Writing your personal statement
can be daunting, and the hardest

part is getting started. 

Here are five ways to start writing.



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1. Remember your audience. Admissions officers spend generally five minutes or less on your personal statement and read about 40 to 50 essays a day. Your essay needs to grab their attention and stand out immediately.

2. Show your ability to succeed. Admission officers are looking for people that will be successful students. Show them right away that you are a good fit for the program and the profession.

3. Show your motivation. Most people applying to college want to go, but not all of them can articulate why. Explain to the admissions committee why you want to go to their school, not just the fact that you want to go.

4. Focus on “soft skills.” Admissions officers are looking for empathy, compassion, sincerity, and people skills. These are not readily apparent from grades and scores, so emphasize those attributes in your essay.

5. Be truthful and personal. Admissions officers read so many essays that they can immediately detect when someone is being insincere or is writing from a template. You need the essay to reflect who you are. 

If you follow these tips, you will be able to write your personal statement that shines.

6 Tips for Talking About Your Weaknesses

5 Ways To Start Your Personal Statement

Are you prepared to discuss your weaknesses?

What do you do when you read/hear the weakness question? Schools are assessing how well you self evaluate. Like a business problem, they want to hear your plan of action, your implementation, and your success rate.

Here are some tips to help you a) think about and evaluate your weaknesses, and b) be prepared to write about them in an essay or discuss them in an interview.

1. Prepare answers in advance. When an interviewer asks, “So Natalie, tell me about your weaknesses and what you did to overcome them?” you don’t want to be left silent drawing or blank, or worse – caught off guard and say something crazy like “Gosh, there are so many, I don’t even know where to begin.” Ding!

2. Be honest. If you have been failed a class, you need to discuss the lessons learned from this negative situation and how you overcame the situation. If you have a procrastination problem, you need to talk about ways in which you’re working on boosting your time management skills.

3. Remain professionally focused. Don’t discuss your addiction to video games or your weakness for chocolate. It’s also certainly not the time to talk about anything inappropriate. We’re talking about student and work-related, professional weaknesses.

4. Focus on your own weaknesses. Don’t talk about your cousin’s attraction to arson or your mother-in-law’s conspiratorial behavior. Don’t discuss how your teacher is a jerk or how you can’t stand your coworker’s habit of nail-biting or how your desk is unorganized because the guy you share your cubicle with always throws his garbage your way. This question is about YOU and your weaknesses – don’t shift the attention of the blame onto someone else.

5. Proactively address the issues. If you have a quantitative weakness, take courses that address the weakness (accounting, statistics). Don’t wait for the admissions committee to ask you to take a course. If you are uncomfortably shy, getting involved with an organization like Toastmasters can help you, and show the committee that you’re taking steps to overcome that challenge.

6. Avoid clichés. “Gee, I guess I just work too hard sometimes” is a copout – the admissions committee/ interviewer will know that deep down you’re proud of your intense work ethic. It is the life of a student to work hard – don’t use that as your “weakness.”

Sometimes it just takes resilience to bounce back 

If you need help drafting your essay or framing your answer for your interview, Soar is here to help you. Please contact us for assistance.