College Essay – Personal Statement
The college essay or personal statement is a very important factor in the college application process. A number of colleges and universities look very closely at the essay or personal statement when making an admissions decision. In the state of Illinois, Illinois State University and the University of Illinois in Champaign consider the essay or personal statement a critical factor when making an admissions decision about a student. The following is a checklist to help students write an effective college essay.
- Begin with a personal checklist.
- Create a list of academic honors, work, extracurricular activities, year of participation, positions held and awards won.
- Evaluate your goals and aspirations.
- Reflect on specific accomplishments or influential people in your life.
- Review the deadlines.
- Organize your thoughts and ideas.
- Tell a story about yourself.
- Write from the heart and make it come alive.
- Write in your own words.
- Make sure you answer the question.
- Type it.
- Write a first draft, then set it aside and come back to it later.
- Proofread, check for spelling and grammatical errors.
- Make a couple of copies.
- Include your name and your Social Security Number on the essay.
- Be sure you are sending the correct essay to the correct institution.
- Check all materials before you send them.
Things Colleges Look At
Listed below is what colleges feel influence their admissions decision.
- Progress – Have grades improved since freshman year?
- Course Pattern – Has student taken college preparatory classes?
- Grades – Are grades mainly A’s & B’s or C’s & D’s?
- Level of Difficulty – Does the student have honors/AP courses?
- Rank, Grade Point Average, Test Scores – how does the student rank against his class and other students nationally (ACT)?
- Writing Ability – Is the essay or personal statement well written? Does it answer the question?
- Dual Credit – Has the student taken college courses
- Commitment – Is the student passionate about one or two things outside of academics? Has their depth of involvement increased over the years?