Personal Statement

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by futuremid, Jul 18, 2011.

  1. futuremid

    futuremid Member

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    Is it just me or is writing about yourself one of the hardest things to do ? haha. I have so much I want to write, but I just can't choose what to put in and what to keep out. Do I talk about the foundation of my relationship with God, playing football, a funny story about my childhood, or what ?!?!

    Oh, the possibilities !!!!
     
  2. BillSL

    BillSL USMA Class of 2016

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    Haha! I am applying to USMA so I don't know how does your statement works. Is it free to write about whatever you want?

    At USMA, you have 3 prompts!
     
  3. futuremid

    futuremid Member

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    Well we have to write about what lead to our interest in the naval service and how the academy can help us achieve our long range goals. THEN, we have to write about an experience that has helped develop our character development and integrity. HARD STUFF !! LOL. The beginning prompt is easy, but man, I have no idea what I should write about for the second part. I feel like there's so much, and I can't choose the "most important." Ya know ?!
     
  4. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    Writing about yourself is not easy. People who do well with that....tend to look great on paper too.

    I paid for my application to Washington University in St. Louis. I was then accepted to CGA but still had the final application to complete. Wash U. had an essay question that went like this.

    "Write your own essay question and answer it."

    Because I had already been accepted to my #1 school and Wash U. wasn't #2 or #3 on my list, I resided to have a little fun with it. My dad thought it was funny. My mother did not.


    Wash U. Essay Question: "Write your own essay question and answer it."

    My essay question: "Write your own essay question and answer it. Write your own essay question and answer it. Write your own essay question and answer it. Write your own essay question and answer it. Write your own essay question and answer it. Write your own essay question and answer it. Write your own essay question and answer it. Write your own essay question and answer it."


    Because Wash U. thought it was an appropriate essay question, surely mine was as well. It was an infinite loop. Each time I added an "Write your own essay question and answer it." I indented the line...

    Again, I did that after I got into my school, not before.
     
  5. navy2016

    navy2016 Member

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    I think it should be something that most directly lead/ influenced you into seeking an appointment. For example, I used my experience in Scouting and told how that opened by insight into leadership and character development.
    It is definitely the first essay I have written directly about myself in many years (finally got to use first person!).
     
  6. osdad

    osdad Member

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    Some general advice:

    It’s a personal essay so keep it in the first person: I did this, it made me feel this way, when the Principal was addressing the class I felt she was talking directly to me

    Your first sentence needs to jump off the page. They’ll be reading hundreds of essays so if yours starts “While I was earning my Eagle Scout ranking I stubbed my toe…” you’ve already lost them. If on the other hand it starts out “Ouch!!! Damn that hurt! @#$%^”… it’s likely they’ll keep reading. (Yes I know swearing is not recommended and I certainly would not use those words but you get the idea.)

    Have some others read and critique your essay if you’re at all uncertain of its impact or quality.
     
  7. Whistle Pig

    Whistle Pig Banned

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    I'll disagree.

    Rule #1 in writing: Write about something you know ALOT about. There is NOTHING in the world a 17 knows more about than self. You are THE EXPERT. The great challenge is having the maturity and courage to write honestly, truth in lieu of fiction. USNA hates fiction (and ghost writers) and can spot both in the first 20 words.

    And fortunately, that is precisely what USNA wants you to write about. You. No research notes. No footnotes. Gotta expose what YOU'VE discovered.

    THE issue in this is "perspective." How and what one communicates about the one subject you are expert about @ age 17 or 18. What this means is determining not merely the "what" or even the "how", although those merit consideration. It is your POV, where are you going to "stand" to look at yourself and the scenario you choose as subject. What will you "see" and thus describe? What insight do you have about all of this. Don't get so caught up in the literal view.

    Perhaps practice by having someone(s) who know you, posing real-life scenarios and asking you to "tell them a story" about that scenario lending some real "color" and insight to the story and particularly your role in that event.

    Most candidates won't have spectacular, tragic, incredible moments ... and besides, that's not necessarily what plays in Peoria or in USNA admissions. It's the "how" you communicate as much or more of the "what". Too many get hung up on thinking they have to describe the moment they got to the top of Mt. Everest ... or was attacked by an elephant ... or won their first olympic medal at age 9 ... or ... you get the point. Sometimes the most mundane offers the best opportunity.

    Curious: Can anyone provide the specific wording used in this year's questions?
     
  8. navy2016

    navy2016 Member

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    In a well-organized essay of 300 to 500 words, please discuss the following:

    (1) Describe what led to your initial interest in the naval service and how the Naval Academy will help you achieve your long range goals, and
    (2) Describe a personal experience you have had which you feel has contributed to your own character development and integrity.
     
  9. Whistle Pig

    Whistle Pig Banned

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    Many thanks.

    btw, Osdad's suggestion about the "grabber" is great. And I'd add ... do the same w/ your ending sentence or 2. Leaving 'em laughing, crying, smiling, impressed, sad, hungry for the next 300 words ... but do not leave them sleeping.

    One more thought ... 400 words + or -, are not many. Get the grabber, tell readers enough for direction then get to the meat of your story, leaving enough room for a zinger conclusion.

    Trust that your story, can be interesting. Just think of those people you know who can tell you about putting on their gym sox and make it captivating.
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2011
  10. usnabgo08

    usnabgo08 USNA 2008/BGO

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    I concur with both.

    The personal statement isn't suppose to be an academic short essay (i.e. don't need dramatic anecdotes), but you should also try to capture the reader's attention early (not that you have much room to wander). Stay away from paraphrasing the question in the statement (i.e. "The reason I am interested in the Navy is...").

    Some helpful hints:
    -Be concise, clear, and direct.
    -PROOFREAD, PROOFREAD, PROOFREAD; a few minor mistakes isn't a show stopper, but a pattern isn't good either; traditionally, an English professor has sat on the board and I'll let your wandering mind guess what he/she harps on.
    -Have other people read your statement; if they don't understand what you wrote or are confused, someone in the Admissions Office might see it the same way.
    -The personal statement isn't initially calculated in the WPM; it is only given consideration at the Admissions Board and the WPM is adjusted with RABS; great statements get points added and poorly written ones see deductions!
     
  11. futuremid

    futuremid Member

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    Thank you guys for all the advice! After reading your comments, I've decided to go with something that is so easy for me to talk about- football. It may not have developed my character the most, but it's definitely helped me grow to be a fighter, someone with a desire to be stronger in life and on the field, and determined to finish any race, game, or battle to the best of my ability.

    You all helped a lot!! I'm glad I have you all!! LOL
     

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