On November 13, 2023, at HES Kieu Mai, the admissions representative of Fulbright University Vietnam conducted a sharing session on how to write a Personal Essay (PE) using the PCCC method.

The Personal Essay (PE) or Personal Statement (PS) is a crucial part of the application portfolio for many universities. As the name suggests, PE or PS focuses on the "personal" aspect of the writer, conveying a personal story to persuade the Admissions Committee that the candidate is suitable. Unlike GPAs or standardized test scores, PE or PS allows candidates to unleash their creativity and showcase themselves, helping the Admissions Committee understand why they stand out from other applicants.

Before diving into the essay, answering the following questions can help generate ideas:

  • What qualities and characteristics do you possess, and how can you express them in the essay?
  • What meaningful life experiences have you had, and why are they significant to you?
  • Who has brought meaningful experiences into your life, and why?
  • Do you have any hobbies, strengths, or goals?
  • Is there something you want to share that hasn't been addressed in your application?
  • What do you want the reader to know about you after reading the essay?

PCCC stands for Personal-Clean-Clear-Clever.



Some notes during the PE/PS writing process:

  • There is no one-size-fits-all formula for PE/PS. However, if you choose a specific approach, maintain consistency from generating ideas to the final proofreading step.
  • Always remember the "personal" aspect throughout the writing process.
  • You can showcase creativity and humor, but be cautious not to exaggerate.
  • If writing about a common topic, try to infuse your personal touch.


Some points to check in the essay include spelling, grammar, and punctuation.


Use transition words to make the writing clearer:

  • For example: On the contrary, To be more specific, To elaborate more on that, etc.


  • Choose words that align with your style and message, avoiding overly complex language as this is a personal essay, not a scientific paper.
  • Use diverse and flexible sentence structures. "Repetition" not only refers to repeated words but also to repeated sentence structures.
  • 2
  • 1