6 tips for writing your personal statement
Your personal statement is perhaps the most important part of applying to university, so it’s worth taking the time to get it right. Here are 6 tips to make sure your personal statement is the best it can be.
1. Start early and do your research
Give yourself enough time to research the course and the universities you’d like to apply to. If there are aspects of the course that you particularly like, write about them in your personal statement. This will allow you to tailor your application to the specific universities you’re applying to.
2. Include further reading
Further reading shows the admissions tutor that you’re passionate about the course you’re applying for. You don't need to reel off an extensive list, just include two or three relevant examples and talk about how this wider reading has increased your interest in the topic. This proves that you’ve taken time to get a deeper understanding of the subject.
3. Keep it relevant
You’ll be surprised how quickly you use up 4,000 characters, so make sure every word is relevant. Keep your sentences clear and to the point and focus on why you want to study your chosen course. Don’t waste precious characters on irrelevant information, instead focus on relevant work experience and further reading that shows your interest in the course.
4. Use examples
Most of your personal statement should be focused on why you want to apply for the course, but it’s also good to demonstrate skills like teamwork, leadership and problem solving. Include a short paragraph near the end of your statement to talk about activities like playing for a sports team or being part of a theatre group, but make sure this doesn’t take up too many characters.
5. Get feedback
No one's personal statement is perfect first time round, so ask other people for feedback and make several drafts. Your teachers, parents and friends might pick up on things you missed, so take their comments on board when you redraft it. Your final statement will probably look very different to your first attempt, but every draft and piece of feedback will refine and improve it.
6. Make it personal
It’s called a personal statement for a reason - it’s all about you! This is your opportunity to show the admissions tutor why you want to study that specific course, so it should be unique and personal to you. Keep it genuine and show why you’re so passionate about studying the subject you’re interested in. Good luck!
If that wasn't enough, here are a few tips from one of our students to make sure you pick the course that's right for you!
What am I interested in?
It’s important to remember that whatever you choose you’re going to doing it for at least 3 years, and often even longer. That means that if you want to remain sane, your course is going to have to spark your interest in some capacity or another. Whether you’re a bookworm and think English is the degree for you, or you’re mesmerised by the sciences, make sure that what you choose captures your imagination and makes you want to get out of bed and go to those 9am lectures.
Am I studying this because I want to, or because someone else wants me to?
It may be the case that you have a teacher or parent who’s putting pressure on you to study something, or maybe you feel like you should study the course because it’s ‘impressive’. If you find yourself choosing your course with these factors in mind, STOP and THINK. As you get older, your own independent-led thinking will become increasingly important, and the opinions of others less so. Ultimately, you have to study something that benefits you, and not those around you.
What am I good at?
So you’ve come to the conclusion that you’re interested in aerospace and astronomy, but your A levels are Art, Sociology and History. Clearly, being interested is just half of the equation. Make sure that what you’re choosing is something you can genuinely see yourself succeeding in. As you enter university, studying becomes completely independent, and modules move at the speed of light. On top of this, you’ll be surrounded by other students who are incredible at their individual disciplines, so you’ll need to be able to work at the same pace as them. Make sure your goals are realistic and that you’ll be able to keep up with the demands of university life.
What do I want to be when I grow up?
This is a question that many people (myself included) never figure out the answer to, but if you’re one of the lucky ones that knows where you see yourself in 5 years time, make sure that the course you choose will get you on track to that goal. To put it simply, don’t study travel and tourism if you want to be a doctor, and don’t study veterinary sciences if you want to be a lawyer. It’s still early, but think about what future employers might want to see from you, and the skills that your course can give you to help make you more employable.
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