If you’re applying to a UK university, a Personal Statement will form a crucial part of the process and could even be the difference between an acceptance and a rejection from your first choice university.
So, it goes without saying that getting the Personal Statement right is incredibly important. But the process of writing it needn’t be stressful!
After all, this is simply an opportunity for you to showcase your best qualities, strengths and achievements, and demonstrate why you should be selected to join your chosen course. By understanding what university admissions officers are looking for, and knowing what to avoid including, you can set yourself apart from other candidates.
To help you get started, our team of Higher Education experts have revealed their five top tips for perfecting your Personal Statement.
It’s never too early to start thinking about your Personal Statement. As one of the most important parts of your university application, it’s definitely not something you can leave until the last minute!
Make sure you know when the deadline is for submitting your Personal Statement and give yourself plenty of time to draft it. Ask a teacher, parent or friend to take a look and re-draft it until you’re completely happy.
When you sit down to write the first draft, it will help to have a list of everything you want to include next to you. This will make it easier to structure, keep it concise, and speed up the writing process.
Demonstrate your motivation
The thing admissions officers are most interested in from your Personal Statement is understanding why you wish to study the particular subject you’ve chosen. With many UK courses oversubscribed each year, demonstrating your motivation is essential for setting yourself apart from the crowd.
This could involve details of relevant extra curricular experiences which have helped develop your interest in the subject – for example, holiday courses, optional projects or work placements. Details of independent reading and research around a particular subject will also help to prove that you have a genuine interest and initiative.
Struggling to decide what to write about? Jot down a list of all the clubs, activities, trips, projects, part-time jobs, hobbies and sports you’ve been involved in. Did any of these experiences play a role in your university course choice or make an impact on your academic development? If so, they can be included in your Statement.
While you may have lots of extracurricular activities you wish to include, it’s important to be selective. Make sure anything you’re writing about is really relevant to your chosen course. It’s this that admissions officers will be most interested in.
If you’re not sure how your experiences link to your motivation for studying a particular subject, have a think about the transferable skills you’ve gained from them instead. How might these make you a good candidate for your chosen course?
Make it personal
The clue is really in the name with the Personal Statement. Admissions officers will read hundreds every year, and very soon they’ll start to look similar. So, it’s vital to make your Statement as unique as possible.
Do you have an unusual skill? Have you undertaken a challenge or received an award for a particular achievement? Is there a specific area of your subject that you’ve spent lots of time exploring? Whatever helps to prove your unique strengths and set you apart from other candidates is a must-have in your Statement.
If you’re an international student, there are a couple of other details you’ll need to include: why you want to study in the UK (rather than in your home country) and what English language skills and qualifications you have.
Pay attention to detail
So, you’ve drafted (and re-drafted) the perfect Personal Statement and you’re ready to wow the admissions officers with your application. But before you hit ‘upload’ there’s one last thing you need to do:
Proofread. Proofread. And, proofread again.
Now, we know this part can seem a bit unnecessary, but your chance of being offered a place could depend upon it. As well as your interest in the subject, motivation, and key skills and achievements, admissions officers are looking for evidence in your Personal Statement that you are able to write clearly, fluently and accurately. One small typo or grammatical error could make all the difference!
Once you’re completely happy with your Statement, give it a final proofread. Then, ask a family member or teacher to proofread it too. (They might spot something you’ve missed!)
Good luck to everyone starting their university applications this Autumn!
We hope this guide has helped demystify the process of writing your Personal Statement and taken the stress out of this part of the application process.
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