Sell Yourself, Write your Best Personal Statement Yet

PUBLISHED THU, JUL 25 2019


Karissa Xu

Bachelors in Biology at University of California, Berkeley

Chemistry and Biology Teacher


You’ve packed your timetable with exciting extracurriculars. Your grades are impeccable. But how do you elevate your personal statement? Do you seek a native English tutor in Hong Kong? Or do you navigate the daunting task of writing your personal essay solo? As someone who has gone through the rigorous college application process, here is my take on the intimidating personal college application essays.

UCB school of architecture

Applying as an International Student

There are many tools to help you. As an international student, applying to college was difficult enough. Applying to universities halfway across the world was even more challenging. Luckily, I had academic and professional tutoring services at my disposal. I remember going to my college admissions counselor, asking her advice regarding my personal statement.

Where to Start

The most difficult part of writing a college application essay is starting. This is why I found it invaluable to have someone to bounce ideas off. After talking to as many people as possible, my fellow peers, guidance counselors and even professional tutors, I distilled my topic to my experience studying abroad in Spain as a ninth grader. The experience shaped my growth as an individual, and also highlighted my willingness to step out of my comfort zone. I started with a hook, juxtaposing the image of the large Madrid airport with a wide-eyed Asian girl.

Crafting a Compelling Story

As I delved deeper into my essay, I started to naturally integrate moments from my study abroad experience that highlighted my personal traits. I talked about getting lost in alleyways to show how resourceful I could be. I told stories about the cultural exchange programs I joined to accentuate my willingness to learn. Even as a native English speaker, it was challenging to craft a compelling story. Looking back, talking to an admissions expert was so important in helping me create a strong narrative that universities gravitate towards.

Be genuine

The personal essay is your chance to show off who you are. It would be a waste to have all these great qualities and not have it reflected on your essay. My college admissions counsellor was invaluable in helping me highlight my personal strengths in my statement. Similarly, an English tutoring service can support you in communicating your ideas, experiences and values in the best light possible.

Moving Forward

I believe that my personal essay helped me get into my dream university. If my story sounds similar to yours, or you just opened that empty Word document but don’t know what to write, consider making an appointment with our tutors on Helppo. Helppo is an online English tutoring platform in Hong Kong. Founded in Colorado USA in 2016, Helppo will help you present your best possible self in that personal statement. We understand it is not easy to find affordable Native English Tutors in Hong Kong, therefore we offer a free trial lesson with our college admission staff.