Writing your personal statement
For many of you exams are over, but you still have one of the most important challenges ahead of you- applying to universities, and of course this comes with writing your personal statement. Although this isn't one of the most pleasurable experiences, it’s vital that your statement gives an excellent representation of who you are and sets you apart from other candidates. With only 4000 characters, the difficulty is to make it concise yet still convey your personality and passion.
There are a few obvious ‘don’ts’ for your personal statement: avoid clichés, famous quotes and listing interests/accomplishments, as this will paint a ‘run of the mill’ image of you- not ideal when you’re battling for places with other strong candidates.
However, we have some handy tips for you: Visit the open days and subject specific talks and note down any characteristics that the lecturer mentions that they are looking for in an applicant. This will then allow you to add hook words into your statement, which will catch their attention. However, if you visit these subject specific talks and realise that you don’t fit any of the criteria then you shouldn’t force these into your statement as the uni or course might not be right for you.
If you’ve been on a gap year then include the things that you’ve learnt during it, but don’t make the common mistake of spending too long talking about all the fun times. This not only takes up valuable words, but also leads them to believe that you haven’t achieved anything valuable in your time away. This is also relevant if you’re applying for a differed place making sure you explain how it will make you a better candidate in the long run.
Remember, they can do a social media check on you, so make sure there are no pictures, statuses, tweets etc that may build a negative image of you. (Check out our past post for more advice on this topic: http://www.mykindacrowd.com/Blog/Details/social-media-dos-and-donts)
It’s always a good idea to get your application in early. This means getting organised- use your summer wisely! This may not mean that you receive replies quicker, but it will show that you’re organised and determined and will mean that your application is likely to be the only one on the admission tutors desk- giving them a chance to realise what a perfect candidate you are.
Although difficult now, it will be worth it in the long run. Good luck!