If you want to know how to write the best Personal Statement, first you need to think about how you want to sell yourself, and who you want to sell yourself to.
If “selling yourself ” sounds a little Wolf Of Wall Street for your liking, there is another way to look at it. Getting to know how to write the best Personal Statement is the only way your future University, course leader, headteacher or employer will be able to hear what you are like in your own words. Glowing references and fantastic grades will, of course, turn heads, but it’s your ability to convey your personality and attitude that can often clinch the deal in a saturated atmosphere.
Why are you writing a Personal Statement? Are you trying to impress an employer with your extra-curricular skills? Have you been travelling or working and feel this experience could positively impact on and support your application to university? No matter what you think might be interesting and worth including, it’s well worth having a plan mapped out first to ensure you don’t miss out anything important.
How to write the best Personal Statement
1. Plan your words
The best tip our Student Services team have for anybody writing their first Personal Statement is to plan what needs to be said and try to cover what the recipient wants to know. If you are applying for university, think hard about what has made you the outstanding student you are today and how you would become an asset to that institution. Planning also helps to stop any unnecessary wordiness from finding its way into this very important document, helping you to stay on track and focused and creating a more smoothly-written piece of work.
2. Pinpoint your best transferable skills
What’s a transferable skill. Well, if you’re good at something that isn’t necessarily related to any of your courses or your Apprenticeship programme, the chances are that you’ve acquired a valuable skill that employers, Universities and tutors want to hear about. The beauty of transferable skills is that although they are different in many ways to the courses or jobs you want to do, they have helped you to become a more well-rounded individual and may even improve the way you work without you even realising it.
Whether you’re an accomplished guitarist in a band, you sew your own clothes, you programmed your own Raspberry Pi or you’ve been playing centre forward for your local football team, the chances are that each of these skills are transferable to your chosen path.
For example: You want to study Fine Art at UCLan. As well as gaining excellent grades in Art and Design, Graphics and Creative Media Production, you feel that to get ahead of other applicants you could add some of your extra-curricular activities. Adding your interest in wildlife photography and being a member of the National Trust gives your application some further depth as tutors can see that your interest in Art stretches beyond the usual. Photography is an artform in itself and so being able to take beautiful photographs composed of subject matter that you care about gives a bit more insight into
your personality as well as your deeper interest in the arts.
3. Be critical
One of the most important aspects of learning at University level is being able to critically analyse information and form your own informed opinions on a variety of subjects. It’s a good idea to breifly outline some of the ways you have already worked on assignments by yourself, using your analytical skills to create your own conclusions. If you are taking the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) make sure you mention it – this is exactly the type of studying and writing you’ll be expected to be able to hand in at University.
4. Have a plan
If you’re not sure what you want to do with your qualifications, it’s important to at least talk about why you want to continue your studies. If you don’t know which way you’d like your career to head in, it’s important to let employers know why their Apprenticeship would be important and useful to you. If you’re looking for experience, to learn, to grow as a person and to figure out what you want in life, that’s fine. It’s okay not to have it figured out yet!Just make sure that what you say is positive and honestly reflects your desire to learn, work hard and do well.
If you already have a solid plan for yourself, make sure that you don’t sell yourself short. Many people will be in your shoes vying for the places you want so badly. Be sure to explain why you want this career for yourself, how you plan to achieve it and what your other options (if any) are.
5. Be an individual
You are your own unique person. How to write the best Personal Statement starts with that. Why write what everyone else is going to write when you have so much to say?
Stray from the obvious – if you’re looking to study Law, why not look at describing your personal interests in the minutiae of copyright law instead of talking about the latest big court case? Taking a different approach will always help your Personal Statement stand out from the rest.
Use your personality – your tone of voice, if used correctly, will shine through in your work. After reading hundreds of Personal Statements, don’t you think it would be nice to read something honest, sincere and positive?
End on a high note – whether you choose to wrap up with an emphatic reason as to why you have reached out to the recipient of your Personal Statement or one of your favourite quotes that you live by, rather than repeating yourself it’s always better to leave on an upbeat.
Have you got any questions for us? Do you want to learn more about how to write the best Personal Statement? Save up your questions until Thursday because we will be hosting a live Twitter Q+A session about writing Personal Statements, filling out applications and appearing at your best when you’re only being represented by words on a page.
Join us from from 4pm – 5pm on Thurs 23 October for our Twitter Q+A. Find us on Twitter at @BurnleyCollege .