Personal statements can be equal parts refreshing and terrifying because of its open-endedness. How can you POSSIBLY put your whole life and personality into two pages? That is something I remember struggling with when I was applying to colleges in high school, and something I still struggle with now.

The first step in writing a five-star personal statement is getting into the proper frame of thinking. You should write your personal statement when you are at your most relaxed and happy. Thinking back, I was able to churn out my personal statement in my room’s desk listening to my mom and dad’s back and forth banter in the kitchen (my dad had put in 2 tbsp. of salt into the mashed potato instead of 2 tsp.). I felt so cocooned and happy and warm in my favorite ratty cardigan… the personal statement flowed right out of my finger just in time for dinner. You’ve got to frame the right setting to give yourself that chance to enter your thinking bubble.

Also, choose your editors wisely! People who really know you and your voice. Keep in mind that you don’t have to accept every single one of their critiques- remember this is your voice, not theirs. Take their advice into consideration, but don’t take it with a note of finality. Defend your voice and ideas if you think that it is worth defending. I went through about 6 drafts until I braved to hit the “Submit” button. I wouldn’t be surprised if you did too. Ther personal statement is something that requires arduous primping and manicuring.

Remember, the personal statement is meant to paint a portrait to the admissions board; tell them something they wouldn’t be able to discern from the rest of your application. Make them fall in love with you! We all have a story, but it can be easy for us to forget how amazing we are. This is not the moment to be humble, talk up how awesome you are and why they just NEED to have you.