6 Tips for Writing a Personal Statement
October 4, 2021 | Posted in: Scholarships
It can be difficult to talk about yourself. When someone says, “Tell me about yourself,” it’s not surprising to have a brain freeze and not know where to start. Writing a personal statement when applying for a scholarship presents the same challenge, but fortunately, you will have time to figure out how to present yourself in writing.
In order to secure scholarship funds from PGSF, we ask applicants for a personal statement. A personal statement should include information about yourself that won’t be part of a transcript or letter of recommendation. Since this essay is for a scholarship, please indicate why you think you are deserving of the award.
Address the Requirements
The first piece of advice is to make sure to write on the topic given to you, answer the question posed, or include the writing prompt. Most applications will include a word or character count (more on this in the fourth tip) to aim for, but not exceed. The scholarship you are applying to is specific to the graphic communication and printing industry. Why are you interested in pursuing an education or career in this industry? What challenges do you anticipate? What are you excited about for the future?
Be honest and true to your experience. Concentrate on your strengths; use real-life examples; don’t exaggerate. We all have something that makes us unique, an experience or talent, or interest. Use it as an inspiration to talk about yourself. Maybe you started drawing when you were 4 years old using Power Puff Girls as inspiration or loved paging through catalogs that came to your grandparent’s house or had a relative in the printing industry. Tell us the story.
Make an Outline
An outline will help you organize your thoughts. It doesn’t have to be highly detailed but should include your topic, an idea for an intro paragraph, three to five points you want to make, and a conclusion.
Write a First Draft First
This may sound simplistic, but it’s important. Set aside some time, follow your outline, and just write. Don’t bother with word count or finding the perfect way to express yourself yet. Don’t edit as you write; that comes later. For now, get your ideas and thoughts into a document without limiting yourself. Put this draft aside for a day or so before coming back to it to refine and edit. In the second and third drafts, you will aim to get to the word count and clarify your ideas.
Read It Out Loud
Once you are satisfied with what you have written, read it out loud. Read it in front of a mirror, or even record it and play it back. This step will help you create a consistent tone. If you are missing transitional phrases or relevant segues, hearing your essay out loud will reveal this weakness, and give you the opportunity to strengthen your writing.
Share It with Someone
Share it with a few people for that matter. Ask a teacher, guidance counselor, parent, employer, or friend who does well in English class to read through your personal statement. They should look for typos, grammatical mistakes, or out-of-place punctuation. If you feel their insight will be valuable, you can also ask for constructive criticism. Ask for feedback about whether the essay addresses the topic, and if they think it illustrates something that makes you stand out from the crowd.
If this process sounds like it takes time, that’s because it does. Procrastinating on writing your personal statement until the day before your scholarship application is due may jeopardize your chances at consideration. You can give yourself a couple of days or even up to a week to complete each step of the process, and make your writing shine.
We are looking forward to hearing from you, and learning more about you! Start your application today!