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amandamayet 2 / 4 2  
Jan 13, 2015   #1

Write Stellar Personal Statement

All applicants must write a personal statement and submit it with the application for admission.

Do you have a compelling academic or personal need to attend the University of Washington-Seattle at this time? Is there anything else you would like us to know?

Content as well as form, spelling, grammar, and punctuation, will be considered. Suggested length is 750-1000 words.


Against almost all odds, I'm now applying to a competitive program at University of Washington, at age 29. My academic history used to haunt me, but I now recall it without shame because I have come so very, very far. I need to be honest right-off-the-bat and disclose that I am a high-school drop out. I barely earned credit during my brief attendance in grades 9 and 10, and then went on to dropout of two different colleges within 3 years between the ages of 18 -21 after earning my GED.

Like many others, I didn't have an ideal childhood that was supportive of achieving educational goals, or any goals for that matter. I had moved out on my own at age 15, living with an older sister of a friend as roommates. I got my first job when I was 14-years-old at a business office after convincing the owner that all he needed was a child-work permit, and it was completely legal to hire me. Impressed with my perseverance and resourcefulness for such a young age, he gave me a chance. I worked my way through my teens and twenties, ending up in a communications sales position for a major wireless company, but that eventually became unsatisfying after nearly 5 years of hustling for commissions. I never did completely dismiss my earlier intentions of finishing school while I was busy growing up and working, but I also knew I would only go back when I was completely ready to do so.

With now having two small children of my own, I wanted so much more for my family; it was not just for myself anymore. I needed some challenge in my life; my brain felt like it was on constant auto-pilot in my sales job. This time, I was determined to accomplish my long-time goal of earning a degree involving my greatest passion: Health!

My favorite classes always involved health, the human body, and the complexity of organisms and cells. How they divinely work or don't work together is like a puzzle I want to solve over and over again! Currently, I'm just a few courses away from completing my pre-nursing transfer degree at Lake Washington Institute of Technology. While studying, I've found I am especially interested in disease prevention and education, specifically for at-risk youth or in underserved populations. HIV/AIDS and HPV have been selected topics for many of my research assignments during my recent college years. Reaching out to the public in effort to ensure the awareness is there, is something I'm passionate about. Advocating and providing case management for populations who are infected with HIV is something I would also really enjoy.

I have made a complete comeback this time around at a more mature and focused age. I have attainable goals that match my natural passion and interests, so it has been a much different experience since beginning again in Fall 2013. I am on honor roll, I have earned scholarships and grants, I have volunteered doing teen suicide prevention work to promote mental health wellness, and have also worked in the campus's International Program helping students from all over the world adapt to American college life. The exposure to the globally diverse cultures I encountered while mentoring international students was extremely educational for me as well. It helped me identify what my own personal culture is, and what culture really means in terms of how you were raised and how you choose to live an adult.

I would describe my own family's culture as the cliché of the All-American sort. We BBQ and camp in the Summer, then ski and watch football in the Winter. We eat dinner together at the table nightly, and my kids are involved in sports and dance. These cultural details were not taught to me though in my childhood. I created my own culture for my family as an adult with my own children to raise. I incorporate all the things I wanted to know about as a growing child, but was never afforded. Higher education is one of those things. I am setting this example for them, and if I get accepted into a school like UW, then that's the ultimate achievement for me! I would be honored that even higher standards will be modeled so that when it's their time to enter college, they will have had my hard-earned accomplishments to look up to.

Whether I end up earning a Masters in PH and becoming CHES certified, or working for an agency like Planned Parenthood, WIC, or the county health department, I know this is my calling. It is my true interest to serve the public, and to be a part of helping so many other people lead healthier, and longer lives.
vangiespen - / 4131 1449  
Jan 15, 2015   #2
Of all the reasons that you have given in your essay, there are two compelling reasons that you can use to write this essay properly. Those are your desire to prove that even this late in your life, you have the ability to complete a degree because you wish to create a better future for yourself and your family. The second reason that you can use and must highlight is the fact that you have two children who need to grow up respecting you and knowing that there is no limit to the age of a person when it comes to desiring to improving himself. Expound the most on the second reason by highlighting the fact that you wish to gain the respect of your children and be the encouragement that they need when they feel like they want to give up on college. Talk about how finishing a degree will offer you the self respect that you desire and require to be able to tell your children to stay in school and keep striving for the best that they can achieve in their academic and professional life because you did it. Discuss how that is the compelling reason that you have for wanting to enroll in university classes.

Admissions officers always look for the best and most effective reasons that could compel you to enroll in college. Normally the best reasons relate to self improvement, professional advancement, or personal reasons. In your case, you have all 3 reasons present as your compelling reasons. Be sure to fully discuss only those options. You don't need to explain the non related aspects such as your favorite classes, your family background, etc. Those are irrelevant and do not apply as answers to the question posed. Those as responses best saved for the common apps. Let your documents tell the rest of your story. There is no need to present unnecessary information in this particular essay.
OP amandamayet 2 / 4 2  
Jan 15, 2015   #3
Thank you so much for your feedback. I'm not sure why some of the "instructions" did not paste over when I submitted this but UW specifically asks and requires you to write about your personal culture and also what could you bring to campus to contribute to the diversity. Trust me, I am not sure how to talk about "culture" when I am pretty average and then also incorporate it into a personal statement that is explaining educational history and goals. I have over a month to revise and so I am so happy to have gotten your feedback and advice. I appreciate your time in reading my statement! If you know how I could adequately transition into addressing my own personal culture, PLEASE do tell! Thanks again!
vangiespen - / 4131 1449  
Jan 15, 2015   #4
The keyword here is personal history and educational history / goals. What you should be thinking about are two parts. The first being how your personal history played a part in your dropping out of high school and then for the second part, the role it played in getting you back to school. We are all just average students. What makes each of us special is the culture and tradition on our family part that makes our educational goals and ambitions worth the trek. Talk about family members who may have inspired you to go back to school and get your GED when you had already thought your life was over after dropping out. Look for the important people who can serve as an inspiring part of your cultural background. Once you realize what it is about your personal background that has helped you get to this point in your personal and educational life, you will have developed an essay that is uniquely all about you :-)

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