It’s no secret that getting into university is becoming more and more competitive. Your personal statement is a way to distinguish yourself from your peers and tell your desired university what you have to offer. Lucky for you, Student Hut has got you covered - here are ten ways to make sure your personal statement is a cut above the rest.
1. Keep to the point.
You have up to 4000 characters of text (around 500 words) to show your potential university why you would be a great student, so keep it snappy. Avoid adjectives and flowery wording in order to keep your personal statement clear and concise.
If you're applying for a subject which requires an interview (e.g. Medicine, Dentistry), save details of your impressive achievements for when you can talk about them in person. If you're stuck, check out our guide on how to prepare for your university interview.
2. Draft. Review. Repeat.
You’re not going to be happy with your personal statement by the first draft. Or the second. Or third. Make sure you have enough time to write a personal statement you’ll be happy with. A rushed personal statement may be rife with errors and irrelevant information - your law professor doesn’t care about how well you can look after your goldfish.
3. Get a second opinion.
Your teachers should be more than willing to help weave through the ins-and-outs of creating an effective personal statement. However, it won’t hurt to let your parents look over it or even an acquaintance working in the field you wish to study. More often than not, we can get too close to our own work to realise what can be improved – this is where a second (and even third) opinion can come in handy.
4. Read it out loud.
This will help you work out where sentences flow together well and where there’s absolutely no cohesion at all. Draft and redraft the bits that don't flow well.
5. Why are you different?
It’s important to mention what have you done in your life which most teenagers/young adults haven’t. What’s your greatest achievement? What makes you stand out from the crowd? Good examples include: leadership experience, service project work, sporting/musical achievements and community work. Universities don’t want students who are cooped up studying all day; they want rounded individuals able to balance different aspects of their lives.
6. Focus on the subject you’re applying for.
While it’s good to write about your extracurricular experience, the focus of the personal statement should be the subject you’re applying for. What you’re writing about should directly relate to the subject you’re applying to. If it doesn’t relate to your desired subject, then it can (most likely) be scrapped.
7. Be honest.
Keep it real, as the truth will come out sooner or later.
8. Make sure your work is your own.
Plagiarism is no joke at university. Universities go to great lengths to make sure a student’s work is their own, with severe repercussions if work is plagiarised. We’ve all copied someone’s homework during our school days, but you should leave those days behind you when you start writing your personal statement.
9. Sell yourself.
It may sound obvious to some, but the key to a good personal statement is focusing on your strengths. Universities are interested in what you can do, not what you can’t.
10. Out of sight, out of mind.
Once you’ve sent off your personal statement, avoid reading over it. It’s perfectly normal to feel that you could have improved it once it’s already been sent off, but there’s nothing you can change about it. That said, whilst we're not mind readers, you might find yourself feeling these emotions before your offers roll in!
Best of luck!