Wednesday, 5 December 2018

How To Write The PERFECT Personal Statement

I'd be lying if I said that Year 13 hasn't been a challenge so far. From the moment that the term started back in September, I knew that the real pressure had begun. All of the focus was on personal statements, UCAS, revision, and preparing for a new period in our lives. It's quite daunting when you're still only 17 years old, let me tell you...

I'm aware that the majority of people who read my posts are either teenagers, or young adults, so presumably, a lot of you are in the same position as me right now, or you will be in the near future. As I've already sent off my personal statement (the deadlines fast approaching!), and got back offers from all of my choices except 1, I thought that sharing these tips may be slightly helpful, so let me know if you find that they are!

1. First and foremost, plan out your paragraphs. In my personal statement, I structured and planned out my paragraphs before I did anything else. The first one should act as an introduction. Why are you interested in the course? What is it in particular that draws you in, and why? The second should discuss the first subject you're studying (if you're doing A-Levels). How does it relate to your chosen course? Focus on specific topics you're covering, and how they link in with different Uni modules. Do this in separate paragraphs for whatever other subjects you're studying. After that, talk about, and link in any relevant work experience. What did you learn from it? Do you have anything else planned? What will it involve that can be applied to your chosen course, and help you get ready for it? Finally, you want to discuss any extra-curricular activities. You may mention your blog, your DofE award, the fact you're in the school choir, you compete in gymnastics. Whatever it is, try to place an emphasis on all of the things that will make you stand out.

2. Don't stress over how you're going to start. Everybody always says that the hardest part of writing is actually starting off. I completely vouch for that, being a writer, and having written my own personal statement. What I did was I literally compiled a word document full of prompting questions, and then I wrote down some answers in note form. For example, why do you want to study the course? What makes you a suitable fit? What makes you stand out from other applicants? I wrote down all those sorts of questions one by one and made bullet point notes that I could later mould into an answer. The opening sentence is always the hardest, but it will soon come to you.

3. Always be as honest, and as positive as possible. Ideally, you want your personal statement to be different to everyone else's. Take inspiration from others, but make sure that your own interests, and personality comes through. Tell the truth. If you didn't use to have strong communication skills, say that - but then, mention what it was that changed that for you. If you're going to mention a 'weakness', try to make it as positive as you can. 

4. Make use of people's offers to proofread. Sometimes, you can focus on something so much over a period of time that you end up not noticing silly little errors. There's no excuse for silly little errors when it comes to your personal statement. Take advantage of people offering to help you out, and proofread for you, because all you really need is a pair of fresh eyes to see things differently. 

5. Take your time to consider all your options. I've personally applied for 2 different courses, which are actually quite similar in a lot of ways. I've changed my mind a fair few times over the last couple of months, but I think that was for a reason. You can be so set on something, but then when you open up your mind, and look into other options, you realise that it wasn't actually right for you in the first place. University is such a big deal, and it's such a huge decision to be making, so you want to be 100% before you even start drafting out your personal statement. Do what you feel is right, but don't feel pressured into going to University if you know for certain that the environment won't be one you'll thrive in.

I really hope that this posts helps at least one of you in some way. If you have any tips, feel free to leave them in the comments section.

Love and light always,


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