Today, this is our top 5 tips on writing personal statements when applying to the UK.
Tip 1. Evidence everything. So the main problem with personal statements is that people would just say oh. I’m really good at something, or I’m a really great leader, or I will be perfect to study law, but they don’t say why. The main thing, even if you don’t watch the rest of this video, is evidence everything. If you say you’re a good leader, tell them how so instead of saying “I’m a good leader”, and say my experience captaining the basketball team has enhanced my abilities to lead a team into success, or something like that. Instead of just saying, I’m a great leader, without giving any evidence as to why.
Tip 2. The style of your writing is really important. Unlike the US applications, UCAS only needs you to write one personal statement, and this is a very short one. So keep it concise and to the point don’t use flowery language, don’t repeat your academic achievements because that is already going to be in your applications. Instead, use this opportunity to talk about yourself. Don’t waffle, don’t use clichés. Such as I’ve always wanted to be a doctor ever since I was young. Because everyone knows that’s not true.
Tip 3. Content structure. So each personal statement is about 4-5 paragraphs in length. The first paragraph normally talks about what interested you to study that degree. I’ve heard from a lot of people that they would normally put in things like “I’ve wanted to be a doctor since I was 3 years old, I’ve wanted to be a lawyer since I was 10 years old.” If that’s true for you then go ahead, by all means if you can evidence that passion. But normally I would try to avoid certain clichés like that. So just be as honest as you can. The second paragraph normally talks about what has interested you to become a lawyer in greater length, so for example any work experience and internships that you have recently done that has highlighted that this degree might be a good choice for you. Third paragraph would normally be about a special aspect of your degree that has interested you. This could be something like, euthanasia for law. Or maybe a certain area of medicine, if you want to study medicine, that has developed your interest in that degree program. And I think that this is a more legitimate way of doing so. Rather than just saying: You know, I really enjoy reading medicine or I really want to be a doctor. Instead of just saying stuff like that just kind of going into what your degree might actually study. That really shows that you have done the extra work and gone the extra mile. For your fourth paragraph, you would normally say something along the lines of your extracurricular activities. So this is the part where you can just let your personality shine. Showcase all the extra stuff that you have been doing. So you can you play the piano, or you’re the debater of the school, or you’re a swimmer. Leadership skills, teamwork skills, communication, or how hard you can work. The final paragraph, normally your fifth paragraph. Would just be a really short couple of lines and lead the whole personal statement on a positive note. Some people like to do a quote you can do that, or just try to show what you can possibly bring to the university, what good you might do becoming a doctor, lawyer, engineer, etc.
Tip 4: Preparation. Start preparing for your personal statement at least 6 months before it is due. For Oxbridge that is in mid-October, and for the rest of the universities that is in mid-January. The personal statement is due sometime during the first term of your second year, in A-Levels. So this is a very stressful time. Instead what you should do is use the summer holidays to prepare, do some reading, read up on articles, do extracurricular activities, work experience, anything to do to buff up your personal statement. And also get people to proof read it, alto. I found that really helpful in my own personal statement, I got it literally proofread by many different people. School counselors, my dad, my mom, my granddad, and my friends. Literally anybody that would read it I asked for an opinion. So get it proofread as many times as you can. Preferably at least 5 times or something. I know some people don’t need to do that. But I personally feel that this is one of the more important essays of your life. You may as well give it the best shot that you’ve got.
And last but not least, tip 5: Be Yourself. So you may think that this sounds really cliché, and you’ve heard this a million times over, but I am going to say one more time. Be yourself. There are so many personal statements that these admission officers would read. And if you are just going to be just like anyone else’s, it is just going to go under the stack of ‘not getting accepted’. You’ve really got to show your true colors, show a little bit of yourself, show a little bit of flair, make sure they remember you. Because they are going to read each personal statements for a maximum of a minute or two. They are literally going to scan. So make it as eye-catching as possible. This especially applies to your first paragraph. And also, put in original content into your personal statement. Don’t copy anybody else’s. These admission officers, they have a program where they are able to search through your essay and find any similarities that you have with other people. That would lead to automatic rejection should you have a lot of similarities as others.