Bubble Language School

The Personal Statement

“For every morning for the last 45 years of my life, my mother has prepared a simple rice porridge. The smell of it has usually wakened me every morning of my single life, and I walk down to be greeted by either my mother or the remnants of her presence from earlier in the morning. Her regularity with which she offers her hopes and beliefs to the passing monks nearby our home in the early sunlight of Thai mornings, teaches me to remain vigilant in what I think is right.”

Okay, so that’s aaaa target. The above is a blend of techniques where one switches their perspective to understand the simplicity and the beauty therein a very simple moment in time. Sometimes, the character doesn’t even know its importance; it’s up to you to find it as the writer. 

-The vignette: a moment in time. See the first sentence.
-Sensory detail: the smell of the rice and the light of the sunrise.
-Be subtle: show, don’t tell. How can you communicate values about yourself without saying, “I am adjective, adjective, and adjective.”? –> With a story and what you learned.

How long should my personal statement, [common app essay/statement of purpose/coverletter] be?

A full build will be about 500-1,500 words. Then, you’ll cut that down to the most beautiful elements and main points you want to say about yourself or in relation to the prompt-specific questions. 

How many drafts does it normally take?

Some people can do it in one draft. Others go 15 without something of decent substance. Every person has a story, read the example again if you’re starting to feel lost here. [Generally, it’s about 7 passes at a piece of writing to make it decent and passable.] #wasyoursurfboard

Good luck! 

Practical Tips:

1. Make notes in remembering a story.
2. What did you feel and what did you learn?
3. Review photos and videos, and look at the faces of those around you and yourself. What do you see? How has your mind changed and grown? That’s when you start writing.
4. Don’t delete anything until your next pass. Copy it, and start the next draft (most recent drafts should be at the top). This will be useful when/if/or you get writer’s block, or the writing’s shit. 
5. Review periodically upon events in your life, or simply time to sit down with a hot drink and build something simply pretty…with words.
6. When you are starting, take 60-seconds to mentally go through all the different ways you could possibly start, but while focusing on the SMART* goals in terms of choosing a topic. You want to be able to accomplish it in a small block of time. 

*SMART goals

Specific – When My Dad Bought Me Ice Cream
Measurable – When I Felt X Feeling
Achievable – It had to have actually happened
Realistic – Keep it simple and real. See sensory details and simplicity above.
Timely – If your brain is silent, do something else. If your brain is making noise, try just writing it down. 

Other Key Ways to Start:

1. Mindmap on Procreate, and replay the timelapse to yourself.
2. Make an outline. Ask for help with templates or search.
3. Read examples instead. 😀
4. Just do it. Stop whining in your head and write what you’re thinking. It’ll shape out to something. Maybe it’ll be useful, maybe it won’t. You don’t know that yet. You’ll know when you read it back to yourself aloud, hear it again from someone else’s voice: feedback or literally.

Tip #1 | This is where applications and letters differ. The tone with which you analyze yourself becomes more confident, and insecurities communicated are done (written) WITH PURPOSE.  This is the draft where we transition from the fundamental foundation of a letter to what a real personal statement looks like.

Tip #2 | Add a thesis statement: I’m applying to [this program and school]…write from the heart.

Tip #3 | The point of view is first person without any usage of ‘you’.

Tip #4 | For UK personal statements, a description of why you’re suited for this program is sometimes better than a narrative tone for a US application.

Nonetheless, whether the admissions officer is British or American, they’re still human, which means that what they read, they’d like to enjoy reading.

5 class comments

Paul H Park Jun 14 “Right now, I’m trying to make something. Don’t interrupt me.”

Paul H Park Jun 14 “The difference between law and medicine is merely the application of rationality and deduction to words or the human body.”

Paul H Park Jun 14 “You’re a pumpkin.” my [relationship label noun] said to me.

Paul H ParkJ un 14 | A Sample Time Block for Development…Or, A Paragraph You have 40 minutes.

You’ll need 10 minutes to independently or collaboratively review your work. You’ll need 5 minutes of some peace and calm to figure out what to do and what you could achieve in your remaining 25 minutes.

Divide that 25 minutes to two segements: 12.5 and 12.5 minutes.

Segment 1. Find a story: review pictures and timelines, mindmap, draw, anything creative.

Segment 2. Write it out. Do you best. 😀 Remember you only need a paragraph or so and that’s a start.

Paul H Park Jun 27


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