Editing for Perfection – The Personal Statement

This article contains a short guide on how to edit your personal statement and create tension and suspense within your writing. For most potential students there are some clear reasons why they wish to embark on university. Writing the personal statement for university submissions is one of the most difficult, daunting tasks for any potential student. This article will offer insight into how you should build up tension and suspense and how to edit your personal statement – which is one area where students tend to overlook.

It is often said that personal statements are often autobiographical. This may well be true, because a wise maxim is "write about what you know." And, if there is one thing we all know more about than anything else it is our own lives. Often students only write about the reasons why they wish to embark on a particular university course and many personal statements lack emotion, suspense, and tension. However, in a work of fact, emotion, is a key ingredient in successful personal statements. And, while students life's may differ considerably from one other, we will each have known the full gamut of emotions. It is important when writing your personal statement that you convey a sense of place to your reader and the way to do that is with the five senses sight, sound, smell, taste and touch. It is all too easy to forget that scenes, which are indelibly etched on your own mind, will not be equally clear in the reader's unless you make them so by your writing.

Tension is one of the second most important elements in writing, closely allied to suspense – the "what happens next" ingredient. The problem for many students is to try to condense the personal statement into 600 words. Obviously, the admission officer knows you only have this limited space, but nonetheless does judge you on the four minutes it takes to read your personal statement, if your personal statement includes tension and suspense – it is sure to be a winner. The secret to a good personal statement is not to give away too much to quickly, keep us guessing, hanging onto every word, thus building up tension and suspense. In order for there to be tension in your personal statement, there must be (or have been) something important at stake. Perhaps this was your family life or what you believe is your future. Perhaps the reason why you chose the course you wish to study. Whatever it is, by not divulging the outcome too soon, you will maintain the reader's interest for that much longer. The following personal statement starts with a powerful suspense filling introduction:

"The prospect of helping people has driven me to fulfill many goals in life and this is truly my dream. Although it is great to have ambitions – I now want to translate my goals into reality. Becoming a nurse is a natural extension of my interest In medicine. Following graduation, I found myself …