Firstly, what is a Personal Statement?
A personal statement (or statement of purpose) is a comprehensive essay on yourself and a key part of a UCAS application.
Your personal statement is where you can distinguish yourself from other candidates; create a compelling impression in the mind of the admissions officers, and make them want to meet you or offer you a place! The limited 4,000 characters are your only chance to express your best self, therefore your personal statement needs to excel!
So what should go in a personal statement?
- Explain what motivates you to take the course at university level
Mention your reasons for wanting to study the course: your interest in it, what have you done to pursue it, what has inspired you from your current studies, and your expectations out of it. “BE SPECIFIC FROM THE FIRST LINE.”
- Explain why you are right for the course
Mention why you make the best fit for the course, the extent of your research on the course and reasons why you want to study this course at University Level. Maintain the focus on the topic and show that you’ve really done your research and know the reasons for pursuing this course.
- Say what you’ve done outside the classroom
Talk about critical views or opinions about further readings you’ve done on the subject, such as books, newspapers, websites, films, journals and so on. DON’T give just a list though! Elaborate …
- The relevance to your course
Your volunteering experience, work experience, a taster session at university or outreach programme, summer school programmes, museums, gallery or theatre visits, local courts and even math challenges can help you explain why the course is relevant to your course. How they have helped you to develop your interest in the subject.
- Relevance to your chosen career
Reflecting on relevant experiences or observations will be essential for some professional courses. Reflect on your experience, don’t just describe it. Talk about the skills the profession needs, how you’ve noticed this, and how you’ve developed those skills yourself.
- Do demonstrate your transferable skills
These could be your ability to work independently, teamwork, good time management, problem-solving, leadership, listening or organisational skills.
- … But expand the most relevant skills
Think which ones relate most readily to the course and elaborate on those. Demonstrate how you’ve developed, used, and continued to strengthen these.
- Your critical thinking skills are most valued.
Briefly explaining how one of your A-level subjects, a BTEC assignment or placement, or additional studies such as the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ), has made you think more critically.
- What’s the long term plan?
You have to mention your long-term goals and in an interesting way which demonstrates your individuality and imagination.
- Be positive throughout
Start with your strengths, focus on your enthusiasm for the subject, and talk positively about yourself.