Writing Tips – Format

Your essay should contain three main parts:

  • Introduction
  • Supporting paragraphs
  • Conclusion


The introduction is the most important part of your personal statement. It should engage the reader and make them want to read the rest of your essay. Admissions committees sort through thousands of applications and therefore are unlikely to read an essay in its entirety if it begins poorly.  Use your introduction to present the theme of your essay. It is generally more interesting if you begin your introduction by sharing a personal anecdote or tidbit about yourself that relates to your theme.

The supporting paragraphs are the meat of your essay. You will use this section to provide evidence that your theme is true. You should also use these paragraphs to highlight your talents, accomplishments and positive qualities. If there is a major inconsistency in your record that requires explanation, you may discuss it in this section; however, be sure to frame it in a positive manner. You do not want to give the impression that you are making excuses or whining.

The conclusion paragraph should review your argument and tie your essay together. You should neatly summarize the key points of your essay and show how they relate to your theme.