How to Write a Personal Statement


Every year, universities receive thousands of different personal statements, with different motivations and experiences. A personal statement is your opportunity to tell the university why you would be suitable for their programme. Usually, this process leads to a certain degree of pressure concerning how and what to write in your statement. With this in mind, we will review some useful tips for writing a proper personal statement. 

First of all, the focus of every personal statement is that you need to be able to communicate effectively why you are eager to apply for that programme and why you should be selected for it. In short, it is your opportunity to promote yourself.

Throughout the text, you need to tell a story of why you are interested in the topic and what you have done to evidence your interest. Besides, you need to include evidence about your academic profile, what you can gain from the course, as well as how this can affect your future career and you as an individual. 

How to stand out?

Uniqueness will always make a personal statement stand out. The best personal statements have authenticity, which is the crucial point at the moment of writing. Try to be original and include specific examples and experiences that provide richness and originality to your text. You need to convince the readers that you belong to the course by writing a genuine statement that reflects your personality. 

Do your research about the course 

It is essential to investigate first about the course that you are interested in before you start writing. This action will show how committed you are to the programme. Look at the structure of the programme, the specifications and the subjects, assessment, etc. Avoid reading only the essential information; you need to go further. You need to be engaged with this process and demonstrate that you understand what the course offers. 

Take your time

It might sound obvious, but you must write your statement with time; do not leave it to the night before the deadline. A recommendation is to start with months in advance; remember that this text will define if you are selected for the course or not. 

Be honest 

Personal statements need to be truthful and thoughtful. Be engaged with your subject area during all processes. 

Make a list 

You are looking at your blank sheet of paper, and you have no idea what to write. A good tip is first to write down a list about what you have done, your interests in the field, and specific reasons why you are interested. Also, you might include your skills you can highlight, your motivations, as well as extracurricular activities. You can create categories into different columns and progressively start reducing them to get only the essential information. 

Start with something catchy

Start with something intriguing and try to keep your reader’s attention. A good piece of advice is to start with an interesting story that can be connected to the topic of your statement because you want to make the audience want to continue reading. 

Describe why you are suitable for the course

Throughout your statement, you need to write persuasively, especially in this section. Remember that hundreds-or even thousands- of students are applying for the same programme. Therefore, your text should stand out from the rest of the students. They are seeking a reason for how important the subject is for you, so show how eager you are to participate in this course. Include ideas of why you would be a good student for the course, what makes you passionate about the programme, and provide concrete examples to support your arguments. 

Include relevant experience

You might include academic achievements and extracurricular activities. Also, you can describe volunteering or job experiences, summer school, or other types of responsibilities you have had. However, you need to be careful since they need to be meaningful concerning your statement. This experience should be relevant to what you are applying for, as it is made for a specific purpose. 

As a suggestion, you can establish connections between the experience and what you have learned. You can also include how these experiences have changed you as an individual. Nevertheless, be careful to go off on a tangent, since you need to approach your experiences with your subject area. Be careful with expanding too much, remember that all your points need to be clear and straightforward, always with a specific purpose. 

Highlight your skills 

Think about skills that stand out about you and how you can apply them to the programme. You might combine soft skills along with hard skills. The former can include abilities such as leadership, adaptability, problem-solving, teamwork, among others. The latter represents what you need for a specific course, and they are acquired through professional experience, for example, foreign languages, data analysis, and writing skills. But still, these abilities should be related to the purpose of the course. 

Ask for feedback

People who know you well can read your statement and give their opinions, such as a close teacher, friends, or family. They can help you see if the text represents you or not. 

On the whole, your personal statement should be a representative document about yourself in which you emphasize what you can offer to the university, and how suitable you are for the particular course. The key is always to be to be engaged with the process and be honest about yourself. 

Author: Jared Curtis