Show and tell isn’t just for elementary school anymore – it turns out it can have a HUGE impact on your personal statement.

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“Don’t wait until the night before your application is due to begin this step.”

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Here are a few handy dos and don’ts to keep in mind as you move through the planning and writing stages.

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Personal Statement Preparation, Outline, Style, Content, and Voice

Outline & Preparation Although your first impulse may be to just jump headfirst into the writing stage of your personal statement, resist the urge to speed through! A little preparation and a thoughtful outline may seem time-consuming, but the small time investment will pay off hugely in your final product. Use these questions to get your thoughts flowing as you prepare to write: Why this school? Why this program? What traits do I possess that will help me excel in this field? Have I overcome any obstacles or hardships in order to succeed? What do I already know about this field? Who in this field do I admire, and why? What do I offer this program and profession? In addition to the above questions, there is one more crucial element to keep in mind during your preparation and outlining process: your intention with the personal statement. Remember when we said to consider your reason for attending a program the “theme” of your essay? Well, here’s where that really comes into play. When doing the outline, keep this theme always in mind, and make sure that everything points back to it. That will make your personal statement much more cohesive. Style, Content, & Voice Chances are, by the time you are applying for a college program, you have likely written at least a few essays in life. You may already have a clear idea of what your tone is as a writer. Maintaining that original voice is significant—but these few points on style and tone will help make the design spot-on for the personal statement. Show Don’t Tell Most relevantly, remember the importance of showing over telling. Don’t just tell your reader, “My strong work ethic has gotten me far and will suit...