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Guidance Department

Personal Statements & Essays


Pope John


What is a personal statement?

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Personal Statements are essays that you write for most college admissions applications and scholarship applications. They may be short essays (200-500 words) or longer essays (900 words).

Why do I need one?

This is your best chance to tell an admissions committee or scholarship committee about you. Use the personal statement to highlight your personal experiences. Statements also give reviewers a chance to see your writing skills.


What does a personal statement look like?

Generally, the personal statement should be typed, double spaced with a font no smaller than a 10. The essay should have an introduction, body, and conclusion.  Make sure you answer the question, check spelling and grammar.  Ask others to give you feedback.  Edit your work and make corrections.


What do I write about?

Some applications give very open ended questions. Here are some suggestions:

• Why did you choose to apply to this college/for this scholarship?

• What are your goals? Why did you choose these goals?

• What are your values and philosophy about education? Why?

• Is there one or two accomplishment(s), either in school or outside of school that you are particularly proud of? What have you learned from these experiences?

• How do you schedule your time to include both academic and social activities?

• What difficulties or disadvantages have you faced in your life and how have you overcome them? What is one area in which you are weak and how have you or do you plan to overcome that weakness? (Keep this very brief.)

• Identify a leadership experience and talk about the most important lessons of the position and experience.

• What makes you unique?



Other Essays

Below are other frequent college application and scholarship essay topics:

  “Why do you want to attend college?”

 “What field are you interested in studying, and why?”

 “What person or experience has had the most impact on your life, and why?”

 “If you could have dinner with any one person, past or present, who would it be and why?”

 “Describe your volunteer experiences and how they have impacted your life.”

  “What is your most challenging and/or rewarding service experience?”


This question is on almost every scholarship application:

• “Are there any personal and/or family conditions that should be considered when evaluating this application?”


This is an opportunity to explain unique circumstances (medical issues, excessive absences, financial issues).  Regarding financial issues, be specific about how much the total cost will be to complete your degree.  Ask your parents to help you with this.


*Note: You may be able to use an essay more than once if you edit as needed.




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Prince of Peace Catholic Schools prepare students to lead meaningful lives by combining rigorous academics with opportunities for exploration and reflection.


Prince of Peace Catholic Schools are one of the area's leading Catholic Schools.

Pope John XXIII Elementary

221 West State Street

Madison, Indiana 47250


Shawe Memorial Jr./Sr. High School

201 West State Street

Madison, Indiana 47250


Administration and Parish Office

305 West State Street

Madison, Indiana 47250


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