Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Tip Four Personal Statement

Once you have written and rewritten your first paragraph so that it is powerful, start expanding your main focus. This essay is about you and not about anything or anyone who may have influenced you in your chosen career. Naturally, you want to have some background information on why you decided to return to college, but the reader wants to know who you are.

What are your values? What are your interests? How motivated are you? Are you committed to following through on your formal education? Are you enthusiastic? The way you express yourself is very telling.

Let the scholarship committee know how special you are. It is your job to convince them that you are the one who is deserving of their award.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Tip Three Personal Statement

Your next step is to work exclusively on your first paragraph. How can you make it interesting enough to HOOK the reader? It is important to engage the reader immediately.

Remember, the judges have many other applications to read and your personal statement is the most important part of your application. You want your essay to be read and in order to do that, you must write a compelling statement.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Tip Two for Writing Your Personal Essay

Can't figure out where to start? Try brainstorming. Sit down with a blank sheet of paper and start writing down ideas. Don't judge, don't worry about grammar or punctuation--just try to think about why you are in college and your goals.

Who or what inspired you? What do you plan to do when you complete your education? Have you had any hardships and how were they overcome? What did you learn about yourself? What are your passions?

I think you get the picture. You are trying to focus on presenting a picture of yourself that projects who you really are and why you are deserving of the scholarship being offered.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Tip One for Writing Your Personal Essay

Follow Directions:
This is so important!! Please read the application directions very carefully. Most organizations will tell you precisely what they are looking for in your personal essay. Some donors with whom I have worked over the years have designated not only the number of words but, the size of the font, spacing, format and, of course, the content.

Stay within the word count. It is better to write less rather than more. The average essay is about 750 words which is about two pages of size 12 font. I prefer using 1.5 spacing rather than 2 spaces. However, if the directions indicate two spaces, follow their directions.

I like to use left and right justification because it makes the page look neat and organized. The visual is your first opportunity to make a good impression. White paper (20 pound weight) is fine to use.

Of course, it goes without saying, grammar and punctuation should be perfect.

Sunday, October 11, 2009


The secret to happiness lies in not getting more but in wanting less.

--Ways to Keep Life Simple
Elaine St. James

Friday, October 9, 2009

How is your personal statement coming along?

Hopefully, you have found the direction that you want to pursue in writing your personal statement. You have had a week to brainstorm and should have already started working on the first paragraph.

Remember that the personal statement is the most important document in your application packet. You are trying to convince the judges that you are the best candidate for the scholarship which is being awarded. You MUST stand out.

Show enthusiasm and motivation. How did you overcome a hardship? How did the hardship make you a better person? What have you learned about yourself?

That first paragraph needs to be compelling and capture the reader's attention. You want the judge to be intrested in reading what you have to say. Write from the heart. Paint a picture and be sincere and, more importantly, believe that you are deserving.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Getting Started on Your Personal Essay

Sit at the computer and start writing down anything that comes to mind. Remember, you need to let the reader know who you are. It is your job to convince him/her that you are the best candidate to receive the scholarship.

They want to know why you are in college and what your educational goals are. With that in mind, you need to project motivation and enthusiasm. Your first paragraph must grab the reader's attention.

But, back to basics. The very first step is brainstorming. What is it about you that is unique? What do you want the judges to know about you? What challenges have you conquered?

Now, get those fingers clicking on the keyboard or your pencil moving on your paper. Don't worry about grammar or punctuation at this stage. Let your thoughts flow even if they seem disconnected. Keep answering the questions of how, what, when, where and why.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Personal Statements

Start writing some thoughts down for your personal statement. Remember that your statement is the most important part of your application.

Just to get you started thinking, answer the questions in the textbook and then decide the direction that you want to go.

We will be doing a great deal of work in class on writng the first paragraph. It needs to be strong. You need to hook the reader in immediately.

Get a head start and read the chapter on personal statements. You might even go into Google and key in SCHOLARSHIP PERSONAL STATEMENTS. You'll find a number of examples and many tips.

M/W Class

Please remember to go to the Career Transfer Center on Monday.