Balancing Humility and Self-promotion in Personal Statements

Balancing Humility and Self-promotion in Personal Statements


Striking a balance when it comes to writing the admissions essay or the personal statement is very important. Though arrogance definitely has no room in your admissions essay, it is still advisable not to be overly modest.  Excellent examples of admissions essays present a balance between humility and self-promotion. If you have been trying so hard to avoid everything that promotes your good points, you barely have anything that you can call a personal statement.

A personal statement is not just a college or a graduate school admission requirement, but it is also the primary means to project your personality and highlight specific achievements that your other requirements do not show. Schools use the personal statement or admission essay as a way to get a picture of the kinds of students they will accept. Grades may be an important factor for the admissions committee, but personal traits are also very significant factors that can determine a student’s future success in his or her desired field.

What makes an admissions essay effective?

A personal statement is a written illustration of the characteristics that make you and your desired field compatible. The admissions committee will be alert about the way you talk about your most important achievements. The committee members will see through what you are plainly saying, discovering who you really are. So, you realize that you can talk about the same thing in different ways.

An achievement that you feel will make you sound arrogant can be handled gracefully. A well-written personal statement will not just discuss the achievements the applicant is proud of, but also, it should state how making that achievement has been a learning experience or a reward to be thankful for. By writing this way, you do not have to remove your most important achievements from your personal statement. These accomplishments and your gracious reactions to them make for a very effective personal statement.

To create a balance in your personal statements, write about overcoming difficult times and personal weaknesses. Your personal statement is also your chance to explain bad grades and to express a desire for self-improvement. There are many examples of personal statements online that promote this balance between strengths and weaknesses.

How does becoming over-modest ruin your chances in getting accepted?

While humility in itself is a good trait, becoming too modest in your essay may not necessarily increase your chances of getting accepted into your desired school. For some schools, the personal statement becomes a tie-breaker when you and other candidates present resumes and college records of almost similar achievements and scores. If you have opted not to highlight your best points, your competitor to the slot may be chosen instead of you. It is balance, not omission, that will get you accepted.

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