personal statement

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by navy2016, Jun 28, 2011.

  1. navy2016

    navy2016 5-Year Member

    Dec 30, 2009
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    For the personal statement, under the personal experience, I was planning ot write about my 6 years in scouting. However, perhaps do they want something more specific, like a certain event?

    I feel like I could give a good before and after reflection of my scouting life. I can really describe how it contributed to my personal development and integrity.

    Also, how important is the essay in comparison to grades/scholastic activities? I feel like English and writing are simply not my strong points.
  2. Memphis9489

    Memphis9489 5-Year Member

    Oct 27, 2008
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    No, I don't think you necessarily have to cite a specific event. I think a protracted experience (like Scouting) can have specific impact on your life. What should be SPECIFIC is how an experience (whether isolated or not) impacted you, specifically.

    I remember one of my sons, on their personal statement, saying something to the effect: (of course, I'm paraphrasing) During his life he had observed OTHERS in leadership positions irreparably destroy their credibility, reputation and their overall effectiveness as a leader by just one careless slip of the tongue or one careless action. He learned that the burden of leadership never begins and ends - it is all the time - even when you are not directly acting in your official capacity.

    Naturally, he went on to say many other things but this was what he cited as something that has impacted his life. When he got the opportunity to be the Captain of his school's baseball team he realized that his responsibilities as a leader of that team did not begin when he walked onto the field and end when he walked off. It was also how he behaved in the classroom - how he treated people when he ran into them in town - the way he treated his non-baseball friends - etc.

    That's an example of a very non-specific event that had a very specific impact on his outlook on life.

    Apparently, they bought it! :smile:

    My other son mentioned how the events of 9/11 impacted him and caused him to realize, for the first time, how the military could spring into action to protect us even though he had never really thought about it before. He was only 12 yrs old at the time. He mentioned how disturbing it was as a child to see the adults around him cry and become unnerved. He realized that there are some people who go to where the danger is instead of running from it.

    Well ... again, I'm paraphrasing - but you get the idea.

    Now there's a specific event that had a specific impact.

    I think the most important thing for your personal statement is to be articulate, honest, topical, and meaningful. Just let it flow and don't get bogged down with details. Don't make it boring or stilted.

    Imagine somebody reading your statement who has already read 100 other candidate statements that day, before reading yours. I'm not saying you necessarily have to entertain them, but try to find a way of being interesting and maybe a little bit different (but not not in a weird way :smile:)

    Examples of things not to say:

    "I have over 2000 friends on Facebook and fully expect to have another 2000 within the next year."

    "My goal for the next year is to be elected Prom King. They always get the best-looking babes."

    "I'm an avid vegetarian. I haven't had a hamburger in over 3 years. I'm also an amazing Tofu chef."

    "I am a competitive dart thrower. I even have a sponsor." (I love that commercial!)

    "My narcolepsy has almost completely cleared up. In fact, it's been almost a whole year since I've had an inciden ..& - *^ ....."
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2011

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