What is your Personal Statement?

Your Personal Statement is a piece of writing 4,000 characters or 47 lines long. It needs to show motivation and commitment to the course you are applying for, as well as a passion and awareness not only of your course, but your ability.

This is your chance to show the universities you are applying to exactly why you would be the best match for that course at their institution. It could help to persuade an admissions officer to offer you a place. This is your chance to make the case for your admission. Stand out from the crowd by showcasing who you are and what you can bring to a university as you begin your undergraduate journey.

 

Knowing where to start…

It can often be hard to put pen to paper and start your Personal Statement so here are some useful tips for when you are unsure of where to begin:

  1. Start with simple bullet points or mind maps. Simply list things you may want to include in the statement to build upon later.
  2. ٴDz’t worry about the introduction! This can sometimes be the hardest bit to write. ٴDz’t panic! You can always come back to this at the end when you have the bulk of your statement written.
  3. ٴDz’t undersell yourself! Lots of experiences such as part-time jobs can show your key skills such as communication and time management.

 

How to structure your statement…

The introduction:

This needs to make clear exactly what course you want to study and why. For example, how did your interest and enthusiasm for the course start?

Top tip: Try to avoid clichés such as ‘my passion’, ‘it has always been a dream of mine’ and ‘ever since I was little’ – these detract from your genuine interest.

Course and Academic Skills:

This section should make up around two thirds of your statement. You need to show your understanding of the course. Talk about your current studies and how these relate to the subject you would like to take at university. You must showcase the skills you have learned and how they will help you to become a university student. Make sure you have included any research you have done too!

Top tip: You don’t need to list all the subjects you are studying, pick out key modules and examples that you particularly enjoyed.

Extracurricular:

This should make up the remaining third of your statement. Think about your work experiences, interests and hobbies and the skills you’ve gained from them. What have you been involved in outside of College? Do you have a part-time job?

Top tip: Always make sure you relate the skills learned back to the course you want to study and why they would be important.

Conclusion:

Try to end positively, talking about your overall interest in the course and how you will benefit from higher education.

Top tip: Talking about career opportunities or postgraduate studies can often be best placed here.

 

Know your ABC’s…

All the examples you use within your statement need to be related to the course you want to study. Sometimes that can be hard, so try using the ABC method to help:

Activity – What did you take part in?

Benefit – What skills did you learn from this? What were you able to take away from your experience?

Course – How will this help you in studying this course?

 

Help! My statement is too long!

Sometimes you will find that you end up significantly over the word count and you don’t know which parts to get rid of – follow these useful steps to help you:

  1. Remember you don’t need to use every example. Make sure you weigh up the ones which support your statement the most.
  2. Avoid waffle – write clearly and concisely. Stick to the point and use short, snappy sentences.
  3. Let a teacher, friend or relative read your statement. They will be able to give you useful feedback to tell you which parts read stronger than others. Having another set of eyes looking at it is useful after focusing on it for so long yourself!

Useful skills to showcase…

Here are some skills you may want to highlight and showcase within your statement. They can be shown in many activities you do, such as volunteering, part-time work and sports teams/music preparation:

  • Communication
  • Self-motivation
  • Time management
  • Initiative
  • Teamwork
  • Resilience

Top tip: These skills will change depending on what course you are applying for. Look into your course and possible careers to think about which ones will be most beneficial to you.

 

Do’s and ٴDz’ts to remember…

Do ٴDz’t
Research

Look carefully into the course you want to study, and where

Plagiarise

UCAS will run everyone’s personal statement through a plagiarism detector and will know if work has been copied.

Be enthusiastic and passionate

Portray your interests and love for the subject you want to study – use key examples wherever possible.

Lie

You may be called for an interview where you may be asked about what you have written – don’t get caught out!

Proofread your statement

Produce several drafts before handing n your final copy, and read it aloud to make sure it flows well.

Quote for the sake of quoting

You are better to use the word count for talking about your skills and abilities.

Get others to check your statement

Getting a fresh pair of eyes to read over your statement will help you find any mistakes.

Use slang

Make sure you write in full sentences and be aware of correct spelling and grammar.

Utilise uses for support

UCAS itself has many online resources as well as those around you, who have often written them before or are now!

Mention universities directly

All the universities you apply for will receive the same statement, so don’t word it for one university alone.

What to do now – your next steps…

  • Research courses and universities
  • Visit the university at an open event
  • Read through some example personal statements
  • Utilise the support around you
  • Start drafting or mind mapping your ideas

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