Personal statement writing: the importance of good layout
If you have been tasked with writing a personal statement, then you should know that the format you use for the statement is just as important as what you have to say in the statement. Your personal statement is a place to write about a belief or idea that you have and why that idea deserves some attention. In many cases, personal statements are needed so that you can be accepted to a program or so you can take time to explore an idea in an academic setting. Those who read your personal statement will be looking for a logical argument or a clear presentation, but they will also be looking to see that you can follow the prescribed layout and make your statement look professional.
Look for Elements for the Layout
Personal statements will require several elements in the layout. They often require a properly formatted title page, as well as a header or footer. The page numbers, if those are required, should also be in the appropriate place. If you are not given a set standard for your layout, then you should look for samples to copy. Decision makers who notice that you did or did not follow the format might immediately decide to continue reading or stop reading your statement based on the care you put into the format.
Do Not Try to Fudge a Font Size
The font size and margin will also need to be set for the statement. You will want to be sure you use the proper size and not try to fudge it by going up or down a size or two. People who read papers for a living are quite adept at recognizing when someone is trying to get away with using a slightly larger or smaller font. If you use a larger font to try to reach a page goal, the reader will be able to see it. Attempting to sneak a larger font size into a paper is sure fire way to lose credibility immediately.
Follow the Directions to Ensure Success
If the personal statement has special requirements for paragraph topics, then you should be sure to use those, too. For example, you might only be required to write three paragraphs, but the topics will be predetermined for you. If this is the case, then you should follow the instructions perfectly because your readers will be looking for your ability to do so.