BBC radio 2

Did you hear our how to guides on Simon Mayo's Radio 2 Drivetime show?

You may have read about Howopia in The Telegraph?

How to Write a Personal Statement

3
Your rating: None Average: 3 (1 vote)
If you're applying to university this year then your personal statement is extremely important. With places becoming harder to get every year and entry requirements rising, admissions officers are relying on personal statements more than grades to gain a better "picture of you".
What you'll need: 
A list of books you've read relevant to the subject you want to study
Work experience (if you're applying for medicine or vocational courses)
1: 
Starting is always the hardest part. How do you begin to write a 500 word document entirely about yourself and your best qualities? Some people choose to start with a quote, perhaps from a famous participator in the subject you've chosen. Try to avoid "My name is..." openers. If you're struggling, elect for a "Having studied (subject) for the past (x) years, I'm now keen to continue my education in..." approach. Names, "I" and similar are not the way you want to start your statement. Remember, the opening lines of a book are supposed to hook the reader from the off and approaching your statement in a similar way will make you appear more interesting to those reading.
2: 
Once you've started, you need to think about why you like the subject. The people reading your personal statement have to feel, from reading yours, that you have a passion for the subject and you're motivated to study it at a higher level. If they don't feel that, it's unlikely your statement will be accepted.
3: 
Aside from motivation, you should also mention parts of the course that you are particularly interested in study. Not only does this show that you've taken the time to research into their course, but it also again shows that you have a greater interest for the subject.
4: 
It is also recommended that you talk of books or articles you've read related to the subject, or projects you've undertaken. This helps to show a greater interest beyond the syllabus.
5: 
Finally, mention achievements or successes you've had beyond the classroom. Universities don't want robots. They want a real human being, and showing that you have a wide range of interests will help them to get a better idea of the person you are.
Conclusion: 
At first, writing a personal statement can seem incredibly daunting. You have to write about what's good about yourself and what you feel you can do well in. Asking other people about what they think you're successes are can help, such as parents, siblings and friends. Good luck!
Tips: 
Use your personal statement to show them who you are and let it represent your personality.
This is about YOU. What are YOU proud of? What do YOU like studying about the subject?
Make it focused and give it a sense of direction. The paragraphs have to flow; avoid repetition of verbs and adjectives in the same paragraph where you can.
Structure it appropriately, with paragraphs. They don't want to read a dense amount of text.
Show them passion!
Warnings: 
Don't boast or come across as being too arrogant. Your personality does matter as well as your grades.
Don't list all the books you've read without being critical of them, or saying what you liked most about them.
If you're applying to five universities (as on the UCAS form), make sure your personal statement applies to all of them, regardless of which is your your favourite.
I wouldn't recommend showing it to too many people once you've finished your first draft. The re-drafting process is very long and having a wide range of opinions can make it extremely daunting.

Comments

Helpful article

Thanks for the advice! I'm sending my form off in two weeks and I needed something to make me re-focus.

Post new comment

CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

Featured writers

We have had a chat with a couple of our more experienced writers.

Find out more about their experiences and why they contribute to Howopia.

Spotlight on two writers.

Share this


How To guides

Howopia is a new website dedicated to bringing together a community of experts to create the most useful 'How To' guides, to help you to achieve almost anything.

Related links