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How to write a personal statement


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How to write a personal statement

  1. 1. How to write a personal statement Sarah Jamieson International Officer University of East Anglia (UEA) Email: Skype: sarah.jamieson.uea
  2. 2. What is a personal statement? What do the words ‘Personal Statement’ mean to you? In pairs, you have up to 1 minute to discuss this with your neighbour.
  3. 3. What is a personal statement? Scary Important Structure Research AccurateExamples Positive Individual Confident Motivation Nervous ConfusedPreparation Relevant Qualities Future Honest Concise Course choice Draft
  4. 4. What is a personal statement? A chance to show off why you are interested in the course, studying in theUK and how you can demonstrate that you would be a good student.The Personal Statement helps universities make decisions about whichstudents they make offers to.One of the most important parts of your application! Completely original. Definitely don‟t copy from the internet! PERSONAL!!!
  5. 5. What to includeAbout the subject and courseWhat you want from your future (for example, which career?)Work experience or voluntary workAchievements you‟re proud of (for example, hobbies, skills)Why you‟re special (for example, things that make you interesting)Why you want to study in the UKEVIDENCE Slide 7
  6. 6. What to include – writing about the courseWhy have you your chosen course(s)?Why are you interested in the subject?Why are you suitable to study this course?How do your current or previous studies relate to the course(s)?Experience and understanding of the subjectEVIDENCE!!! Slide 7
  7. 7. What to include – skills and why you‟re special Part time work / Volunteering / Charity work / Fundraising Music examinations Sports teams Awards Positions of responsibility Extended project / Coursework / Exams Unique experiences
  8. 8. What do admissions tutors look for? They want the “best” applicant for their course (i.e. a student who will get a good degree): Three key factors: Academic ability Motivation Research/wider understanding of subject area 70% academic, 30% other… Slide 8
  9. 9. Top tipsMust be relevantMust be clear why you want to do the course – enthusiasmMust be positive, you must sell your skills and experiencesBe honest!Spelling, punctuation and grammar!Check the word limit (usually approximately500 words or for UCAS up to 4000characters or 47 lines) Slide 9
  10. 10. Slide 6
  11. 11. Advice from Admissions Tutors DO include responsibility, skills and suitability for the course DO give evidence DO include authors/writers/artists when talking about specific research DO be clear DO spell check DO ask your teachers and parents to read your draft
  12. 12. Advice from Admissions Tutors DON‟T include the name of the school, college oruniversity if you are using the same personal statementfor more than one applicationDON‟T copy from the internet or your friends –Admissions Tutors will know! DON‟T lie, exaggerate or get someone else to write itfor you
  13. 13. More words of wisdom“If applying for different subjects ensure that all subjects are coveredin your statement”“It is a pleasure (although a surprisingly rare one) to read a statementwhere the candidate‟s voice comes across clearly – be yourself”“We want to see an active, well rounded individual not just a goodacademic”“I (admissions tutor) use a personal statement to get a sense of anapplicant‟s personality, their interests and how motivated they are”
  14. 14. To summarise Your chance to sell yourself! Limited amount of space, keep it short and snappy Must be positive Show an interest and enthusiasm for the subject Spend time on it – it‟s really important It‟s hard work but it‟s worth it!
  15. 15. Any questions?Sarah JamiesonInternational OfficerAdmissions, Recruitment and MarketingUniversity of East Anglia (UEA)Email:
  16. 16. Examples….“Nothing exists, and if it did, no one could know it, and if theyknew it, they could not communicate it‟ (Gorgias).It is this ability of Philosophy to astound and turn conventionalideas on their head that makes it endlessly appealing, andwhich has ultimately formed the basis of my passion forphilosophy. For years I have evidently philosophised, withoutrealising. Films such as „The Matrix‟, „The Truman Show‟ andbooks such as „The Lord of the Flies‟ and „1984‟ left mereeling, and puzzling for days over subjects I later found outwere called epistemology, meta-ethics and normative ethics.”
  17. 17. Examples….I want to study Biology because I am fascinated by thebeautiful diversity of the living world. Not only am Iexcited by how Biologists explain the state of the world inwhich we live, but also by how Biology can be used tohelp us, especially with regard to research into drugs fordiseases that are currently incurable.…I have also spent time reading further into my subject: Iam a subscriber to the New Scientist which I find usefulfor keeping on top of recent scientific developments. Ihave also started reading…
  18. 18. Examples….„I successfully combine college work with a regular evening job waitressing in a French restaurant where I am required to think on my feet, resolve challenging situations and often deal with people‟.„Discovery. To me that is what Chemistry is about. You never know when something groundbreaking could be at your fingertips‟.„Both educationally and socially, university life will help me to grow as a person. I hope to develop skills to carry me through life and career and help me to succeed in all my endeavours‟.„Within school, being a prefect and peer mentoring younger students has helped me to gain leadership qualities and also build good communication skills with people of different ages‟.
  19. 19. The bad… “Since leaving school I have been very sad and depressed. I went to college and started a course in Business and Finance but I didn‟t enjoy it so I stopped. I then had several jobs in offices. I hated them.” “I have a part-time job at my local café. At times this can be very demanding. Some customers can be difficult about how thickly you make their sandwich and how much cheese you give them” “I like to try interesting and different things. I play video games and help my family.” “What is the point of life? This is a question I have often asked myself.”