WRITING YOUR PERSONAL STATEMENT
By Lucy Wright, Leeds Trinity Schools and Colleges Liaison Officer
Your personal statement is your chance to stand out from the crowd. It supports your application and allows you to sell yourself, your passion and your desire to study the course. Personal statements are absolutely vital in the decision making process of universities, who use them to get an idea of your character and if you’d be right for their course. I’ve helped 1000s of students with their personal statements over the years, so follow these top tips and you’ll be onto a winner! 1. STRUCTURE Creating a structure for your personal statement will give you direction when you start writing it. Try to link each paragraph so that your personal statement flows well. 2. INTRODUCTION Be sharp and concise. In no more than four lines, introduce the subject you are interested in and why it interests you. Avoid the word ‘always’, make sure the introduction is personal to you and that it does not read like an academic essay. 3. ACADEMIC INFO You’re applying for a place in higher education, so show off your academic credentials. Make sure you answer: a. What are your key skills, and how do they relate the course you’re applying for? b. What subjects have you studied that link to
your course of interest? c. Have you taken part in any projects relevant to your course of interest? d. Can you talk about the subject theory alongside what you have seen in your work experience? Linking the work experience and academic info paragraphs can work really well. e. Further reading and subscriptions to academic journals are also a good way to demonstrate commitment and enthusiasm. REMEMBER! Universities want students that show intelligence, so make sure you do some background research on your course, show that you understand it and comment on the aspects you’re looking forward to. If you can show you’ve read more than just a webpage or the prospectus, you’ll be sure to stand out.
4. WORK EXPERIENCE It’s crucial that you demonstrate that you’re enthusiastic and knowledgeable about what you are applying for, and one of the best ways to do this is to write about any relevant work experience you’ve had. Make sure you include: a. What you did b. What skills you used, or new skills you have learnt c. How you will apply these skills on the course If you can’t get relevant work experience, make sure you understand the personal qualities required on the course and demonstrate them through other jobs you may have had – you should focus on transferable skills. 5. EXTRA-CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES This is what will help you to stand out – universities like to have a variety of students with different interests, parttime jobs, hobbies, background and experiences. Make sure you answer: a. What extra-curricular activities do you take part in? b. Why do these make you different from everyone else? Try to link your interests to your course as this will demonstrate your enthusiasm
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6. A FINAL FEW POINTERS • Explain each point you make, with evidence – then explain how you will apply it. Writing in simple list form is tedious to read, and will not make a good first impression to someone in higher education! • Spelling – check, check and check again! • Remember it’s YOUR personal statement. Don’t copy others or lie – just be yourself. This is what university is all about. • You’ve got 47 lines (or 4000 characters) – use them wisely! Make use of all space, so write more than you need and edit down to keep the best parts. • Make sure your personality comes across – this is your moment to shine! • Add any career aspirations that you may have to demonstrate you commitment to the course