Most Common Personal Statement Mistakes to Avoid!
The ‘don’ts’ when writing your personal statement
The personal statement should be completely directed by you, however, there are some personal statement mistakes to avoid when you start writing. We do not want to impose too many restrictions on what you choose to write (the character limit and time pressure does that by itself). So we have just two big red flags which we would suggest avoiding full stop. If, however, you are at any point unsure, it is definitely worth using our UCAS personal statement online course.
DO NOT #1: LIE!
Lying on your personal statement is a big ‘no-no’. It’s really not worth it. We say this not to target people who are doing it maliciously but because we know that writing your personal statement is a really stressful exercise and you might not be sure what you can and can’t get away with. But believe us, saying you’ve read something you haven’t, saying you agreed with something you don’t and saying something you’re interested in that you aren’t – all of these things are not too difficult for a tutor to work out at a later stage of the application.
The easiest way to avoid personal statement mistakes like this is to try and put yourself in the shoes of the admissions tutor. The Oxbridge application process is designed so that tutors are allowed to choose the students that they want to teach. They would like to give them a good education, and for them to be someone with whom they can discuss ideas and they can help to develop their thinking.
When they read someone’s personal statement, they have a chance to try and work out whether this could be one of their future students. But they will want to take the personal statement into consideration with the whole portfolio submitted in order to make an informed decision. If in the process of the admissions test results, your references, or speaking to you in the interview, they find out that the personal statement was not reliable, they will unlikely want to accept your application. It’d be better you just present yourself and your wonderful personality word to word and let them make the decision.
We appreciate this all sounds very easy for us to say, as people not facing the application process and writing a personal statement right now, but we want to offer our full support and our opinion on what will help you best. Please do get in touch with us if you would like to discuss how things apply to your specific circumstances.
DO NOT #2: SAY WHAT YOU THINK THE TUTORS WANT TO HEAR
Being disingenuous is the another of our personal statement mistakes that we would really recommend not doing. Again, this might sound quite obvious, but it is very, very easy to do and, in many words, the personal statement is an easy trap! A rule of thumb is that it is okay to think “What will the person reading this think of me” as long as you then think “Is that a fair representation of me, and does it show my personality?” Please don’t change your personal statement so that it reflects characteristics that don’t apply to you. Your strongest attributes are yours, not anyone else’s and the whole process is just more enjoyable if you apply as yourself and know you did your best.
By way of motivation too, you should remember that there is a lot of luck, good and bad, involved in the application process. You are not obliged to change that by pretending in your personal statement. You are not a weaker candidate just because things eventually might not go your way, and everyone will admire you for trying. However, recycling phrases you have heard and using clichés such as “I have always been interested in” will not reflect too well. If you think something is really boring, be honest. If you have justifications for finding it boring that’s not a problem and much more reasonable. And it is not too hard to identify, so really not worth the trouble!
Have you learnt from these personal statement mistakes?
We really appreciate writing your personal statement is hard. It’s likely that you don’t know where to start or that you might not seem satisfied with what you’ve done. Accidentally making personal statement mistakes is, at times, feels inevitable. Don’t worry, everyone feels the same. There are many tips and tricks to help you avoid those unwanted personal statement mistakes and we are here to support you with this process. The answer to the above is to try and be honest and yourself. In the end, nobody can fault you for trying your best and just showing your true self.
Send Us Your Personal Statement!
At UniAdmissions, we offer the opportunity to work through your personal statement with our expert tutors. Let us do the hard work of checking your grammar and make sure that everything is top-notch with our speedy UCAS personal statement editing services. Receive full written feedback with high-impact suggestions and edits made in no more than 3 working days. Our experts can make your personal statement go from boring to eye-catching!
You’ve got all the information but how do you format the personal statement so that it reads right? This is where the structure comes in. Structure matters when writing your personal statement. It enhances clarity, thought processes and, most importantly, it tells a story about yourself and the subject you want to study.