Understanding the Audience for Personal Statements

Personal Statement Tips

Understanding the Audience for Personal Statements


Some writing is done to understand a problem, but the personal statement is written to be understood by an audience. This audience (1) reads essays fast (2) reads a lot of essays (3) has seen every variety of essays on Earth. They are a tough audience to please. In fact, pleasing them is not the answer. Offering them positive value is the answer.


Here is what you can do:


  • Be direct: they must never wonder what you mean or imply. Their confusion will hurt you. If you want them to think something, say it directly.
  • Be genuine: they will know if you are saying something just to gain admission, so do not do that. Write your story as compelling as you can, and offer it for their judgment The more genuine you are, the more unique and notable your story can be. Write something no other person can write.
  • Be positive: find a constructive viewpoint on your experiences. This will send the message that you will thrive and help others thrive: That you will add value. Do not talk about unresolved tensions or uncertainties in your decisions. Both of those things raise doubts about your character and potential, and doubt will hurt you.