How to write a personal statement
When you are thinking about attending university, the application process can seem rather scary and overwhelming, and the worst part is writing the personal statements and the ways to write them because there are plenty of ways to learn how to write a great UCAS personal statement for university. It can be hard to judge what to put in, how long to talk about each subject and what universities are looking for in a suitable candidate. We have conducted a great list of things you need and don’t need to put in your personal statement.
This may seem unnecessary to mention, but writing good sentences and checking for spelling and grammar shouldn’t be taken lightly! As the application is online, you will no doubt be using a computer and it can be easy to forget to do spell check after you have written your personal statement! Universities will pick it up if you haven’t checked through your work. Ask a family member, friend or teacher to read through your statement to make sure it reads well and you haven’t made any mistakes.
Universities aren’t looking for big, long and fancy words, they just want to hear from you! Try not to make the habit of using a thesaurus on every other word to make it sound more intelligent, it won’t come across that way on the other end! If you are writing in clear and concise sentences, universities will appreciate this much more than the words you had to look up in the dictionary!
Write about what you know
Try to talk about how the courses you have and are studying are related to the degree you are interested in. This shows that you have thought about how it is related to what you want to do after university. It will also tell the universities how you are able to see the skills and techniques you have and are going to learn once finishing your studies. If you are considering studying Law, and are on the verge of completing a History A-Level, discuss how this subject helps you remember lots of information, as well as organising it. Universities are interested in what you have done before and how it will help you during your degree.
Talk about why you chose that one
Discuss why you want to study that degree at that university. Institutions want to know why you chose them out of all of the other hundreds available, and why you want that degree out of all the ones they offer. You can talk about the modules listed, your hobbies and interests, what you have studied before and how it builds on that, and even if it is a completely random degree that you haven’t previously studied, like Museum Studies, talk about why you want to do that and why it seemed so exciting to you.
Tell them about yourself
Everybody has hobbies and lots of free time out of studying and universities are dying to get to know you! Tell them about how you host a Knitting club, or that you have been swimming every day since you were 7 years old. They would like to get a feel of you as a person and how you will fit in at their university, and by telling them about yourself they can get a better picture on what type of person and student you are.
Brag about your achievements
If you were the top student in your class for the past two years – shout it out! If your documentary you made in Film Studies got you a work placement at Channel 4 – shout it out! And if you were the only student to get an A* in English Language that year – shout that out too! Your achievements reflect on how you study, your hard work and how you value your education and studies, so why not write in your personal statement? Your achievements will help pick you out from the other thousands of students applying to that university, and if you want to secure a place on your degree, you are going to have to talk about them!
When you are nervous or attempting to write about yourself it can be very difficult. One of the hardest things to do is big yourself up to others as the majority of us are very modest, but you are unique! Don’t let this sidetrack you and end up writing a dissertation instead of a personal statement. Universities have to read through thousands of applications and if your personal statement is three and a half pages long, and one of those pages is dedicated to your cats, it isn’t going to come across well. Writing straight to the point is a good technique to master as when it comes to writing coursework at degree level, you’ll find you won’t have enough words in the limit to say everything you want to say!
Put the right stuff in
So, if you’re not that much of a cat person, and have 6 pet snakes at home, the university won’t really care either way. Don’t write about anything that isn’t related to university or your studies, or that just represents you as an individual. Don’t waste your precious word limit on how you still hold the undefeated champion title of Mario Kart on the Wii.
So the last and most important point is to just be yourself. Don’t try to make yourself seem more fun, intelligent or serious as if you have an interview or attend an open day, the lies won’t be able to stick for long – just be yourself. Universities know that everyone is different and they love diversity and love having their courses full of it! The most effective thing you can put across in your personal statement is who you really are, and the universities will love you.
Writing about yourself can be a challenge, whether you can sell yourself or not, but if you follow our pointers then you won’t have anything to worry about!