No matter how smart or talented you are, you'll need an extra edge to get noticed when applying to a competitive school or trying to earn a scholarship. Your personal statement gives you an important opportunity to show the real and unique person behind the numbers and resume entries on the rest of your application. Think of the conclusion to your personal statement as a showstopper dessert at the end of a fine dinner: the final, favorable impression that readers will remember you by.
Develop the rest of your personal statement first. Target your central message to your intended readers. If you are applying to a college, graduate or professional school, state specifically why that school or specific program interests you and why you would be a good fit for the program.
Determine the main message you wish to convey in your conclusion. Rather than merely summarizing the rest of your statement, use your conclusion to expand upon the themes you developed earlier in the statement and show them in a wider context. For instance, if the body of your statement describes how your interest in studying speech therapy was piqued by your childhood stuttering problem, your conclusion could discuss how this experience will shape the way you study and work in speech therapy in the future. Answer any questions or address any required themes or topics in your conclusion.
Use vivid, clear language and provide concrete examples to convey your message. For instance, don't just state you are resilient and handle adversity well. Instead, describe an incident in which you used these traits to your advantage.
Be honest. Don't second-guess your readers and write only what you think they want to hear. Use this last written opportunity to show your unique personality and character to reflect who you really are.
Set your conclusion aside for a few days after you complete it, and then look at it again. Imagine how a reader who has never met you and knows nothing about your life story would react to it. Make your readers want to meet you in person.
Check your grammar, punctuation and spelling or have a trusted instructor or friend do this for you. Make your statement, especially the conclusion, convey professionalism and competence.
- Give yourself several weeks to write and revise your personal statement. No matter how good a writer you are, you will need several drafts to get it done right.
- Enlist trusted instructors and friends to read over your drafts and give you honest feedback.
- "Writing the Personal Statement"; Purdue Online Writing Lab; September 2010
- "Structuring Your Personal Statement: Conclusions": University of California at Berkeley, Office of Student Affairs; no date
- "Characteristics of a Good Personal Statement";University of California at Berkeley, Office of Student Affairs; no date
- "Polishing Your Statement of Purpose"; Statementofpurpose.com; November 2004
- "Writing a Personal Statement for Scholarship and Fellowships"; Pomona College; no date
- "Drafting, Revising, and Proofreading Your Final Statement"; University of California at Berkeley, Office of Student Affairs; no date
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