How do I write a personal statement?
September 25th, 2022
How do I write a personal statement? A personal statement is one of the most important parts of your UCAS application. It is used by universities to learn more about you as a person, why you want to study your chosen course and what you hope to get out of it. If you do not sound enthusiastic about studying your course and coming to university, you might not get accepted onto your course.
Therefore, it is important that you think carefully about what to include in your statement and how you structure it so that you really stand out against the 1000s of other applicants.
Preparation is key
Whether or not you are the type of person to plan everything or rather do things at the last minute, your personal statement should not just be written quickly and on a whim. Having a rough outline before getting to writing can be extremely helpful. Maybe start by doing a brainstorm and asking yourself some basic questions to answer: Why do you want to study your chosen course; what do you want to get out of it; what are your career aspirations etc.
Admissions staff often have to read 100s of personal statements in a short amount of time and therefore it is crucial that you grab their attention from the start. It can often be wise to start personal, writing from your perspective what made you choose your course.
There are four things that should be included in your main body:
- Why you are applying
- What kind of relations there are to your current or previous studies or experience
- Why you think you would succeed in the course
- What your aspirations are in the future
The last point is something applicants often overlook but universities want you to succeed and for you to use your studies to further your career development. Having an idea of your goals after you graduate can therefore really help in convincing the people who read your statement that this path is the right one for you.
While you don’t have to have an official closing paragraph on your personal statement, it makes for nicer reading to have a clear ending. Thus, even just including a final sentence along the lines of ‘as per my outlined experience and aspirations, I would highly value the opportunity to start shaping my future by studying [course]’ can make a difference.
Do’s & Don’ts
Do this for a succesful personal statement.
Do be personal, as the name suggests. Admissions staff want to learn more about you as a person beyond the qualifications and personal details outlined on the rest of your application.
Do be enthusiastic. You need to convince the people reading your statement that you are excited about studying your chosen course, so make sure that is obvious in your writing.
Do focus on the positives. Avoid negative wording as that can sound like you are not as excited about the course as you should be.
Do be clear and concise. You only have a limited amount of characters, so it is really important that you don’t get carried away and stay on track.
Do read through your statement thoroughly, triple-check for grammar and spelling and have other people read over it as well. Having several drafts by editing and rewriting can be really helpful to make sure you are completely happy with your final product.
Don’t do these things to ensure a successful personal statement.
Don’t exaggerate. You can and should be passionate and include your achievements and aspirations, but don’t get too carried away as you might come across as arrogant or even get caught out at an interview.
Don’t be modest. If you think you are a great fit for your chosen course, there are reasons for that: Mention those. You want to come across as excited and like this is the thing you want to do.
Don’t copy. There are 100s of examples of personal statements online and they can be incredibly helpful when getting started. However, your own statement should only be about yourself, so directly pasting other people’s work is an absolute no-go.
Don’t mention a specific university (unless you are only applying to one). Remember, your personal statement is not tailored to just one university but will be seen by all your UCAS choices. You might have your dream choice in mind but there is a chance that you might have to rely on your backups so you will want them to accept you, too, and if they read another university’s name in your statement, it’s not a good look.
Don’t use cliché’s. As mentioned above, Admissions staff read 100s of statements, so reading the same ‘it has always been my dream’ or ‘ever since I was little’ sentences can get very tiring. Try to write like you would when talking to them in person about yourself and avoid using boring phrases that have already been used to death.