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Applying to US Universities

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Some universities in the USA require a College Essay and some require a Personal Statement in order to apply.

When writing Personal Statements for US universities is this form a good one to follow?

Should I follow these same steps for writing College Essays?

Is this a good pattern to follow for writing personal statements for Australian Universities?

Could someone PLEASE answer these questions for me?

Thanks. :D

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Well... From what I know, you probably don't want to use that format. You certainly can, as that's one way to do it. However, I've noticed that it can be more effective to use your 500 words or whatever your word limit is to explore one topic. Maybe why you're interested in the field you're applying to [this is especially important if your uni makes you apply to specific schools/departments and the personal statement is your only chance to talk about your interest in the field]. Or why you're interested in the specific uni. Or express your passion in something. Your creativity. An obstacle you overcame. Some part of your background. Be concise, but be descriptive to some extent. Definitely 'show don't tell.' Give examples, and try not to use the passive voice so much.

I've read the post you referred to a long time ago, but I just skimmed through it, and here are parts that I definitely agree with.

Small tips to remember and keep in mind

Again and again, this is about you! Be egotistical - i.e. talk about your good qualities. Don't shy away from exhibiting your good points. You're supposed to say the good things about you so that they make you stand out. However, at the same time, don't sound arrogant and/or pretentious about it!

When talking about your weaknesses and limitations, don't just list them. Let the person reading your statement know that you realise it's a shortcoming and your actions in overcoming it. Show that you are willing to face your weaknesses and are doing something about it. Think to yourself, why are you telling them about this limitation of yours? What does it say about you and how might it help you get into university?

Make sure that your spelling and grammar is correct. Always have someone read over your statement before you finalise it and send it off. Make sure you don't have silly typos or grammar mistakes. Those can lower your chances by a significant amount.

Have someone to read over your statement not only to proofread it for you but also to see if they can pick up on things that perhaps they, from an outsider's point of view, think should not be incldued because it may portray you negatively in some way. Outsider input is very important!

Things to NOT put into and avoid in your personal statement

Don't start every sentence with I: Yes, you're supposed to be egotistic and use "I" in your statement, but don't make it a monotonous start to every paragraph. Be creative and diverse. Don't start your paragraphs all the same way.

Don't include your hobbies and interests unless they are relevant: Simple, if it's not relevant, it's not helping you and you're wasting words, your time, the admission officer's time, achieving nothing.

Don't use vocabulary you don't normally use and just looked up in a dictionary: Make it sounds authentic, make it sound like you! This is about you, not about the dictionary or how many big words you can look up. Write like you normally would, in your own words.

Don't repeat things already on your application form: There's no point. They don't need to read the same thing twice.

Don't write a list of all your hobbies and interests without explaining them: This is basic essay writing skill. Don't just list things, but say what's significant about them. You have this interest, so what?

Don't lie or embellish the truth: Don't. Lying never gets you anywhere. Even if you think they won't be able to find out...well, maybe they can. You might be having your teachers write you a reference letter than contradict what you say, for example.

Don't include boring phrases or hobbies which everyone does: It doesn't make you stand out and it wastes word.

Some things that I don't agree with 100%... I think you can be funny in your essay/personal statement, as long as it's not forced or crude. Show your voice. If you're a naturally funny person, let it shine through.

I think if it's absolutely essential, you can use a quote from someone. Try to avoid it, like Hien said on the post, but it's not going to kill you.

Also, about 'Don't take any political viewpoints or express views that may be offensive to others.' Colleges definitely don't want to see closed-minded people or judgmental people. That's a no-no. However, I think you can take a stance on a controversial topic and show the admissions that you're a person with views, and you're willing to stand up for them, while still being open-minded. And if you are closed-minded.... well don't talk about controversial things if you can't tolerate others' opinions haha

Also, I'll repeat one thing quoted above that needs to be emphasized. Proofread your essay several times! Seriously, typos or bad grammar can impact you severely.

About Australian universities, I have no clue! All this was about US unis.

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UK/Australian college essays are very different to US ones.

US allows for any kind of creativity. I heard that someone sent in his essay written on a boot. He wore the boot while hiking across the Grand Canyon. :D

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