While the personal statement or essay is not required for all college applications, it is an integral part of applications at the most competitive public and private colleges and universities. Schools want to see that students know and can articulate where they have come from, what their passions are, how they see the world, and where they are going. The personal statement is really the main place where students can express their personality in the application and connect with the admissions officer. It should make them stand out and prompt a strong positive connection with the reader. It can make or break an application. Every student is unique, and some families choose to hire expert coaching to ensure their children write the strongest possible essay that maintains their voice.
With 25 years of experience working with over 8,000 individual students, I have coached thousands of teens to write their personal statements and gain admission to the most selective schools in the country. These have included all the Ivy League schools, elite private schools like Stanford, all the UCs, and other top public schools.
I start wherever students are, whether that is a blank page or a good working draft, and coach them to clarify their message. I do work with local students in Northern California in person, but many of my clients from around the world and internationally meet with me via Skype.
It’s critical that they own the process and take initiative to ensure that the personal statements are done well and in a timely manner. My goal with all my students is to help them to develop the knowledge, skills, and confidence so that they can do what they need to do for themselves. Teens that write strong personal statements usually feel clearer and more confident when they transition to college and feel a stronger sense of purpose.
It is difficult sometimes to determine up front how much help a student needs on the statement. This is further complicated by the various essays which kids are required to write. While the UCs all have the same two essays in their applications and the Common App has the same ones for most private schools, many schools have their own essays. Generally, I suggest teens start their statements over the summer and aim to finish them 80-100% before the fall semester begins. This makes their fall agenda flow much more easily. The fall term is complicated enough with advanced classes, college applications, college visits, SAT/ACT prep and testing, extracurricular activities, school events, homecoming, socializing–oh, and sleep.
To help you sort out which approach is best for you I offer a complimentary 20-minute personal statement and college admission strategy session. To reach out and schedule that please go to Contact Us.