Most if not all the time, the deciding factor for a college application is the personal statement. It’s also called an application essay in other instances. This is a short reflective essay in which you write why you are the perfect candidate for the program. High school seniors have to tackle this critical part of a college application.

Below are 4 tips for writing your personal statement to college:

1. Be Yourself

Who are you? The key word here is personal. This is the question that schools are always eager to get the answer for. Make a point of revealing something about yourself. Refrain from putting emphasis on the expected details. Write something of substance that adds another dimension to yourself. A certified educational planner was once quoted saying that the best personal statements are those that answer the questions ‘who is this student and what does this say about them?’ They want to hear about the books that you’ve read, what work you have done to shape who you are or how your religion impacts your education. Do not portray someone else in the essay.

2. Read Through Your Essay

It is rare for someone to nail their first draft of their personal statement. It often takes students many drafts before they perfect their writing skills that convey the essay message. No matter how much you dread this process, do not leave it to the last minute. Start practicing way before the due date. After you’re done, get someone to proofread it for you. Be it your teachers, parents or friends, make a point to show as many people as possible. The concept for this is to get as much feedback which will help in the final version. The significant part of this process is editing which takes a lot of time.

3. Pick a Topic You’re Passionate About

Most college applicants go wrong at this point. They will write about what they think colleges want to hear as opposed to what they really want to say. You need to appreciate that there is no right answer when it comes to college essays. Do not limit yourself to specific categories such as volunteering. Be honest and write about topics that you’re genuinely excited about. Write about something that has had a real describable effect on your perspective. Remember, when you write about your real passion, you won’t come off as cliché but as authentic.

4. Use Your Voice

Personal statements are not academic assignments like book reviews or process analysis essay topics; you don’t need to be super formal. Perfect writing should sound more like an eloquent version of the way you talk. It should seem like you wrote it. Use simple, clear language instead of fancy synonyms whose meaning’s you’re not even sure of. Most importantly, don’t use confusing jargon that muddles the message.

Conclusion

These four tips are vital in writing your personal statement for college. In the same breath, there are other factors to consider as well. To make it outstanding, remember to be honest, write eloquently and portray a clear mind of who you are. You need to make your essay an enjoyable read. You have to capture the attention of the readers by the first sentence. Out of thousands of essays, you have to find creative ways to make yours stand out.