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Writing a UCAS Personal Statement

For many people, writing their personal statement when applying to a university is a new experience. It’s an important document that undoubtedly impacts on your potential to get accepted onto a degree. With universities accepting thousands of applications, each with a personal statement, it’s important to know the do’s and don’ts of statement writing as well as what to do to help you stand out from the crowd.

1) Look at the UCAS Website:

Although this sounds obvious, it’s firstly important to have a look at the UCAS website. With all the degrees displayed on their site, make time to have a look at the specific requirements of the degree you’re applying to. This will help you get an idea of what content you should look to include within your statement so that you’re the right fit to their degree. The UCAS site will also have further tips on how to write a personal statement that may be helpful to you.

2) Make it original!

When I was writing my personal statement, this was the point that was repeatedly stressed to my year group. You want your statement to stand out, so make it original and unlike something universities will have read before, especially in the first few opening lines. Don’t start with a cliché about how you’ve always wanted to be a doctor since you were a kid or start with an inspirational line from a book or film. Instead make it personal. For my degree in teaching, my statement opened with a recollection of my first teaching experience, teaching my parents to throw a rugby ball on the beach.

3) Relevant experience to the degree

A key part of your statement should be how you’re an ideal candidate for the degree and how you show this is through your relevant past experience. Make sure you take time to recall all the work you’ve done previously that may be relevant to the degree, looking to include this in your statement in an appropriate manner. If during your reflection you realise you lack experience, now may be the perfect time to start. After all you need not specify the duration of experience in your statement, you can just state that your experience is ongoing.

4) Don’t waffle

The word count on the personal statement is limited and it’s important to be aware of this. Be concise where you need to be, but also take time to delve into relevant points that you perceive as important. There is no right or wrong way to write a personal statement, but take care to avoid pointless waffle.

5) Have someone proof read

Sometimes the most obvious mistakes can be easily overlooked when you’re repeatedly staring at the same document. Your brain reads what it wants to read and not what’s actually there. Therefore it’s important that before submitting your personal statement you have it read by someone else. Not only may they be able to pick out obvious and potentially costly mistakes, they may be able to offer further guidance or support. If possible, try to show the teacher within the relevant field to the degree you’re applying to. They can offer unique feedback that has the potential to make all the difference.

As a concluding comment, writing a personal statement is never easy and is something that will take a lot of time and even more tweaking and drafting. However if you start early and don’t leave it all to the last minute then you’ll be fine! Good luck!

 

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Jack Ferguson • 6th December 2019


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