How to End a Personal Statement: Writing a Memorable Conclusion

student typing on laptop
Updated:
January 3, 2024
8 min read
Contents

”Rohan

Reviewed by:

Rohan Jotwani

Former Admissions Committee Member, Columbia University

Reviewed: 1/3/24

When you know how to end a personal statement, you boost your chances of making a lasting impact on the admissions committee. It's all about making sure they remember you in a positive way.



Crafting a compelling personal statement is the cherry on top of your college application essay. It's that final chance to leave a lasting impression on the admissions committee, to wrap up your story with finesse, and to underscore why you're the ideal candidate for their institution. 

So, let's delve into the art of writing a powerful conclusion that will make your application shine.

The Importance of a Strong Conclusion

Just like a personal statement introduction, the importance of a strong conclusion in your college application personal statement cannot be overstated. It's your last chance to leave a powerful impression on the admissions committee, summing up your key points and reinforcing your main message.

A well-crafted conclusion offers clarity, closure, and reflection while expressing your enthusiasm for the future. It's the finishing touch that can make your personal statement truly memorable.

Defining the Purpose of a Personal Statement Conclusion

The conclusion of a personal statement plays an important role:

  • Reinforces Your Core Message: It strengthens the central message or theme that runs through your personal statement, leaving a lasting impression of your candidacy.
  • Recaps Key Elements: It concisely summarizes the main ideas, important experiences, and notable achievements highlighted in your essay, offering a quick reminder of your qualifications.
  • Leaves an Impact: Similar to a memorable closing scene in a movie, a well-crafted conclusion can have a powerful impact. Whether through a thought-provoking question, an impactful quote, or a glimpse into your future goals, it aims to engage the reader's thoughts and emotions.
  • Demonstrates Your Writing Skills: Your conclusion also shows off your writing abilities, highlighting your capacity to convey your message effectively and memorably.

The conclusion adds the final touch to your personal statement. It brings clarity, wraps things up, and encourages reflection while showing your excitement for the future. Remember, a personal statement is not a statement of purpose

It’s all about explaining why you’re the right candidate for the program you’re applying to, rather than simply explaining why you’re applying. You need to stand out! This is your final opportunity to leave a strong impression on the admissions committee, making sure they understand why you're an exceptional applicant.

female student sitting on floor writing essay on paper

Selecting the Right Approach for Concluding

When you're reaching the end of your personal statement, it's crucial to select an approach that harmonizes with the tone and message of your essay. Take a moment to reflect on the story you've shared and the impression you aim to leave with the admissions committee.

If your personal statement has revolved around a narrative, a reflective conclusion that links back to your story can be fitting. Conversely, if your essay leans towards analysis or persuasion, you might opt to restate your main argument or emphasize the key points. 

Think about what will resonate most with your reader, and make sure your conclusion seamlessly follows the flow of your preceding content. This ensures a cohesive and impactful ending to your personal statement.

Summarizing Key Points

In the conclusion of your personal statement, a concise summary can be highly effective. Revisit the main points, experiences, or achievements you've shared in your essay. This summary provides a quick refresher for the reader, reinforcing your most significant qualifications and attributes.

It's a way to emphasize what makes you a strong candidate without restating everything in your essay. Keep it brief and focused, highlighting the highlights that best support your application. This approach ensures that your conclusion leaves a lasting impression while staying concise and to the point.

Reiterating the Thesis or Main Message

In your personal statement, you often have a central theme or message, such as your passion for a subject, your dedication to community service, or your ability to overcome challenges. In the conclusion, it's valuable to reiterate this thesis or main message.

By reinforcing the importance of your central theme and explaining how it relates to your desire to be a part of the college community, you can leave a strong and lasting impression on the admissions committee. This restatement emphasizes your unique qualities and aspirations, helping your personal statement stand out.

Ending With a Thought-Provoking Question

Ending your personal statement with a thought-provoking question can engage the reader and invite them to reflect further on your essay's themes. This question should tie back to your story and message, encouraging the admissions committee to consider its implications. 

However, be mindful not to make the question overly open-ended. Instead, guide the reader toward thoughtful reflection on your experiences and goals, reinforcing your candidacy effectively.

Closing With a Powerful Quote

Adding a meaningful quote to your conclusion can elevate your personal statement. Just make sure it aligns with your essay's themes and provides valuable insights. A well-picked quote connects your story to a broader perspective, making a lasting impact.

Suggesting Future Goals or Intentions

If your future goals align with the college you're applying to, your conclusion can serve as a bridge between your past experiences and your future aspirations. You can briefly mention how your journey has prepared you for what lies ahead and how you intend to contribute to the college community. 

This not only demonstrates your enthusiasm but also highlights the value you'll bring to the college. Just ensure that your future intentions feel authentic and well-aligned with your personal narrative.

In a nutshell, your choice of conclusion approach can make a world of difference in how your personal statement lands with the admissions committee. The right conclusion, like the perfect closing note of a melody, can leave a lasting impression that resonates with those who read it.

student typing essay

Determining the Most Suitable Conclusion Approach

Keep reading for the key points on how to determine the most suitable conclusion approach for your personal statement:

  • Identify Your Main Message: Begin by pinpointing the central theme or message of your personal statement. What have you been trying to convey throughout your essay? This central message should guide your choice of conclusion.
  • Consider Your Audience: Think about the admissions committee who will be reading your personal statement. What type of conclusion would resonate with them? Consider what qualities or values they seek in prospective students.
  • Match the Style: Reflect on the style of your essay. Have you been narrating a story, reflecting on experiences, making a persuasive argument, or analyzing a topic? Your conclusion should align with the style you've used throughout your essay.
  • Authenticity Is Key: Ensure that your conclusion is authentic and true to your own voice. It should reflect your genuine self and not feel forced or insincere.
  • Don't Shy Away from Unconventional Approaches: Sometimes, a slightly unconventional conclusion approach can leave a more memorable impression. Don't be afraid to step out of your comfort zone if it enhances your message and connection with the reader.
  • Seek Feedback: Share your conclusion approach with trusted individuals who are familiar with college applications. They can provide valuable insights into the effectiveness of your chosen approach.
  • Get Support: Don't be afraid to ask for assistance if you need it. Our team of experts is here to provide personalized support in crafting your personal statement introduction, making sure it truly stands out.

Your conclusion is your final opportunity to make an impact, so choose an approach that feels right for you and effectively conveys your message to the admissions committee.

How Long Should the Conclusion of a Personal Statement Be?

When it comes to the length of your personal statement conclusion, try to keep it around 150 to 200 words. This range strikes the right balance between wrapping up your essay effectively and leaving a memorable mark on your reader.

Remember, though, that different application platforms may have specific word limit guidelines. For instance, the Common Application allows for personal statements ranging from 250 to 650 words, while the Coalition Application suggests 500 to 650 words. QuestBridge, on the other hand, typically sticks to a 650-word limit.

So, as you craft your conclusion, always keep an eye on those word limits. Staying within them not only showcases your ability to convey your message concisely but also demonstrates your adherence to application guidelines, which is something admissions committees appreciate.

It's your chance to end your personal statement on a high note, leaving a positive and lasting impression.

Tips for Personal Statement Endings

Writing an effective personal statement ending for your college application is crucial. Here are some tips to help you create a compelling and memorable conclusion:

  • Reflect on Your Journey: Take a moment to think about the experiences and challenges you've faced during your academic journey. Your conclusion should connect these elements to your future aspirations.
  • Revisit Your Main Message: Your personal statement likely conveys a central message about yourself. Reiterate this message in your conclusion, but do so in a way that adds depth or a new perspective to it.
  • Engage Your Reader: Consider ending with a thought-provoking question or a powerful quote that relates to your essay's themes. This can stimulate the reader's thoughts and emotions and leave a lasting impression.
  • Look to the Future: If applicable, hint at your future goals and how they align with the college you're applying to. This demonstrates your enthusiasm and commitment to contributing to the college community.
  • Match the Tone: Ensure that your conclusion aligns with the overall tone and style of your personal statement. Whether your essay is reflective, narrative-driven, analytical, or persuasive, the conclusion should feel like a natural extension of your essay's content and style.
  • Stay Concise: While your conclusion is essential, it should also be concise. Avoid introducing new information or going into extensive detail. Instead, focus on reinforcing key points and leaving a strong impression.
  • Proofread and Revise: Just like the rest of your personal statement, your conclusion should be well-edited and error-free. Proofread it carefully and consider seeking feedback from teachers, mentors, or peers.
  • Follow Word Limits: Adhere to any word limits provided by the application platform. Typically, a personal statement ending should be around 150-200 words, but this can vary depending on the application portal.

Remember, a conclusion is your final chance to leave a positive and lasting impression on the admissions committee. Use it wisely to showcase your strengths, uniqueness, and commitment to your academic and personal journey.

Examples of Great Personal Statement Conclusions

Now, let's take a look at some personal statement conclusion examples for inspiration.

Statement Example 1

“Our first theater meeting of the year was about a month ago. Remembering my freshman year, I brought everyone on stage. This year, I switched it up. Everyone stood in the circle for icebreakers. After each response, I asked follow-up questions and prompted others to share stories of similar experiences. And just like me, there were nervous freshmen, with little to no experience. This time, I spoke up: “Oh I’ve never heard of that show. Tell me about it sometime.”

Statement Example 2

“Now, I don’t let people go below what I like to call the [NAME] standard’. If I feel like someone is not treating me or my friends fairly, I don’t entertain their company.
What [NAME] did wasn’t anything extravagant. He didn’t give his kidney and he didn’t race down the 101 to save me from some terrible tragedy. However, the appreciation that [NAME] showed for me and how he vocalized who I was to him, meant all the difference to me.
Now, I always let my friends know that I appreciate them and that I am thankful to have them in my life. This gift has helped me with choosing better friends who I love and appreciate. Thanks to Ben, he’s shown me how great life is when you're not alone.”

Statement Example 3

“I’m proud to say I can be vulnerable and act on my insecurities. I became an amicable, self-aware, and social person gaining respect and friendship amongst teachers and peers. Throughout college, I make sure to spend time with my family by cooking dinner for them once a week, sending them silly texts of cute animals, or just giving them a call. My transition to becoming more open has ultimately led to my career path as an [JOB TITLE] - creating better lives for marginalized communities. Understanding what other people go through and being susceptible will allow me to properly achieve my goals and assist those in need.

It’s [YEAR], and my dad is in the best shape of his life. I show my gratitude by accompanying him during his checkups and scolding him for trying to eat poorly.”
female student writing essay

FAQs

Wondering how to conclude a personal statement? Let’s take a closer look by going over some commonly asked questions.

1. Is It a Good Idea to Reiterate the Main Message or Thesis Statement When Concluding a Personal Statement?

It's a smart move to recap your main message when concluding your personal statement. Reiterating your central theme creatively reinforces your uniqueness as an applicant without being repetitive, making a lasting impact on the reader.

2. Is It Acceptable to End a Personal Statement With a Question or a Quote?

Absolutely, you can conclude your personal statement with a question or quote that fits your essay's tone and message, engaging the reader and reinforcing your key points.

3. Can I Summarize the Key Points of My Personal Statement in the Conclusion?

Summarizing key points in your conclusion is a common and effective practice. Keep it short and sweet, focusing on the highlights that really support your application. 

Final Thoughts

There you have it! Your personal statement's conclusion is crucial. Now that you know how to end a personal statement, you're ready to leave a strong impression on the admissions committee. Your conclusion is your final chance to convince them that you're the right candidate for the opportunity. Make it count!

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