Personal statement. These two words are enough to make any student feel anxious. It’s an important piece of writing because it could be what stands between you getting on the course of your dreams at university or being rejected and trying again the following year, or even trying and applying for something else. But don’t sweat! StudyStream has you covered. Here are some tips and advice on how to write the perfect personal statement.
What is a personal statement?
A personal statement is a document that supports an application to apply for college or university. Its purpose is to articulate why you want to study a particular course and express your passion for your chosen subject. It is usually between 500 and 1000 words long and has a good balance between being informative and personal towards the person writing it. It can appear that personal statements are a little formulaic at times because there are plenty of lists online telling you what a personal statement should contain and what it shouldn’t, but as long as you write in your own words about why you want to study your subject and why you choose that particular university, the rest will write itself. Passion is a key element of any good personal statement.
What makes a good personal statement?
What else makes a good personal statement? Well, let’s start with the things a personal statement shouldn’t contain. The first one is slang. It might be a ‘personal’ statement but avoid using any terms that would be considered slang, it is a professional document but it should also have some of your personality and humor in there too. One of the main things the admission team will be looking for is information about your previous studies and any academic achievements you might have gained. Don’t be afraid to notify them about any accomplishments you have done and how it demonstrates your passion for your subject.
You should also mention any relevant extracurricular activities and hobbies in your personal statement, but this should only be a small part of your essay and must link with why you chose that particular subject to study. Do mention any internships or work experience that you think might be necessary to persuade the admissions committee to consider you for your chosen course.
Don’t forget to talk about your skills. If you want to tailor your essay specifically for your course, then before you start writing your personal statement, look at the course descriptions to get some inspiration. Your personal statement is also the place where you need to list any special requirements you may have or any other personal circumstances that have affected you during your previous studies or will affect you during your studies at the university or college you are applying to.
Top tips on writing the perfect personal statement
- Write in a clear and concise manner and be enthusiastic in your tone
- Don’t go too far under or over the character or word limit - remember that it is 4,000 characters
- Proofread your essay and ask a family member or friend to proofread it for errors
- Write it in a separate program before you copy and paste it into UCAS
- Don’t waffle, the admissions committee doesn’t need to know every single unit you studied or every grade you have achieved since you started school
- Don’t submit a personal statement that is littered with typos and grammatical mistakes
- Talk about your knowledge of your chosen subject and why you are passionate about it
- Show some real-life examples to back up your skills and achievements