University application deadlines are looming, and A-level students everywhere are completing their UCAS forms. One of the most important parts of the UCAS form is the personal statement. It’s your chance to sell yourself and show the admissions tutors that your are the perfect candidate. In short, it’s one of the most important things you will ever write. So read on for our guide to writing a personal statement that succeeds.
Before you start writing
UCAS offers plenty of advice for completing your personal statement, so read it before you start writing. It’s also worth double checking the admission criteria for your chosen course and chosen universities. Remember, even though two universities may offer the same course, their admission criteria may be different. Don’t waste your time applying for a course that you aren’t eligible for. You should also take some time to read about the course and the institution. While you’re reading, make notes on how your skills, experience, and interests will make you a good fit for the university.
Structure and content
Your opening paragraph should be heavy on impact, but light on clichés. Universities receive hundreds of applications per course, so keep your succinct. Remember, admissions tutors have to read every single personal statement, and they’d much rather you get straight to the point. If you get stuck, move on to another section. You can always come back to it later.
In this section you need to provide evidence of your skills and knowledge. You also get the chance to show why you’re the right candidate for the course. As a rule, admissions tutors will be looking for the following information:
- Why you’re applying for this course and this institution – Display some knowledge of the university and the department. Focus on their reputation, achievements, and area of expertise. Then, link these to your academic interests to show why the course appeals to you.
- Your goals and aspirations– State your career goals. Then, describe how gaining a place on the course will help you reach them.
- Your skills and experience– Highlight how your skills and knowledge will benefit the university. You can do this by grouping your abilities into key areas such as communication, leadership, and organisation. You should also mention any work experience (paid or voluntary) and any awards that you’ve won. And don’t forget to showcase your extra-curricular interests – these can be a great way to show why you will be an asset to the university.
- Why YOU deserve a place – Explain how your life experiences have prepared you for the realities of undergraduate life and demonstrate your passion for the subject. Prove that your skills, commitment, and enthusiasm make you a perfect fit for the course.
As with the introduction, short and simple is key. So, summarise your strengths and key points and leave the admissions tutors in no doubt that you are the perfect candidate.
Some final quick tips for your personal statement…
- Give yourself time, don’t leave it to the last minute.
- Make it memorable and original.
- Be positive about the course and institution.
- Sell yourself and your abilities.
- Keep it simple with clear, short sentences.
- Avoid repeated or irrelevant information.
- Proofread your statement before you submit your application!!
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