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by Vault Education Editors | March 31, 2009


Before you submit your application, use the following checklist to ensure that your personal statement is as powerful as it can be.


  • Are you answering the actual question given in the prompt?
  • Have you been sincere and personal?
  • Is your essay within the word limit?
  • Will your reader find the essay interesting?
  • Are you showing rather than telling?
  • Does your introduction grab the reader's attention?
  • Do you explore your experiences in sufficient depth?
  • Does your essay contain a high level of detail and concrete evidence?
  • Have you avoided unsubstantiated claims?
  • Do you offer specific, personal insights rather than trite generalizations and clichis?
  • Does your essay reveal anything meaningful about your character?
  • Do you avoid summarizing information that can be found elsewhere on your application?
  • Will your essay make you stand out?
  • Does your conclusion leave a lasting impression?
  • Can you identify an overarching theme? Have you articulated that theme in the essay?
  • Does your theme have multiple layers and genuine depth?
  • Do you have a reason for placing every paragraph where it is?
  • Do your paragraphs flow smoothly? Are there any gaps or jumps?
  • Does each point build upon previous points, or does your essay sound like a list?
  • Have you written insightful transitions and resolutions that highlight your key themes?
  • Are your stories well integrated into your essay?
  • Is the essay clear and coherent? Have you strengthened its impact by using the optimal structure?
  • Have you achieved a simple, straightforward style?
  • Have you varied your sentence constructions?
  • Have you avoided unnecessarily fancy vocabulary?
  • Have you avoided passive voice?
  • Have you achieved active writing through the use of strong verbs?
  • Have you avoided overusing adjectives and adverbs?
  • Is your tone conversational, rather than too casual or too formal?
  • Have you conveyed confidence, enthusiasm, and passion?


Filed Under: Education

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