This time it’s personal

Personal Statement workshop helps Monarchs applying for transfers.

By: Kevin Buckles Jr., Sports Editor

In an intimate, yet informative, setting in the Valley College Career/Transfer Center on Thursday, a representative from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) gave tips on how to properly complete a personal statement for a college application.

The hour-long workshop hosted by UCLA Student Executive Coordinator Paitzar Giourdjian offered specific strategies on how to approach writing a personal statement and to help students feel less uneasy about the process.

“Your personal statement can never hurt you; it can only help you,” said Giourdjian to the six attendees in the Career/Transfer Center. “A lot of times, students really stress out about this section of the application. They think it is worth, like, 70 percent of their application and that they can get docked down points but, in reality, it’s not like that.

“The entire purpose of the personal statement is to get the reader to know you better.”

According to Giourdjian, before students begin to write their essays to their selected UC schools, they are advised to consider interests, reasons for selected major(s), future goals, any distinctive characteristics, or any information that could aid the admissions in knowing them better.

Just listing achievements and accolades or any surface-level data, however, will not suffice, as that will most likely be information that the admissions office already is aware of. Writing what one may think the admissions committee may want to hear, relying on cliches, as well as making up hardships are also not advised to include in the statement’s content.

Potential applicants were also made cognizant that no student is admitted based solely on their personal statement, no matter how well-written. Slight grammar mistakes or exceptional word choice and sentence structure will not make or break the essay.

“We’re not reading the personal statement for grammar to see if ‘this person can write,’ or ‘is this person on a collegiate English level?’ –  just write about yourself. That’s the only point we’re trying to get across,” explained the executive coordinator. “Actually, the more simple you write, most of the time, the better it is for you.”

In UCLA’s application, students are required to write essays for two different prompts, with a maximum of 500 words, each due to be submitted between Nov. 1-30. There is also an “Additional Comments” section of the application that allows for a direct listing of accomplishments, awards, etc, that would not have appropriate to include in the personal statement itself otherwise.

Valeria Ceballos, an anthropology major whose ultimate goal is to attend UCLA one day found the workshop very beneficial and plans to apply everything that she learned.

“I feel a lot more relaxed and things are a lot more clear now,” said Ceballos. “When you’ve done all of this stuff [in life] and have to fit it into one or two paragraphs for the statement, it can be nerve-racking, but after this workshop I feel much better.”

Your thoughts?