Here's another example of an excellent personal statement essay recently completed by one of our high school students, Sarah G. from Illinois. What makes this essay stand out for us is the smooth flow of Sarah's narrative and her crystal clear voice. Sarah is participating in our Essay Rock Star semester program and just finished the first module of the program. This type of essay is usually requested on college applications.
In addition to multi-paragraph writing composition skills, in this writing module we work with students to get them comfortable and confident writing about themselves. As you'll read below, Sarah obviously has had a strong sense of self well before she came to us.
Who Am I?
I have had my fair share of challenges in life. For a long time, I have struggled with being who I am versus being who people want me to be. Transferring to homeschooling allowed me to escape the pressure of high school and gave me more freedom to make my own choices. Even if it took the people in my life some getting used to, when it came down to it, it was the right decision. It presented me with new opportunities, like guitar and photography. It also did not limit me to a certain field or area to become interested in.
I never imagined I would be the one who chose homeschooling. I spent the first eight years of my education in a public school just like every other child I knew. As I got older, I became more discontent with where I was and who I was becoming. I realized it was time for a change when I looked in the mirror and didn’t recognize myself anymore. So, after exploring my options, I went to my mom and asked her opinion on homeschooling. We discussed it, and it was decided that it would be best to try it out for a year. When I began, I saw it as an escape from all the hardships in my life, but over time I started to realize that it could be so much more than that. It could be a new beginning. To start, I was able to work at the pace that was best for me. I could also include subjects I found interesting, that wouldn’t normally be taught. Although my mother creates the lesson plan, it is my responsibility to manage my daily schedule and plan what I would like to accomplish outside of school.
My family and friends have always been a big part of my life. No matter what, they have stood by me and supported me through everything, even if they didn’t agree with it personally. My choice to homeschool is a prime example. When I first told my family, they thought I was going through a phase. My friends didn’t understand why I would want to leave school. Even though it was ultimately the right choice for me, it took- and still occasionally takes- a lot of convincing and requires many questions to be asked and answered, as some of my family still does not completely understand my decision. The fact that my two younger brothers were still going to school was a point of confusion because I didn’t necessarily explain the whole reason for my homeschooling. I was never very extroverted, so not being around three hundred other students each day did not affect me greatly, but I missed the few people that I used to spend my days with. Even though I live across the street from two of my best friends and a mile away from the third, I only get to see them each once or twice a month, if that. Honestly, that was one of the most difficult changes for me. With the new direction my life was taking, quite a few changes were made concerning my family’s dynamic. Everyone took to the changes very well, even though it took some getting used to.
When I was in public school, I participated in extracurricular activities like band, track, and drama. After I left though, it wasn’t possible for me to do, as I was no longer enrolled in the school district. So, I filled in my extra time with new things. I began playing the guitar and started taking piano lessons again. I also started reading more often and greatly widened the variety of books that I chose. I began sharpening my photography skills by taking a course and assisting my grandmother when she had large photo shoots. As I experimented with new hobbies, I began to realize that just because I wasn’t playing the same instruments or participating in the same activities in my spare time did not mean I couldn’t enjoy doing it.
As I have gotten older, the things that were once in my far future are now just around the corner, and I have begun thinking about what I would like to accomplish in life. Even though my career path is still undecided, I know that there is one thing I want to do for certain. I want to help people. This may not end up being my full-time job, but there is something about leaving the comfort of your known, to inhabit the unknown specifically for the purpose to help others, that has always held a special place in my heart. Whether it is taking a year off of school and working in an orphanage in Africa or joining the Peace Corps, I have wanted to commit time in my life to help others. On the other hand, though, I also want to get into a good college, get a degree and a job, and become a successful businesswoman. My future has always been a place of unknowns where I can create a new me. It forces me out of my shell and makes me believe I can make a difference in this world, whether it’s by ridding the world of disease, or something as simple as giving a home to an orphan. It is a place where I can be who I desire to be. A place where my past skeletons can’t hold me back and that is what makes me so eager to leave home, to go to college, to go to Africa, to travel the world. It is a place where I can be me, and only me.
So, I may not have found out exactly who I am yet, but I am well on my way to learning. I have discovered interests that I never knew I had, leading me closer to finding my true calling in life. I have accomplished many things I never thought possible of me, and become a person I never thought I would be able to be again: a good person. I now know that my family and friends will stick with me through every decision in life, even the tough ones, and that not everything is what it seems. Homeschooling has also opened up a whole new world for career choices and paths. I am now living a life that I am excited to live, not one that I dread, and it has lead me to become a much better version of me.
An Essay Rock Star Personal Statement Essay short course is also available for those interested in learning to write a personal narrative essay only.