Standing Out: The Dreaded Personal Statement

standing out the dreaded personal statement behind the schmile a levels advice tips college university applications THE DREADED PERSONAL STATEMENT… 

Nail biting, hair loss and spots- do not let this happen to you!

One of the key aims of this piece of writing is to stand out from the crowd, and surely, considering that we are all extremely unique individuals with our own ideas and thoughts, it shouldn’t be too difficult. So grab a KitKat, take a real break from stressing and reflect on who you are so that you can write it all down in your statement. Not too hard is it?

Unfortunately for you, unlike the giraffe, you can’t just put on a weird pair of shoes to get you noticed so you’ll have to be a tad more original, but don’t be disheartened- everything about you is bursting with originality because, well, you’re you.

Step 1:

Research your chosen course. You need to make sure you know enough about your subject to convince an admissions tutor that you are suitable for the course. Think about it, you wouldn’t apply for an Anthropology degree if you didn’t know what it was about; the same way an admissions tutor wouldn’t accept you onto the course if you hadn’t a clue what you were getting yourself into. But be careful not to write 47 lines simply stating the first amendment of the American Constitution- yes it might be relevant, but your admissions tutor already knows this!

Step 2:

Try to recall what sparked your interest, maybe it was something you witnessed, experienced, watched or possibly read. Whatever it may be, if this sparked your interest there will definitely be key elements about this situation that you still admire and can be found in your chosen degree course- mention them! This is one of the main ways you can stand out. It’s likely that someone famous may have triggered your interest in a particular field. But if they are famous enough they may have also done the same for a lot of people. An interesting story shows that you are an interesting individual- but don’t go searching for the next big thing- be truthful, what may seem mainstream to others might include the smallest details that make it special to you, discuss this and it becomes just as interesting!

Step 3:

Think about how your hobbies/academics have helped you to make your decision about your course. If you have taken up work experience that is related to your course, think about what you learned from it and how this will be beneficial.

Step 4:

Brag without bragging about all of your wonderful skills. A helpful exercise for those that may find it difficult to identify their qualities is to think about your achievements. Right from the moment you were born up until now as you sit and read this post. It could be as random as the first creative thing you ever made, fixed, read or played; pick out any key skills you think helped you to achieve this such as determination, listening or organisational skills and try and link them to more recent experiences that are relevant to your course. Before you know it, you’ll be able to describe yourself as the most skilful person ever to walk the earth.

Step 5:

Grab a pen, a notepad and plan! Don’t fall into the trap of writing a few lines, neglecting your statement, then writing some more, getting carried away and not really saying much in the end. You want to ensure that it is written in a way that intrigues the reader. Avoid repeating commonly used words like interest. There are many websites that provide examples from past students, having a look at them and picking out key points about structure may help you to gain a greater understanding of what the admissions tutor wants. It might even be easier to contact admissions tutors directly in order to find out what they suggest.

The most general points you need to address are as follows:

Why you want to study the subject

How you have tried to prepare yourself

What skills make you suited to the course

This is the only part of the application where you can express your personality, so make sure you do this!

Step 6:

Write something down! Don’t leave it until the last minute. You need time to check it thoroughly, get advice from tutors/teachers/family/friends, redraft, redraft, redraft, redraft, redraft, redraft, redraft and finally redraft again until you are completely happy! Then all that’s left to do is sit tight, wait, and hope for the best.

Helpful Links: http://www.studential.com/personalstatements/

http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/wiki/Personal_Statement_Library

http://www.purepotential.org/university

http://www.ucas.com/how-it-all-works/undergraduate/filling-your-application/your-personal-statement

http://www.studentladder.co.uk/Student-Ladder-Training-Workshops/how-to-write-effective-personal-statements.html

http://www.theguardian.com/education/series/how-to-write-a-personal-statement

Wishing you the best in your applications- Tisha x

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