How to write a personal statement
As the UCAS deadline approaches, it can be a nerve wracking time whether you are just beginning or editing your personal statement. This time last year I was in the same position, trying to articulate all of my passions into 4000 characters which isn’t a lot at all. Here are some of the tips that I used when I was writing my personal statement for History of Art.
Show your passion– Being passionate is one thing that can catch a universities attention. Rather than just choosing a degree because you have to, choose the degree because you want to and make sure that this is evident. What interests you about the subject? Do you have a favourite area that you would like to explore more? Universities are looking for someone with an eagerness to learn so by write about your excitement towards the subject!
Have a clear structure– To make the most of your personal statement make sure that the order is clear and structured. The structure I used for my personal statement included an introduction (why I wanted to study this degree) followed by my academic achievements, and then lastly any extracurricular activities or traits that would make me a good student at university. In doing so you can make the most out of the word count and it will be easier to notice if you are missing anything important.
Super-curricular>Extracurricular– When writing a personal statement, make sure that you are proactively finding opportunities that relate to the degree. That could include taking part in lectures, reading books and watching documentaries. Try to aim to find opportunities that are unique and can make you stand out, including short courses and events. This should take up a significant section in your personal statement, and extracurricular should take up only a few sentences. Furthermore, when writing about experiences, relate them to different skills that will help you at university. Instead of writing that you are a part of scouts, write that you have developed your ability for working in a team from your experience of scouts.
Be yourself– When I was writing my personal statement I found that I didn’t sound like myself and had to go back and edit so that my personality shone through. Using fancy words here and there are awesome to show a good range of vocabulary but you don’t need to write like someone else to stand out. 4000 characters is not a lot at all so instead of focusing on the language, focus on the content of your personal statement for it to be most effective.
One of the best pieces of advice once you have finished your personal statement is to then get two people to read it thoroughly. I recommend one person who has experience in the degree you are applying for, that way they are able to look at the technical aspects and help you amend any areas in which can be improved. I also recommend someone who doesn’t have experience of the degree. This means that if they then read your personal statement and have a grasp of what the degree entails; you are conveying your passion perfectly.
Personal statements can be daunting to write, but as long as your personality and passion shines through it will be amazing!
Good luck x