The idea of writing a personal statement can seem quite an undertaking. And if you’re not a natural writer, or don’t enjoy writing, an even greater challenge. But this is your one opportunity to convince an admissions tutor to give you that precious offer. So, how can you make sure that you shine brightly and receive the offers you want?
What is a Personal Statement, and Why is it Important?
The purpose of the personal statement is to introduce yourself to the admissions tutor and blow them away with your commitment and passion for your course. They’ve never met you and know nothing about you so you need to convince them that you’ve done your research, understand what’s required and have the enthusiasm, skills and background to succeed. Remember that your personal statement will be read by admissions tutors in different universities, so it needs to be relevant to all the courses you’re applying for.
UCAS suggests that the best personal statements get to the point quickly. You should use your introduction to introduce yourself and highlight what is special about you. Remember, you’re unique: there’s only one you!
The main content of your personal statement should explain what you want to study and why. What is it about the course that interests you, and why is it that it interests you? How does your previous experience (academic, work, volunteering) back this up? What will you do when you graduate? According to UCAS, this is the most important part of your personal statement. It’s the part the admissions tutors are really interested in, and they want to hear something “interesting, relevant, specific and current.” Be original, be honest and justify your statements with supporting evidence.
Round off your personal statement with an effective conclusion which reaffirms your key message and connects to the themes you’ve introduced earlier. Perhaps talk about your plans for the future. This is your final chance to make a lasting impression on the admissions tutor so keep it positive and make it stand out!
Ten Top Tips
1. Don’t pressurise yourself to write everything in one go. When you’re relaxed and doing something else, let your mind wander. When an idea comes to you, make a note of it so that you build up a bank of material to include.
2. Make a plan. How will you structure it, what sections will you include, and what’s the key information for each?
3. Don’t worry about perfection. Just get something down on paper. You can edit and redraft as much as you like.
4. If you’re struggling to write a snappy introduction, skip to the main content and come back to the introduction later. By that time, your ideas will be flowing and you should find it easier.
5. Be succinct and relevant. Cut out any waffle! Make sure that it’s well structured and easy to understand.
6. Check and double check your spelling, grammar and formatting. Ask someone to proofread.
7. Avoid “quotes”.
8. Avoid tedious phrases such as:
From a young age…
I am applying for this course because…
I have always been interested in…
9. NEVER copy or share a personal statement.
10. And finally, if you feel like you need a helping hand, have a go with the personal statement builder tool in the UCAS Hub.
Here at Titanium Tutors, we also have a great team of human (!) tutors who specialise in helping students put together stand-out personal statements. They won’t do the work for you, but they will support and guide you in the right direction and have the expertise to know what admissions tutors are looking for. Get in touch here if you’d like more information and we’ll be only too pleased to help.
And keep an eye on our blog for more interesting reads!
Blog Post Crafted by Sue
Sue co-manages our Admin Team, and has a strong school teaching background.
Sue graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Italian and Latin from the University of Hull and subsequently completed an MA in Language Teaching while teaching at Westholme Upper School in Lancashire (where she also set up the Italian Department). As well as her passion for languages and ancient history, Sue loves discovering new countries and cultures. She completed the London Marathon in 2012 and keeps intending to lace up her running shoes again!