|Date Added: February 25, 2010 04:04:11 PM|
Writing personal statements can be quite a headache. It is weird, because I would think it would be very easy for me. You see, I have always been a writer. I can sit down and write stories for hours, but I cannot read about myself. I can talk about myself, but when I put pen to paper it all goes away. Writing the personal statement did not come easily to me.
The really tough thing about it was that I was applying for school, and I knew that I did not have much time. Personal statements for undergraduate schools are supposed to be an easy thing, but they were not. My undergraduate personal statement asked me a lot of specific questions, and I had to integrate them all into one seamless essay. Finally, in desperation, I looked online for examples of personal statements.
Normally, I do not place a lot of value in consulting other people's writing for ideas. Sure, you pick up ideas when you read good books that you respect, but it seems wrong to actually go and steal techniques from other writers. Nonetheless, when I looked at some of the graduate school personal statements, I saw some really sophisticated uses of language that would give me an advantage. I would not say that I outright stole the personal statements, but I did use them as an inspiration. I borrowed their structure, changed their contents, and made them true for me.
If you are stuck, I highly recommend looking at a sample personal statement or two. It is strange how quickly it can get you started. Most of the personal statements are almost identical, so it is not like you are going to see something that will revolutionize your way of looking at the world. Nonetheless, simply looking at someone else's personal statements can get you going yourself. It makes it seem more possible, more obvious, and easier to accomplish.
Of course, personal statements will not always help you that much. Some schools, particularly graduate programs, have very specific questions that are different each and every year. Although personal statements can give you a broad idea of how to approach these kinds of questions, they will not give you a clue about what specific answer you should use. Nonetheless, when you are stuck on a writing assignment, you have to look for inspiration where you can find it and not give up until you do.
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