Help me pick a personal statement topic!

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
godofcoffee
Posts: 33
Joined: Sat Jun 26, 2010 2:02 am

Help me pick a personal statement topic!

Postby godofcoffee » Sun Nov 07, 2010 4:32 pm

I've written a few drafts of personal statements, and I was wondering if I could get an opinion on topics. Specifically,

1. An essay about debating (I'm the president of my college's debating club). Upsides: demonstrates lawyer-like skills, commitment, leadership. Downside: probably pretty formulaic, and they already know about it from my resume anyway.

2. An essay about the cello (which I play solo and in groups). Upsides: again, demonstrates commitment, might be interesting. Downside: again, they already know about it.

3. An essay about snowboarding (which I do, but not competitively), and crashing because I'm thinking about some scientific research I'm doing. Upsides: more unusual, might round me out as a person (my other activities are pretty predictable), and snowboarding isn't on my resume. Downsides: snowboarding isn't particularly important to me, and crashing while thinking of science might seem far-fetched or flaky.

So what do you guys think? I'm pretty good numbers-wise (3.93, 175), so I was thinking maybe I should try to make myself seem more rounded. Does it not even matter?

dakatz
Posts: 2460
Joined: Sat Mar 29, 2008 4:19 pm

Re: Help me pick a personal statement topic!

Postby dakatz » Sun Nov 07, 2010 4:39 pm

godofcoffee wrote:I've written a few drafts of personal statements, and I was wondering if I could get an opinion on topics. Specifically,

1. An essay about debating (I'm the president of my college's debating club). Upsides: demonstrates lawyer-like skills, commitment, leadership. Downside: probably pretty formulaic, and they already know about it from my resume anyway.

2. An essay about the cello (which I play solo and in groups). Upsides: again, demonstrates commitment, might be interesting. Downside: again, they already know about it.

3. An essay about snowboarding (which I do, but not competitively), and crashing because I'm thinking about some scientific research I'm doing. Upsides: more unusual, might round me out as a person (my other activities are pretty predictable), and snowboarding isn't on my resume. Downsides: snowboarding isn't particularly important to me, and crashing while thinking of science might seem far-fetched or flaky.

So what do you guys think? I'm pretty good numbers-wise (3.93, 175), so I was thinking maybe I should try to make myself seem more rounded. Does it not even matter?


If it were me, I'd probably go with #3, but only the snowboarding part. The "crashing while thinking about scientific research" sounds ridiculous and somehow manages to make something as interesting and fun as snowboarding sound just as stuffy as debate team or cello playing. The first two sound like the typical generic traits of any bright kid applying to top schools. Third one allows you to show a completely different side of you to the adcoms. Your numbers are already great. Go out of the box with this one! Seriously, you have no need to be conventional here.

godofcoffee
Posts: 33
Joined: Sat Jun 26, 2010 2:02 am

Re: Help me pick a personal statement topic!

Postby godofcoffee » Sun Nov 07, 2010 8:04 pm

Good tips, thanks. Now that you've said it, my snowboarding essay as is just seems contrived and boring.

Any other opinions?

dakatz wrote:
godofcoffee wrote:I've written a few drafts of personal statements, and I was wondering if I could get an opinion on topics. Specifically,

1. An essay about debating (I'm the president of my college's debating club). Upsides: demonstrates lawyer-like skills, commitment, leadership. Downside: probably pretty formulaic, and they already know about it from my resume anyway.

2. An essay about the cello (which I play solo and in groups). Upsides: again, demonstrates commitment, might be interesting. Downside: again, they already know about it.

3. An essay about snowboarding (which I do, but not competitively), and crashing because I'm thinking about some scientific research I'm doing. Upsides: more unusual, might round me out as a person (my other activities are pretty predictable), and snowboarding isn't on my resume. Downsides: snowboarding isn't particularly important to me, and crashing while thinking of science might seem far-fetched or flaky.

So what do you guys think? I'm pretty good numbers-wise (3.93, 175), so I was thinking maybe I should try to make myself seem more rounded. Does it not even matter?


If it were me, I'd probably go with #3, but only the snowboarding part. The "crashing while thinking about scientific research" sounds ridiculous and somehow manages to make something as interesting and fun as snowboarding sound just as stuffy as debate team or cello playing. The first two sound like the typical generic traits of any bright kid applying to top schools. Third one allows you to show a completely different side of you to the adcoms. Your numbers are already great. Go out of the box with this one! Seriously, you have no need to be conventional here.




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