Career Tips

Top 10 Mistakes Students Make When Writing A Personal Statement

Top 10 Mistakes Students Make When Writing A Personal Statement


By: Ethelbeth Umeh

Within The Last 1 Year, I have had the privilege of reviewing Series Of personal Statements by multiple students seeking for university admissions abroad.

I have been able to identify a list of common mistakes most students make when writing their personal statements. The good news here is that you can learn from the mistakes of others, so that you don’t have to learn the rules the hard way.

  1. Neglecting the Rules

If there is a required word count, specific font type or size, make sure you observe it. It is needless trying to wow the reader by thinking outside the box. Here, you need to think inside the box. Follow the stipulated guidelines.

  1. Provide An Interesting Hook

While staying on track, you need to provide an engaging and succinct sentence that will wow the reader. Answer the questions logically.

  1. Submitting A Generic Document

This is one of the easiest ways to show that you are unserious person. You shouldn’t be submitting a generic or ‘one size fits all’ personal statement to multiple academic institutions, just changing the name of the school and program names.

By doing this, you are simply showing the reader that you lack the capacity to write a convincing personal statement for their school.

This is not only ridiculous to the school, but also an epitomized lazy attitude on your part and the simplest way to exhibit to the school, that you take pleasure in insulting their intelligence.

Many students I have seen are currently on this table. Don’t be a victim.

As a hopeful International student, you need to show that you have done your homework about the school and the course of study, mentioning specific researchers from the school, whom you admire their work and would like to work with.

However, don’t forget that a generic personal statement is a red flag!


  1. Make Your Personal Statement Personal

Generalized Personal statements are a red flag in personal statement writing. The central focus has to be on you and how it affects you personally. Instead of talking about rising costs, talk about how you worked multiple shifts to achieve your goals, talk about your humble beginnings, big dreams and growth process. Submitting a generic personal statement will be walking outside the track.

  1. Don’t Tell A Sob Story

Everybody has one, that is part of our human existence. However, you shouldn’t allow the bad experience or previous personal hurts that happened to you, become your excuse for failure. There is no point giving the application committee the impression that you are trying to gain pity. Thus, you must remain professional at all times.

If you had overcome a personal tragedy or struggle, and it has greatly influenced you, then you can and should talk about it. Talk about how you worked multiple shifts, different jobs, what you learned working with different bosses, and how the experience has shaped you to becoming a better person today.

  1. Outline Your Current Achievements

While writing a personal statement, you should present yourself as an accomplished individual. Outline your achievements in various areas like athletics, academics, volunteer and social impact experiences. The experiences you share must be current and professional.

What you did last month or a project you are currently working on is more important than a project you completed two years ago. The application committee wants to know your capacity, who you are, what you are doing, not what you have once done.

To be continued




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