While the desire to make a strong impression on your personal statement is a valid one, it should be outweighed by a desire to represent your authentic self in your writing. Admissions officers need to get a real picture of who you are beyond the grades, extracurricular activities, and demographic information. The personal statement occupies a unique space in your entire college application in the sense that it is the only area where you get to reveal who you are and what makes you an individual worth knowing. So how can you reveal yourself effectively, when the stakes seem so high? Keep in mind the following:
You will end up at the school that is the best fit
At the beginning of the college search, the options seem endless; you could see yourself anywhere, in multiple environments, pursuing different majors. But at the end of it all, you will end up at one school. So answer the question that resonates most with you. Choose the question that will bring about the most honest and reflective response from you.
There is no one else like you that exists in this world
Use your unique identity to your advantage in your personal statement. Don't try to be someone you're not. Your uniqueness means that you possess life experiences combined with a perspective that has most likely shaped you for the better. What were those turning point moments in your life? What was your upbringing like? What are some of your favorite childhood memories and why do they stand out? Allow yourself to brainstorm freely.
The truth will set you free
Although it may be tempting to exaggerate some facts in your story, in reality, it is contricting. It ends up being more work to make sure that the lie is consistent with the rest of your application. And the interesting thing about it is, that detail probably would not have the impact you thought it might, since exaggerations rarely work. So why take that risk? Besides, the freedom that comes with being authentic in your personal statement may end up being what sets you apart from the rest.