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Proofreading your personal statement

After all those drafts of your personal statement, you might think you are done and ready to submit, but, wait, there’s more! It’s time to proofread your personal statement. Make sure you set it aside for a few days before doing this and also consider showing it to others to get their ‘fresh eyes’ to help the proofreading process. After all, you have been reading, writing, and revising your personal statement to the point that you may not even see the small mistakes anymore.

When you are ready to proofread your personal statement, here are some tips to consider that will make sure that you have caught every little mistake:

  • Read it from the end to the beginning to get a different approach that just may help you locate sentence fragments or spelling mistakes.
  • Look for the most common grammatical errors in writing, including run-on sentences, fragments, redundancies, slang, spelling mistakes and overused words.
  • Listen to other people’s critiques, including professors, colleagues, friends or even parents as they are looking at your personal statement for the first time and can provide a candid and often objective opinion on how it can be improved. Be sure not to take constructive criticism personally as they are all anxious to help you succeed and can offer advice to make your personal statement even better! If you do not have anyone to share your personal statement with, you could consider an academic service who offers proofreading and critique services as these professionals have seen hundreds – if not, thousands – of personal statements.
  • When you get feedback from others, ask them questions to get more ideas about what they felt most drawn to and what they got out of reading your personal statement, including asking them to describe you, the theme and the most and least persuasive elements.
  • Consider all feedback and identify patterns of recommendations. You will most likely want to take that advice to heart and revise your personal statement accordingly.
  • If you continue to struggle, consider getting writing assistance, especially if English is your second language and you want to be sure that you phrase everything correctly.

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