Being faced with a blank page and asked to write 4,000 characters about yourself can be daunting. Where do you start? What do you include? What if you don’t have enough to say?
Your personal statement is one part of your UCAS application that you have total control over. Your statement is what sets you apart from other applicants and can secure you an offer.
The competition is tough. Those 4,000 characters need to convince a university you are the best applicant. What you write has to be good.
Ready to expand your opportunities? Here are five tips on how to write a personal statement that will set you apart from the crowd.
1. Start early and take your time
The earlier you start working on your application, the more time you’ll have to make changes and finalise it. It can feel like a daunting task (and one you’d rather put off). But not leaving yourself enough time could result in errors, not enough detail, and a lacklustre piece of writing.
Take your time and don’t rush. The perfect personal statement will take more than a couple of hours. It’ll take more than a couple of days. Try to take a break from it for a few days so when you return, you do so with fresh eyes. Work towards the internal deadline your school and college give you, with 26th January the final UCAS deadline. There’s no time like the present…
2. Understand why you’re writing it and who will be reading it
Think about why you’re writing a personal statement. It essentially lets you add all the things that didn’t fit into your application that you want people to know. Focus on the successes you’ve had and the skills you can bring to your university studies.
Admissions tutors will be looking for specific elements in your personal statement. Alongside language and structure, they’ll also want to see evidence of motivation, academic ability, skills, experiences and outside interest.
Make sure your application conveys enthusiasm, self-reflection, and shows the value you can add to the course. You’re writing for a very specific audience; tell them what they want to hear.
3. Link everything back to your chosen degree subject/course
Ideally you want to always remember to refer back to the degree course you are applying to. So your motivation, academic ability, skills, experiences and outside interests are linked to why and how they will make you a good applicant for said course.
Especially when talking about skills and experiences, use the STAR technique (Situation, Task, Action & Results), so you are giving detail and context to examples you have experienced through part time work, volunteering and physical or virtual experience.
Refer to any challenges in a positive way and avoid negative language. In other words: avoid clichés and stick to the point.
4. Be honest, be yourself
It can be easy to get carried away when you’re trying to make a good impression about yourself, but it’s important to be honest. Let your personality and passion for the subject shine through in your writing.
Feel confident in your abilities and know that what you have to offer is enough. The truth is that being yourself is more than enough to earn you a university place.
5. Check it, get someone else to check it, and check again
Finally, check your work again and again. And again. Ask other people to proofread it for you – parents, guardians, teachers, tutors, careers teams and your friends… The more feedback you get, the better the final version will be.
Check as much as you can and make sure you’re happy with the final version before you input into your UCAS application form.
Watch the following video to see current student Rachel talk us through her top Do’s and Don’ts for writing your personal statement. Rachel also talks about how to keep everything original and consistent.
Expand your opportunities: Why choose Edge Hill?
University education can change lives. More to the point, it can change your life. At Edge Hill University, you’ll gain the knowledge, tools and ambition you need to have a positive impact on the world around you.
As soon as you step onto campus, you’ll feel welcome. From day one you can benefit from everything this award-winning ‘Modern University of the Year 2022’ (The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2022) can offer. From a vibrant student community and solid, award-winning teaching to its beautiful campus and innovative facilities.