Writing a Personal StatementAlthough many schools do not require that transfer students write a personal statement, it is highly recommended that you include a personal statement in your application packet. A personal statement allows you to tell the admissions committee who you are, why you are an excellent candidate for admission and to show that you have excellent written communication skills. Additionally, if your admission acceptance is borderline, your personal statement could be the critical factor in your acceptance to the university of your choice.
Read your application packet carefully. Many 4-year institutions will have you write a personal statement that focuses on specific topics or questions and specifically asks you to follow a structured format. Other schools may be a little less specific and allow you to write a general statement.
A good personal statement will show a personal and compelling view of you to the admissions committee, so it is important to put time and effort into this part of your application.
Below are some tips to help you get started:
- Get organized! If the application requires that you answer specific questions, your statement should follow and be organized into numbered sections, just as the instructions are. This format makes it easier for the admissions staff to read. If you are writing a general personal statement, begin outlining the topics you plan to cover and in what order.
- Be concise, but be sure to show who you are. Keep your focus narrow, personal and give specific examples. Don't just say, "I am very involved in community service." But, consider expanding by stating, "Participating in community service is a priority in my life. Even though I work full-time and go to school part-time, I continue to work with the homeless on a weekly basis at the local shelter. I am committed to continuing volunteer work throughout my life as I believe that we each have a responsibility to help those in need."
- Avoid clichés. Saying things like, "I have wanted to be a Husky since I was three" doesn't tell the admissions committee much about who you really are and what makes you unique.
- Focus on your academic and professional goals and how they relate to your intended field of study. What barriers have you had to overcome to obtain an education and to be a successful student? How do you believe these skills will relate to your success at the university and within your chosen field of study?
- Show the committee you have done your homework. Specifically explain why you want to attend their university. This means more than saying, "SMU has a great agriculture department." A better statement might be, "SMU Agriculture Department has won many awards in agriculture and is state-renowned for their research and focus on the topic of genetic mutation of vegetables. Because this is one of my main research and career interests, I am excited to become a part of the SMU team and to utilize the skills learned in my work as a future farmer."
- Write like a transfer student. As a transfer student you have had some college experience. Your personal statement should reflect your understanding of education and how your previous academic work and experience relate to your intended major. Additionally, it is important to show (if applicable) your college level writing skills.
- Don't forget to proofread! Typos, spelling and grammatical errors may be interpreted as carelessness or poor writing skills. Check your work. It is advisable to have someone else read your essay for clarity and errors. (Adapted from University of Washington's Transfer and Admissions Planning)