Introduction: The personal statement represents an opportunity to transport an admissions officer into the world of the student so they can see what the student sees, think what the student thinks, and feel what the student feels. Admissions officers already know from their grades and test scores what students can accomplish— with the personal statement, they want to know what makes a student tick.
All too many students make the mistake of submitting a reformatting of their resume for their essay. Listing their accolades, a student does nothing to demonstrate what drives them, how they will utilize a college's resources, and how they seek to impact the world in the future.
In my process, the student and I join a shared Google doc and I interview the student, riddling them with questions about their lives to reveal captivating stories that encapsulate their character traits, personalities, experiences, passions, and values. Whether the student I'm working with is a racecar driver, a refugee on an H-4 visa, a volleyball fanatic, a film critic, or a precocious biomedical engineer, I always get the student to tell me every detail from a rich moment in their life that serves to demonstrate what they value, how they look at the world, and how they have used their experiences and resources to grow. Then, I edit the document with the student, quickly eliminating redundancies, instances of passive voice, grammatical errors, and vagaries. Usually, within a few sessions, we end with a powerful, polished personal statement having started from scratch!
Supplemental essays offer a similar opportunity for students to share rich details from their lives to demonstrate their passions, worldviews, experiences, and pieces of wisdom. I help students brainstorm, write, and edit every essay which they have to submit in their applications, all with the emphasis of bringing out their personal voice, true stories, and character traits.
Notable acceptances from last year and this year to date include Yale (6.5% acceptance), Brown (7.7%), Cornell (10.7%), NYU Shanghai (7%), UCLA (14.6%), and many more!
Please reach out so I can share past essays and tell you even more about my process and how I help students every step of the way!
Founder, Fathom Academics