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How to write a personal statement

Writing a personal statement is one of the hardest parts of the application process, because it requires you to really think creatively about how you present yourself to a host of people who have never met you before.

You need to make it stand out in all the right ways and, of course, showcase your skills to all of the universities you’re applying to.

Things to consider including your personal statement:

Your chosen course

  • The specific areas of the course you find the most interesting
  • Whether anything influenced your initial interest in the subject
  • If you've done any wider reading on the subject
  • How the course fits into your intended career path.

Experience

  • Any experience you've have that you feel will be useful for university in general or the course you are applying for specifically
  • Focus on what you have learned from your experience and the skills you have gained.

Extra-curricular activities

  • Any extra-curricular activities you regularly take part in, or special one-off experiences. This can demonstrate your ability and initiative to seek out extra/new experiences
  • Try and relate everything back to university/your chosen subject if you are able to.

Top tip #1: You only have one personal statement

Each university you apply to will see the same personal statement. This means you should avoid references to specific universities. Unless you have applied for very similar courses at each university, you should also avoid referencing specific courses. If you have applied for a wide range of courses, focus on more general skills and experiences.

Top tip #2: Focus on experience

Universities will already be aware of your academic achievements and ability. Use your personal statement to tell them more about your relevant experiences, personal achievements and hobbies outside of academia.

Top tip #3: Plan your personal statement

Be sure to make a plan before writing your personal statement. You might want to make a list of what you would like to include in order of priority to help you. Once you have completed a first draft of your personal statement, you should continue to work on it and make changes until you are sure it is the best it can possibly be.

Top tip #4: Relate experiences to the subject you’re interested in

You need to show the university that you will be an excellent student for the course you are applying for. This is why it is very important to relate what you include in your personal statement to the subject area you are applying to. Think about how your experiences and attributes link to the subject area and ensure you make these links clear in your personal statement.

Top tip #5: Check it for mistakes

Be sure to proofread your personal statement multiple times before submitting your application. You may also like to ask a friend, family member or teacher to proofread it as well, as they may spot something you have missed. It may also help you to read your personal statement out loud to ensure it flows well and is structured in a logical way.

Remember, you don't want to lessen the impact of a fantastic personal statement with spelling and grammatical errors!