How to write a bomb ass personal statement
I’ve had a few asks about how to write - as one of you put it - a bomb ass personal statement. I’m a bit reluctant to write this, seeing as I haven’t actually got an interview/offer yet! But I guess it might be helpful to those of you applying around now :)
HOW TO START
- Bullet point what you want to include - I suggest listing out what you want to include. It’s a good idea to do this at the beginning, to make sure you don’t leave anything out; and it can help form the basic structure of your statement.
- Do not start at the start - this is one of the most important things I learnt when writing mine. It is so hard to write that first sentence - so just leave it until the end, and begin writing with the actual content, something you’re more comfortable writing about.
- When you do get down to writing that first sentence - do not start with a cheesy quote or the typical “I have always bee passionate about…” as these are things that can immediately put off an admissions tutor. Try and be original, or just simple: “I want to study X because…”
- Just keep writing - don’t worry about the 4,000 character and 47 line limits. Literally just write, and keep going, even if you think what you’re writing is bad - just get all your ideas out there, and put down everything you would want to include. It’s so much easier to take things out rather than adding things in. My personal statement was around 8,000 characters at one point!`
- Get the balance right - different unis want different things from personal statements, so check their websites to make sure you’re getting in what they want. You need to get the balance of intellectual curiosity/passion for the subject with your personal qualities and extra-curriculars.
- Back up everything with evidence - don’t just say you are great at working in a team, give examples that demonstrate that you have worked well in successful teams in the past.What to include?
WHAT TO INCLUDE
- Why you want to study that particular course
- Why you are the right person to study the course
- Extra things you have done to show commitment or interest about the course - volunteering, subscriptions to journals, further reading etc.
- Any relevant work experience
- Any relevant awards you’ve won (e.g. maths challenge or physics olympiad) or responsibilities within the school (e.g. prefect or house captain)
- Demonstrate desirable skills for your course - problem solving, teamwork, leadership etc.
WHAT NOT TO INCLUDE
- Cliches - like “Ever since I was born I have wanted to study…”
- Quotes - this is a personal statement, so don’t start quoting other people! Plus way too many people do this to make it original.
- Jokes - it may be that the person reading your statement has a very different sense of humour than you do.
- Really long sentences - you want your personal statement to be as easy as possible to read, and long confusing sentences won’t help that.
- Repetition - it’s such a short document, you don’t have space for this. Plus it gets boring!
- Names of unis - the unis you apply to have no idea where else you have applied, so don’t name any of them in your statement.
- Do not end on a cheesy quote or joke. Just sum up why you’d be a great candidate and reinforce what you have told them throughout the main body of the statement - that you’re fabulous!
- Once you have finished a draft you can start trying to cut down on the word count. Maybe ask a teacher to look at your spelling/grammar, and you can always get your friends’ opinions too, on what should come out, and what should be kept in. Make sure you don’t let other people have too much influence - it has to be a personal statement!