Writing a personal statement can often seem like a daunting process. It’s often difficult to imagine how you can make yourself sound impressive without it coming across as arrogant and clichéd. But there are ways to make your personal statement stand out from the crowd, and so I have provided a few helpful tips which should aid you in creating a statement which ticks all the right boxes, as well as one which is different and unique.
Starting at the beginning – quite literally, the very first sentence. It is important to captivate the reader from the offset. Consider what degree you are applying for. If you are applying for English Literature for example, maybe start with a quote from one of your favourite works of fiction and briefly mention how it has influenced you. Whatever you do, make sure you are keeping the reader intrigued as to what you have to say. They will have read a great deal of personal statements before yours, so if yours is able to stand out immediately, then you automatically put yourself at an advantage.
You must also make it very clear why you are interested in the subject that you are applying for. It might even be worthwhile to choose a specific topic and discuss why it fascinates you. If you are applying for Medicine for example, you could discuss Neuroscience in particular if this is something you have researched, read about and maybe even hope to pursue a career in. This will demonstrate the fact that you are driven and will go to extra lengths to expand your knowledge on the aspects of the subject that most engages you.
Next, consider the information that you will include that is relevant to the subject you are applying for. Include details of any extra-curricular activities you have partaken in that may be related to your future studies. For instance, if you hope to apply for Economics, and have done work experience in a bank, then this would definitely be worth mentioning. Universities want to see evidence that you are already enthusiastic about the subject you are applying for, and so this kind of information is crucial. An important thing to mention here is that it is not worth including empty remarks without any evidence to back them up. So if you want to say that ‘History is my biggest passion’, make sure to substantiate this with something that proves it to be true – for example, that you have started up a History club or regularly take part in History debates.
It is also important to remember that Universities aren’t just looking for students who will excel in the subject that they are applying for. They also want their students to be well-rounded individuals who can prove that they are capable of dedication and self- motivation, by engaging in activities which go beyond the school curriculum. For example, if you play an instrument, are part of an amateur dramatics company or play in the local football or hockey team, the Universities you are applying to will want to hear about it.
Including all of this information in your personal statement will ensure that whoever is reading it will not throw it to one side after one quick glance. An engaging opening will automatically captivate the reader, and evidence for why you really care about the subject you are applying for and are a well-rounded individual will ensure that you are a candidate that will not be easily forgotten.