Writing an amazing SIPA Personal Statement is probably far more straightforward than you might think. SIPA admissions officers aren’t looking for gimmicks. They’re looking for passionate, motivated, and prepared applicants who are ready to hit the ground running in their chosen program. Read on for more details in creating your best personal essay.

Personal, personal, personal

Did we mention personal? Your personal statement should be about your interests as an individual. Write about issues only if they relate specifically to your personal experiences. For example, ‘In Africa, a child dies every minute. This stark statistic prompted me to join an NGO aimed at providing nutrition and healthcare for children in Namibia.’ Be yourself! It can be tempting to want to embellish your essays with language or quotes that show off your knowledge, don’t overthink it! The admissions committee wants to know about you and how SIPA can get you where you want to go. You chose SIPA for a reason, so just elaborate on that reason in your essay.

Know your program and make connections

Securing acceptance is more about being the best match than about being the most highly qualified. Among applicants who meet the program’s minimum requirements, they’ll choose an enthusiastic and informed applicant over one with higher test scores and a better GPA who doesn’t seem to know much about their program.

Ask for help

Most students at SIPA will tell you that they’ve had close friends or mentors offer a second set of eyes on their personal statement. While we are all independent adults forging our own paths, sometimes we need to reach out for some help or advice. Whether it is using friends and family as sounding boards to bounce ideas off of, or to proofread your essay after you write it, asking for help can take some of the stress out of writing an admissions essay. Having another set of eyes look at your essay can make sure mistakes are caught before you submit. They can also provide feedback about weak areas in your essay, or even point out something you didn’t know about yourself that would make you a strong candidate.

Take a step back

Sometimes just stepping away from your essay for a little while may help, if you have the time. Sitting down and focusing on it for hours may cause you to miss the goal altogether. So step away, reward yourself for your work thus far, and return to it at a better time.

Now that you’re armed with these personal essay pointers, put them into practice and wow some admission officers. Happy writing!