You’ve probably realised by now what an essential part your personal statement plays in your application. And how difficult it is to write a really good one! How can you make yours stand out? Here we explore some simple pointers of what to do – and what to avoid.
Do Structure Your Statement Carefully
Everyone knows that course choice reasons and explanations go first, with relevant work experience, then your responsibilities, hobbies & interests. But how much should you write about each? It’s best to try & dedicate at least half of your statement to why you want to do the course and how you know what it entails – but make sure you look at the websites of the universities you want to go to, as some universities expect to see up to 90% of the statement dedicated to academic reasons!
Don’t Be Tempted To Plagarise
There is a wealth of information on the internet about statements, and your school may have examples for you to view too. But if you’re tempted to ‘borrow’ someone else’s phrases – be aware that UCAS has some of the most powerful anti-plagarism software in existence, and if it spots that your statement isn’t all quite…. original, then you could be in big trouble.
Do Mention Anything Unusual
If you have any unusual hobbies (one of my favourites was a student who did ballooning), speak a different language, lived in a foreign country, play any sport at county level of higher, have had articles or stories published – even if not relevant to your course, mention it. It’ll help you stand out from the crowd.
Don’t Overuse ABC
“Activity Benefit Course” is a great guide for describing extracurricular activities – say what it is, what you get from it, and how this relates to your course. Sports require self-discipline & teamwork, volunteering shows social responsibility, even babysitting needs maturity & reliability. But don’t tie yourself up in knots trying to relate your love of Indonesian cooking to aeronautical engineering – admissions tutors don’t expect you to live, breathe & sleep the course and nothing else…
Do Use Correct English
This, surely, is obvious, yet ever year students under-estimate the importance of a smoothly flowing, well-constructed statement with impeccable grammar, spelling and punctuation. You don’t need poor English distracting attention away from your impressive description of why you want to study International Relations.
A UCAS application consists of more than just the personal statement – your grades & reference are just as important – and while it’s sensible to do the very best that you can, there’s no point in losing sleep over it. Take it seriously, do a great job – then get it sent off as soon as you can. Then you can relax, safe in the knowledge that you’ve done your best – and wait for those offers to arrive!