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Writing Your Personal Statement

If you’ve done your prospectus research and visited your favourite University open days… it’s probably time to start thinking about your UCAS personal statement.

Many courses are highly competitive with candidates having similar grades, so conveying your enthusiasm about the course you've applied for and setting yourself out from the crowd is key. We've put together some top tips and advice on how to make the most of personal statement.

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Practical guide to writing your personal statement

When writing your personal statement, it can be easy to go off on a tangent. This is your handy toolkit and everything you need to know to make sure your personal statement is the best it can possible be from structuring to tips on what to include So look at bullet pointing your ideas on a piece of paper and once your ideas are in place, look at structuring these in a simple but effective way.

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Top tips for a successful statement

It can be tempting to try and include everything you have ever done in your personal statement but it's key to keep your statement concise, natural and relevant to the course you are applying for. Don't include irrelevant facts and adopt the approach of always trying to explain how a point relates. If you find that it doesn't, leave it out.

Practice makes perfect. With your personal statement, prepare to write several drafts before you feel confident with the end result. Did you know the average applicant writes six versions of their personal statement? A good statement goes through several drafts, so don't be disheartened if it doesn't come to you straight away.

On personal statements, UCAS have a 4000 word character limit, which is roughly about 500 words. It may seem tough to put across your academic and personal achievements to your Admissions Tutor in such a short amount, but being concise is not only crucial to making the best personal statement, it's a key skill to adopt for future University essays and beyond.

While you want to impress, you must prepare to talk at length about everything written within your personal statement if you're invited to interview. If you can't be honest about why you are a good candidate for your potential course, it may be worth considering whether it's really for you.

Spelling, grammar and checking your statement for mistakes is key to the success of your submission. Remember that a spell check is not always ‘foolproof’ and can't pick up on everything. Read it out loud, even ask a friend or a family member to take a look over it. A fresh set of eyes can always help.

"When looking at applicant personal statements, I look for an understanding of the motivation to study the subject. What sparked your interest in the topic? What experience have you had of the area you’re applying for? I look to find out more about the person’s career goals and how the course helps towards this. Top tip: You should be careful not to make claims about career pathways that are not accessible via the course you’re applying for. Another top tip would be to indicate your wider interests, where, if at all, these relate to the course."

Andy Morely, Psychology Admissions Tutor

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