student life

7 tips for a great personal statement

Personal statement, Tips, writing, Kettle Mag, Sophie Cowling, Student life
Written by sophie_cowling

    1. DO NOT attempt an all-nighter

Don’t leave it till the night before the deadline to write your personal statement. Be organised, know when the deadline is, (be warned- deadlines can differ). This way you can take your time to think about your accomplishments and write the piece in stages. Besides, nothing ever good can come from a frantic night of writing about that time you starred in ‘Nativity’ in year 4 while guzzling litres of coffee. (can it??)

2. It’s all about the connections

Even if it doesn’t seem relevant, you can take skills from an experience and show how they’ll help you in your course and bring something to the institute you are applying to. Never just state something you’ve done. Always link it to the course you want to do and communicate how much you’ve learnt, and what you will bring to your course.

    3. Think ahead

You may not have even considered what to do after this course (no worries- one step at a time), but Universities like to see a plan or at least what you’ll take from your chosen course. Tell them what you’ll be doing when you get there. How you’re going to make the most out of your time. They want your enthusiasm to show!

    4. Be different

Phrases such as, “I like reading” will not make you stand out. Administrators need to see that you can bring unusual experiences and skills to the table which ‘Generic Gill’ can’t. Unusual sports, leadership roles and different cultural experiences will help you stand out like a sore thumb (but that’s a good thing…)

    5. Spell Check is your friend

Spelling mistakes and grammatical errors are a massive no-no in personal statements. Use spell check and get somebody else to make sure that there are no glaringly obvious mistakes you’ve missed.

Image: Prerana Jangam.

    6. Don’t use complicated words

Although your personal statement should be formal, don’t use ridiculously complex words that you wouldn’t use in real life. Your personal statement should reflect you, and if you’ve never used the word ‘malapropism’ before, then now’s not the time to use it.

    7. Be confident!

A personal statement is a great excuse to write about how fabulous you are, you’re basically ‘blowing your own trumpet’. Though on the other hand, don’t become overconfident and come across as arrogant. Nobody likes a bragger! As long as you’re stating how your experiences will assist you on your course, you’ll be fine.

Your personal statement should reflect feelings of certainty and determination. They want to see that you’re a confident individual who’s going places. Use phrases such as “I will”, and not “I think”. Be sure of yourself!

Happy writing!

Do you have some tips of your own for writing a great personal statement? Share them with us in the comments below!