Helping Your Teen To Get Past The Worry And Write A Winning Personal Statement
By Donovan Grant
A lot of our readers share our conviction that the development of the child is #1 priority for parents and carers. As children grow, they have problems, we help to resolve them and hopefully they learn valuable life lessons. This is commonly known to many as ‘growing up’.
As I keep a close eye raising young leaders, I often get the scoop about what is happening in the community. It could be by reading, watching or just overhearing a conversation on the train. My radars start detecting, and I’m obliged to “listen to this!”
So today’s hot gossip I want to share with you is a big issue for 17 to18 year olds right now. It’s not about “going on my first date”. It’s not about “I’ve chosen the wrong subjects to study”. It’s a lot closer to home than you’d think.
What is it?
Many of our teenagers worry about writing the perfect personal statement for university!
This may not be a big deal to you and me, but to a young adult on the verge of leaving their school days behind, it means everything. Let’s face it they have been studying their young hearts out for three quarters of their life. And they are standing at the gate of independence, responsibility, self-discipline and future success. They have a right to be scared!
They want to give it their best.
Here’s what a couple of worried students said…
“Everyone is applying to university, and the personal statement is really bothering me and stressing me out. My exam results were ok and I’ll have a good reference. The big problem lies in getting the personal statement done.”
“I started to write it, but always seem to run in to hurdles. On the phrasing and style of things, it either sounds fake and really cheesy, or terribly dull and badly written.”
How often do you write or talk about yourself?
One of the main challenges is that it is not usual for people to talk about themselves. From time to time you’ll say “oh I did this and I did that.” But, when do you really take the time out to assess who, what and where you are?
The same is true for our teenagers. Do you realise that this could be first time that students have had to really think about their skills and strengths? This can be a very hard thing to do and I feel their pain.
If we did a survey today, you’d find that most people get writer's block when writing these statements. The hardest part is just getting started. Once you begin to write you’ll get in the flow and all of the pieces will come together, you'll get be ok!
So how do you begin?
Talk to your teenager about a strategy for getting the personal statement done. There are likely to be help guides available from your child’s school or college. These will be a great starting point. A key thing is that they do not try to be too perfect and say “I don't really know what the admissions tutor will be looking for!” There is no perfect personal statement, so they just need to focus on getting it done.
FACT #1: The admissions tutor will have to read hundreds and thousands of personal statements. So he or she does not want them all to sound the same otherwise they will get bored and fall asleep! J
FACT #2: The admission tutor will get a vibe for at your child’s enthusiasm, knowledge and ability to finish the course successfully. It is important to be themself and be confident.
Here are three key things to share with your teenager to help complete their personal statement:
1. Know who you are and what you want
Make sure they prepare by helping them to have a good look at themselves and their aims for the chosen course.
2. Sharing your strengths
Your son or daughter has many natural talents. This is their chance to offer information that they normally keep quiet about because they what worry what others would say. This is their moment shine. Encourage them to go for it! This attitude is key for a successful personal statement.
3. Tell your story
Above all things, it is important to be honest and stick to the facts. The thing is that this can be relayed in the form of writing a story rather than just a dry bunch of facts. It’s a time to write freely with a fresh, engaging and diverse style to put them ahead of the other applicants. When a student finds their own voice and shares their story, the personal statement will be memorable!
Mums, dads and carers, when our children are 17 or 18, this is the time of their life. Let’s help them to make that transition into young adults. Focus on the development of the child.
Writing a personal statement is hard, but it is worth it!
When their essay is complete, reread with them and be sure that it discusses their strengths. A lot of children do not like to talk about themselves. Well this is their chance to brag about themselves and shine. They have our permission to be boastful or even a little bit cheesy too!
Let’s inspire and empower our children to be successful leaders of the next generation!
We look forward to serving you every day!
Donovan Grant is a coach, mentor, blogger, speaker and IT professional who brings his wisdom of parenting for the last 21 years and coaching clients through the stages of raising youth and empowering leaders with life lessons that are changing generations. He is a passionate and committed leader who believes that we all have the ability to help to change someone else’s life. Actively doing so as a catalyst for many years he teaches how to live a life of success, balance, integrity and fun, whether at work or at play. www.donovangrant.com