Seattle Central College Personal Statement Workshop

Seattle Central College Personal Statement Workshop

October 19, 2019 0 By Stanley Isaacs


Thank you for participating in Seattle Central’s
workshop on Writing an Effective Personal Statement. At the end of this workshop, you should feel
confident about crafting your personal statement. You should have a basic knowledge of what
to include in your personal statement, and should be able to utilize the resources at
Seattle Central to help with the editing process. So what is the purpose of a personal statement? It is your chance to reveal aspects of your
life that are not evident from your test scores, GPA, or other student records. Most admission offices are now reviewing applicants
holistically, meaning that their ultimate admission decision is based on several factors,
such as your personal statement, transcripts, GPA, test scores, and letters of recommendation. A well written personal statement can give
you an edge and set you apart from other applicants! The personal statement allows you to expand
upon your academic and career goals as well as convince the admissions committee that
you will be a great asset to their community. If you are comfortable with doing so, this
is the time to discuss any rough patches in your academic history. You should expect to explain the reasons for
this rough patch while also focusing on what you have done since that time to improve and
become an academically strong student. Now let’s talk about content. As a transfer applicant, you will find that
most universities provide clear guidelines and specific prompts to be included in your
personal statement. So before you start, make sure to read the
application guidelines and essay prompt carefully! Application guidelines will often include
important information like word limits and formatting instructions. Once you have carefully read the prompt, you
should plan to create an outline that includes the main points that you need to address. Although essay prompts can vary by university,
the items listed below are common topics that you should plan to address as a transfer student. Topics to discuss might include academic history,
your major, future plans, extracurricular activities, major challenges you have overcome,
and why you plan to transfer. Universities want to know your academic history
and how you have prepared to be successful at their institution. It might sound odd to talk about your past
or current school in your essay, but that is exactly what they are looking for. Talk about why you decided to study at Seattle
Central and continue your education past high school. They will want to hear specific details about
your time at Seattle Central and any other colleges you have attended. Consider talking about classes that have impacted
you, things you have done to be an academically strong student, and any other successes that
have encouraged you to continue your education. If you are an international student, make
sure to talk about why you chose to study in the U.S. Your major is a topic you will want to discuss
very early in your essay. For many schools, your intended major will
be a large determining factor for admission. You should write about why you want to major
in this subject. What sparked your interest in this major and
what have you done to prepare for it? Provide examples of ways you have explored
your interest in the major such as prerequisite classes, internships, work, volunteer experience,
research, and more. If you are applying to a major that’s competitive,
you should have a second major that you would also be interested in studying if your first choice
doesn’t work out. Make sure to discuss how you have prepared
for your second choice major so that the Admissions Committee can see that it is a plausible choice for you, and not just a last resort to gain admissions to their school. If you have thought about future plans past
completion of your bachelor’s degree, you should discuss them in your personal statement. Talking about graduate school, potential career
paths, or any post-college work is worthwhile because it gives the reader insight into your
big “master plan.” If you do not have any specific plans, that’s okay – you don’t have to know right away. Instead, you can mention how excited you are
to study in your intended major and explore your opportunities for the future. This shows that your future is on your mind,
but is still a work in progress. Now that we’ve learned a little bit more about what goes into the personal statement, let’s take a break to do an activity. Take out a piece of paper, and write down the answers to the following questions: What is your intended major? Why do you want to major in this subject? How are you prepared to enter this major? And what do you hope to do in the future with a degree in this subject? Take about 3-5 minutes to write your answers to these following questions. Hit the pause button so you don’t miss anything. And if possible, share with a partner. After completing this activity, what did you learn? Either from individually reflecting on your own story, or sharing with a partner. Hopefully this helps inform you of how to move forward with writing your personal statement. Now here are some things you accomplished through doing this activity: You just started an outline – Congrats! For most personal statement prompts, you just completed about 50% or more of your personal statement. Now you just need to fill out your outline with examples and stories to make this a great personal statement. What I learned from completing this activity was the benefit of hearing my ideas out loud, and getting advice from a peer. This can either help solidify your ideas and say yes, I’m on the right track Or, huh, I got some gaps in my story and I need to fill them in. Good job on the activity! Now let’s get back to some more content. Extracurricular activities are generally not
as important to mention for transfer students as it is for incoming freshmen. With that being said, there are times where your
extracurricular activities can work to enhance your personal statement. You should include club, work, or volunteer
experience that is relevant to your major or has helped you discover your passion for
that area of study. You should also include extracurricular activities
that are significant in your life, or ones that you hope to continue at your transfer
university. Universities want to admit diverse students
who are passionate about their interests, so discussing these activities demonstrates
your commitment to your passions, as well as your potential to contribute to their university
community and the world around you. Many universities want a student’s personal
statement to dig deep and discuss personal challenges that the student has faced in their
life. This topic can often be difficult to write
about if it brings to mind a sensitive subject that you’d rather not disclose, or if you have
simply not experienced many significant challenges in life. What the admissions committee is really looking
for is a student that can persevere through a difficult time while showing their determination,
motivation, and flexibility. Discussing personal challenges is meant to
showcase your strengths, not your faults, by addressing what you have learned from the
experience. While keeping this in mind, try to think of
a time, experience, or moment that highlights your persistence, maturity, determination,
or flexibility. Some examples include: Physical or learning disabilities physical or mental illness, difficult family situation, addiction, immigration, or a significant gap in studies. You will also want to tell the admissions
committee why you are planning on transferring. The simplest response is that in order to
accomplish your educational and career goals, you must transfer to a university to pursue
a Bachelor’s degree. This shows the university that there is a
direct need for you to attend their school to carry out your goals. You should also make sure to include what
you are looking forward to at that specific university. Don’t make a “one size
fits all” personal statement. Universities want to know that their school
is your top choice. To convince them, do your research! Find out exactly what interests you about
that institution, whether it be their facilities, research opportunities, internships, location,
sense of community, etc. This will show them that you are committed
to their school and are excited about becoming a part of their campus community. To make sure your essay will be compelling
and on topic, ask yourself these questions: Are the topics I wrote meaningful to me? Do I have examples to support my topic? Will my essay grab their attention? Can I be honest and genuine about my story
without exaggerating? Asking these questions will help you to remain
on track and on topic while you elaborate on your story and continue to craft your personal
statement. Now that we have talked about what goes into the personal statement, let’s start writing! If you’re like most people, motivating yourself
to sit down and write is difficult! Here are some tips for making this process
easier: Start early! Set small, achievable goals that allows you
to slowly craft your essay and continually reflect on your work. This will prevent stress, procrastination,
and a poorly written essay! For your first draft, simply get something
onto the paper. Even if it doesn’t sound polished, getting
your ideas on paper will help you visualize the entire essay and give you a great place
to start. Reflect on what you’ve written and begin
making appropriate changes. This is the point at which you can start to
look at flow, content, and begin embellishing on important topics. Expect to edit and proofread your personal
statement multiple times! It’s never perfect the first time and there
is always room for improvement. When editing and proofreading, remember to
utilize your resources! It’s a good idea to have someone else look
over your essay. We will talk later about resources on campus
that can assist you with proofreading and the review process. In the meantime, think about having your friend
or family member look over your personal statement. They know you best and would be a good resource
for brainstorming content! Here are some basic tips to keep in mind while
self-editing your personal statement: Do your vocabulary choices make sense? Although it’s great to use synonyms, make sure that the word you chose makes sense within the sentence. The Admissions Committee will not be impressed if the vocabulary you’ve chosen is out of place or used incorrectly. Did you vary your sentences? This makes the essay more enjoyable to read
and less redundant. Do the sentences and paragraphs flow well
together? Although you have many separate points to
hit, you want to create transitions and segues to create a cohesive, compelling essay. Did you avoid clichés like “I have triumphed
over adversity”? The Admissions Committee has seen them all
and is looking for an applicant to articulate themselves genuinely and originally. Does your writing have a strong “voice”? The Admissions Committee reads thousands of
applications a year, and the best way to stand out is to put your own voice into the essay
and make them compelled to read more. This also gives them a good sense of your
personality, passion, and drive to attend their university. A basic tip for crafting a good personal statement
is to follow the guidelines and keep to the word limit! Admissions representatives do not have the
time to read pages and pages of one applicant’s personal statement. You’ve taken the time to create a great
personal statement – don’t you want them to read all of it? If so, keep to the word limit! Now let’s talk about some on-campus resources
you can utilize if you need help with your personal statement. There are two main offices at Seattle Central
that can help you with reviewing your personal statement. These two resources are the Writing Center and
the College Transfer Center. The Writing Center, located in Classroom A
in the library, is open Mondays and Fridays from 1:00 – 4:00, and again on Wednesdays from 1:00 – 6:00. In the Writing Center, you can receive one-on-one
assistance with the editing, proofreading, grammar, and flow of your personal statement. You can also visit the College Transfer Center,
located in BE 1102 F. Whether you’re just beginning the process of researching transfer
universities or pressing the send button on your applications, the College Transfer Center
is available to assist current students with transfer related questions. Assisting students with their personal statements
is just one of the many services we offer. We can assist students by utilizing university
websites and brochures to confirm prompts and essay questions, reviewing your personal
statement via email for content and flow, and showing students how to use online resources
for personal statement tips. We’re open Monday through Friday 8:00 – 4:30, so feel free to drop by for quick questions or schedule an appointment with us. Thanks for watching Seattle Central’s video workshop on How to Write an Effective Personal Statement. If you have questions about this workshop or would like more information about writing your personal statement, contact us in the
College Transfer Center by email at [email protected] or drop by in BE 1102 F. Happy writing!