How Do I Start a Personal Statement?

An introductory paragraph, or a lead, is a very special challenge in writing a personal statement. Why do so many educators pay so special attention to it? That’s because they read hundreds of personal statements, and your one should stand out.  At the same time, it should make a sound, preferably pleasant, impression. So, what are the possible ways to arrange it?

Tell a story. This technique is actually one of the most popular among students. An anecdote that explains your choice of a profession will do just fine. You can tell a story of how you got to know about the school you’re applying to.

Make an unusual statement about yourself. It can be ironic or reflective. Be careful at this point, as some students just get too far claiming themselves Hitler’s followers. Also, remember that the upcoming text should expand your statement.

Ask a problematic question. The answer should follow. If your prompt can be summarized with a question, dare to ask it explicitly. For example, when the prompt is about your hardest experience, you can ask openly what hard experience is.

Start with an action lead. Catch yourself or the person you’re going to write about in the middle of the action and nail it down in your essay. This will pull your reader into the story unexpectedly – and, most likely, effectively.

Use a quotation. If you know a witty pun or a statement that can be interpreted in many different ways, why don’t you start your statement with such a quote and elaborate on its meaning? If you have your own motto or a person to take after, share the information about the statement or a person or reflect upon it. Never rely on clichés.

Provide a piece of interesting information. We always have a catchy FYI to share. Study the prompt, find an interesting fact related to the topic, and interpret it in your essay. Take care of relevance: your intro should not take you and readers away from the prompt.

Start it as you plan to end it. If you already have a concluding pattern in your mind, use the same pattern for the beginning. This would make a beautiful stylistic device.

Got some inspiration? Want to break the rules? Why not? Have an easy start!