Yes. Absolutely. Why? This allows the college admission counselor or committee to get to know you beyond the fill-in-the-blanks on the application. Numbers and letters on your transcript can only tell us so much. It can really benefit you to not only submit a personal statement or essay with your application, but to write a well-crafted and thoughtful one.
Here are my personal tips to write a solid essay:
• Write about something you are passionate about. It will flow and sound more like you, the person, rather than an ID number.
• See if there is a common theme among the schools who require an essay and focus on writing one stellar piece and edit it as necessary for each school. This will help you save time and not have to reinvent the wheel five times for five different schools. We will never know that you submitted the same essay, unless you forget to change the school’s name in it, so proofread.
• We want it to sound like your voice, but not as if you are texting us your essay, so use appropriate punctuation and grammar.
• If your grades dropped a particular year or semester of high school, or if your grades are high, but your test scores are lower, use that opportunity to share why. Again, this allows the admission counselor to get to know you better.
• You should write this, not your parents.
• The essay or personal statement can really offer more insight not only for admission, but also for scholarship consideration.
While this is not a supplemental piece that is required for admission everywhere; it is an excellent way to share more about why you want to college, why you would be a good fit for that institution, why you want to pursue a particular major or what you aspire to do as a career. You aren’t just a GPA or test score, so tell us, who are you?
Written by Nicole Martinez. Nicole is an associate director of undergraduate admission at Valparaiso University. Read more from Nicole at theadmissioncounselornextdoor.blogspot.com.