Most of you are back at school or college now and beginning the experience of the Upper Sixth/Year 13. I am sure you will enjoy it. It is, however, a busy time for those of you doing A2 exams next year, perhaps also having to retake some AS exams – or working towards the IB, Diplomas and Certificates. If you are interested in applying to university, you will have the additional task of identifying universities and courses – and completing your UCAS personal statement.
The UCAS personal statement is a 4000 character, 47 line piece of writing which you include in your university application form. The purpose of the personal statement is to tell the university Admissions Tutor about yourself – particularly what interests you and motivates you towards studying your chosen subject at degree level. You can include how the subjects you are working on at school or college support your application, what work experience you have had and what you learned – and how any extra curricular activities link to your course of study. It is also, though – and this aspect is very important – a chance for you to sell yourself and set yourself apart from other applicants. For degree courses that are over-subscribed, many applicants are of a high standard and will probably have similar grades and academic background. The UCAS personal statement is an opportunity to set yourself apart from others and to explain why you are an excellent candidate. For other courses, where competition may not be as fierce, the university Admissions Tutor will still need to be convinced that you understand the nature of the course you are applying for, that you have thought through studying at degree level and that demonstrate a keen interest in the subject.
There is no need to write in flowery language or to adopt a style which is different from your own. Your personality must come through and your statement must be honest and sincere. When clients come to me to seek advice, I suggest they write as if they are explaining to someone they don’t know very well why they want to study the course and what they feel they have to offer. They should give examples of things that have interested them that are relevant to the subject and mention that they do things outside school or college which directly relate to the subject – showing motivation and commitment.
There is a lot of information available on the web about personal statements. The UCAS personal statement page is a good starting point. UCAS provides a form with questions to prompt your thinking and this helps you gather together all your qualifications, interests and activities. Other sites have examples of completed personal statements; by all means have a look – but don’t use them as it wouldn’t be a personal statement then, would it? (There are also methods used to check copying of statements – so don’t use anyone else’s work.) You may find you don’t like a lot of these ‘model’ statements anyway. I find many of them overblown, arrogant and pushy – and therefore irritating. You can sell yourself much better by writing in a measured, confident manner, using good examples and showing the thought you have put into your statement. Check that it is interesting to read, concise and correct (grammar and spelling!) and your Admissions Tutor will be much more likely to warm towards you and invite you for interview or make you an offer.
I am able to help with your UCAS personal statement using Skype, phone or email – or coming to my home office which is six miles from Junction 14 of the M6 at Stafford – and six miles from Newport in Shropshire. I don’t write your statement for you, but I guide you through the process, giving you feedback and support, until we have a statement you are delighted with. I have many happy clients, of whom I am very proud, and some of them are on my Testimonials page. You are welcome to phone for a preliminary chat on 01785 284849 or 07837 917803 with no obligation to make a booking. My clients say I am friendly and approachable – so don’t worry about getting in touch!