So, when it comes to applying to higher education, you are sat in front of your computer with a blank mind looking at an empty personal statement, thinking, where do I start? How will I know what to include?
Don’t worry. The words ‘tell me about yourself’ can send even the most confident people into a fluster. But, let’s break it down and start by looking at what a personal statement is actually for. UCAS explains that it ‘supports your application to study at a university or college.’ And it is a ‘chance for you to articulate why you’d like to study a particular course or subject, and what skills and experience you possess that show your passion for your chosen field.’ Whew, that is a lot of words! Put simply, it is a way for you to show off your achievements and tell the universities just how great you really are.
Before you begin, it is always useful to check each university website and read through the course information to find out what they are looking for. This way, you can make sure that you include all the information about yourself to help them see your potential. Having any previous encounters with the courses you are applying to is always a great way to show your enthusiasm towards the subject. Volunteering in an animal shelter can show them that you are interested in animal welfare and are caring and compassionate. You can also highlight many skills from your everyday life, such as completing group tasks in class or speaking in front of a group.
The words ‘skills’ and ‘experience’ are important. This is a way for you to shape your writing and give examples of the things you have achieved so far. Your statement should be all about you and why you are applying to higher education. By drawing on your past experiences in education, it allows them to feel for you as a student. But it doesn’t all have to be related to this. Including the activities or groups that you are a part of outside of school is a great way to show your personal interests.
Unlike an essay, you can write your statement in a more natural style. It’s all about making sure that you show your personality. But be careful if you are going to include humour, as the person reading may not have the same sense of humour you do. The best way to check your writing, and see if you are happy with how you have presented yourself, is to proofread aloud. If you have any teachers, advisers, carers, or friends to do this for you, it is also a great way to take yourself out of the picture and look at it with a fresh perspective. Another top tip is to complete your draft in a word document, rather than using the online UCAS application, and make the save button your best friend.
So, hopefully, using these tips can help give you the best start on your personal statement! There are lots of resources on the UCAS website to help guide you through this process, as well as the care- leaver specific website, Propel. Check them out if you have any further queries or need a bit of a boost, and don’t forget that there is a live chat option on our NERAP website. We are there to support you every step of the way.