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How To Write A Great Personal Statement
Struggling to write your personal statement? You’re not alone! Most students struggle with this part of the application process. But you don’t have to be one of them.
We know how important it is for you to stand out from other applicants, and we want to make sure that happens. Follow these guidelines for writing a solid personal statement that will help you get into your desired University!
Here’s a quick summary of on how to write a personal statement:
What Is A Personal Statement?
The personal statement is a short essay of 4,000 characters and 47 lines that you submit to the UCAS online portal along with your grades and references. They will then distribute your application across different universities or colleges.
UCAS takes in all this information about you, including your personality traits, so universities can judge whether you’re a good enough fit for them. You have to use your personal statement to demonstrate your interests, talents, and abilities.
If you want to be an outstanding candidate, learn how to write a personal statement!
Begin By Answering Starter Questions
The most challenging part of writing is starting. Your hand freezes even before you get to type a single word because you’re not sure how to start.
But you don’t have to worry about how to write a personal statement because these questions will help kickstart your writing.
- Write down your “WHY.” Why did you choose the specific course you’re applying for? What particular event in your life stimulated your interest in it?
- How did you learn about your course of interest? Do you have family members or significant figures you admire who have related professions in the field?
- Read the course descriptions. What skills and experiences does the course demand?
- Which of these skills and experiences do you have? Where did you develop them? If you have any certifications, awards, or memberships to highlight your skills and experiences, much better! Doing so will help prove that you are a suitable applicant.
- What future career path are you looking to pursue? What are your goals? Stating your dreams and ambitions plainly and your motivations behind them demonstrates your sense of purpose.
- Did you experience difficulty during your education? If you experienced mental or physical health issues that affected your performance, it’s best to include them in your personal statement. Financial difficulties are also essential to point out.
- What are the characteristics you have that sets you apart from the other applicants? Why should the admissions committee consider you?
After answering the questions stated above, you now have a solid idea of how to write a personal statement. Don’t worry about grammar, punctuation, and the 4,000-word count limit just yet. Let your ideas flow and start writing!
Remember, the whole point of your personal statement is to convince the reader that you are worth accepting into the University of your choice.
So imagine you’re talking to the school’s admission as you’re typing. Doing so keeps your mind’s eye centred on why you’re writing your personal statement in the first place.
Craft Your Personal Statement Into Your Personal Story
To make your personal statement free-flowing and attention-grabbing, craft it into your personal story.
Begin by recounting a significant event in your life that kindled your interest in the course you’re applying for. Then continue the journey from there, pointing out essential details of your growth and development.
Not only will this approach keep the reader hooked, but it also establishes a personal connection with them. They’ll feel as if they know you as a person. Thus, increasing the chances of your admittance into the University.
Put Your Best Foot Forward
Once you have your long, messy draft ready, it’s time to clean and polish. The first order of business on how to write a personal statement is to put your best foot forward. Writing a personal statement is equivalent to selling yourself. Meaning you shouldn’t write about irrelevant experiences or skills.
When applying for Biology, don’t write about your achievements in debate championships. Concentrate on your scientific prowess.
Neither should you write about your weaknesses. You don’t have to write about your hatred of Calculus or your difficulty in learning French.
Go over your draft and remove paragraphs and sentences that are not in line with your course. Delete anything that devalues you.
You only have 4,000 words to sell yourself. Make it count!
Mention Specific Details In Your Personal Statement
Proper nouns make your personal statement powerful. Saying you’re a member of the “debate association” is nothing compared to the “National Speech And Debate Association.”
Do you see the difference?
So insert specific details like dates and proper names as much as possible.
Stating you won a “leadership award” is not as impactful as “the 2019 Youth Leadership Cup.”
Our guide on how to write about work experience in personal statements will have you typing in no time.
Correct Your Spelling And Grammar
After choosing which narrative should stay and which should go, you now have a shorter, more relevant draft in hand. The next step is to correct your spelling and grammar.
The easiest way to accomplish this is to run your document over in Grammarly. Grammarly is a free writing app that helps you communicate your ideas in a clear and effective way. The premium version leads you a step further, but the free version works fine.
Check out our handy guide on what NOT to put in a personal statement.
Make Your Sentences Concise And To The Point
Check your sentences to make them more concise and to the point.
Sentences written this way, “I remembered when I was in middle school, I have been very interested in the complex systems of the human body,” can easily be compressed to “Since middle school, I have been interested in the complexity of the human body.”
Each year, universities have to read thousands of personal statements. Make yours effortless to read!
Choose Precise Words To Express Yourself
Some words are more powerful and expressive than others. Going with our previous example, instead of saying “I have been very interested,” why not say “I have been passionate”?
Change “think” to “believe.” “Improve” to “enhance.” You can see where we’re going with this. For easy suggestions, type the word you used in the google search bar. Then put in the word “synonyms” after it. Press enter, and voila! You have a list of potential words at your fingertips.
Make Your First Paragraph Stand Out
At this point, you now have an idea of how to write a personal statement from beginning to end. Go back to the beginning and make sure it’s as compelling as it can be.
Focus your creative energy on your first paragraph as if that’s the only paragraph the admissions committee will ever read. Make it stand out!
If you don’t, chances are it is the only paragraph they’ll ever read!
We’ve also produced an in-depth guide on how to start a personal statement.
Read Your Personal Statement Out Loud
You will never know how good your personal statement sounds until you read it out loud.
When you read it, does your tongue roll out the paragraphs smoothly? Or are there incoherent thoughts that don’t go well together?
When a document is difficult to read, you can bet it’s also difficult to understand. So read your personal statement several times and make the necessary revisions until it’s smooth as butter!
Let Someone Else Read It
Your personal statement is…you guessed it, very personal. What may be clear to you may not be clear to someone else. That’s why it’s vital to let someone else read it.
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Show it to your classmates, teachers, and parents. You need their fresh eyes to examine your document. The more readers you have giving your feedback, the better your personal statement will be.
Receive their suggestions with grace and seriousness. You’ll need the trial run before submitting the final version!
After having gained feedback from several fresh eyes, it’s time to refresh yours. Put down your personal statement and go about your daily life. Forget about it for a while.
Let a few days pass before you return to it. Then read it out loud again. You’ll be surprised to notice characteristics you didn’t catch before. Edit out parts you dislike, improve others, and retain good portions.
Your personal statement will come out better!
Stay true to who you are.
When learning how to write a personal statement, you don’t have to copy someone else’s. You are unique. Use your own voice and ideas. That’s why this article doesn’t have a rigid, point A to point B structure for you to follow.
Another thing to keep in mind is honesty. Don’t put in skills you don’t have in your desire to impress. If you fabricate today, the University will find out later on.
Your goal is not only to make a good first impression, but to make a lasting impression.
Give Yourself Time
You shouldn’t cram your way through your personal statement. Treat it as a work of art – intentional and soulful.
Your personal statement reflects who you are and why you deserve to be admitted into the University. It may take you a month or two to write your personal statement. And that’s perfectly fine! Remember, you will need to distance yourself from it for a few days to get a fresh perspective.
So start early and take your time!
Your personal statement is an opportunity for you to express your passion and individuality.
Follow these tips for writing an effective and articulate personal statement that the admissions officers can’t resist reading all the way through.