Don't Worry! Richeldis has personal statement tips for youFriday, September 30, 2016 12:00 AM
It’s that time of year again. The push for you to start and finish your university applications. If you’re an early applicant hopefully you’re finalising the personal statement and completely the UCAS forms.
If you’re not, however, now is probably the time that your school/teachers are starting to harass you. DON’T WORRY it’s not as hard as you think. Your school will almost definitely be making it out to be a really scary thing, but once you sit down and start it isn’t that hard.
Top Tips for writing the first draft:
- Don’t worry about your first paragraph. It will be rubbish the first time and every draft will see a new first paragraph. Just write multiple different options and pick the one you like the most or do a jumble of them all.
- READ BOOKS. This is one of the big ones in a personal statement. Find some books that are relevant to your course (it’s really easy – look up some reading lists or just search Amazon for something that looks interesting) and read them! Universities will be impressed if you’re doing wider reading and are showing you’re actually interested in your subject.
- Remember it’s 75:25. The majority of your personal statement should be academically relevant. That’s where the wider reading comes in. If you’re looking for other things you can do to bulk it up, check out FutureLearn. It’s a site that does short interesting courses, for free, that are on every subject you can think of. This looks great and you actually learn something with not that much effort.
- For the 25% that is extra curricular, don’t worry that it’s not relevant – that’s the point. Write about everything you do/have done. DofE, Music, Sport, Drama, medieval basket weaving… Honestly, anything is good. If you can show you’re an interesting person who doesn’t just study all the time, the universities will like you!
Tips for the subsequent drafts:
- Don’t take it personally when your teacher tears it apart – they’re just trying to get it to be the best it can be. If your grammar is rubbish (like mine is) then show it to your English teacher. If you’re scared of being judged for what you write, ask your favourite teacher to read over it first.
- In the end it is YOUR personal statement. If you want to say something, you should say it. Don’t let another person tell you that what you really want to say isn’t right. The university is accepting you not your teacher.
- When it comes to the final draft, you’ll probably be waaaay over in characters. I’ve just finished mine and it was 700 characters over – that was a strain to try and cut down! It can be 4000 characters including spaces, so be wary that you don’t ramble – those characters are used up fast! It is possible to cut it down by a lot, but if you’re trying to get rid of more than 200 characters it gets difficult and you will start cutting out bits that you really wanted to say. Keep an eye on the character count, but don’t worry too much until the end.
- When you copy and paste it into UCAS remember you can only have normal characters – I wanted to put some accents in there, but it doesn’t let you do that.
And there you have it. My tips for your personal statement.