I’m going into Year 13 which means right now, all my attention is on writing a killer personal statement. I’m not going to pretend I know how to write an amazing piece myself, however, I’ve done a lot of research and collated lots of tips from professionals on how to make your personal statement great. Read on to discover some really helpful tips…
- Make everything relevant to your course
If you are going to mention something, make sure you link it to your course – they don’t care if you volunteered at Brownies for a year. What skills did you learn from that experience and how does that make you a better candidate than everyone else?
- Be passionate about your subject
Show them that you have a genuine love for your chosen subject area and demonstrate that with facts and experiences to back it up. You should explain how you got interested in the subject (don’t say “I’ve always wanted to be a […]” because they know that’s a lie. Nobody came out of the womb desperately wanting to be a doctor…)
- Tell them about YOU
Make sure you implement your personality into your personal statement. But don’t go too overboard: keep it formal and mostly focused on academics but you can give a little personal flair in your conclusion so that you’re remembered.
- Don’t just list skills and experience
Make sure your statement is coherent, structured and doesn’t just list. On top of that, triple check your grammar and spellings… Maybe you could get a friend or family member to read it too.
- Don’t name drop
If you’re dad or grandad or sister or aunty studied medicine and you want to medicine too, don’t mention this in your personal statement. Name dropping isn’t appreciated. Again, this is a personal statement and they want to know about you. If you have shadowed a family member or friend for work experience of course mention it, just don’t shout from the rooftops that you are related to them. At the end of the day, it seems they prefer work experience when you get it off your own back, not because of your family’s connections.
- Make it clear that you know the course content
Obviously, this personal statement has to be applicable to many different versions of the same course, so do some research and find similarities between the courses and talk about them. If it doesn’t look like you know what you’re applying for, it’s not very good. So, be studious and do research.
- Don’t be negative
Negativity in a personal statement instantly turns the admissions tutor off, so be positive throughout and don’t give them a reason to not accept you. Show your enthusiasm!
- Don’t plagiarise
Make sure your work is original because UCAS has a plagiarism checker… If you use an online template it won’t look great. If your rack up a similarity mark of more than 8%, that’s it. Google should be your enemy.
- Don’t let your parents write it
For some, it may be easy to let your parents read you statement and then let them make some changes and then end up letting them write the whole thing. Admissions tutors mark tonnes of personal statements, both good and bad. They can distinguish the difference between a 50-year-olds style of writing and a 17-year-olds.
- Don’t make it fancy
Use plain and simple English. Don’t make it all flowery and extravagant. The danger here is using a thesaurus to find a synonym that doesn’t quite mean the same as your original word – you don’t want to accidentally say something you didn’t mean, so be careful.
- Spell it out.
Don’t be vague in your personal statement. Be specific and tell the tutor exactly why you want to do this course, why you have the skills and why you have the experience. Don’t let them try and guess what you meant.
And there we go, there are some of the tips I’ve picked up through all of my research. Hopefully you will be on your way to writing a great personal statement. The hardest bit is getting the first words down on paper, so start writing early!
Have you written your personal statement yet? Are you struggling? Let me know what you think by commenting down below or tweeting me.