The OFFICIAL "I need help on my personal statement for college acceptence" thread

Ok, if youre reading this, i know that someone actually cares. Well maybe. This may sound like a rant, and maybe it is, but i need some help… well here it goes.

I go to a catholic high school. I could add a few more adjectives and adverbs in there to show just how bad the school is, but ill leave it at “a catholic high school” since thats bad enough. Well anyways, i came in freshman year, and realized that this school was hell on earth. I didnt give a shit, hardly did homework, and slid by taking the least amount of time under the spotlight as possible. If i didnt need to do it, it wouldnt get done. Period. Sophmore year, i did basically the same thing, thinking the whole time “why the hell does school matter? How the hell does one number between 0 and 5 represent who i am or what i do?” Well i still feel that way, and that number happens to be in the mid 3’s. Junior year, i finally said, im gonna try a little. Study for some tests… do as little homework as possible, but at least i was doing it. Finished the year with mostly a’s with a pretty damn hard schedule. I mean, more than half of the year i was taking 8 classes per day, and managed to get an a in 6 of them The 2 classes i didnt get a’s in were a class that i literally didnt give one shit about because the teacher wouldnt let me express myself without fucking censoring me (ok i got pissed), and the other one was a theology class which doesnt count for UC schools anyways.

Basically, what im trying to say, is that im not a dumbshit. ive known it and im not trying to be cocky or anything (im no where near as smart as half the people on this board), but at least i have a higher iq than the average high school student. Finally, senior year has started. Now its time to apply to college, reflect on what ive done, and as overwhelming as it may seem, choose what i want to do with the rest of my life. I know these people are going to look at record, and say “ok, this kid has a lower gpa than most of the applicants, higher SAT score than would be expected for his gpa, and doesnt do anything interesting… throw him into the ‘waiting list’ or ‘sorry, not accepted’ pile.” I feel like im getting screwed! I didnt go to the average high school… its a “college prep” school that sets the standards higher than the public school across the street. Just because i didnt do much my first 2 years, they are going to think im some sort of dumb ass. My only opportunity to show them who i really am is through my personal statement. Im not the kind of person that wants anyones pity, and im sure that the people reading the essays arent the type to show pity. So, i was thinking about leaving most of what ive said out of my personal statement and just taking the advice of everyone on the planet and “be myself.” The problem is, they dont want to know me.

One of the 3 questions ive got to respond to asks: “Is there anything you would like us to know about you or your academic record that you have not had the opportunity to describe elsewhere in this application?”

If it were simply “being myself” i would tell them “Yes, id like you to know that the first two years of high school i didnt give a shit. I hope that you have nightmares for 37 years after throwing away my application. Specifically, i would be pleased if these nightmares had a few elements. A dictionary, a dancing cat, and a cowboy suit on which guacamole was spilled. I end this application by giving you a mental picture that will hopefully stay with you for a long time. That mental picture is Janet Reno naked.” Now i may find that funny, but i dont think they will.

Therefore i ask you all to give me some input on what you feel i should put in my personal statement to show that i truly am unique, intelligent, likeable, and maybe, just maybe, more than gpa and sat score.

Thank you for giving me the chance to show someone who wont decide whether i get into Berkeley or not, who i truly am!

PS: If you are one of the people who reads personal statements and decides who gets in, remember that culov loves you.

Tell us more about yourself? Clubs? Volunteer work? Reading to blind orphans on the side? Had a successful lemonade stand that was featured in Lou Dobbs’ Moneyline? Details!

Well thats a problem… i dont do much that the average kid does other than maybe read. Yea im in some clubs but every other person is going to be talking about how many clubs they are in and what they do. That doesnt really tell them who i am. If someone came up to me and asked me, “who the hell are you?” first, id tell them to shut the hell up and dont demand me to answer anything, then i would tell them that i enjoy reading, thinking, talking and argueing, programming, and running my site. I guess thats who i am…

i also forgot to say comments, opinions, advice, and complaints are all welcome.

Well, first you’d have to lose the attitude.

Second, the key to a good personal statement is BS. So you program and run a website, yes? So "I’ve been involved in running for X years and it’s taught me some valuable lessons. First, you have to stand up for what you believe in, as I learned when (insert event like someone emailing you a flame, you respond, an argument breaks out). Etc. I also program (language) in my free time and it’s taught me that persistence pays off. Once I got stuck trying to learn (some weird programming thing) and I just couldn’t do it, so I took a break and while I was (meditating/reading to orphans/assisting an old woman crossing the street/etc.) it hit me that (solution) " And so on. Take a mundane experience and make it life-changing

Third, Hi Opal!

You want imput from someone who reads college Applications? Ok here’s my imput. Read carefully Culov. First, those who know me know I am a college psych prof, I take a hard stance on many a topic, including badger racing and smoking pot in my classroom. Neither is allowed or tolerated. That being said:

You are quite the angry teenager aren’t you Culov. I’d guess that places you with round about 25 million other teens out there who think their voice is not heard, and that no one ever gives them an explination for anything, it’s always just, “do it because I’m the boss, teacher, parent etc…etc… I don’t need to give you an explination for anything”
Is this about on track?
Catholic Highschools…Ahh do I remember the days of french nuns pounding sweet nothings about the lord into my head. At least now you don’t have to kneel on the floor with a bible in each out-stretched hand reciting the rosary 10 times straight.
I know what you are going through Culov, repression within a Catholic highschool is not something I need a lesson on. But I will give you some sage advice about what Path I can see you heading towards.
Take your anger and attitude and place it on the front lines. Make it known that you are strong, but mask it in something other than an angry teenager with a bullshit attitude. Because that will get you no where. if you mask it correctly and use it wisely, no one will pick up on your ruse and you will succeed to heights previously thought out of reach.
Applications - whens this asshole going to get to what I asked in the OP - well you say a variety of things in your OP.

Well then you are a philosopher correct? Ok rephrase, a cyber-philosopher to be more accurate. Though I would not put that on an application, it sounds like you like to talk, and philosophize about shit right?
Well you need to think about what the person reading your application is thinking…is this person right for our school? Worthy of our attention and able to handle themselves here?

So when you sit down to write the Applications, make sure you have no spelling or grammar issues, and write confidently but not arrogantly. Write about things you like, but don’t list them.

I like reading the Berenstain Bears, little red riding hood and Ann of Green Gables. <- is unnacceptable.

I’m an avid bibliophile who loves to read literature that stimulates my mind and sets me off to different levels of thought and feeling - is a little more on schedule.

Programing - elaborate on what exact language you use for programing, how experienced you are, what you like to promote in a site.

Most importantly, if you have any incling of what you want to major in at the school you are applying to, then write a directed personal statement with what you may be majoring in. Even if it is BS, people who read Apps want to know you have a direction, and that you want to attend their school because it would put you on the right path for success. Do not be mundane, or pointless, be structured and full of insight.

People who reads apps want to see confidence without mediocrity. Even if you just plan on drinking and smoking copious amounts of pot at college, make them think you are really wanting to study in a certain realm and with a certain calibre of people.

Whoooo I’m going to be late for my 9am lecture. Email me if you need anything else. And good luck. Remember attitude is ugly and very unnattractive to colleges.

i dont really have a bad attitude, just a strange sense of humor. My original post was written at like 1 am after i finished doing my homework and had been awake for about 20 hours so i was pretty tired and needed to entertain myself. Well anyways, thanks for your responses, and im just leaving this reply to tell you, Phlosphr, that i might e-mail you once during the next month. If anyone can add anything else, feel free to do so.

Hey, don’t hate on Catholic high schools! (Then again, mine was in a rather liberal diocese.)

If your GPA is a 3 point something and you have a high SAT, then you should be OK. I don’t know if anyone has told you this before, but generally when applying you want to apply to 2 safety schools (ones you know you’ll get into), 2 middling schools (you’re pretty sure you’ll get in), and two reach schools (ones you might maybe get into and would love to go to if you did get in).

If your first two years sucked, then tell them that. Something like “I was a real goof-off in my first two years of high school, but then (experience/realization) happened and I realized that college was important. Once I realized the importance of hard work, I started (doing homework/showing up for class/whatever) and living up to my potential.” That ought to actually work in your favor, since it shows you growing and maturing.

And like others said, try not to have an attitude. You want to project confidence, not cockiness.

BTW, if you want a proofreader, drop me a line. I won’t rewrite anything for you, but I will give constructive criticism. (If you do email me, be sure to put SDMB in the title bar.)