Advice from the Whisperer: Writing the Personal Statement for College – Part 1

Hello the Whisperer is here to talk about college applications! Here is what I said last year and the same information holds true, enjoy!

creative learning online

Its that time of year again and for all high school seniors it can be a nerve-wracking and a very trying time. Many of you for the past couples of years or so have been frantically learning about and researching this previously strange thing called “College” (unless you have older siblings or relatives in higher education) and trying to study its every move in order to become part of it. Some of you might have or are preparing to visit various campuses on weekends and holiday breaks to take the tours and get a general feeling for your future intended places of study. But you have to choose only one!

You probably have taken practice versions of the SAT or ACT exams in order to do well in this last year of school. And yes on top of it all it IS your LAST YEAR OF HIGH SCHOOL! You now have to begin filling out the long online applications for the colleges you wish to attend while trying to keep between a 3.0 and 4.0 GPA, enjoy your extracurricular activities, maintain good relationships with friends, significant others, parents, teachers… and then there’s the college essay you have to write. AH!!!

Ah yes, the Personal Statement. Another deciding factor for college admissions staffs to use in order to determine why they should choose you in particular for their institution. Going back into the recesses of my memory (covered with dust and cobwebs) I thought about how I was like YOU at one time (boy, that was long ago!).

This is one of the best opportunities you have to show off your stuff. You can write about your accomplishments, what you enjoy doing the most, even highlight areas that you recognize are challenging and still need in improvement on, but ultimately are overcoming.

So here are a few helpful tips in order to help you write a truly remarkable statement!
To keep it simple, I chose three:

1. Ask one of your favorite teachers who you trust to help you edit your essays.

2. Choose meaningful personal experiences to write about that will show you are a well-rounded and caring individual. This can but does not necessarily need to relate to your intended major or field of study.

3. Write about something that you know you have been lagging behind in and explain how you are or have been overcoming it.

Stay tuned for more…


P.S. You can follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn for updates, events, competitions and generally learn about Areteem Institute!

Words of Wisdom from a Writing Whisperer – Benefits of an Essay Writing Competition!

A Cure for Graphophobia

Why an Essay Writing Competition May be Good for You!

So you say you don’t enjoy writing? Or at least you want some helpful little tidbits on improving your writing, then you have come to the right place! All of us, whether we like or not, will come across a situation where we are required to write well. Whether its for school-related projects or at our future jobs, we will not escape its presence.

It all starts in elementary school when we were forced, yes forced, by our teachers to write a book report which we then had to present to the class and turn in to our teachers. This evolved in middle school and high school into learning to write more critically, analyzing works of literature and even reading multitudinous essays and books to see how people before and during our time have contributed to the canon of good writing skills. Such a daunting task to measure up to the likes of Shakespeare, Dickens, Poe and others of their ilk, that anyone could go crazy just thinking about and obsessing over writing the perfect essay. It boggles the mind.

If you think a high school essay is tedious, just wait until you get to college! For those of you who do not consider yourselves the most adept writers or just completely detest writing in a formalized setting, take heed! Sometime in your college career you will need to fulfill your basic writing GE requirement by taking an entry-level course that will include different genres and basically assess how well you write already along with handing out some tips. For the people who do have at least the slightest interest in writing, this will at least provide you with some advice on how to write and just give another outlet for those studying English or any literature course. But for the rest of us, what can we do to help better prepare ourselves? How can we overcome a basic fear of writing (called graphophobia for those in the know) and be able to succeed and get into the college of our choice without too much hassle? Well, you could always sign up for a writing competition.

What? An essay writing competition you say!!? Why didn’t I think of that? Well I just did for you so you can thank me later! Now I know what you are thinking. Would I really put myself through with it? Do I see myself going to someplace, sitting down for an hour and actually write a paper to compete for some prize along with others of my peers? There seems to be too many reasons not to go! But before you have any more doubts, consider that the more practice you get the more confidence you will have in writing. Sounds easy enough, but then you ask how this could benefit me later on in the future? What are the benefits of an essay writing competition?

To keep it simple, learning to write well benefits you in many ways. You improve your ability to communicate with others to show that you are literate and can use words expressively even if its just writing a letter as opposed to a formal essay. The competitive side may scare you at first but in the end it only serves to help you do better as your goal is to write a winning essay. And the more you take the more confident you will become AND the better your writing will become as well. There are times when you will especially need to have a basic grasp of writing and a competition allows you the time and space in order to hone in on your writing skills.

Picture this scenario. You are starting your senior year in high school. You have a list of some of the top colleges you want to apply to and have even visited a few campuses over the summer. You have or will take the SAT or ACT in a few months in order to get into the college of your choice. Now its time to write all of those application letters that will differentiate you from the rest of the flock of equally worthy candidates, but how to start? With a writing competition you will learn how to write concisely and see what could grab an audience’s interest, such as your potential college admissions board, in choosing you over someone else. By the time you get to actually writing your personal statement you will have had some experience already in writing essays and feel better about embarking on this new endeavor.

In order to get started you first need to see if any organization in your local community is hosting an essay writing competition event and enroll in that. And our school Areteem Institute, providing a unique academic curriculum with online classes for gifted and talented students like you, in the sunny OC city of Irvine is in fact offering one coming up! That’s right, you and your family can take a leisurely drive up to Alhambra High School this Sunday, September 22nd for the World Journal’s Fall Education Seminars and College Fair and take part in our very own writing competition as well as chat with some advisors from some of California’s best colleges (including the UC schools).

When you come to the Areteem Institute booth you can sign up for one of the time slots. We will provide you with a theme and all you have to do is write! And get this: if your essay is a winner you will receive a cash prize for your efforts! Plus you may be eligible to receive a tuition voucher to sign up for our classes. In the end, you will see that the writing skills you thought were just mediocre are in fact something to be proud about and can help you to get into the best colleges you want to go to (think UC and even Ivy League!)

See, there are benefits to writing!



Byron, the Writing Whisperer :)