How to Write a Good Personal Statement for University Admission
What to write about
You are to write about you!
You are telling the admissions staff why you’re suitable to study at their university or college. It is important to remember you can only write one personal statement – it’s the same for each course you apply for. So, avoid mentioning any universities or colleges by name except if you are being specific.
To get started, consider the following:
- Look at course descriptions and identify the qualities, skills, and experience it requires – you can use these to help you decide what to write about.
- Tell the reader why you’re applying – including your ambitions, what interests you about the subject, the course provider, and higher education.
- Think about what makes you suitable – this could be relevant experience, skills, or achievements you’ve gained from education, work, or other activities.
- Include any clubs or societies you belong to – sporting, creative, or musical.
- Mention any relevant employment experience or volunteering you’ve done.
- If you’ve developed skills, tell them.
- If you took part in a higher education taster course, placement, or summer school, or something similar, include it.
Everything in your personal statement should aim to show that you have the skills and qualities the admission officers/the institutions are looking for, and convince them to offer you a place on the programme. Anything that would not do this is not worth being the the write-up.
Before you Start, What should you do?
1. Pick the “right” School
One mistake that many applicants make is that they work hard writing their personal statements, but they don’t put enough time into deciding which school to apply for. This is the wrong approach, and it’s unlikely to produce good results.The admissions staff might read hundreds or thousands of essays to choose suitable applicants. They’ll look at tons of impressive candidates, but for them, what they want to find is someone who’s the right fit. Before you write your statement, it’s essential to understand why you want to study a particular subject. Whatever the reason, make sure your passion and enthusiasm comes across. Don’t just tell them that you like something, show them that you do. What is it that interests you specifically? Why does it interest you? What have you done to pursue that interest?
Similarly, when writing about relevant experience and achievements, make sure that you give concrete examples of the skills and qualities that they demonstrate. Don’t be tempted to expand the truth, as it will catch you out in the long run!
Finally, make sure that you have allowed enough time to check your work before you submit your application. It’s useful to ask friends and family to help check the statement, but be careful that they don’t try and force you to write it in the way they think it should be written. It is important that you write it in your own style rather than trying to conform to what someone else thinks is right, as there is no model way to write a personal statement. When it comes to spelling, however, there is only one ‘right’ way.
2. Write like your personal statement is being graded
Once you actually start writing, it’s important to follow the formal rules of essay composition. Is your grammar correct? Are you using paragraphs properly? Did you proofread for typos? Imagine that you’re turning in the essay to be graded. Write convincingly!