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A simple checklist that I used to review 120+ Personal Statements

As many of you are finishing up with your personal statement, I thought it’d be a good idea for me to share a personal statement checklist that I used to review 120+ personal statements this application cycle. I found this checklist to be extremely helpful. I am sharing it publicly here, because I want to be useful in your life!
So, here’s the checklist that I used to review 120+ PS!!!
Goal of writing a PS: Write a personal statement that will compel the adcom to say, “This kid is interesting, and I wanna meet him/her.”
Introduction:
  • Do I have a compelling first sentence that will make adcoms read forward?
  • Does my introduction tell compelling stories that make the adcom interested in me?
Content 
  • Do I tell stories in my essay? Are the stories graphic, memorable and remarkable?
  • Do my stories weave together logically?
  • Do my paragraphs flow well?
  • Is my content emotionally engaging? Are my stories colorful?
  • Do I tell stories about what inspired me to be a dentist?
  • Did I answer the “Why Dentistry?” and “Why dentistry is a meaningful career?”
  • Shadowing: Do I tell detail graphic stories of my shadowing experiences?
    • Do I just talk about what I did or do I talk about what I learned and what impact I made in the world?
  • Research:
    • If I talk about my research in my essay, does it make someone curious about it? or does it make someone say ” This is too much details. I cannot take it”.
    • Is it simple to read? Is it fun/interesting to read about my research?
    • Am I using jargon, clichés or big phrases?
Conclusion:
  • Is my conclusion catchy? Is it memorable?
  • Is the reader going to remember me 10 mins/10 hours/10 days after he reads my personal statement?
  • Does my conclusion loop back to the stories I mentioned earlier?
Overall
  • Do my stories logically flow well ? Do I have an overarching theme in my essay?
  • Is each sentence earning its way into my personal statement? or am I just adding junk/useless sentences?
  • Is it under 4500 character limit?
  • Did I check the grammar?
  • Do I come across as likable?  Will the adcom be interested in interviewing me?
Hope you find this checklist to be helpful in assessing your own PS! Wish you all the best as you write the final drafts of your personal statement.

 

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