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Personal Statement

How to Write a Personal Statement
Sample Personal Statement

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Sample College Essays

The "You" Question

Many colleges ask for an essay that boils down to, "Tell us about yourself." The school just wants to know you better and see how you'll introduce yourself. For example:

  • "Please complete a one-page personal statement and submit it with your application." (James Madison University)

  • "How would you describe yourself as a human being? What quality do you like best in yourself and what do you like least? What quality would you most like to see flourish and which would you like to see wither?" (Bates College)

Sample Essay

The "Why Us" Question

Some schools ask for an essay about your choice of a school or career. They're looking for information about your goals, and about how serious your commitment is to this particular school. For example:

  • "Why is UVM a good college choice for you?" (University of Vermont)

  • "Please tell us about your career goals and any plans you may have for graduate study." (Westfield State College)

Sample Essay

The "Creative" Question

Some colleges evaluate you through your choice of some tangential item: A national issue, a famous person, what you would put in a time capsule, a photograph. Here the school is looking at your creativity and the breadth of your knowledge and education. For example:

  • "Do you believe there's a generation gap? Describe the differences between your generation and others." (Denison University)

  • "Indicate a person who has had a significant influence on you, and describe that influence." (Common Application)

Sample Essay


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