2. Make excuses _ Lots of applicants have weaknesses in their application files, especially in their transcripts. Maybe you got low grades your freshman year. Maybe you had to leave school and work for a while. Maybe you got an F in that statistics class and had to retake it. Or maybe you got a degree in one field and are applying to grad school in a different field; or you didn't pass your medical residency exams the first time. Whatever your weakness is, do not offer excuses and do not bad_mouth anyone. So it wasn't your fault that the professor lost your final exam and flunked you, or jobs dried up in your original field of study, or you had the flu when you took the GRE. Don't say anything that sounds like an excuse or sounds like you are blaming someone else for you failing to achieve a goal. Even when it is true, it may make you seem whiny and unable to accept responsibility for your actions. Instead, address the weakness at the end of your statement, and explain how you have overcome it, learned from it, and are a better candidate now because of it.
In talking to Admissions Representatives across the country, there is one aspect of a personal statement they all agree on _ BE YOURSELF and let them get a feel for the type of person you really are. This includes your motivations and the ability to evaluate your personal experiences and the effect they had on you. If you can understand that 8 out of 10 personal statements fail to do this, then you are well on your way to being 1 of the 2 applicants in every 10 that stands out.