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For being such a short essay, a lot goes into writing a personal statement for your PA school application. Preparation is essential to creating an essay that reflects you and your story in an authentic way.
But once you've nailed down your outline and decided on the content, how do you make sure what you are writing is the best it can be?
I've got three resources to help you improve the grammar, sentence structure, and content of your essay. With these free and low-cost tools, you'll be on your way to creating a more powerful personal statement.
Grammarly is a service that goes way beyond the spell check and grammar check that you are familiar with in word processors. I use this program for most of my writing and find that it helps me cut down on unnecessary words and calls me out on my habit of repeating words or phrases.
Grammarly finds and corrects over 400 kinds of grammatical mistakes as well as spelling errors and poor vocabulary usage. You can use the spell check for free through their website or by downloading the Google Chrome plug-in. The plug-in can double check your emails as your write them and follow you to enhance your composition nearly anywhere else you are writing on the web.
The paid version of Grammarly allows you to see the full extent of any grammatical issues you have and suggests corrections. The free version will show you any spelling mistakes and will notify you if other errors exist. To see the non-spelling mistakes, you will have to upgrade from the free to the premium version.
The good news is the cost of the premium version is relatively low for the level of service provided, and you can choose between monthly, quarterly, or yearly plans. The monthly plan ($29.95) is worth it even as a one-time purchase for the enhancement of your essay. You may consider the annual plan ($11.66/month) if you expect to have more writing to do in the coming months.
This service can seriously improve the quality of your PA school essay. I write a lot and have done a fair amount of editing of manuscripts for journals and personal statements over the years. Still, every blog post I write gets a pass through Grammarly and receives at least a few suggestions that make it better.
Grammarly also offers a 7-day, no-questions-asked 100% money back guarantee on the premium version. They mean it too. I tried it for a week, decided I didn't need it and canceled without a problem. But after a few days without it, I missed being yelled at about my repetitive nouns and re-upped my subscription.
If you are a frequent perpetrator of run-on sentences or flagrantly overuse commas, you are going to love the Hemingway Editor.
The Hemingway Editor evaluates your writing for readability. Long, drawn out sentences that might be difficult to read are highlighted. The app flags adverbs and phrases that may weaken your writing. It also points out the use of passive voice and allows you a small percentage based on the length of your work.
As someone that tends to write long sentences, I find this app incredibly helpful. Seeing the readability of my work in simple color coding helps me write in a more concise, straightforward manner.
The Hemingway Editor web version is free to use and holds no features back. You can see the errors of your ways in just moments by copying your text into the body of the web page.
A desktop app for PC and Mac is available for $19.99. With this option, you can use the editor offline, save your work, and share your edits with color coding intact.
3. My "5 Keys" Ebook
Now that we've covered how to optimize the grammar and sentence structure of your PA school essay, we can focus on the content. My ebook, 5 Keys to Writing an Effective PA School Essay (Amazon, $9), covers all of the essentials of your personal statement content.
Yes, I wrote the book, but I think it's great. It walks you through strategies for opening your essay with examples from real applicants of what and what not to do.
We cover what to avoid so that PA programs see you as a worthy candidate. You will gain insight into one of the most important aspects of the personal statement—how to gracefully describe how your experience relates to a future as a great PA.
Using this ebook will allow you to walk through the exact process I use when working one-on-one with applicants during a Personal Statement Review. And, right now, all of the proceeds from sales of the ebook will go to benefit Be the Match, the National Marrow Donor Program.
Even talented writers can use help with grammar checks, sentence structure, and content. The PA school essay is different than most writing you have done before. It is short, so you have to take full advantage of the space you have to demonstrate your worthiness to PA programs.
Take full advantages of these three resources to help you along your way. The result will be an essay that better represents you and stands out to PA programs.
Wondering what do to after the first draft of your personal statement? Check out the must-dos of the first draft in this prior post.