Personal statement tips and tricks to ace your statement.
A personal statement is a vital element of your application. This is the only chance you will have to show the admissions tutors what type of individual and student you are. As such, it’s important that you include as much relevant information that helps paint the picture of a perfect candidate (you!). Without further ado here are some personal statement tips that will help you achieve this:
Include Work Experience in your personal statement
Work experience is a great way to demonstrate your commitment to a subject. For many vocational courses like medicine, dentistry, law, and veterinary sciences, work experience must form a core component of the personal statement. But why do universities value work experience so highly?
- It shows you are invested in a subject. Schoolwork can easily take up most of your time so when admission tutors see that you have managed to add an extra activity to your schedule, this benefits your application.
- It shows you’re informed. Rather than just reading and having theory-based learning, you can be hands-on and get valuable practical experience before starting university (which is a huge advantage).
Gap Year Experience
You’ll need to tweak your statement slightly if you’re applying for deferred entry. You will need to demonstrate to the tutor that you are filling your gap year with meaningful experiences in order to help you grow as a person. Therefore, discuss your gap year plans in a brief paragraph, describing what you hope to achieve, what life skills you hope to learn, and how these are both transferable and applicable to your course.
In addition, a year of deferred entry gives you the opportunity to work and save in order to fund your progress through what is a very expensive time at university.
Students applying for multiple subjects
Applicants who choose to apply for different subjects will have to address this in their personal statement as this is the only place in which the applicant can justify their choices to their chosen universities.
The UCAS reference is often neglected by many applicants; it’s an untapped resource that can give you an edge over other applicants. In order to plan your use of the reference, you first need to establish how it will be used – again consult prospectuses or subject websites. Does it actually count towards your application score or rather is it only consulted in borderline candidates? Furthermore, the reference could certainly affect the way in which the tutor perceives what you have written and indeed what they infer from it.
Standing out from the crowd
Many universities will score your personal statement based on a marking grid. You’ll gain marks for evidence of performance in different areas depending on your assessed level of achievement. These areas may include interest in your subject, a variety of work experience, evidence of altruism/volunteering, communication skills, and general skills.
It is a very good idea to get hold of these marking grids wherever possible and ensure you cover all the areas described in them. The best place to find them is the university website and failing that, you can email the admissions tutors at the university. Knowing all these tips will definitely give you an edge over all the other applicants.
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