How to write a personal essay college info night powerpoint

Joyce Foss, M.A.Ed.
Teacher/Instructional Coach
Quartz Hill High School
Your personal statement should be exactly that —
-- your hopes,
-- your ambitions,
-- your life experiences,
-- your inspirations.
All applicants must respond to two essay prompts — the
general prompt and either the freshman or transfer
prompt, depending on your status.
•Responses to your two prompts must be a maximum of
1,000 words total.
•Allocate the word count as you wish. If you choose to
respond to one prompt at greater length, we suggest
your shorter answer be no less than 250 words.
Where do I begin?
Reflection Activity (5 minutes)
Write down10 words that describe you.
For example:
kind, shy, ambitious, angry, hard working,
confident, self-conscious, happy, sad, selfaware, inquisitive, motivated, unmotivated,
enterprising, stressed, patient…
Remember: Words are very powerful. How do you feel when people compliment you?
How do you feel when people say unkind things to you. Words have power. How you
describe yourself will be powerful—it can motivate and/or encourage .
Now, rank your words from 1 – 10.
Which one would you say
describes you best?
Do you like the word that describes yourself?
Tonight, when you go home, talk it over with
people who know you well. Do they agree that
word describes you?
In your essay, you will do your best to show the
reader that this is the person you are, or
this is the person you want to become.
Be genuine! In other words, show the
readers who you are, not what you
think they want their successful
applicants to be.
Start your essay with an attentiongrabbing lead: an anecdote, quote,
question, or engaging description of a
Freshman Applicant Prompt
Describe the world you come from —
for example, your family, community
or school — and tell us how your world
has shaped your dreams and
Prompt for All Applicants
Tell us about a personal quality, talent,
accomplishment, contribution or
experience that is important to you. What
about this quality or accomplishment
makes you proud and how does it relate
to the person you are?
First Tip of the Day!
Start Early!
Tip #2:
Choose a topic for both essays.
Unite your essay and give it direction
with a theme or thesis.
The thesis is the main point you want to
communicate. Depth on a topic is far more
effective than breadth.
Tip #3
Compose your personal statement in a wordprocessing program.
TIP #4: Write persuasively.
Present your information and ideas in a focused, deliberate
and meaningful manner.
“Although Mom and I are very different
people, I consider her the most
profound influence on my values and
the person I have become. I constantly
try to emulate her.”
CONCRETE AND VIVID: “I love jogging, tennis,
skiing; she considers walking to the car to be exercise.
My alarm clock rings at 6:30 a.m. on Sunday; her day
begins at noon. I need a certain amount of time
pressure to produce my best; she hates a last-minute
rush. Yet, despite these irritating differences, Mom has
set an example of determination, professional
excellence, and service to the community that I am
constantly trying to emulate.”
Remember your audience!
…faculty and administrators are not persuaded
by “I learned more in my extracurricular
activities than I ever learned in class”
or “Varsity football was the most valuable part
of my… education.”
Limit your PSAE to a full description of one
particular event, activity, or theme, rather than
making a laundry list of your accomplishments.
Remember: depth over breadth!
End your essay with a conclusion that
refers back to the lead and restates
your thesis.
TIP #5
Tip # 6
Get (or solicit) Feedback!