First and foremost we’re looking at SAR and we’re looking at things like their ability to write well and their preparation for college but we’re also using that information to kind of see things like their resilience and their love of learning and their intellectual curiosity.
I always tell a student you know if you had the chance to come meet with the admissions committee and present yourself in your personal statement. Would you want to do it and without fail students say yeah I’d love to have that opportunity and when I ask why, they say because if they were able to get to know the admissions committee the Commission’s committee would want to admit them. Because they would know them and they would get to know what they’re about and what makes them unique and special the personal statement is really neat and then it’s one of the only places in the personal statement application where they have complete control, where they can write about the things that they’ve been involved, in things that they’ve done.
One piece of advice I would give to every student is to ask someone who knows them a little bit to read their personal statement and to tell them what impressions they have of you after reading the personal statement.
I think the personal statements that work best are actually quite simple I think students get really caught up in thinking that this this personal statement has to encompass your entire life and it has to be ground-breaking and you know publishable quality and that’s a lot to ask of a high school student. So I always advise students to stick to the simple things that you know and the personal statement that stand out the most in my mind are about simple things, very everyday topics. I’ve seen some amazing personal statements about things like students walking their dog or even their bus ride to school. I think our hope is that if a student were to drop the personal statement on the floor of their high school and someone were to pick it up it didn’t have your name on it but they’d say for sure.
I know that this is so and personal statement because it speaks so much about your voice and your experiences in your perspective. I think my favorite personal statement that I’ve ever read came from a student in the Midwest and he wrote about working at a fast food restaurant and he wrote about how people were treating him as they went to the drive-thru and how he was treating them back. He called himself an undercover anthropologist which admittedly was a little nerdy in a brown sort of way, but I liked his personal statement because I was able to see what he was seeing and feel he was so for the purposes of the application where we as ad emission officers are trying to get to know the applicant that’s a great personal statement.