When should you even start planning your personal statement? The answer is TODAY!
Okay, we know it sounds like a cliché but the earlier you start, the easier you will make it for yourself.
There are four key reasons why you should start sooner rather than later;
- It allows you to identify weak areas. Many students begin writing their statements, then realise they haven’t done enough work experience or research. Starting early allows you to fill in these blanks once identified.
- You get more time for revisions. You can improve your personal statement by showing it to as many people as possible to get their feedback. Starting earlier gives you more time for this.
- You can keep a steady pace. Rather than cramming everything about your statement into a space of two weeks, starting earlier allows you to spend less time on it and more time for the rest of your work.
- Prompt submission. Although the deadline is 15th of January for most courses, some require a deadline before this.
Doing your research
You need to establish two things; What course? and What university?
Start off by speaking to teachers of the subjects you enjoy. They will have detailed knowledge of course requirements, but they will also know you personally. They can talk about the course in context of your personality.
The next step is talking with your parents, then moving onto university open days. Your choice of university is completely personal – it will need to be somewhere you can see yourself spending the next 3-6 years of your life.
Talk to current students of that university, they will give you the most honest information. On the open day, tour the university – speak to tutors and other peers considering applying to the university.
Once you have shortlisted several universities and courses, your personal statement preparation can begin.
- Why did you choose this course?
- What features of each course interests you the most?
- What are your 3 main hobbies and what skills have they developed?
- What have you chosen to read outside the A-level syllabus?
- Do you have any long-term career ideas/aspirations?
- How have you learned about your chosen course?
- Have you won any prizes or awards?
- What is your favourite A-level subject and why?
- What are your personal strengths?
- Have you attended any courses?
- How you ever held a position of responsibility?
- What you been a part of any projects?
Answer all of these questions to get a good baseline to start writing your statement from.
Think: How will universities use my personal statement?
This can change how you write your personal statement.
Courses that don’t interview, your personal statement is directly bidding on the course. If this applies, then your statement is simplest to write but just be aware that this is your only opportunity to say what you want to say.
If your course uses the statement as a segway to interview, then it requires more thought. This is because you want to have enough to allure the admissions tutor in the statement, but also enough to speak about in the interview. This means striking a careful balance.
Some tutors will go through the entire statement with you in interview; this also means withholding enough information so you can speak about your experiences. This also means the structure of your personal statement will dictate the structure of your interview.
Get expert advice on your first draft (or any other draft)!GET YOUR PERSONAL STATEMENT RE-DRAFTED