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College Planning Blog

6 Simple Don’ts in Writing Personal Statements

by Jennifer Taylor on June 27, 2017 in College Essays


College application personal statements are the single best way to introduce college admissions counselors  to high school students beyond their transcripts and the college application. Think of it as a way for counselors to hear your voice and to show them a glimpse of who you are. Understandably, this kind of writing can be new and somewhat uncomfortable for students. Here is some of what to avoid:


  1. Don’t write what you think the admissions committee wants to hear. Be authentic.
  2. Don’t repeat information directly from the application form itself unless you use it to illustrate a point or want to develop it further.
  3. Don’t emphasize the negative or write in a negative tone. Explain what you feel you need to, but emphasize the positive.
  4. Don’t use gimmicks or try to be funny. The admissions counselor on the receiving end may not get it.
  5. Don’t get too personal about religion or politics. Admission counselors are human and all humans have biases.
  6. Don’t include footnotes or cliches.


Jennifer Taylor is the Essay and Editorial Director at Partners For Achievement. Read more about Taylor and the rest of the Partners For Achievement team.




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