A personal statement is a part of your application to study at a UK university. In a personal statement, the student writes about what they hope to achieve on a UK university course, what they hope to do after the course and why they are applying to this particular university. It is your first chance to show a demonstrable passion and understanding of your chosen subject away from exam results.
It is a brief personal summary given to prospective employers to help you stand apart from the competition. A personal statement is also required for university applications, but will usually be much more detailed.
Genuine experiences of extra-curricular clubs, work experience or knowledge around a subject are much more likely to make your personal statement stand out, while admissions officers are also for looking for positive evidence of your character which will make you a productive member of the university
The length of a personal statement varies depending on the university, but generally, the average length for an undergraduate application is between 400-600 words, around one side of A4 paper or a maximum of 47 lines. Certain postgraduate programmers may require a 1000 word personal statement, but this will be clearly specified.
Try not to go over the given character limit as admissions officers have many personal statements to go through, and a clearly written and concise personal statement is more likely to stand out.
It is also important to not lie about any aspect of your personal life and education history, or even exaggerate. Admissions officers will question you about almost all aspects of your application and will be able to see through any lies.
In terms of presentation, attempt to create five clear paragraphs of text in a clear font such as Arial or Times New Roman, with a maximum size of 12. To make sure you’ve ticked all the boxes, consider bullet-pointing answers to these when drafting your personal statement. And, if you’re struggling for inspiration, use the job description to help you identify the specific skills the employer is looking for.
For example, if it highlights that the perfect candidate will have excellent business analysis skills; make sure you cover this somewhere in your statement.
This could sound something like: ‘Working experience of strategic business analysis with an investigative and methodical approach to problem-solving.’
Answer the questions that are asked: If you are applying to several schools, you may find questions in each application that are somewhat similar. Don't be tempted to use the same statement for all applications. It is important to answer each question being asked, and if slightly different answers are needed, you should write separate statements. In every case, be sure your answer fits the question being asked.
Tell a story: Think in terms of showing or demonstrating through concrete experience. One of the worst things you can do is to bore the admissions committee. If your statement is fresh, lively, and different, you'll be putting yourself ahead of the pack. If you distinguish yourself through your story, you will make yourself memorable.
Be specific: Don't, for example, state that you would make an excellent doctor unless you can back it up with specific reasons. Your desire to become a lawyer, engineer, or whatever should be logical, the result of specific experience that is described in your statement. Your application should emerge as the logical conclusion to your story.
Do some research, if needed: If a school wants to know why you're applying to it rather than another school, do some research to find out what sets your choice apart from other universities or programs. If the school setting would provide an important geographical or cultural change for you, this might be a factor to mention.
Write well and correctly: Be meticulous. Type and proofread your essay very carefully. Many admissions officers say that good written skills and command of correct use of language are important to them as they read these statements. Express yourself clearly and concisely. Adhere to stated word limits.
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