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Make a Plan

It is not as difficult to start writing once you have a plan in place to guide you. This can be as detailed or as brief as you want but having a plan to refer to will help structure your personal statement, reducing the risk of you missing out any vital information you may want to include.

Research

Ideally, you want your personal statement to be tailored to whichever course you are applying for. To make sure you are demonstrating that you would be a good fit for the subject, it is important to do some research about what kind of skills and qualities the university are looking for. Whether you look at the prospectus or you browse the website, try and find relevant talking points that highlight why your strengths and experiences would be suitable for that specific course.  

Leave out the names!

Don’t forget that you only have one personal statement regardless of how many universities and courses you apply to. Therefore, your personal statement should not be too specific – don’t mention any modules or universities by name! This may sound tricky but your personal statement needs to showcase your skills and experiences to every institution you apply to. To make life easier, try and see where some courses require similar qualities or skillsets and think about how you can outline your experiences in a way that suits all. If you happen to be applying to courses that are extremely different to one another, then perhaps think about how your skills and achievements could be applied more generally.

Don’t be someone you’re not

Whilst you’re trying to impress your chosen universities, you don’t want to use overcomplicated language and end up confusing the reader. It is always better to be clear and precise. Also, it is very important that whilst you are writing, you avoid exaggerating as this is the kind of thing that could be easily caught out in an interview. It goes without saying but don’t copy someone else’s personal statement or buy one online as UCAS are prepped to catch these kinds of people out. Don’t let it be you!

The Rulebook

Before you start writing your personal statement, it helps to know some of the rules you need to stick to. It must be either:

4,000 characters (including spaces) OR 47 lines of 95 characters (including spaces AND any blank lines) – whichever is shorter.

Remember that you will be submitting through UCAS so don’t take software like Microsoft Word as the definitive word count. It’s the line numbers you really need to be careful with. If you’re concerned, you can put your personal statement into the UCAS form to see how you’re doing but make sure you don’t accidentally click submit! Especially when you haven’t checked for any mistakes!

Proofread

Now all the writing is done, it is tempting to rush and submit before you have double checked everything. Proofreading is arguably the most important part of the writing process as you want to try and eliminate as many mistakes as possible. Obviously it isn’t the end of the world if you do end up submitting with a couple of mistakes but being thorough in the editing process can make all the difference. Here’s some proofreading tips:

  • Read your personal statement out loud – this can help you spot mistakes that you may have been overlooking until now
  • Print it out and check with a pen – altering your editing style often highlights sneaky slipups
  • Get someone else to check over it – having someone else read through your writing can shed light on mistakes you may not have noticed.

Lastly…

These are just a handful of tips that you may find useful. We’d recommend also looking what UCAS suggest too.

Best of luck with writing your personal statement. Why not set yourself the challenge of having it completed in time for Christmas so you can enjoy your festive break? No? Well, make sure it’s all done by the deadline – 15th January 2020. Good luck!

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