Personal Statements, what to do?

by / Friday, 13 September 2013

First impressions last, at least that’s what they say.  With your personal statement this is your big chance to make a lasting impression on the university you have chosen to spend the next 4 years of your student life at.

Give your opinions: Universities don’t expect all students to be Einstein or Newton, but they would prefer students to be confident enough to use your own opinions.  They don’t care about what Einstein thought, they care about what YOU think!

Information overload:  Drowning them with information is a sure way to make them fall asleep.  Don’t give them long boring lists with every detail of what you have done. Focus more on what you have learned from your experience.  Don’t say things like “I have worked in Spain, France, Italy, Germany, Thailand, China and Australia”.  Say “I have worked in various countries around the world”.

Clichés: Statements such as ‘from a young age’, ‘since I was a child’, ‘I’ve always been fascinated by’, ‘I have a thirst for knowledge’ and ‘the world we live in today’, may be good English, but they have been overused and you can see them in most personal statements.  Stand out from the crowd by not using them.  Be different, be unique.

Tell the truth: It might seem obvious, but it still happens.  Don’t think that once you have submitted your application all is fine.  You still have the possibility of an interview.  If you have claimed something that you haven’t done how would you cope with being questioned about it?  Plagiarism is also a no go area.  UCAS (the university application website) uses computer software that can detect if anything has been taken from other sources, so just don’t risk it!

Positive thinking: Your focus should always be on what you have done and never, why you haven’t done something.  Universities like to see dynamic students who are forward thinking, and not students who can think of excuses for past failures.

Interesting, but why did you write this? : You can include many interesting facts about your life, but ask yourself “is this relevant?”  Much of the information on personal statements may be nice, but make sure you keep it related to university.  Universities don’t really care if you collect coins or stamps, they are only interested in whether you would make a good student or not.

There are many factors in getting into university: Your qualifications, your IELTS score and your experience.  It would be a disaster to have everything in place and lose out by not having a good personal statement.  Follow the advice above and you will be ok.

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