Five things you should avoid in your personal statement

Five things you should avoid in your personal statement

This article was written by the Great British Mag editorial team on 2nd November 2020.

A difficult part of applying to university is writing a personal statement that will impress the admission tutor enough to offer you a place on your preferred course. There are plenty of things you should do to try and make this happen but equally there are a number of things you should avoid at all cost, which we have outlined in this article.

1. Spelling and grammatical mistakes

You should proof read your personal statement carefully and play close attention to spelling, grammar, sentence structure, conciseness and readability. Even better give it to someone else to proof because they will pick out mistakes you may not see. 

The best tip here is to write it well in advance of the submission deadline and then revisit it. You will more easily pick-up on errors and sentences that can be improved if you read it with fresh eyes.

TIP:  When you are proof reading your personal statement try and take away words and sentences rather than add more. 

2. Personal statement is long and rambling

Your personal statement should be made up of four parts. An introduction about you; why you are passionate about studying your chosen subject; your academic and extracurricular achievements that prove your passion for your chosen subject and a conclusion on why you should be chosen.

Your personal statement is an opportunity for you to sell yourself so don’t waste it by rambling.

3. Lacks passion for the subject you want to study

Imagine places on your preferred course are extremely limited and you have one opportunity to convince the admissions tutor that you deserve a place. You would have to sound knowledgeable, likable and passionate about your chosen subject. Only those that show their commitment and dedication will succeed, so make sure your personal statement is powerful and convincing. 

4. Personal statement is boring

A course admissions tutor will be reading hundreds of applications, so you need to make sure your application stands out from the crowd. Do look at examples, but don’t copy, avoid using cliches and quotations. The admissions tutor will have heard them all before a million times.

Try and make your personal statement, well personal and give the best account of yourself. What drives you, why you want to study your chosen subject, how it will help you in your life and also talk about other passions and hobbies you have outside of your studies. After all you want to prove you will be a valuable student to the university.

5. Do not lie or exaggerate

Whilst you are trying to portray yourself in the best possible light do not lie or exaggerate, you might think you sound convincing but admission tutors read thousands of applications and will “sniff there is something wrong!” 

Ask someone who knows you well to read your personal statement and give you their opinion on whether you have presented the best version of yourself without it sounding fake.

Furthermore, if you get called for an interview based on your personal statement you will get asked questions about things you have written and if it becomes apparent you have lied or exaggerated you will not secure a place.

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