One key to moving readers through writing is to create images, language that evokes feeling through visual or auditory sensations. The writer who can move people to feel will have a greater chance of their essay affecting readers than those whose writing stays broad, abstract, general, or vague.
Once I was working with a student who explained to me that she had lost 40 lbs that spring. I asked her, “What was the turning point to help you commit to losing weight?” She then described how her friend and her mom could not get a dress over the student’s shoulders.” That scene, that image, of having her mom and friend try to pull the dress over the student’s shoulder, is how she began her essay. She then, after detailing her transformation from overweight and shy to thinner and more confident, ended her essay with another image: leading her school in a cheer from the gym floor.
Both images contribute to the way language through imagery can move readers to feel. This is a goal for the all writers of personal statements – to have the readers feel your “story,” so they say, yes, we want this student at our school.