With school coming to an end the next chapter of your life is about to begin. For some that next journey is in higher education. A UCAS application bridges the gap between school and university. Therefore it is crucial to submit a compelling university application to be accepted into your chosen subject and university.
In particular, personal statements are your chance to sell yourself and set yourself apart from other students. It is important to make your personal statement stand out as admissions tutors will read many personal statements. An essential step is to inject your own voice into your UCAS application.
Many students will tailor their personal statements to mention the same key skills needed in the course. Although it is still important to mention these, your passion, interests, and personality will help cement your place at your chosen university.
So how do you do this? How do you write a good personal statement? Let’s find out how to write a great personal statement using fundamental personal statement tips.
Tips for writing a university personal statement
Here are your top university personal statement tips:
Take your time writing your personal statement
The first tip is to take your time. Before even sitting down to complete your UCAS form you should think deeply about your decisions. A university course is the key to your future career. So, you should take your time and think about your chosen course, and how it reflects your career aspirations.
Thorough research should be conducted into your subject to find out if it is the right course for you. Ask for advice if you are unsure. This could be from a family member, a teacher, or a career guidance lecturer. You may find that your passion lies in a different field. For others with clearly defined career goals and paths, advice may not be needed. However, research is still a must.
A well-researched personal statement will show in your application, and impress admissions staff. This will underline your enthusiasm and knowledge of the subject. It is also wise to start your personal statement early. Leave time for any edits as your knowledge of the subject, and application process builds.
Flaunt your experience in your personal statement
Admissions tutors will delve more deeply into your application than just your grades. If you have the same grades as someone else and they have better experience, they will get selected and vice versa. Relevant experience will also count more than general work experience.
For example, for a journalism course, experience writing articles for a publication will count more than experience in a retail job. If you don’t have any examples of work experience it would be sensible to gain some. Voluntary experience in a relevant field is just as important, if not more so. This will show greater interest in the subject, and willingness to work towards your career goal, without a monetary incentive.
Relevant work experience can include any freelance work or self-employed initiatives you have set up. For example, you may run your own youtube channel which can demonstrate presenting skills, scriptwriting, video editing, and marketing abilities.
Anything you can do to demonstrate you have taken the time to learn, and progress, such as attending a summer school, or online courses, will stand you in good stead.
Highlight your achievements on your personal statement
Don’t be afraid to brag about your personal achievements, just remember to keep it professional. Try to pick out achievements that will make you appear more qualified for your particular course. This can be based on academic achievements or achievements in your personal life.
For example titles in weight lifting, or sports can demonstrate knowledge of biomechanics, exercise, and diet. These would be relevant skills for sports science undergraduate courses. Not to mention, it demonstrates a determination to succeed, and an ability to put instructions into practice.
A short story award is another fine example of a relevant achievement if your chosen subject revolves around writing.
Get to the point in your personal statement
It is easy for your interest in the subject to hinder you if not managed and controlled. Passion and excitement are positive attributes but try not to overwrite in your enthusiastic state. Overwriting may mean the message you are trying to portray is lost in a maze of irrelevance.
Keep your language clear and concise throughout. Remember you have a character limit. You only have 4,000 characters to succinctly express your knowledge, interest, and capability.
Use clear paragraphs to nail your key points without using cliches. It also almost goes without saying when you write a personal statement to meticulously check for spelling, and grammar mistakes. Admissions staff will be unimpressed with spelling mistakes, as it demonstrates inattentive carelessness.
Explain why in your personal statement
Establish your enthusiasm and knowledge of the course by explaining why you have chosen it. Include examples of any career aspirations you have in mind, and how you believe the course will help you on that journey.
Use your limited words to precisely explain why you have chosen that particular university over competing universities. For example, it may have better industry links than other universities, or it may have better facilities.
Explain why you are qualified to take the course, such as relevant life experience and skills. A good personal statement will also include reasons beyond wanting to achieve a particular job. For example, you may believe it is your purpose in life to help people – which is why you want to become a doctor.
Final summary when writing your personal statement
When writing a personal statement it is imperative to impress your admissions tutor and set yourself apart from the flock. Firstly do your preparation before even starting your personal statement. Research as much as you can about the course, the university, and relevant career paths. Create a detailed plan using whatever method suits you best, to structure your statement to hit all key points.
Highlight any helpful experience you have gained which makes you more qualified than other students. This could be work experience, volunteer work, extra courses, or anything that is relevant. You should also talk about any achievements that may impress an admissions tutor. These could be academically based achievements, sporting achievements, literary prizes, and more.
Make sure your words are clear and concise, highlighting precisely what you want to express, such as your skills. Why, is the number one question you are trying to answer.
- Why this course over other courses
- Why this university over other universities
- Why you want to study this subject
- Why you are better qualified than other students
A well-written personal statement can be the difference between an acceptance or rejection letter.