Ask yourself these questions to determine if your Personal Statement could use some expert guidance.
1. Can you find your voice, your story, on your own?
Short of the few highly selective colleges who will offer an interview, the personal statement is the only opportunity a student has to insert his or her voice into the application. The other pieces of the application are data (GPA, class rank, test scores, classes taken, etc.) or someone else’s opinion (recommendation letters from others).
Of the colleges who require an essay or personal statement, they almost without fail assign the value of “very important” or “important” to this piece of your application. Bottom line, if they are asking for an essay, it’s going to impact the admission decision or they’d not take time to read it.
The essay is the opportunity to get to the heart of who the student is, how they will fit on the campus, and what they have to offer. If you are confident you know how to express this, then you may be good on your own.
2. Do you know how the personal statement differs from an essay you write for your English teacher?
The most successful essays give a peek into the story of the student’s life. It evokes an emotional response and thoughts from the reader, i.e. the college admissions officers who will admit you or deny you. When they finish reading, they have a sense they know you and whether you fit with rounding out next year’s freshman class.
This is not the typical essay written for your high school classes. As a matter of fact, while your English teacher is likely fabulous at teaching writing, he or she is unlikely to have visited dozens to hundreds of colleges to have understood the admission process and what the colleges value or are looking for. Plus English teachers (and counselors) have a lot on their plates besides assisting with essays.
If you don’t know how to identify a good personal statement (how many have you seen?) and aren’t confident you can write one, enlisting assistance might be a good idea. If you started in English class, how does yours compare to this excellent sample here – as one LEAP parent said, “It’s sneaky good!” I agree.
3. Are you horrible at meeting deadlines and working ahead?
Ask anyone who recently applied to college. Developing the personal statement is the most challenging and time-consuming piece of the college application process. It’s stress-inducing for most.
While most college applications won’t go live until August, the Common App (and Coalition App) essay requirements have already been released. There’s no reason to wait on this piece of the application. LEAP recommends tackling the personal statement in June and July to simply copy and paste into the application late summer. The hardest part will be checked off the list before the senior year even begins.
If you are a self-starter who normally works ahead of deadlines, you may not need a coach to keep you on track time wise with your essay (and other application pieces). If you’re not, a benefit of essay assistance is accountability without mom or dad nagging you to do so.
How Can LEAP Assist?
Since 1999 we’ve guided thousands on the application essay. These LEAP students are admitted to a wide variety of colleges.
If you’ve gone through the 3 questions and think essay assistance might be wise, check out the various ways where we can assist.