Written by Sammi Li
BA (Hons) Communication and Media
When it comes to writing about ourselves, it can be difficult thinking about qualities or experiences that might be attractive to universities. And sometimes no matter how many guides you read or how many times you reorganise your paragraphs, you just cannot seem to get it right. Trust me, I have been there, which is why I am going to share my experience and hopefully give you some tips on how to make your personal statement shine.
Most important thing first, don’t write about your academic studies and grades. A personal statement is a document that steps away from the academic, shows your audience who you are and lets your personality shine. Show off your extracurricular activities and the skills you have learned from them, for example, I wrote about my volunteer work with Guide Dogs and how it helped develop my social skills and gave me a chance to play with lovely puppies. Write about your hobbies and interests, things that make you excited and which may be related to the subject that you are applying for (I mentioned my dream to travel the world and share my story through working for a magazine, just an example).
Also because you only get to upload one personal statement (quite scary, I know) consider whether you’ll be applying for more than one course. If you are absolutely certain that you are only applying for one particular course, definitely write about your enthusiasm for it. However, if you are not so sure and are going for a few options, try not to be too specific and make sure what you are writing fits to all the courses that you are applying for.
Something I found very helpful and on every guide I read was to be organised and plan your writing. You don’t need a very detailed and long plan, a list will do. Write down how many paragraphs you need and what will be in them in – bullet points are good enough. Make sure you don’t end up putting all attributes in one large chunk (can be a bit off-putting). Think about the recruitment people who could be reading thousands of applications a day – if yours is well-organised, clear and precise, it can save them so much time and they could like it more.
UCAS can be stressful but remember your friends are going through the same as well, try to get together and power through this as a team. I am sure you will all thrive with excellence.