The personal statement; it can be the death of some students, or put people off the UCAS application altogether. For some students, it is the first time they have had to really sell themselves using the written word, with the intention of important people and a huge institution having to read it and base the decision with that in mind. Although your entire life won’t be altered if you don’t particularly write a good personal statement, there are some things you should know when it comes to your turn when you put pen (or printer ink) to paper, there are plenty of ways to work out how to write your personal statement.
Why is it so important?
The personal statement is your chance to make your application come to life and give it a personality – your personality. University staff want to be able to know more about you than what grades you are predicted to receive in the summer, they want to find out what you are interested in, why you want to study at university and what makes you tick. Universities receive thousands and of applications, a year and they need to be able to differentiate between each student and make a choice on who they’re going to offer a place at their institution.
Do you have to write a personal statement?
You will be at a disadvantage if you don’t write one. This is sole because nearly every other student will have written one and you’re the odd one out – and for a bad reason. Why would you want to miss out the chance to really sell yourself to the university?
Will I have to write a personal statement if I don’t apply through UCAS?
Depending on how you apply, whether it is through UCAS or if you apply directly to the college/university. Even if you do apply independently away from the UCAS system, most institutions want some form of explanation as to why you have made the decision to study for a degree. It could be in the format of an email or question and answer basis.
Will it affect my application if I don’t?
If your grades (predicted and already obtained) really speak for themselves, you might not have to write a personal statement. Or if your university has invited you along for a face-to-face interview then you may not have to submit one after either. An interview will just be a physical version of the written statement anyway, so they’ll get everything they need from that initial meeting.
Does it really impact my application?
You don’t want to rely on your grades and references to speak for you as they might do the best job. A personal statement is an opportunity to have your say and fight your corner for what you really want; that spot at university.
What if I get it wrong?
It is rare to get a personal statement completely wrong, however, there will always be one that is better than yours and one that is worse, it is how the world works. And if you really have that thought at the back of your mind when you’re writing it, it won’t seem so bad. You can’t do that terribly unless you swear, spell incorrectly and don’t even write about why you want to go to university (then I guess that is pretty bad). As long as you write about the things that matter and why they matter with full honesty, you can only do it right!
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