Newcastle University London

Top 10 Tips for Writing Personal Statement

Top 10 Tips on Writing the Perfect Personal Statement

Everyone thinks university application forms are easy until they realise they need to write a personal statement.

Writing a personal statement

The personal statement is one of the most important parts of any university application. Your statement needs to be precise, concise and thrilling and you only have one chance to get it right. But don’t be scared, here are my top tips for making the task a little less daunting:

1. Treat it like an interview

Think of your personal statement almost like an interview. You want to make the best first impression. It’s a way of selling yourself and letting people know who you are both personally and academically.

2. Start with a draft, but don’t count the words

When I first started my personal statement, I paid no attention to the word count and it was way over the allocated limit. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing though as it means you have included everything. You then just need to go back over the draft and be selective about what you keep. Deleting words is much easier than adding them after all!

3. Take your time

Don’t rush. Your best work won’t be perfect first time around. Take breaks and come back to it again and again until you are happy with the final version.

4. Proofread and then proofread again

Get other people to help you proofread your statement to ensure that it makes sense and conveys the right sentiment. It’s a professional piece of work, but make sure you don’t use too many ‘fancy’ words as this can be equally off-putting for the reader.

5. Focus on what you’re good at

The personal statement is a way of showcasing your talents to your chosen university. Don’t be shy when it comes to demonstrating how great you are, your experiences, knowledge and future prospects.

6. Find the perfect first line

Start with something that will hook the reader, a fact or something funny or unusual. This creates a good first impression and will ensure that the reader remembers you.

7. Make it your own

Don’t copy someone else’s personal statement, it’s not yours, it’s not your story and will never be. Learn to trust your own voice.

8. Be honest

You’re trying to impress, but be honest about what you can do. If you can’t speak Mandarin then don’t say you can. There’s nothing wrong with admitting you still have things to learn.

9. Read it aloud

Just to make sure everything makes sense, and that you are happy with it. Is it coherent? Correct it if it’s not.

10. Once you submit, forget about it

You’ve worked hard, now let the officials do their job, If you’ve worked hard enough the result will speak for themselves and you’ll soon be joining your new classmates!