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I get questions all the time. Here’s a popular one I receive from applicants….

Q: When should I start writing my personal statement?

A: Great question! Here’s the answer: January is too early and July is too late. Let me explain. In January, you might not have the right story to tell. Maybe something would have happened to you in the winter or spring which would make for a better essay. Plus, I have often seen applicants write a personal statement in January, only to read it later in the year and not have the same feelings about it. Maybe something extraordinary happens in April or June. July is too late in my opinion. You likely have a lot going on: work, a class, perhaps an internship, a vacation even. Lots to juggle means you might not be able to give the personal statement the attention it deserves.

The ideal time to start an essay is in May or June. Once you finish it you may want to jump into the school-specific essays, but you should wait until you know for sure what those prompts are, and those are officially released in August.