Balancing Language

Balancing your language prevents a boring, monotonous tone. You want to make your essay simple to read to put the reader at ease.

Although it is called a personal statement one of the cardinal rules you should live by is limiting the use of the pronoun ‘I’. When writing about yourself there is a tendency to start every sentence with ‘I did..’, ‘I feel that..’, ‘I learnt that..’ etc. This will make your writing feel like a list and should be avoided.


Using the Passive vs. Active voice 

You may already be familiar with the difference between the two, but the reasons to use an active voice are even more pertinent when writing a Personal Statement. The active voice naturally sounds more authoritative and focuses on the action or activity in hand. Helpfully, writing in this way is usually more concise as well. This will ensure a professional and clear  tone whilst allowing you to fit in as much information as possible.


Mixing the First and Third Person

One of the ways to avoid repeated use of ‘I’ is by writing in the third person and this can be found in some types of CV. However, it is generally inadvisable to write in this way for this particular application.

It may be the norm in some sectors but in this instance you will want to come across in a relatable way rather than detached. Look at the following example to get a sense of this.

‘Going on from previous accomplishments, Alex received the highest accolade in the school for overall accomplishment’

This perspective removes the person behind the writing, and could make it sound like someone else has scripted your statement for you. This is a mental tactic used unconsciously by some to be more modest with what they are saying. Arrogance will obviously be seen straight away in any application but being too self deprecating will leave you unnoticed.

A final point to consider is that it is much more natural to write in the first person. If you start off being impersonal it is only inevitable on your first draft that you will slide into the first person. It is grammatically incorrect to change viewpoint like this and will lead to stunted and confused reading. Make sure to avoid it.

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