Admission, application and entrance essays: writing, editing, proofreading

Choosing a Unique Title for a Personal Statement

I had a friend who was an editor for a well-known poetry journal. If she did not like the tile of a submitted poem, she would not read the poem. That is a bit extreme and harsh, but a title of any piece of writing is most important. The title must beckon to the reader to sit down, read, and stay awhile.

Your personal statement is a piece of writing that defines who you are to a person who has never met you. Your title must be strong and interesting enough that the admissions director is magnetically drawn to read the personal statement, so he or she can discover more about you.

Tricks of the Trade

There are a few writing and reading tricks that can be used to draw the admission personnel to your paper. When writing your personal statement title choice consider:

  • The top left corner of any piece of writing is where readers are first drawn to and it is where readers will spend most of their reading attention. This is a proven fact that business majors learn in Marketing 101. Start the title with a strong noun or an unusual verb, not an article or preposition. Put as much punch in that left corner as you can.
  • Alliteration can be our friend. We when repeat the same sounds in a row, the words roll off of our tongues. The words flow smoothly. Consider using alliteration in the title. I do not recommend that every title word has the same sound, or it may end up sounding like a nursery rhyme.
  • Keep the title short. People are busy and they do not want to read a title that is two or three lines long. An extremely long title means the writer did not know where to cut and edit words. The reader is going to assume that the paper will be just as wordy as the title.
  • The title needs to be unique. If you are writing a personal statement about a car wreck you had as a young person and how you learned from it, do not call the paper “The Car Wreck.” You have to be more creative than that.

None of these tricks are difficult to implement, so use them. These four simple tips can help you with creating the perfect title for your personal statement!

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