No idea how to start off a personal statement about why I took a year off college?

I’m applying as a freshman even though I graduated in 2010 so the university wants a letter on why I took a year off from school.

The reason is because my mom passed away december 2009, It was hard and I had to take care of my little brothers and I even volunteered.

I have lots to say regarding why I took the year off but my question is how should i start it off? I’m confused because I can’t find any examples of this online. I did write an essay for the school which included my mom but how do I write this differently?

Do I just say “Hi this is a personal statement regarding why I took a year off from school.” or what? lol

Also how long should it be? I’m assuming as long as an essay? Should I write it in the same format as an essay?

I think you can just start directly. “My mom died on December X, 2009 and my entire life changed.” (Or maybe your life didn’t change, but your priorities in that moment did. Whatever is true for you.) And then talk about what you learned/experienced that year and why you believe you are now ready to go to college. I don’t think you have to <em>explain</em> why you took a year off in pedantic terms (I had to get my head on straight, I was grieving, there were logistical complications, etc) since I think most people fill in those blanks when you mention such a traumatic life event. But you can talk about what your mom meant to you, or who you are today having living through that experience.

Write clearly, write honestly, no need to get too fancy or trail off into cliches. What would you tell a college admissions officer if you were sitting down to talk awhile about your college hopes and who you are today and what you bring to this community because of what you have experienced? The adcoms simply want to get a sense of who you are.

“I took a year off from school because my mom died.”

Life happens and sometimes there is a need to take the time to care of one’s self and one’s family. No one ever wants to ever outlive a parent…

Something like that is a bit more elegant and shows a measure of maturity.