10 Mistakes to Avoid With Your Personal Statement or Admission Essays

One of the most nerve-wracking elements of composing your university application is the dreaded personal statement. But stellar grades and a high GRE personal_statementscore are not enough to make you stand out from the thousands of other applicants with similar scores. While much is said about what sort of things you should write in your personal statement in order to stand out and impress, what about the things that are better left unsaid and the things you should definitely avoid doing? Given the huge volume of applications they receive, admissions tutors are often looking for easy reasons to weed some out. Make sure your application doesn’t get noticed for all the wrong reasons.

To help you navigate through the writing process, we’ve compiled a list of 10 mistakes you should avoid when writing your personal statement.

  1. Failing to recognize the importance of the personal statement or admission essays.
  2. Underestimating the difficulty and time involved in developing the essays.
  3. Waiting until just before your deadline to begin work on the statement(s).
  4. Trying to write your statement by committee, as some kind of group effort, with multiple “contributors.”
  5. Submitting a personal statement that is more generic than personal.
  6. Filling your statement with clichés.
  7. Submitting an essay that does not reflect the maturity and sophistication that might be expected.
  8. Submitting your essay with typos or grammatical errors.
  9. Trying to “psych out” the committee rather than just telling your own story.
  10. Writing a whining personal statement rather than a winning personal statement