Writing your Personal Statement
If you’re thinking about applying to study a degree level programme, an essential part of your application will be writing your personal statement.
To stand the best chance of being accepted onto a course, it is vital that you write a strong personal statement that really sells why you want to study the course or subject at your chosen college or university. What’s more, your personal statement is where you get to highlight the skills and experience that demonstrate your passion for your chosen field.
If the prospect of doing this seems like a challenge, then you aren’t alone. Writing may not be your strong point and even if it is, many people find writing about themselves difficult. But the prospect of writing a personal statement shouldn’t put you off applying for a course as there are some easy rules that can make the process much more straightforward. Follow our Application Guide or contact our dedicated support team for further advice.
So how should you approach writing your personal statement? To help you tackle this, we’ve pulled together our top tips to make it that little bit easier.
Give yourself plenty of time
First and foremost, give yourself a good couple of weeks to not only plan your statement but also draft, redraft and proof your final statement.
By giving yourself this time, you will alleviate some of the pressure you may feel, freeing up more space in your mind to focus on getting the content right. It will also give you plenty of wiggle room should you be over – or under- the word count and to rectify any issues without any last minute stress.
Plan the structure
Before you start writing paragraphs and paragraphs of information it is essential that you plan the structure of your statement.
Generally, the best way to approach this is to look at the course description and identify the qualities, skills, and experience it requires. What’s more this should give you an idea of which skills and qualities the course leaders value the most, giving you a clear signal as to how that information should be ordered.
With this information you can then decide what information to include and in what order. A good way to tackle this is to list bullets points of what to include under sub-headings that match those skills and qualities to help you to develop a clear, well structured plan of what your personal statement will ultimately look like.
Make it all about you
With your structure in place, the next key step in the personal statement writing process is establishing exactly what to write about.
Without wishing to state the obvious everything should be about you. This should start with everything that makes you suitable for the course, covering relevant skills, achievements and experience that you’ve accumulated across education, work and other activities.
But it doesn’t stop there!
You should also include points about why you are interested in the course and undertaking higher education in general. To highlight your rounded skillset and interests you should also mention everything from clubs or societies you belong to through to and volunteering you have done and any programmes such as Duke of Edinburgh that you have participated in.
Anything that shows off your interests, dedication and commitment is worth considering for inclusion.
Stand out from the crowd
In addition to making it all about you it is essential that you make sure you stand out from the crowd. Highlight not only experiences but also successes and achievements.
In addition to this, make sure that you come across as enthusiastic while writing in a concise and natural style about yourself. You might want to consider including things like famous quotes to compliment your outlook on things but this should be approached with a degree of caution as you don’t know whether these will be views that are held by the admissions tutor.
Proof, proof and proof again
Once you have turned your plan into a first draft, take a break before going back and editing and editing again until you are happy with the final product. Having a break between drafts means that you will come back with fresh eyes that are more likely to see opportunities to be more concise, compelling and lively in your writing.
With a final draft in place it is critical that you proof and proof again for spelling and grammar. If possible, ask for a friend or relative to also proof it for anything that you may have missed. By doing this you will avoid the sense of deflation that comes with spotting an error just after you have hit the submit button.
While writing a personal statement can seem challenging it is important to remember that it isn’t mission impossible. By following these tips you will be well positioned to write a personal statement that will earn you a place on a course that will build your future.
For more information on applying through UCAS and writing your personal statement watch our guide on how to apply.
For further support or guidance on choosing a course, applying or preparing for degree level study speak to Future U, our student support service by emailing the Careers and Welfare team or calling 0161 674 7777.