As the old saying goes, “You only get one chance to make a first impression” and that saying certainly applies when you’re submitting your personal statement. With hundreds of other students all competing for a place on your chosen course, it’s vital that your personal statement is as good as it can be.
You only have 4000 characters to convince the admissions tutors that you’re the right student for their university so every word needs to count.
Here are our five tips to ensure your personal statement gets noticed, for all the right reasons, rather than being put straight on the no pile.
Use structured paragraphs so that your skills, qualities, and experiences are clearly defined. To keep things super structured it might help to write your first draft in bullet points that you can expand on to ensure that each topic is covered clearly.
Make sure each point you make is relevant to the course and/or why you’re a good candidate. You really don’t have the space to talk about everything you’ve ever done so keep it relevant.
This sounds obvious but you’d be amazed at how many personal statement writing services there are out there. Your personal statement should be exactly that, personal to you and your personality isn’t going to shine through if you don’t write it yourself.
Equally be careful of asking someone to rewrite your drafts for you. Asking someone to proofread is fine but too many drafts, with too many opinions from other people can lead to your personal statement lacking originality.
Your personal statement is designed to show your real interest in the subject you’ve chosen to study and why you’d make a good student, so you’ll need to do more than just say “I’m very interested in studying [insert subject here] and I am good at independent study”.
Use examples to show the admissions team the abilities, skills, and experience you have that will make you an ideal student.
Admissions tutors want to see that you’re so enthusiastic about the subject you’ve gone the extra mile to further your learning and understanding. This could be in the form of additional research and/or volunteering, work experience, or part-time jobs.
If you’ve done extra research around the subject, try to discuss books, journals, or other resources that not everyone will have used. And remember to give your opinion or criticism of these resources rather than just listing them.
The admissions team really do want to get to know you in your personal statement so try to avoid boring clichés, famous quotations, or reeling off opinions from experts in the subject you want to study.
Also try to use natural language rather than pulling a thesaurus out and swapping words you’d usually use for something you think sounds more impressive.