something specific about the college to prove that you have done your research. For instance, talk about the merits of the program that you are applying for or a particular professor that you admire.
3. What are your life goals?
This is a very common prompt that a surprisingly high number of applicants struggle with. Try not to talk about generic goals such as having a family or owning a house. Do not be afraid to add a personal touch to make your essay more meaningful. For example, Instead of just saying that you want to travel the world, explain your interest in culture and languages.
4. If you could solve any problem, what would it be?
You may be very tempted to talk about war or world hunger for this prompt but think about how many other applicants will do the same. Pick an unusual problem that shows your passion and understanding. You can talk about anything from big issues like unequal voting rights (political science) to small problems like jars that are difficult to open (product design).
5. Write about a challenge that you had in your life and how it affected you.
This prompt is a perfect chance to show growth. Be sure to be authentic and convey how you felt at that time. Do not focus merely on the negative aspects of what happened; It is important to demonstrate that you learned something from the challenging experience and that it has changed the way you view or do things for the better. Try to end on a positive note.
6. Describe something that you are passionate about and explain why.
Admissions officers look for well-rounded students and this is where you can stand out. You can talk about one thing that you are extremely enthusiastic about and show off any extracurricular achievements that you have. If possible, link your passion to the program that you are applying for to build on the image that you will be an eager student.
7. What is a book that you would recommend to others? Explain why.
The books that a student reads are indicative of the depth and breadth of their knowledge. Be sure to choose a book that you truly enjoy. That said, stay away from young adult books like Harry Potter that can make you seem immature. An obscure book with an interesting theme like The God of Small Things may be better received than a popular book.
8. What topic you have changed your mind on in the past year and why?
This is another great topic to show how you have grown. This essay does not have to be a serious one but it should be personal. The main point is to demonstrate how you learned something and subsequently changed your perspective. For example, you can talk about no longer wanting to own a car after witnessing the effects of climate change in your town.
9. If you could meet with any person, living or dead, who would it be?
One of the more creative prompts, this will allow you to have a bit of fun with your essay. Try not to pick a figure that comes to mind immediately such as Gandhi or Einstein. Think of someone that you would genuinely love to meet. This could be your favorite author, a famous entertainer, or a deceased person who left a mark on your life.
10. Pick your own topic for this essay.
This is the easiest prompt since you can literally write about anything you like. Yet, some applicants find it tough to pick a topic without any direction. If so, you can use one of the above prompts as a guide. Whatever you choose to write about, be sure to include information on your thoughts and ideas to allow admissions officers to see your unique attributes.
Personal essays for college may be short, but they need to be written with care and intent. Coming across as authentic and sincere is central to a successful application. If you need assistance, there are professional essay writers listed on essay writing service Reddit that may be able to help. Good luck with your college application!