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News: Top tips for an effec­tive Per­son­al Statement

Please note: This news story may contain information that is no longer current or up to date.

Dami­an Fidler, Head of High­er Edu­ca­tion at Not­ting­ham Col­lege explains the impor­tance of a well writ­ten per­son­al statement…

University student smiling
Damian Fidler, Head of Higher Education.

There is just under a month to go until the UCAS dead­line which means there is still time to put togeth­er your per­son­al state­ment if you haven’t already done so.

Dami­an Fidler, Head of High­er Edu­ca­tion at Not­ting­ham Col­lege shares some top tips for putting togeth­er an effec­tive per­son­al state­ment, includ­ing how to include all your key points, avoid rep­e­ti­tion and ensure your appli­ca­tion stands out from the crowd.

Before you begin writing...

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Plan
Make a note of all your ideas and every­thing you would like to include. It’s eas­i­er to refer back to this when you are writ­ing the real thing. Remem­ber, the char­ac­ter lim­it is 4000 (47 lines) so plan­ning is essen­tial to make sure you cov­er every­thing you want to say.

Draft
Write a draft first and then look back through it, check­ing for ways you can reduce the word count and also for any spelling or gram­mar mis­takes. The best way to save words is by check­ing back through your draft, mak­ing sure you haven’t repeat­ed yourself.

Time to start writing...

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1. Introduction

The first sec­tion of your per­son­al state­ment should be an intro­duc­tion. Here you should out­line why you are want­i­ng to apply for the course and why you want to com­mit to study­ing the sub­ject in detail. Remem­ber, your state­ment is seen by all the insti­tu­tions you are apply­ing for so don’t men­tion spe­cif­ic names. Please avoid over emo­tive clichés here: Admis­sions Tutors at Uni­ver­si­ties have read and seen all man­ner and every phrase pos­si­ble about this being a life­long dream!

2. What makes you suitable for the course?

This sec­tion should form the main body of your state­ment, and depend­ing on the type of course you are apply­ing for then it’s advis­able to include a num­ber of key things.

If you have pre­vi­ous­ly stud­ied sub­jects that are rel­e­vant to the course you are apply­ing for then you should dis­cuss these here. Think about why you chose them in the first place, what you have learned and how they will help you with uni­ver­si­ty lev­el study. 

Apply­ing for an aca­d­e­m­ic course?
If apply­ing for an aca­d­e­m­ic course you need to demon­strate how you have gone beyond the work required of you inside the class­room; for exam­ple are you under­tak­ing an extend­ed project or have you done any extra work or reading?

Apply­ing for a cre­ative course?
If apply­ing for a cre­ative course talk about your pas­sion and inter­est for the sub­ject and any work or projects you have been involved in. For exam­ple you may want to men­tion per­for­mances you have tak­en part in, com­pe­ti­tions you’ve entered or work you’ve had published. 

Apply­ing for a voca­tion­al course?
If you are choos­ing a voca­tion­al course then talk about what expe­ri­ence you have (paid or vol­un­tary) to demon­strate how you are engag­ing with the pro­fes­sion you wish to pur­sue a career in. Think very care­ful­ly about how the work expe­ri­ence you have (even if it’s is from a dif­fer­ent field) and how this applies to your course. Per­haps in terms of super­vis­ing oth­ers, time man­age­ment and organ­is­ing workloads.

It is also impor­tant to demon­strate some knowl­edge of your cho­sen career sec­tor if pos­si­ble – this might be spe­cif­ic exam­ples where you have learned about polices or prac­tice in work or through study itself.

Remem­ber: Admis­sions tutors will know all about the course you are apply­ing for and the sec­tor you are hop­ing to qual­i­fy in so try to stick to explain­ing how you have devel­oped skills and applied your knowledge. 

3. Hobbies and interests

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In order for admis­sions tutors to get a well-round­ed pic­ture of you then remem­ber to men­tion rel­e­vant hob­bies and inter­ests. Whilst it’s impor­tant to men­tion these, this sec­tion should be kept brief, ensur­ing you pick exam­ples that can help you stand out from oth­er can­di­dates in a pos­i­tive way. Demon­strate how you can bal­ance your course with oth­er com­mit­ments and as above, try to tease out the skills you have devel­oped through hob­bies and inter­ests as opposed to mere­ly describ­ing what you have done.

4. Conclusion

Sum­marise your key ideas and reit­er­ate the skills, inter­ests and expe­ri­ences you have already dis­cussed. Demon­strate how study­ing this course fits into your future plans and how this course will help you reach your future goals and aspirations.

Find out more...

Published on:
  • 20th December 2019 (9:33 AM)
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