With our personal statement courses coming up, I thought I'd share a bit of the wisdom in blog-form! I spent a few days with admissions tutors from various top universities and this is the outcome of how you can make your personal statement stand out.
To write the best personal statement, follow this formula - it's bulletproof:
- Why you?
Start with explaining to the admissions team why the university would want you in one sentence. What it is about you that makes you uniquely attractive as a student?
- Why this university?
Decide which university is your first choice and write this section as if it is to that university only. Let them know why you are so passionate about this university in particular; whether it is the set-up, the course, the tutors, the facilities, a recommendation or the heritage.
- Why this course?
Explain why you are so passionate about the course you are applying for, not just the subject but how in particular it is taught in the university choices you have selected.
- Why now?
Often neglected by many students, especially if not taking a gap year. The answer to this question is vital to ensure universities don't think you can just apply again next year if you don't get a place. Whether you are taking a gap year or not, explain why and why it is important to you.
- What inspires you?
Explain what most inspires you to get up in the morning and link it back to the course subject. This might be where you get in your extra curricular activities. In complete honesty these days, unless activities are related to your course, universities often disregard the importance of them, so make sure they have a link!
- What do you want to do with this course?
I've spoken to many admissions tutors and they are keen to give places to students who are likely to continue in the field, especially if in a subject (such as one of the sciences) where numbers in academia and industry are dwindling. No-one will hold you to anything but it is worth explaining what your long term plans are and how you intend on using your degree.
- How will you approach the course?
What are your expectations of the work and how do you intend to approach lectures and tutorials? It is worth doing some research or asking former pupils here to get a real feel for what is expected of you and what a stand out answer to this question would look like.
- How will you ensure you will succeed?
It is all well and good having good intentions, but how will you ensure you will do well, work hard and learn as much as you can whilst there? Again, this is almost entirely neglected but is vital for tutors to see when they are making a decision about university places.