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HOW TO WRITE A PERSONAL ESSAY TIPS FOR WRITING A PCAE Joyce Foss, M.A.Ed. Teacher/Instructional Coach Quartz Hill High School.

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Presentation on theme: "HOW TO WRITE A PERSONAL ESSAY TIPS FOR WRITING A PCAE Joyce Foss, M.A.Ed. Teacher/Instructional Coach Quartz Hill High School."— Presentation transcript:

1 HOW TO WRITE A PERSONAL ESSAY TIPS FOR WRITING A PCAE Joyce Foss, M.A.Ed. Teacher/Instructional Coach Quartz Hill High School

2 Your personal statement should be exactly that — personal. -- your hopes, -- your ambitions, -- your life experiences, -- your inspirations.

3 Directions All applicants must respond to two essay prompts — the general prompt and either the freshman or transfer prompt, depending on your status. Responses to your two prompts must be a maximum of 1,000 words total. Allocate the word count as you wish. If you choose to respond to one prompt at greater length, we suggest your shorter answer be no less than 250 words.

4 Where do I begin?

5 Reflection Activity (5 minutes) Write down10 words that describe you. For example: kind, shy, ambitious, angry, hard working, confident, self-conscious, happy, sad, self- aware, inquisitive, motivated, unmotivated, enterprising, stressed, patient… Remember: Words are very powerful. How do you feel when people compliment you? How do you feel when people say unkind things to you. Words have power. How you describe yourself will be powerful—it can motivate and/or encourage.

6 Now, rank your words from 1 – 10. Which one would you say describes you best?

7 Do you like the word that describes yourself? Tonight, when you go home, talk it over with people who know you well. Do they agree that word describes you? In your essay, you will do your best to show the reader that this is the person you are, or this is the person you want to become.

8  Be genuine! In other words, show the readers who you are, not what you think they want their successful applicants to be.

9 Start your essay with an attention- grabbing lead: an anecdote, quote, question, or engaging description of a scene

10 Freshman Applicant Prompt Describe the world you come from — for example, your family, community or school — and tell us how your world has shaped your dreams and aspirations.

11 Prompt for All Applicants Tell us about a personal quality, talent, accomplishment, contribution or experience that is important to you. What about this quality or accomplishment makes you proud and how does it relate to the person you are?

12 First Tip of the Day! Start Early!

13 Tip #2: Choose a topic for both essays.

14 Unite your essay and give it direction with a theme or thesis. The thesis is the main point you want to communicate. Depth on a topic is far more effective than breadth.

15 Tip #3 Compose your personal statement in a word- processing program.

16 TIP #4: Write persuasively. Present your information and ideas in a focused, deliberate and meaningful manner. Concrete SPECIFICSPECIFIC

17 o GENERALIZED AND BORING: “Although Mom and I are very different people, I consider her the most profound influence on my values and the person I have become. I constantly try to emulate her.”

18 CONCRETE AND VIVID: “I love jogging, tennis, skiing; she considers walking to the car to be exercise. My alarm clock rings at 6:30 a.m. on Sunday; her day begins at noon. I need a certain amount of time pressure to produce my best; she hates a last-minute rush. Yet, despite these irritating differences, Mom has set an example of determination, professional excellence, and service to the community that I am constantly trying to emulate.”

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20  Remember your audience! …faculty and administrators are not persuaded by “I learned more in my extracurricular activities than I ever learned in class” or “Varsity football was the most valuable part of my… education.”

21 Limit your PSAE to a full description of one particular event, activity, or theme, rather than making a laundry list of your accomplishments. Remember: depth over breadth!

22  End your essay with a conclusion that refers back to the lead and restates your thesis.

23 Proofread. PROOFREAD proofread PROOFREAD TIP #5

24 Tip # 6 Get (or solicit) Feedback!

25 PERSONAL STATEMENT FROM UC STUDENTS


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