The structure of your personal statement matters!
This may sound obvious, but it’s important to get it right as a good structure enhances the clarity of the content. Personal statements are not monologues of your life nor are they a giant list of your achievements. They are instead a formal piece of prose written with the aim of helping you secure a place at university.
Why is you personal statement important?
If you are reading this article you have probably started (or will start) writing your personal statement, but why does everyone make a big fuss out of it? Is it actually that hard?
Well, some students might argue that ‘writing about myself’ is easy, but we strongly disagree. It’s hard to be objective when the topic of your essay is yourself. The content is the first hurdle to overcome, and we have plenty of articles to help you with that but this article focuses on the second hurdle: presenting the information.
Your personal statement is a vital element of your university application. Each university will have its own unique way of shortlisting candidates, so the personal statement is your chance to show an admission tutor why you’re the perfect applicant.
Getting the right balance in your personal statement
Getting the right balance in a personal statement can have a huge effect on the message it delivers. There are no strict rules since the statement is personal to you but there are a few rules of thumb you can use the strike the right balance:
Focus primarily on academic matters
This means you need to tell a story – the story of how you developed sufficient interest in your chosen subject that you want to study it to degree level. If you are applying to study something you have studied in school like maths or geography, your story needs to start with the reasons you began to enjoy this subject.
You should then talk about any extra work or projects you have done relating to the topic, and how you have shown your aptitude for it.
Extra-curricular are also Important
Extra-curricular activities are a great way of supporting your skills, however, you need to be careful that this is the supporting act and not the headliner. It is generally recommended to spend no more than a quarter of the personal statement discussing extra-curricular activities, leaving the other three quarters for discussing academic matters.
The Layout of your personal statement
As you know, you are allowed 47 lines and 4000 characters in total. You can organise the sections as you please but make sure to have a well-thought plan before you start. In any case, this is how we would recommend splitting that allocation up:
In Conclusion: The structure of your personal statement is vital
Each section of your statement needs to be crafted perfectly to ensure that admission tutors get exactly why they need to know. Make sure to reduce and extend sections if needed and re-read your essay multiple times.
Often students focus strictly on content and forget that presenting information effectively is just as important. Make sure to consider the format, structure and content of your personal statement equally and you’ll produce a great essay.
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