A personal statement is an essay that helps you tell the admission committee why do you want to be a doctor or an engineer; your inspirations and motivation; and your life experiences. So, to convey a strong enough message is crucial. Therefore, avoiding personal statement mistakes is important too.
Because the admission committee generally has to review hundreds or maybe thousands of applications. So there is a great chance that they may not continue reading your personal statement if they come across an error in the first paragraph; whatever mistake it maybe.
5 Common Personal Statement Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
Hence, to make sure that your message reaches the admission committee, you should learn about some of the most prominent yet common mistakes and try to avoid them.
But before we begin, you be also interested in How to Write a Personal Statement for College or University.
1. Waiting too Long to Write it
Yes, you heard it correctly. Too often, we procrastinate in the hope that we may start when we have the perfect situation to write a powerful personal statement. However, there is no perfect situation to start writing.
With that being said, we recommend that you should not wait for things like MCAT or letters of recommendation or anything else. Though all those are highly important, there really does not remain enough time for students to write a powerful personal statement once they are done with everything else.
So, start writing as soon as possible. Write a draft and write again and keep writing again until you are sure your personal statement is convincing and powerful enough.
2. Editing in Your Only
Besides starting late, most of us tend to edit their drafts in their head. This is one of the most common personal statement mistakes. This makes the student even more anxious.
Therefore, the metaphor “write drunk and edit sober” goes very well here. This means that you should write without worrying about what and how you are writing. So, your first priority, for now, should be to only get the draft done.
Hence, write whatever comes to your head. Once you are done writing, take your time, then edit, edit and edit until you have crafted a strong personal statement.
3. Failing to Express Your Motivations and Desire to be What you Want to be
The third most common personal statement mistake is failing to express yourself, motivations and desire to be the doctor or engineer you want. Since the admission committee wants to see how passionate you are and what are your motivations, this is the fundamental thing you need to really care about.
Because let’s suppose even if they read your entire personal statement and you couldn’t get your message out to them, there is no use of that.
To overcome this personal statement mistake, once you have written it, ask somebody to read and tell you whether or not they completely understand what you are trying to convey. You can learn about that by asking them questions from your personal statement.
If they couldn’t answer, trying editing your personal statement a couple of times more to make sure everything is clear. Moreover, repeat this to several people to make sure everything is crystal clear.
4. Mentioning All Your Dirty Laundry Only
Of course, your personal statement needs both your red and green flags. However, you should not waste it only on your red flags. Because you need to build it with your strengths, inspirations, and motivations. Otherwise, you are only making excuses.
So, you should briefly mention them and let the interviewer ask questions during the interview.
5. Failing to be Specific
In personal statements, students tend to use “I” way too many times. They overuse sentences like: “I am passionate about…, I am a quick learner…, I am very hard working…” and more.
To overcome this personal statement mistake, you should instead show. Do not tell what you can or can not do. Instead, share your stories that may perfectly illustrate what you are trying to tell them.
And here goes the bonus!
6. Grammar and Spelling Mistakes
Lastly, there is one more worth mentioning personal statement mistakes. Grammar and Spelling mistakes are more annoying than you may consider.
To avoid this personal statement mistake, you can use online grammar and punctuation checkers such as Grammarly or ProWritingAid. Else you can ask a professional editor to help you edit your personal statement.