Tips for Writing a Quality Personal Statement
Your personal statement is your opportunity to tell your story to the admissions committee. This is where you can go beyond just grades and explain why you and the major you are applying to are a good fit for each other. It is also an opportunity to put any mistakes or challenges you faced in perspective and talk about how you have grown.
Here are some tips for creating a compelling personal statement:
- Do not underestimate the need for a well-crafted personal statement. It is a sample of your writing and communication skills – an important skill for success in both your major and career. It is therefore just as important as your prerequisite grades.
- Writing a good statement takes time. Read the prompt several times and examine different ways to tell your story. Take notes as you come up with ideas and use them to decide how to build the best narrative. As you work, take breaks and return to it later for a fresh read.
- Strive for focus, clarity, and detail in your writing. Does your writing flow logically and have a clear narrative progression? Are you giving specific examples of your experiences and how they are preparing you for your major and career? Did you make sure to research this specific institution and degree program and tailor your statement to fit them? For example, be sure to make your statement different if you are applying to both UW Seattle and UW Bothell, or to both the CSSE and Applied Computing majors (they are very different in content and outcome).
- Keep readability in mind. Check the formatting for appropriate font size, line spacing, and paragraph breaks. Your statement should also not be too short or too long. A good statement is usually somewhere between one and three pages.
- Double check your work. After writing your statement, re-read the prompt and compare. Did you actually answer the prompt? Did you miss parts of any questions? Does your story explain who you are in the best light? Take the time to have someone check your writing for correct grammar, punctuation, and readability. Most colleges and universities have writing centers or similar resources to help you. The UW Bothell Writing & Communication Center (WACC) works with students to help with their personal statement.