Personal Statements
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Some guidance from the University of Sussex

Some guidance from the University of Sussex

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  • Importance of personal statements – we’re going to look at why a personal statement is so important to your application. We’ll look at some recommended styles and appearances of how personal statements are presented. Useful things to include and also what not to include. And tips for success in completing your personal statement.
  • Courses that do interview – Medicine, Dentistry, Nursing, Social Work, Teaching
  • 4000 characters or 47 lines, whichever comes first
  • Subject intro: how I made my decision / my interests in the subjectSkills and qualities I have related to the course (use examples)Relative interests, hobbies etc (try to relate them to the subject and the skills you have)Conclusion. Sum up what I have to offer and why I should be chosen
  • FOR IB students - Admissions tutors are familiar with the IB but you still have to talk about how you’re benefitted from studying it. Talk about how it’s influenced your outlook on life, how the extended project has been good for learning, research and writing skills.
  • Transferable skills are skills and attributes you acquire in one area that are equally applicable in other areas

Personal Statements Personal Statements Presentation Transcript

  • Personal statements
  • Personal statementsI am CHRIS MASONWidening Participation graduate intern at the University of Sussex
  • Personal statementsContents• Why are they important? • Things to avoid• Style and appearance • Copying and cheating• Who are you writing to? • Tips for success• Transferable skills• Examples• Questions to ask
  • Personal statementsWhy are they so important?• The only personal information an Admissions tutor sees• You control the content• If interviewed PS will be the basis of questioning• Your chance to impress and sell yourself• Arguably the most important part of your application
  • Personal statementsStyle and appearance• Use the space provided • 4,000 characters or 47 lines• Think about the format: • 4 / 5 paragraphs of equal length• Paste text in to UCAS Apply• Are speling, grammer, and punctuashun! perfect?
  • Personal statementsStyle and appearanceNo formal structure but generally a 70/30 split between: • the course and why you have chosen it • information about yourself and your abilities Example structure: • P1: Subject introduction • P2: Related stuff / career aspirations • P3: Skills and qualities • P4: Relative interests, hobbies etc • P5: Conclusion
  • Personal statementsWho are you writing to?• Consider your audience – admissions tutors• Show commitment to, interest in and enthusiasm for the subject• Be analytical and reflective – not merely descriptive• Highlight your work experience!• Illustrate relevant skills and abilities• Use UCAS entry profiles, Uni websites and student profiles• Demonstrate understanding of course and what it entails
  • Personal statementsTransferable skills• Logical and analytical • Communication skills thinking • Written and verbal• Self-reliance• Interpersonal skills• Organisational skills• Initiative
  • Personal statementsTransferable skillsDrama production, sports • Leadershipcaptain and voluntary • Time Managementcharity fundraiser • Organisational skills • Teamwork • Passion and drive • Confidence • Communication • Commitment • Enthusiasm
  • •Name dropping. An literature •Extra curricular work in and •Excited by the challenge of Personal fascination Links travelling toExample 1: and vested interestliterature!) understanding of the related areascultural personal books (integral toEnglish Literature importance of people developmentI have always been fascinated by the power of story-telling to capture the imaginationand create a new world. Five years ago I became aware of the literary exploration ofthis concept in Jane Austens Northanger Abbey. Modern authors, such as Brautiganand Vonnegut, also explore readers expectations of a story, their desire for dramaticchange and a happy or tragic ending. I still retain my basic love of stories but am alsoexcited by the more complex ideas that I am finding books present to me now.Having spent some time travelling in America, I find the literary expression of theirculture and history of the country to be most absorbing. I particularly enjoyed TheCatcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger and On the Road by Jack Kerouac. These novelscapture the disaffection many people experience with their society. Earlier Americanwriters that I have read, including Hemingway, Lee and Fitzgerald, also convey thissense social dislocation.I love both going to the theatre and being involved in productions. Most recently I wentto see a production of Much Ado about Nothing. I have been involved in the youthgroup at Norwich Theatre Royal and Norwich Young Peoples Theatre, as well ashaving participated in many school productions…
  • •Attended extra course •Prize winner = smart to •New and exciting = essays •Contemporary criticalandExample 1: show desire dedicated to develop enthusiasm and students do! is what literature commitmentEnglish LiteratureReading contemporary critical essays such as Verbal Presence: Conceptual Absenceby James L. Calderwood and Revenge in Hamlet by Catherine Belsey sparked newexciting ideas for me.…My work experience at a Design and Advertising company taught me a great deal.Watching and playing an active role in the design process, from the first clientmeetings through to the final presentation of the work, I was able to appreciate justhow powerful language can be and the extent to which it can be skilfully and subtlymanipulated in the commercial world.…On leaving school I won the Art Prize and outside of school I attended a course withresident artists at UEA which resulted in my work being exhibited at the SainsburyCentre in Norwich.…It is my belief that my studies at Saint Martins will enhance my study of EnglishLiterature in the years ahead.
  • •What course? the behind? •May want to be a coach •Repetitionpunctuation and •No mention of Have they • Spelling,problemssubject. Leaving of informationExample 2: applied for rather than sports scientist? No hook, more there! They may still bethan grammar just negative1 type?Sports ScienceI have spent the last five years traveling. After leaving college I decided I needed totake some time out to assess what I wanted to do with my future, and traveling allowedme to leave my problems behind and become an adult. I’m now 24 and I regret notgoing to uni straight away. I want to make up for that now, though.I did PE at A-level because I had a teacher that I really admired and who said I coulddo really well at it. He was really motivating and showed me I could do anything I putmy mind to, which pushed me to get my grade B.…I love playing sport and took part in the national junior athletics championships when Iwas 16. Around this time I also did the community sports leadership award with mylocal youth group. Ever since then, I have coached kids at football, rugby and running.When I am older, I want to specialize as a sports coach. The coaching I have done hasgiven me a lot of skills that are suitable to this course.…
  • Same info to all universities – •Mostly presumptions Making not youand 5 about like saying relevant Very generic love Example 2: information. Showing – and what students are likeoff? different uninformative/unspecific Sports Science in people! Also hasn’t said why different country! asset they would be anDuring my time traveling I worked in dorms at an American university. I liked the look ofthe student life and thought it was something I would like. I got on well with thestudents and saw we had similar personalities and interests like sport, music andsocialising. …In my spare time I really enjoy reading a variety of books. I have recently read A BriefHistory of Time, Down and Out in Paris and London, Pride and Prejudice and a lot ofsports autobiographies. I also like going to music festivals, taking part in sports eventsand spending time with my family.…I really think I would be suitable for this course at your university because I have a lotto offer and think I will be an asset to those around me.
  • Personal statementsQuestions to ask• Have you won any prizes • What have you worked hard for• What’s your biggest in the past? achievement and why? • Where do you see yourself in 5• Who motivated you and why? years time?• Favourite book, movie, hobby • What would your friends/family and impact on you? say if they were writing your• Have any difficulties in life statement? changed you?
  • Personal statementsThings to avoid • Waffle • Go mad with a thesaurus • Be trivial • Exaggerate or lie! • Write lists • Put everything in (be selective) • Mention the name of a Uni
  • Personal statementsCopying and cheating• Internet Resources• Friends• People already at University• SIMILARITY DETECTION SERVICE!Your Personal Statement will becompared with all those which havepreviously been submitted
  • Personal statementsTips for success• Allow time for thought • Use fairly short clear and planning – prepare sentences• Make the most of your • Allow time to review and experiences expect to modify!• Include anything • Get someone else to outstanding or unusual proofread your work
  • Personal statementsTips for success• Find your USP • Use a concluding statement• Don’t let anyone else write it • Why should they choose YOU?• Show enthusiasm, motivation and commitment• Stick to the point• Include useful skills
  • Personal statementsUseful links www.ucas.com www.prospects.ac.uk www.thebrightsidetrust.org www.sussex.ac.uk/s3 http://www.studential.com/personalstatements/
  • Personal statementsThank you!Any questions? Contact participate@sussex.ac.uk www.sussex.ac.uk/wp 01273 873629