This may sound obvious, but it’s important to get 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.
Getting the right balance
Getting the right balance in a personal statement can have a huge effect on the message it delivery. 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 activities
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.
As you know you are allowed 47 lines and 4000 characters in total. This is how we would recommend splitting that allocation up;
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