As students around the country work on their personal statements, Mrs Hutton, our new Head of Careers, shares some of her top tips.
Mrs Hutton has 15 years of experience supporting students with their UCAS applications.
- Show not tell.
Do not say that you are a team player. Give an example of an event where you worked as part of a team eg. Charity fashion show. Take advantage of any enrichment activities which help you demonstrate skills such as teamwork, time management, communication, leadership, creativity or problem solving.
- Do not repeat other areas of the UCAS application.
There is no need to state that you passed 9 GCSEs with high grades. They can see that in your qualifications.
- Do not say anything negative EVER
This includes ‘I have not been able to get work experience because of Covid’.
- Focus on what you have done, not what you are going to do
This can be tricky if you are planning a meaningful gap year. If you need to explain your gap year keep it short. Plans do not always fall into place and what you have done is more convincing than what you might do next year.
- Start early and just start.
It is important to start writing the personal statement at the end of Year 12. This means that if there is an obvious gap in your personal statement you have the summer to act. It can be really difficult to get going so just begin by saying ‘I really want to study Business because..’ There is plenty of time to improve the beginning of the personal statement at a later point.
- Avoid the word passionate.
This is the most overused word when writing personal statements. Find an alternative.
- Get lots of people to read it.
This should include your subject teachers, tutor, careers adviser, family members and someone who has experience in your chosen area. Everyone has something to add.
- Be original
Remember UCAS run plagiarism software, so do read personal statement examples, but do not copy them.
- Do not write an essay
This is a personal statement. It should be approximately 80% about why you want to take this degree and 20% about your hobbies and interests. You should include details of work experience.
- Be concise
For example, rather than saying ‘Over the summer holidays I undertook work experience at a GP surgery and this work experience has given me the opportunity to develop effective communication skills’ change it to ‘I developed effective communication skills whilst doing work experience at a GP surgery’.