Crafting a Winning Personal Statement Topic

Whether you have to write a personal statement or an admissions essay, both piece of writing are high-stakes and stressful. For many students, just the idea of coming up a great topic is stressful enough. Without the perfect topic, it can be difficult to even begin to write the personal statement. It is not enough to be creative, your personal statement has to be interesting and well-written, too. So, how do you decide on a topic that will help you write a winning personal statement?

  • Conduct some research. One of the first things you should do is look for other personal statements to get some ideas. Most students only write one, maybe two personal statements in their college careers. This makes it difficult to even know where to begin. Just a quick online search for personal statement samples should garner a few usable pieces that could potentially inspire a clever idea.

  • Write about what you know. This is advice that nearly every writer has heard, because it works. The best thing to write about is what you know the best. If you have been given a topic or a guiding question for your personal statement, then you should use it, but try to create the statement around something you know well. If you are stumped on how to craft what you know into a personal statement, then research some ideas about what you know to get inspired.

  • Ask for help. All too often, students will think so much about an assignment that they get stuck. When you get in this position, the best thing to do is contact your instructor. Send your instructor an email or visit her during office hours so you can ask for clarification about the personal statement or even ask for topic recommendations. You might even be able to request a copy or two of her previous students’ personal statements so you can see what good samples look like. Too many students fail to talk to their instructors, when students have every right to ask for help.

  • Talk to your friends. Students not only forget to ask their instructors for help, but they often forget to turn to their friends. You might have a friend or two who have already written their own personal statements and have several ideas for topics. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness; in fact, it is a sign of strength, because it shows that you want to succeed and that you use your resources to get to a successful state.

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