Quite often, students face difficulties when writing a paper that supports their application to study in a college or university. They want to succeed, but they usually do not know where to start and what to include in the document. To make things worse, apa format for personal statement confuses the applicants. They are unsure of the formatting aspects that should be surely considered while crafting the work. A friend of mine once complained that in his work he had to show who he really was, without egoistical claims; at the same time he had to sound confident but not too self-reliant. In addition, he had to present an engaging opening sentence. On top of that, he had to visit the library to find out about the apa format for personal statement. “Is it really possible?” he wondered. Yes, it is. In this article you will find all the needed info to craft a good paper and to be enrolled in the desired program.
How to Start a Personal Statement: Expert Hints and Tips
Writing a personal statement is a must when you apply to a certain college or university. This paper has to introduce you in the best way so that the application officers could claim, “Wow, he/she should definitely become our student!”
However, if you do not know how to start a personal statement, feel free to read our simple guide that will help you boost your writing talent.
Before starting the writing process, reflect upon your experiences, both personal and professional, to understand which ones should be described in your paper. Make some notes that will serve as the guideline for your work. When the notes are ready, create a simple outline. It will help you to organize your thoughts and define the structure of your personal statement.
Then, you may start writing. When developing your notes into the well-structured sentences, do not forget to use vivid language. For instance, the sentence "I always wanted to become a nurse" is rather vague. To express your interest in nursing, you may say: “I always considered a nursing career as the instrument for doing good for people, as well as reaching the inner balance. That is why this field is a perfect fit for my career goals and interests.” Keep in mind that your narrative story should stand out from other stories. Therefore, you need to make language choices accordingly. There should be no slang, no profanity, no inappropriate jokes, etc. Moreover, you need to pay attention to the overall tone of your message. As such, we recommend you to stay confident without seeming arrogant.
Your personal statement opening lines should be funny, personal, and engaging. They should also contain some “hook” that will grab the reader's attention and make him/her read your story until the very last lines. You may start your introduction by describing some of your previous experiences in an engaging way, telling the anecdote, or writing a quote that characterizes you. In any way, keep in mind that your introduction should be well-written because it starts your personal statement.
The personal statement introduction is always followed by the main body, in which you will explain your interest in this educational institution and tell the application committee what helped you make this choice. In this section, you also need to tell about your experiences in detail. However, you do not need to include everything you remember from your childhood and adolescence. Make sure to select two or three the most meaningful episodes and explain how they influenced the development of your personality. Divide your main body into several paragraphs and make sure to discuss one episode in one paragraph.
Finally, when writing your conclusion, you should restate your motivation and express your gratitude for reviewing your statement.
Common Personal Statement Tips
Try to make your personal statement appealing and persuasive. Keep in mind that your goal is to convince the application committee that your skills, interests, qualifications, and hobbies are a good fit for this particular educational institution.
Emphasize your scientific interests. You need to show that you are a determined and goal-oriented person ready to broaden the horizons and push the limits. After all, a great student is not only about the study. A great student is a leader, who inspires and motivates others gradually moving to reach the short-term and long-term goals.
Please, note that every program has its own requirements. Even the personal statements can have different titles such as “Statement of Purpose” or “Admission Essay.” If you want to reach success with your paper, you should not only make it engaging and appealing but also follow the requirements precisely.
Three Elements of a Good Start
Basically, the opening of your personal statement should include the following parts:
- The Why Part: Start from explaining the situation that made you think about the future career. For instance, if you want to be a nurse, present some episode from your childhood when you failed to help someone because of the lack of knowledge and skills.
- The Surprise Part. The shocking personal statement opening lines are always good in attracting the reader’s attention. For instance, when writing an essay about being a vegetarian, you may start it with the words, “Since childhood, I was taught to be a killer.”
- The Confession Part. We assure you that revealing something personal info about yourself, you establish warm relations with your reader on the basis of trust.
Common APA Personal Statement Format Guidelines
So, how do you format a personal statement? Students are often puzzled by the fact that this kind of paper should be in line with APA rules. Of course, this is not a research work and not a doctoral dissertation so, you do not need to present a running head. Similarly, there will be no reference or abstract pages. Meanwhile, some aspects should be considered while formatting a personal statement:
- Your paper should be double-spaced unless your instruction requires something else;
- Your text should have one-inch margins at the top, bottom, left, and right sides;
- The first word of every paragraph in your personal statement should be indented one-half inch.
- The APA requires using Times New Roman size 12 font.
Personal Statement for Residency: Common Rules
A residency personal statement should answer the following questions:
- What specifically draws you to the area chosen? Keep in mind that you should clearly understand the specific features of your personality and your motivation should be very strong;
- What qualities or skills will help you succeed during residency? (do you have good communication skills? Do you have specific skills that will help you deal with patients? Do you have efficient leadership skills or experience in research?);
- What are the specific attributes that will help you in the position chosen? Why your candidacy is a good fit for residency training?
- What are your long-term goals? What setting you are going to practice in? What kind of professional nurse you are going to become?
- Are you a team player? Can you make important decisions when the situation demands? What can your colleagues tell about you?
- If you are applying to a specific program, make sure to explain what attracts you in this program.
How to Make a Personal Statement Interesting and Convincing?
If you do not know how to write a residency personal statement, let us provide you with the effective techniques that will help you create an outstanding piece.
All in all, writing a personal statement for residency may be rather challenging especially if you do not possess a set of good writing and research skills. However, practice makes perfect! Follow our advice and become a good personal statement writer!
Peculiarities of Writing a Personal Statement which Best Reflects You
The steps to writing an effective personal statement are:
- choose a suitable topic which you are interested in;
- grab the attention of your audience;
- show the aim behind your chosen topic;
- read your paper aloud.
What about the length of the paper? If you are wondering how long should a personal statement be, our answer is that you should strictly follow the requirements given by admission officers. It seems not that hard, right? Read them attentively and stick to them while writing. Usual limits are 1 or 2 pages and 500 to 800 words.
If you desire to go through the grad school application process on your own, our writers have created the list of requirements or clues that will be useful in writing:
Pay attention to the requirements
All personal statements need to be crafted and adjusted according to the requirements of each school. If you mention details like why the program interests you the most, you are welcome to include some specific facts about this program. Admission officers will see that you are indeed interested in the enrollment and carried out a research to learn more about this educational establishment.
Details about your personality should be mentioned
A graduate school application process is oftentimes difficult to experience because one has to mention some key details about his/her personality. Some students think “I do not have any prominent features that make me better than others” or anything of this sort, but it is actually not true. You simply have to brainstorm the most engaging situations that influenced your development. You can show that your worldview was shaped with, for example, one strange occurrence in the bus. Try not only to enumerate the facts from your life but also relate them to your experience and the formation of personal opinions.
Show that you are a goal-oriented person
While reading your personal statement, admission officers must feel that you are highly committed to reaching your goals. Show them that you have a direction that guides you towards pursuing some professional qualities. At the same time, you must mention that you are an open-minded person that is always eager to learn something new, no matter how difficult it will be. Here you have to reach the “golden mean” – do not sound to confident that you will definitely overcome all studying hurdles, but show that you will go to great lengths to cope with them.
All writing directions must be strictly followed
Professional application paper should include the exact amount of words that was mentioned in the requirements. If you was asked to write 900, do not make it 901. This one excessive word will show that you are not able to adhere to the basic writing requirements. Admission officers are not high school teachers who will put an A+ regardless of some small paper flaws.
Avoid long sentences
Do not include too long sentences because you have to prioritize the content. Usually, personal statements are short, but you will have to include a big number of details. Therefore, get rid of some too elaborate sentences that do not reflect any significant value.
Introduction must catch reader’s attention
You can write about a funny situation from your life that will interest the reader. However, too personal/emotional details must be excluded because the aforementioned writing presumes a high degree of formality.
Answer the questions from the application form
Some students ask “What is a personal statement?” or “How to write main body paragraphs in a personal statement?” The main body paragraphs should provide answers to the questions mentioned in the application form. If you were not given this questionnaire, you have to mention personal and academic experiences.
Main ideas should be summarized in the ending
The key discussed aspects from the main body paragraphs should be summarized in the conclusion. In addition, you can also mention how the desired job position will help you attain professional goals.
Statement of Purpose vs. Personal Statement
Statement of Purpose
Includes the student's personal motivation for applying to the specific educational institution. Explains how the applicant developed his/her research interests. Indicates relevant experiences, challenges, or accomplishments.
Includes information about academic background, skills, research interests, as well as career goals. Explains why the applicant is interested in a certain program.
Level of Formality
The typical length for both essays is approximately 1-3 double-spaced pages
A personal statement is a biography-type paper. When working on this piece, you need to include information about your previous experiences and current research interests. Such an essay should sound appealing and engaging proving that you are a good fit for the program chosen. A good personal statement should focus on the applicant's personal accomplishments, as well as academic strengths that may help the applicant become a valuable asset in the college or university chosen. Moreover, this paper should clearly explain what has helped the applicant to make such a choice. Providing the admission committee members with information about relevant life experiences, you will be able to write a winning personal statement. As for the tone, it is usually not formal.
Statement of Purpose
This paper is similar to a cover letter. Although you may start with an introduction that is less formal, the overall tone of your paper should be rather formal. Such an essay focuses on specific career interests, as well as the reasons why you can succeed in the position chosen. Basically, you need to explain why are you going to pursue a career in the specific field and what professional qualities will help you to do that.
Many students often confuse these two papers, though it is not quite right. Whereas both of these essays should tell about your interest in the specific position, they usually contain different information. The statement of purpose highlights the academic background, mentioning the key accomplishments and career goals. In other words, you need to explain why are you fitting a specific position.
A personal statement, on the contrary, focuses mainly on what kind of person you are and what personal skills will help you reach the desired outcome.
A vast majority of programs will ask you to submit only one of the essays. However, there are some structured programs that will require both of them.
So, let us summarize:
When working on a personal statement, you need to:
- Tell your personal story;
- Indicate your motivation;
- Explain what challenges you had to overcome to understand your career aspirations.
When working on a statement of purpose, you need to:
- Explain your future career goals;
- Research information about the specific educational institution and career opportunities offered there;
- Explain why you are a good match for this academic environment;
- Make an emphasis on your accomplishments.
UC Personal Statement Example
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