A while ago, I was asked to take a critical look at a personal statement, which spanned the student's life from age two to eighteen. The personal statement made gripping reading but was far too long and the student had not been selective enough in the abundance of material she choose from. The word count ran to 1귔 words _ far too long for a personal statement. The task of reducing your personal statement can be enthusiastically undertaken, but the problem is that you need to look at your original brainstormed ideas to organise your material for the selection process. The only criterion you need to apply at this stage is this incident of sufficient interest to the admission officer.
Tension is one of the second most important elements in writing, closely allied to suspense _ the "what happens next" ingredient. The problem for many students is to try to condense the personal statement into 600 words. Obviously, the admission officer knows you only have this limited space, but nonetheless does judge you on the four minutes it takes to read your personal statement, if your personal statement includes tension and suspense _ it is sure to be a winner. The secret to a good personal statement is not to give away too much to quickly, keep us guessing, hanging onto every word, thus building up tension and suspense. In order for there to be tension in your personal statement, there must be (or have been) something important at stake. Perhaps this was your family life or what you believe is your future. Perhaps the reason why you chose the course you wish to study. Whatever it is, by not divulging the outcome too soon, you will maintain the reader's interest for that much longer. The following personal statement starts with a powerful suspense filling introduction: