10 personal statement don'ts

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1. Don't do it the night before

Even if you work well under pressure, you won't be at your best and it will show. You are more likely to make small mistakes like spelling and grammar errors too, which are highly embarrassing for both you and your reader.

Don't do it the night before

2. Don't try and be funny

It's tough to make someone laugh, especially when they are on their 50th personal statement. It's best to focus your efforts on getting your point across, rather than understanding the reader's humour.

Don't try and be funny

3. Don't share your life history

There's a fine line between talking about your interests and boring your reader with your life story. You don't need to start at the beginning - talk about who you are and your aspirations.

Life story

4. Don't use inspirational quotes

We've all been swamped with inspirational quotes on social media. Your interests, activities and reasons for wanting to study will speak louder than a few words on the horizon.

Breath in the ocean

5. Don't pour your heart out

Don't feel you have to wear your heart on your sleeve. You can communicate how much you care about university through your interests and reasons for wanting to study. A paragraph about how getting into university is your life goal, probably isn't the way to go.

Pour your heart out

6. Don't use words you wouldn't normally

Your personal statement is about you, so it's important to use language that reflects this. Throwing in a few big words may stem your statement's flow, so keep language formal, but avoid anything that sounds excessive.

Use long words

7. Don't use clichés 

You probably wouldn't be the first person to use the phrase "passionate" in a personal statement. It's best to unpack your statements, explain your interests and avoid throwaway lines like "I have a passion for Chemistry."


8. Don't buy it

There are websites that will write your personal statement for a cost. It's best to avoid these because content is often sub par, generic and doesn't reflect you. There is also a risk of plagiarism.

Don't buy it

9. Don't use emoticons or casual language

It's best to play it safe with your personal statement, keeping things business-like, concise and purposeful.

Use of emoticons

10. Don't lie

Probably want to avoid this. It may make the experience more interesting, but if you contradict yourself anywhere else in the application, it could cost you your place. Sad times.

Keep it business like

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