Write a personal statement
Your personal statement is your chance to convince admission tutors why they should offer you a place. Make your skills and qualities explicit and provide examples of how you have achieved each one. You could use the following example activities to substantiate each of your key skills.
|Organisation skills||Social event, holiday, event at school or college|
|Speaking||Presentations, drama, part-time job, customer service, prefect, peer mentoring, anti-bullying|
|Listening||Part-time job, school and college, care roles, prefect, peer mentoring, anti-bullying|
|Working independently||Part-time job, independent research, Duke of Edinburgh or similar, voluntary work|
|Working to deadlines||Coursework, part-time job, other extra-curricular activities|
|Team working||Sports teams, group work at school or college, Duke of Edinburgh or similar|
|Using initiative or problem solving||Extra-curricular activities, school or college life|
|IT skills||School or college work, using computers at home|
Once you know what you would like to write, think about the structure and vocabulary you are going to use.
You are advised to put the strongest and most relevant information in support of your application at the top. For example, you could structure your personal statement in the following order:
- your reasons for choosing the course(s)
- any experience relevant to your application (roles and responsibilities)
- your outside interests (use these to substantiate your key skills and qualities)
- if applicable, your plans for a year out travelling or working (point out the relevant skills, experience and knowledge you intend to acquire during this time).
Be persuasive in your conclusion. Clearly identify all of the reasons why you think you are an ideal candidate for the course. Keep it short and to the point.
Use confident and direct language. Ensure that you do not sell yourself short. For example, you may find the following terms useful to add variety in your writing while keeping your statement positive.
- in addition to
- as well as
- not to mention
- more recently
- enabled me
- provided me
- opportunity to
Try to vary the way in which you begin each sentence, so that the text flows and isn't repetitive. Use plain English and ensure that your sentences are no more than 20-25 words. Remember, extremely long sentences are difficult to follow and can tire the reader. Once you have thought about and written detailed notes on all of the above, you are ready to start drafting your statement.
Reasons for choosing the course
State your reasons for choosing the course both clearly and enthusiastically. If it's because you enjoy the subject, then make this clear. For example:
"Having thoroughly enjoyed the academic study of A-level Maths and Economics, I have chosen a degree that will enable me to pursue my interest in Financial Economics in even greater depth."
Provide examples of activities that can confirm your interest in the subject. For example, you may have participated in conferences or debates. Identify your relevant skills for the course and how you have acquired them.
Relevant work experience
It's excellent if your work experience is course related, but even if it isn't you will still have acquired some transferable skills. Use your work experience to evidence your key skills. For example:
"My part-time employment at …has increased my confidence and developed my ability to work effectively as part of a team…"
"Working at a local care home for the elderly provided me with the opportunity to care for others in a responsible and attentive manner. I developed my communication skills by listening and speaking to residents and other team members"
Identify your extra-curricular pursuits, explain what each one involves and highlight the relevant skills and interests you have developed as a result
If you intend to take a year out working or travelling, show that you will be spending your time out constructively. What do you hope to gain from the experience? Think about the skills you will be developing that are directly relevant to your course. For example:
"During my year out I will be broadening my experience and knowledge of conservation and environmental issues by working with conservation groups both here in Britain and abroad. I will be working at Trees For Life in Scotland on a project to regenerate the indigenous trees into the highlands and restore the native Caledonian Forest."
Highlight the benefits to your year out working. For example, you will be earning money to support yourself through higher education while gaining important experience and employable skills.
Write a clear, persuasive and succinct conclusion. State what you would like to gain from higher education. You have lots to offer, so ensure that you tease out the right points and make them count!
For more detailed guidance on writing your personal statement, please visit the UCAS website.
Take a look at the courses available at Nottingham Trent University.