How can I write a good personal statement to apply to a university?
"I have read, The Hunger Games, City of Bones, Twighlight .
I have travelled to Spain, USA, Mauritius, Dubai.
bla, bla, bla.
" Waffling on about how great you are and listing events in your life is not what comprises a personal statement.
A personal statement is an essay about why you want to study a particular subject at university and why you think you are suitable.
Aimed at admission tutors, a personal statement requires you to "sell yourself" to the universities you have listed on your UCAS form.
There are 5 choices of universities, however, it is not possible to tailor your personal statement to a particular institution, which is why your personal statement should be given careful thought and attention, ensuring it grabs the attention of the reader.
The first personal statement I ever wrote was my own – with hindsight it wasn't the greatest piece of writing! For some people, writing a personal statement will come easily.
But for those who are feeling daunted about the prospect of putting 4,000 characters together, you are not alone.
With time and with experience of writing personal statements, I have come up with 5 essential tips to what would constitute a good personal statement ensuring you get into your preferred choices.
The opening paragraph needs to highlight what subject you want to pursue and why, including your motivations to study this course.
This requires you to be creative but not outlandish.
Try not to use quotes and cliches, be original and truthful.
Word of warning – try not to write a vague opening like, "I have always wanted to study .
" This has been overused and admissions tutors know that nobody has always wanted to study a particular subject.
Be specific for example, when did you realise what incident aroused your interest? Why are you passionate and so forth.
The best statements will show that a student is not only interested in the subject but that they've studied it, have developed an interest it outside of school and are continuing to do so.
Admissions tutors are primarily looking to see that you have an understanding about the course you are applying for.
But remember, that content of courses will be different at different universities, so you should look for common topics and briefly talk about those.
Oxford and Cambridge require personal statements to be geared towards academia.
The key is balance and contrary to what Oxbridge demand, most universities will look for candidates to divide their statements between their academics and their extra-curricular pursuits and it’s even better if these are relevant to your choice of study.
Talk about your extra-curricular activities but don’t go overboard! The one mistake students make is to mention to be involved in far too many clubs and hold many positions of responsibility.
It will surely create a doubt in the mind of admissions tutors that how dedicated you’ll be to your choice of course.
Pick some important extra-curricular activities – think about the skills they give you and feed that into what you are doing.
Refrain from using vacuous claims in your personal statement, for example ‘I am caring; committed to doing my very best at every opportunity.
” A big claim, but where’s the proof?
Stock phrases and cliches should be avoided at all costs.
Applicants should also be careful not to exaggerate their involvement in activities.
Be warned; if you are invited to interview, you can expect to be questioned on what you have claimed.
Lies won’t impress anyone, can become pretty obvious very quickly under pressure and may impact negatively.
All of the approximate 47 lines should be reflecting a positive image to the admissions tutor.
They should be convinced that you should be chosen over someone else.
This doesn’t mean that you brag about your achievements and promise to the best student ever.
Demonstrate how you are passionate about the subject.
Have you participated in any competitions, such as Olympiads, writing contests, science fairs and art exhibitions and so on.
If you did well and got a prize, that definitely needs to be brought to their attention.
It also means that each sentence should be carefully crafted with careful choice of vocabulary.
Students need to review their statements for spelling and grammar and to apply in good time.
Ask a family member or a teacher to proofread it for you, or you could read it aloud to them so you haven't missed any crucial bits.
There are also many great apps out there to check for spelling and grammar mistakes which you could use before finally submitting it.
At the end of the day, only you will know whether you have done justice to your personal statement.
Have you sold yourself as best as possible without sounding pompous and a know it all? Will you be an asset to the university?
The best advice is to ensure you start well in time so that you have time to think, edit and rewrite till it’s a perfect masterpiece! Happy writing.
From my blog:
In writing essays specially application for admission in college/post graduate study, it is essential to seek help from experts for that sleek and perfect essay.
There are variety of ways to lock-in that college/post graduate study application.
You may try visiting the website of your target university/college for tips.
Say for example you are interested in going to the University of Pennsylvania, try using this site: