For sixth formers applying to university now is the time to start your UCAS personal statement. Your January deadline may seem far away, and you may think you have plenty of time to complete it to a high standard but time can soon go very quickly and you don’t want to be completing your personal statement the day before the deadline.

It may seem strange how writing 4,000 words can have such a big impact on where you go to university or how it seems easy, when all you do throughout 6th form is complete copious amounts of never ending coursework. However you will be surprised how difficult it can be writing to persuade a university why they should accept you over someone else.

Getting started is the biggest hurdle; staring at a blank document for days on end can be incredibly demotivating, so get started as soon as possible. Having a 4000-word document that you need to improve is better than a blank document with nothing on at all. This will at least give yourself and your teachers something to work with.

When completing your personal statement, you need to remember that this is your opportunity to sell yourself to your prospective university. Course tutors read personal statements to compare different applicants so use this as your chance to describe your ambitions, skills and experience that will make you more suitable for the course than others.

A tip to remember is that universities tend to suggest that you focus about 75% on your academic interests and why you want to study the course and 25% on the extra curriculum dimension that shows you’re a rounded person. This can change depending on which course you are completing; courses like medicine, primary teaching or social work will need more emphasis on relevant experience or insight. Whereas subjects like law, psychology or engineering will need more examples of when you have observed or engaged with the subject or demonstrated relevant skills either in your reading, hobbies, personal life or a part time job. It is important to research the courses you are applying for to be able to refer back to them throughout your application. Information regarding your modules will be available through university and your course leaders will be expecting you to mention relevant information in order to show you have done your research.

Being honest, is of the utmost importance as the university want to get to know you as much as possible through your personal statement. If you are invited for an interview your statement will need to stand up to close scrutiny. You do not want to be caught out by any outlandish or exaggerated claims you mentioned in your personal statement.

When re-reading over the personal statement, which you should do time and again, constantly ask yourself ‘how?’ Give examples and evidence that demonstrate what you think or do such as; how has completing the Duke of Edinburgh award made you a better leader? How has playing within a sports team improved your teamwork skills?

This may seem obvious but there is no point mentioning things you have done unless you can elaborate on how they have developed your skills.

Mention what you want from the course, your personal statement shouldn’t just be what you can offer them on the course you should also be mentioning what you want them to help you achieve?

One of the most difficult parts of writing your personal statement can be the conclusion, choosing your key message carefully and conveying it concisely; you don’t want to simply repeat everything you have just said. Make sure you finish on a positive note with something that adds to your statement.

Good Luck!



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