The personal statement is a key component of a high school student’s college application. It’s important to know that most high school writing assignments are different from what colleges are seeking in the personal statement. Consequently, it’s also important that applicants spend ample time writing (think weeks and months) in order to craft a thoughtful, polished essay.
At JBH Tutoring, we recommend that the earliest students should begin work on their personal statement is after they have completed their junior year. But now is a great time for students to start planning when they will begin and complete this important piece of writing.
Here are some questions students should consider in their planning:
- When is the student’s earliest application deadline? When is their latest deadline? How much time is there between these two dates?
- When will the student work on their essay/s? Setting aside an hour or two a week across many weeks (or months) is generally optimal. If they plan to be away for some or part of the summer, will they be able to work on it there or would it be better for them to wait until they return home?
- How many essays will they need to write? In general, the more selective the school, the more likely there will be supplemental essays.