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How to write a university personal statement

Personal statements are not the easiest things to write but they don’t have to be traumatic either! To get going, focus on your own strengths and interests, your enthusiasm for the course and write positively about yourself. Tutors do like to know a bit about their prospective students and your experiences are just as relevant as anybody else’s.


If you are struggling, start small with a few notes about what you have done and how that might translate into particular skills, e.g.


  • Worked at local supermarket > developed skills of customer communication > learned skills of negotiation


Try looking back over your old academic reports to see what previous teachers have highlighted. You can always ask your teachers what they think you do best and make a list of the things you enjoy inside and outside school. Also, it might be embarrassing but ask your friends to read your personal statement and get their (constructive) feedback too – the chances are they will say something you hadn’t thought of or highlight something about you that you might have thought was not worthy of inclusion.


There is no need to go over the top with selling yourself – just remember to be honest and really focus on what you can bring.


How to structure your personal statement

  • Write in paragraphs, not in solid blocks of text. Aim to organise your material and make it as readable as possible. Don’t forget that tutors will be reading hundreds of these so try to aim for three or four well-structured paragraphs.


  • A balance of academic and extra-curricular – a good guideline is for 75% of your content to be related to your academic experiences and achievements and 25% to your extra-curricular life. If you don’t do much outside your academic studies, focus mainly on these and talk about what you think instead of what you do. The aim is show that you are a rounded individual with interests outside of your studies.

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