Everyone, I know there was a similar topic posted already, but I wanted to take a different line on this. Who's actually used paid services, on-line or through companies like Princeton, Kaplan, etc., to improve your PS? What did you think of the results? Is it worth it? Are those people actually "personal statement professionals" or can your English professor do just as good a job?
Also, are there any books out there on writing personal statements that you've found particularly useful?
Maybe I am overreacting, but I am seriously considering getting one of those $500 full-personal-statement-aid packages from Kaplan or similar company, where a (supposedly) personal statement specialist reads through several drafts of your personal statement and then has multiple discussions with you after reading your drafts. It's a lot of money for me. And the thing is, I am a very good writer: I've been writing essays all through college and never gotten anything below a 3.7 on an essay. But I also want to have the best chances possible to get into some of those top-notch schools, like Columbia, Stanford, and the competition is so fierce that if there's a chance to slightly improve any aspect of my application I am thinking that maybe I should not spare money to do it. Also, the really prestigious schools are looking for individuals, who are "outstanding" in ways other than GPA and LSAT, and I am just not sure how well I'll be able to convey my "outstandingness" without outside professional help.
Sorry, but I am very nervous about this whole personal statement writing thing.