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writing tips for personal statement

Episode 81: Storytelling Tips and Techniques to Use When Crafting a Personal Statement Essay with Guest Andrea Schiralli


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It’s summertime and a perfect time for juniors in high school to read, write in their journal, travel, and start to brainstorm ideas for their personal statement. Andrea is a writer, a storyteller, and someone who has lived, worked, and traveled overseas teaching English and test prep to students along the way. Andrea will share her tips, advice, and strategies on how to start your personal statement and why she would highly recommend living and working overseas.



Key Takeaways:

  • Read, read, read – as that helps to develop your writing skills
  • Read over the common app prompt and see if there is anything that you really want to write about.
  • Prepare an outline and review it to see if this makes an interesting story not only for you but for the admissions representatives.
  • Get a 1st draft done as that is the hardest part.
  • Think about traits that are not present in other aspects of your application that you can showcase in the personal statement essay.
  • When studying for the SAT, many vocabulary words have similar meanings so memorizing certain words is one strategic way to study
  • In college, embrace change and if you can travel or work overseas, go for it!
  • Get your CELTA – Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages as this is a good certification program that is widely accepted overseas which can help you obtain work overseas during your studies or travels.
  • A great book for English majors is –  I'm an English Major – Now What? How English Majors Can Find Happiness, Success, and a Real Job.
  • Take a host of different classes in college because you may find a subject you absolutely love which could turn into a minor, double major or hobby.

Important Resources and Links:

Meet Andrea Schiralli

Ivy & Quill


Since 2014, Andrea has worked as a college admissions coach, strategically helping students craft memorable essays while taking into account their overall application package, strengths/weaknesses, and personality. Before entering the field of admissions consulting, she taught test prep, creative writing, and literary analysis courses at private/charter schools. She has also written SAT/GRE books, created an SAT vocabulary app, edited everything from best-selling non-fiction books to esoteric dissertations, and published many hopelessly-girly poems. In addition to her proudest accomplishment–certification in Chocolate & Candy Making from the French Culinary Institute–she holds a B.A. in French Literature from Cornell and an M.Ed from Harvard.


Thank you Andrea for sharing your story on so many fronts. Whether you are starting your personal statement and looking for writing tips or wondering how to get a job teaching English or test prep overseas, Andrea provided practical advice and strategies based on her own experience living and working overseas and as a professional writer. Take a look at the common app prompts to get ideas for your personal statement and then try to write an outline. It will help get your ideas organized. If you have an opportunity to travel or study overseas, go for it! Thanks also to Andrea for her help recruiting students for our Student Q&A videos! Check out Boston University as we co-sponsored that video with Ivy & Quill. 


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Episode 81 Full Transcript

Episode 81 – Andrea Schiralli

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