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Writing a Personal Statement

Writing a Personal Statement is likely to be a new experience for many students so this guide exists to clarify and help you to write an effective statement. This article will cover some of the main things to consider on a personal statement but remember that it is a 'personal' document so much of the content will also be unique to you. If you require one on one support speak to one of the college's careers advisers where we will check over your statement or discuss a starting point.

THE BASICS

Your chosen institution doesn't know you so your statement is important in explaining to the admissions department who you are. The personal statement can make or break your application (even if you have the best grades) so you must make sure it is free from spelling mistakes and slang, avoids too many abbreviations and that your grammar is correct. Remember to proof read your work and don't just rely on spell check. Ask the careers advisers to check it as well. We've seen thousands of statements over the years and because we meet with admissions teams in universities, we know what they are looking for.

LAYOUT

You have 4,000 characters (just over 1 side of A4) to write and thinking about how to fill that page is the biggest worry for most students. Because of this, we've made things easier with a four-section guide on how to layout your personal statement. By following this structure you will ensure that you can make your statement cover all of the points that Universities expect and you won't run the risk of repeating yourself!

Section 1

This section should be about why you want to study your chosen Degree. Think about any influences/inspirations/life-changing moments/career goals. This should be a really positive opening to your statement giving the reader a reason as to why you are applying. It should also be unique to you so think about why YOU want to take this route. Avoid common phrases such as "since a young age I wanted to be a nurse". Be unique and tell your personal story to the reader.

Section 2

Here you should talk about education/training/courses that fit around your chosen course(s). You may discuss school and college courses and modules in more detail as well as projects you have done that will make you a suitable student for this course. Give them detail so they know what you have studied and learned from your course. If you can, think about how you can relate your learning to the course you want to do. If you've just come back into education talk about your current studies and how they are preparing you for the course.

Section 3

What other experiences/skills can you bring to the course? Here you can begin talking about other experiences that can relate to studying at a higher level. Are you in any groups/teams? Have you had a part-time or full-time job? This is where you can also talk about any achievements you've had. Include smaller things such as working while studying or babysitting! Anything that can get you ahead of another applicant! 
If you can't think of anything, talk about any hobbies and how you can relate them to your chosen degree. Like to read? Talk about how this helps you unwind if the degree is tough going! If you are applying for a Multimedia Degree maybe you read or write about the latest games/movie news in your spare time? Try to be creative and stand out from the crowd.

Section 4

All good stories/essays should have an ending and the personal statement is no different. Here you might talk about how you are looking forward to continuing your studies or going on to study in a new environment. You could even mention you are are really excited to begin exploring a subject you are passionate about in more detail to start exploring different career pathways. This section should leave the admissions department with a positive ending making it clear you are really motivated to come to study at their institution.

Remember, a Personal Statement is something that is vital to any Higher Education application - so access the support available to you in college. We are more than happy to help you every step of the way and welcome draft or completed copies of personal statements. Please speak to an adviser in Student Services and we will support you.

Associated documents

  • How to layout your Personal Statement
  • Support for Social Work applicants
  • Support for Midwifery applicants
  • Support for Nursing applicants (All disciplines)