Your personal statement = YOU.
We all know that writing about yourself is going to be difficult, especially if English isn’t your first language. If you want to apply to a UK university, they are going to ask for a personal statement; your personal statement is an important part of the application process as it lets universities know why you want to study with them.
Unfortunately, there is no magic formula that will make it easier to write, it’s going to be difficult! But we’ve outlined a few tips which will make personal statement writing easy.
Firstly; don’t worry about the structure or the size – just write!
Getting to know you
Think of all the words that are relevant to you, your course, your experience, why you want to study your subject, why you want to study in the UK. Think about YOU. Your future and write these words down!
What makes you stand out? You will be competing against everyone else that wants to study that subject, so you need to show why you are different.
- Why are you excited about the subject or the course? Be positive!
- Have you done a previous degree?
- Who inspired you? GIVE EXAMPLES.
- What makes you unique? Do you have any hobbies or interests? What’s your personality like? Try and always link this back to the course you are applying to.
- Why do you want to study in the UK?
Getting to know your university
Secondly; you need to research the course you are interested in. There will be lots of universities with similar courses, but you need to make sure the university understands why you are choosing them. Read through the subject information on the website.
Course information will tell you what kind of skills and characteristics you will need to study on their course – you can include these.
- For example, if you want to study law you might be an excellent communicator, know how businesses work, be able to research carefully, be able to work independently and as part of a team.
- If you want to study Medicine, you might have excellent communication and social skills. You would need to show that you are interested in Medicine (demonstrate that you have thought about what doctors do, read up on recent health care news, gain experience with your family doctor and show you have reflected on it as a career). You will need to show that you are hardworking, dedicated and intelligent (your academic school reports will do this for you).
Outline your skills such as: communication, commitment, hard-working, leadership, research. Use key words. Ask other people to describe you and your qualities. They can help.
Thirdly; once you’ve got your ideas on paper you need to organise them and put them together into sentences. If you struggle, ask for help, your teachers and university adviser is happy to help!
- Paragraph 1: Understanding: what you understand about the course, what you know and why you're excited.
- Paragraph 2: Evidence: prove you’re interested in your course; what skills you can bring and what good qualities you have.
- Paragraph 3: YOU: add the personal touch, your interests that will help you fit into university life, why are you unique? Why would you be a good student? Try to always link it back to the course you're studying.
DON'T copy - although you might be tempted to work with someone or find an example online they will catch you and your application may be rejected.
DO make drafts! Good statements take time, and re-writing. Write a draft of what you want to include and proofread it, let other people read it.
DO check your spelling, grammar and punctuation, make sure you let others check this for you too.
Finally; enjoy it! This is an opportunity to show your excitement for a subject you clearly love.
Remember: 1. Write first, worry about how to structure it after.
2. Research is important. You need to know what you're writing about.
3. It takes time - this is normal!