Holy Strawberries, Batman! We’re in a Jam!

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From Superman last week to Batman & Robin this week, your superheros are coming to your rescue to get you out of a jam. This week, you’re heading into the final stretch of completing your statement, and you need to complete the meticulous process of proofreading and editing. Use this checklist to help guide you.

Checklist for Personal Statement

Length requirement (preferably one page; no smaller than 10 point font)
Attractive & Professional (header, paragraphs of expected lengths, one-inch margins)
Truthful and ethical information
Engaging introduction
Effective organization
    Forecast (thesis)
    Topic sentences
Well-supported and developed (specific examples)
Avoids cheesy clich├ęs
Includes interesting analogies and creative comparisons
Uses vivid word choice
Effective tone (confident but not arrogant)
    The “I” Problem
Balance of formal and informal
Avoids unnecessary duplication
Answers the questions (what makes you unique; why this program)
Demonstrates knowledge of the specific program (Win/Win format)
Conclusion (ties together parts and leaves reader satisfied)

To maximize the success of your proofreading and editing process, step away from your personal statement for at least a day. Then read it aloud–very slowly, paying attention to places you stumble. Underline them, and after you’ve read the whole essay, come back to the problem areas and fix them. Use spell checker, but don’t rely on it to find your errors. (If you do, you could intend to write “regards,” and end up replacing the “g” for a “t,” resulting in a BIG miscommunication.) When you think you’re completely finished proofreading and editing, print it. Look at it again with the same critical eye.

Finally, have a trusted side-kick such as Robin (i.e., your writer-in-residence) read it and give you feedback.

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