Does the description come with a brief or particular information to include in the statement? This could include emphasis part of your current studies, work experience or even a brief research proposal.
It is also common for there to be a word limit or character limit (always check with or without line-spacing).
Effective research is important for two reasons:
Research the university, its age, specialisms, status and reputation.
Research the department and identify expertise, research and prominent staff that would benefit your study. Are the professional links to organisations and employers?
Research the course. What modules interest you? For instance, are there modules that will expand your knowledge or consolidate it? Does it have a placement or work experience opportunities? Will there be guest speakers? How might you want to shape your research?
So far, all of the planning described has been about what the university does or it wants from you. The personal statement a chance to showcase what you have to offer. This might be the first time that you can talk with confidence about your journey and what your career plans are.
Reflect on the milestones in your academic career so far. Describe your academic interests currently and for the future. What is your skills-set, knowledge and experience to date? What are your career aspirations? What do you do outside of academics that you’re proud of?
As with any good story or essay the ending always re-visits the beginning and the middle describes the areas for determination in greater detail.
Once you have planned your structure always draft in a word document first.
The beginning should be a clear outline of:
The middle will be more detailed descriptions of your introduction, for example:
The ending lets the reader know that you are concluding by reiterating your interest in the course and what makes you a suitable candidate.
Be professional in your tone and avoid acronyms and abbreviations (without first using full name), slang and informal language. Try to be objective and factual as much as possible as this will determine if an offer is made.
The reader will be most interested in what you have done and what you think rather than what you feel. Avoid statements like, ‘I love’, ‘I enjoyed’, ‘I hate’, etc. The reader will interpret your passion from your descriptions and demonstration.
Try to be positive in phrasing your descriptions such as: ‘I demonstrated’, ’I can/have’, ‘I enhanced’, ‘I developed’, ‘this enabled me to’, etc. Contrastingly, avoid passive language wherever possible, such as: ‘I had to’ ‘we learnt’, ‘this made me’.
Firstly, check that the messages and points you are trying to convey get across and have a logical flow and structure. Don’t just rely on spell-checker. Read thoroughly for spelling and grammar issues and casing – names should always start with a capital letter.
By this point you should be able to tell the proof-reader what to look out for and give you professional feedback. This might mean some re-writes and updates.
Try to get feedback from people who regularly read and review personal statements. This should include a Careers Adviser and an academic where possible.
If it is an online application, copy and paste the statement from a word document to the application. Contrastingly, if the application asks for an attachment document of your personal statement then save and submit as a pdf. Doing this will avoid formatting errors at and ensures that your document cannot be altered.
As always, the Careers and Employability is here to help, even in these difficult times. You can access us, via email, telephone or video call by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org as well as My Careers Centre.