10 personal statement do's

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1. Write for your audience

Your audience are course leaders, university admissions staff and lecturers most likely between the age of 30 and 50. We're pretty on trend, but you may need to unpack a few things for us, especially when talking about your interests. This makes us happy.

Know your audience

2. Plan and draft

You wouldn't dive into an essay without taking a moment to reflect on your approach - it's the same with your personal statement. It's best to get a first draft written as soon as possible, so you have something to work with. Don't get it right first time, get it written.

Plan and draft

3. Explain why you want to study your subject

Are your course choices related to career aspirations? Or related to academic or work experience? Show you know what your subject will involve and how it relates to your interests.

Explain your points

4. Talk about your interests

Your interests say a lot about you and can often be associated with your chosen subject. Use them to show that you are suitable for the course.

Interests

5. Say what you can offer the course and your future classmates

What will you bring to the table? Is it a wider understanding of your subject, relevant outside interests or empathy with others? Demonstrate your unique qualities with examples and express how they can benefit others on the course.

What you can offer

6. Evidence your points

You wouldn't make a statement in an essay without backing it up - it's the same for a personal statement. Anything you say should be supported with examples, this also helps the reader build a more accurate picture of you.

Evidence your points

7. Listen to your teachers

Your teachers have seen hundreds of personal statements over the years. They are the best people to tell you what works.

Listen to your teacher

8. Break it up

400 words isn't very much, but can look rather inaccessible in one A4 chunk. Use 4- 5 paragraphs to discuss different themes and make your work easier on the eye.

Sections

9. Write in short sentences and plain English

Avoid long and complicated sentences. Your reader will have a lot of statements to get through and will only spend about five minutes on yours. Being clear and to concise wins you favour.

Write in simple language

10. Remember that your personal statement is the only thing that separates you from others with the same grades.

Use your personal statement to sell yourself. Talk about the story outside the grades. What drives you? What one thing sets you apart from everyone else?

You are unique

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