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13 Interesting Ways of How to Start a Personal Statement

When applying for a graduate program, you might be requested to write and present a personal statement. The university uses the information you provide in the personal statement and the other information you will have provided to decide whether to offer you a place or not. In essence, the university admission board tries to build a picture of who you are as a candidate, and this picture is product of several different pieces; your successful application consists of academic performance (which you might want to brighten a bit with a good letter explaining low GPA), your teacher’s reference, and more importantly, your personal statement. Of all these pieces, your personal statement structure and what goes into it is the only thing you have full control over. As such, you must know how to start a personal statement essay the right way.

Note that although many potential candidates will apply with the exact grade you have, no one is the exact person you are. Your life experiences, your skills, purpose in life, and thoughts are unique. Right from the opening sentence for personal statement, you should write an essay that showcases you as the best person to the admission committee, not as just one of the many candidates whose essays and academic statement passes before their eyes. In our opinion, if you don’t have the time to research and master best opening lines for personal statement, hire a writer for personal statement. That’s right, there are writers who over the years, have been creating unique writing and for a reasonable fee, they will give a scholarship-winning essay.

advice to write a good personal statement3 Bad Personal Statements Opening in Form of Quotations

One of the worse ways of starting a personal statement is by using what we call personal statement clichés. Basically, these are popular personal statement quotes that have been overused. They can be classified into 3 main categories.

  • The first and most used personal statement cliches are quotes from a famous person. An example of this involves quoting Nelson Mandela, Thomas Jefferson, or Mohammed. For example, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world,” – Nelson Mandela, is a cliché quote. Try and avoid starting your personal statement with quotes.
  • The second category involves quoting what a public speaker or professor said in front of a group or class. For example, “Do not tell me what I can and cannot do,” – Professor McGonagall.  
  • The third kind involves quoting a family member, a close friend, or other influential persons in your life. For example, my grandmother always told me, “Believe in yourself and the world will believe in you, too.”

In most situations, the quotes are used in the first paragraph or introduction and in the first sentence. Using these overused sentences is the fire sure way to tell the admission committee that you are stuck or struggling with how to start a personal statement essay. It shows that you do not have confidence in your words and believes that a quote will attract the attention of the committee. What you might not realize is that quoting another person – especially in the first paragraph or introduction – is always a mistake.


13 Nice Openers for a Personal Statement

What you include in the first sentence of your personal statement essay matters 1000s times. Therefore, here are 13 interesting ways how to start a personal statement.

  1. Begin with a dramatic event – In the summer of 1970, a top officer of the NCI (National Cancer Institute drove from Washington DC to California carrying in his bag 3 plastic flasks. Shinning in a milky form at the base of every flash were live tumor cells. These cells came from…
  2. Begin by narrating a story – I have long searched for the opportunity to repay a certain loan which I have owned since I was eight years old. Loans are usually liabilities, but this is not an ordinary loan, and it is not a burden, except a feeling of gratitude to…
  3. Begin with a contrast – City dwellers are supplier than country dwellers and the sanest city dweller, being more broadly based and more tested in the world of people, are the sanest individuals on earth. To be honest…
  4. Begin by setting the picture – The last part was filled, yet individuals continued to hold themselves along the barricades of the store. Uncle Mike had turned the TV up to its highest notch so that we couldn’t miss any word. People sat on dining-room chairs, kitchen chairs, stools… This will bring out your personal statement structure.
  5. Begin with a question – Do you wonder where certain slang expressions came from? Like “Take it on the lam” or “She is the cat’s pajamas.” If you have ever wondered here I have provided a short brief…
  6. Begin with a description – Niagara is a place of unrivaled natural magnificence; it is also a tired industrial area, beaten regularly and with a hard face. An amazing river…
  7. Begin with an unusual fact or figure – There are four hundred and thirty-five members of the House of Representatives and four hundred and seventeen are white males. Ten of the rest are ladies and nine are black. I belong to these minorities which…
  8. Begin with a definition – I consider gifted kids as those who possess an innate ability or some quality which has been identified and recognized by any number of observation and testing gadgets and who show interest and success in either artistic, physical, intellectual…
  9. Begin with humor or surprise – After watching Mike Nichols’ movie The Graduate and hearing that marvelous line, “plastics,” I was immediately drawn into the hand of the super polymer Satan. But, by…
  10. Begin with topical context – As I write this statement, the US has launched another small war in far away part of the world, Governor Mario Cuomo makes…
  11. Begin with a compelling quotation – “To know where you are going, you must know where you are coming from.”… Here, the important thing is to avoid personal statement clichés or overused quotations.
  12. Begin with a demonstration of real interest – Reading around the subject and talking to professional in this field I have…
  13. Begin with an example – Last summer, I was invited to present a speech on cancer eradication and its effect on the 21st century. I found this to be…

Remember that these are just a few examples of dozens of best opening lines for personal statement. Understand how to start personal statement and you will surely get the admission you are longing for.   

Importance of Being Original in Your Personal Statement

In most states, the acceptance rate of the personal statement is as low as 11% of all the applicants (sometimes runs to thousands of applications). This means that about 89% of all the applicants are rejected because of not being original or not including relevant content. There are 2 main reasons why you need to be original while writing your personal statement for the admissions committee.

  • You are able to explain why you have decided to study in a particular institution. For instance, instead of using personal statement quotes from professionals in your personal ethical statements, you are able to explain how your previous studies and certain situations or people have influenced your choice.
  • Being original shows that you have done your research and you definitely know enough about the program to an extent you can say exactly what it is you want to derive from it.   

10 Common Personal Statement Cliches

Make sure that you do not use the following overused statements when writing your opening sentence.

  1. From a young age, I have been fascinated by/interested in…(309 times)
  2. For as long as I can recall, I have…(196 times)
  3. I am applying for this subject/course because…(167 times)
  4. I have always been fascinated by….(202 times)
  5. From a young age, I have always enjoyed…(307 times)
  6. Reflecting on my education background/experiences…(174 times)
  7. … is a very demanding and challenging course…(163 times)
  8. Academically, I have always been…(94 times)
  9. It has been my dream to pursue…(102 times)
  10. Am I passionate about…(179 times)

10 Common Quotes to Avoid

  1. “I think, therefore I am” – Descartes (90 times)
  2. “A picture is worth a thousand words” -Napoleon Bonaparte (103 times)
  3. “Those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it” – George Santayana (79 times)
  4. “Pure mathematics is the poetry of logic” – Albert Einstein (176 times)
  5. “I think I can safely say that nobody understands quantum mechanics” – Richard Feynman (103 times)
  6. “My imagination is a monastery and I am its monk” – John Keats (73 times)
  7. “Scientists investigate that which already is; Engineers create that which has never been”Einstein (83 times)
  8. The only good is knowledge and the only evil is ignorance” – Socrates (165 times)
  9. “A people that value its privileges above its principles soon loses both” – Dwight D. Eisenhower (108 times)
  10. “In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. But in practice, there is” – Yogi Berra (101 times)

 A professional writer knows the ins and outs, techniques and how to start a personal statement essay the right way. To ensure that you submit a great essay, hire a writer for personal statement!