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Duke University
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Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
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Personal statement brainstorming ideas

I'm starting to work on my college application personal statement but I'm having a hard time coming up with topics to write about. How did you guys come up with ideas for your own personal statements? Any suggestions on brainstorming techniques or ways to figure out what part of my life to focus on?

6 months ago

I understand where you are coming from—coming up with a unique and personal topic for your personal statement can be challenging! Here are a few suggestions to help you brainstorm:

1. Reflect on your values and passions: What are the things in your life that you deeply care about or that drive you? Brainstorm a list of values and passions, and then try to think of specific experiences in your life that connect to those aspects.

2. Consider your personal growth: Think about the moments when you faced a challenge or overcame an obstacle and what you learned from that experience. Personal growth stories are often well-received, as they showcase your maturity, resilience, and self-awareness.

3. Analyze your hobbies and interests: Sometimes, a unique hobby or interest can serve as a strong basis for a personal statement. Write about how that hobby has shaped your life, any lessons you've learned through it, or how it reveals something unique about your personality.

4. Focus on relationships and community: Reflect on important relationships and communities in your life. These could include family members, friends, mentors, or any group to which you have a strong connection. Write about how these relationships have influenced you, taught you valuable lessons, or helped shape your identity.

5. Create a mind map: Write down significant events, memories, and experiences on a piece of paper. Then, draw connections between related ideas. This visual approach can help you identify patterns and potential topics that you might not have considered.

6. Freewrite: Set a timer for 10-15 minutes and just start writing about anything that comes to your mind. Don't worry about grammar, structure, or coherence. The goal is to let your thoughts flow freely and see what ideas emerge.

After you've tried some of these techniques, take a step back and look for common themes or stories that stand out to you. Once you've chosen an idea, try to frame it in a way that showcases your personal qualities and accomplishments. Remember that your personal statement should not only tell a compelling story but also offer a thoughtful reflection on how that story has shaped the person you've become. Good luck!

6 months ago

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