How to Tackle Your Personal Statement
Writing brief notes to the following questions should provide you with a comprehensive structure to your personal statement:
Why do you want to do this course?
- Think about the subjects you have studied in school:
- Are there particular elements you enjoyed?
- Are there areas you wish to study further?
- What appeals to you about the University course you have chosen? Why have you chosen it? Give examples of experiences that have led you to make the decision.
- Do you have a career aspiration? Is this connected to the course you want to study? If you have applied to courses in different subject areas, try to make sure you demonstrate your interest in the areas that you have applied. Don’t just focus on one of the areas.
Do you have relevant work experience?
- What was the experience like? What did you learn from the experience? Does it relate to the course you are applying for or are there transferable skills that could help you on your chosen course?
What achievements have you gained?
- List the achievements you have gained at school such as your qualifications, responsibilities, awards, certificates etc. eg I was appointed a Prefect in my senior year which allowed me to develop my leadership skills.
- List extra-curricular activities you have been involved in and extra-curricular achievements you have gained. Include involvement in Inter-house events here
Next to each activity/achievement you have listed above - note what you have gained/achieved/learnt from doing each one.
What are your hobbies?
List them below:
Again, next to each hobby note what you gained/achieved/learnt from doing these things. Emphasise hobbies which relate to the course you want to study.
Note your most positive experiences in your school or personal life so far. (e.g.
Travelling/ winning an award etc)
Now explain in a short sentence why you are proud of these achievements and why they stand out.
- List some words to describe you as a person and your character. Use these key words within your personal statement.
- Keep questioning yourself / thinking about what you are writing: Why am I saying this? What am I trying to say? How can I prove what I am saying? Is what I’m saying relative to what I want to do?
- Proof read your work on several occasions and make sure there are no mistakes. This is a competitive process and you can’t afford to have errors in your application.
- Listen to advice from your Head of House and utilise any support available from the English department
- Keep your personal statement concise and relevant. You have a limited word count so make sure you offer all information that will make you an ideal candidate for the course.
- Meet the criteria. Demonstrate why you are the type of person that the admission tutor is looking for.
- Structure your statement – make sure that it has a beginning, middle and an end.
- Remember that the school has to provide a reference to UCAS. Heads of House have to offer an accurate account of your time within Falkirk High School. Make sure that you maintain the high standards expected throughout your final year.
Tips for Specific Courses
- Tailor your personal statement to the course that you are applying for. Find out what the course admissions tutor is looking for and demonstrate why you are the type of person they are looking for.
- Write about experiences and qualities that are relevant for the course you are applying. For example, when applying for sport courses, make specific references to sporting achievements.
- If you are applying for health sciences such as nursing, ensure you attend an open day as specific information is given upon how to complete personal statements. This is important because selection is strongly based upon the personal statement.
- If the course you are choosing to study is not in any way relevant to your present studies, you need to explain why you are choosing a different area.
- Medical applicants must ensure that they have completed their UKCAT test. This has to be completed well in advance of the UCAS medicine deadline. This also has to be organised by the pupil and is completely independent of the UCAS process. Universities will not consider applications without a UKCAT score.
- Pupils applying for Art and Design courses will often be required to provide a portfolio. Pupils should be gathering evidence for this well in advance of submitting an application.
- Pupils may have to attend an interview for some courses such as teaching etc. Ensure that you are developing your knowledge of this area well in advance of any potential interview.
- Make sure that you meet the entry requirements or are likely to achieve them for the courses that you are applying to. The UCAS process costs £23 therefore, it is important that you are realistic with your choices.