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Personal Statements – Getting Started

personal statement

Writing personal statements for university applications is part of the university application process that many students find the most difficult and the hardest part is probably getting started.

Here are some practical ideas on how to get going with personal statements

  1. Write a list of all of your experience – paid and unpaid and including any groups or clubs that you are a part of what you have gained from this (communication skills, organisation skills, a passion for something.
  2. List any awards that you have received like the Duke of Edinburgh’s or being a graduate of the National Citizens Service and any other awards that you may have got – maybe you won an award for an electronics project at school for example.
  3. Write down the ambitions and interests that you have
  4. Go through the course details of all of the university courses that you intend to apply to and make a note of the modules offered and any work experience in industry, exchange programmes or access to voluntary schemes offered as well as how modules are taught and assessed. It’s important to do this so that you can highlight the skills and experience that you have that match the course design and content – this way you can write persuasively about why you would be a good candidate.

Some useful tips for writing your personal statement

Don’t get too specific and don’t name one particular university – remember that the same personal statement is going to all of your universities. If the courses that you are applying to are very different to each other then try to keep your statement focused on the more general skills that you have, although you may still be able to find some elements of the courses that are the same or similar and draw on these in your statement.

Don’t expect to get it right first time

you have 4,000 characters and you will rework your statement.

Start early

Because you will redraft your personal statement it is important to start early. Don’t be shy either, let only siblings, parents and teachers read it and give you feedback.

Proofread

This means going beyond a simple spell check – you need to read and get others to read your statement to make sure 1) that it is correct and 2) that it conveys what you are trying to convey and in the right way.

Don’t copy

Don’t even think about copying someone else’s personal statement you will get caught out!

Don’t lie

We all want to sound our very best but you mustn’t be tempted to lie on your personal statement.

 

About Lynette Daly

Lynette is the publishing editor of Moving On magazine. Moving On is devoted to helping young people make good choices for their future – education, qualifications and careers. Moving On really wants to motivate you! Our articles cover a range of topics to inspire and give ideas. Our magazines are delivered free to all schools, colleges and sixth forms in England and is also available online.

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