General Personal Statement Question Watch

rachthom15
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I'm a US student wishing to study in the UK. I've completed most of my application (for five unis), and all that's left is the personal statement. In general, what do universities look for in a personal statement? Of course, it is relative to the student as it is a personal statement, but what makes one stand out? Any tips on what to include and exclude? UK personal statements are slightly different that those for US universities; UK personal statements relate more to your area of study (is that right?)... Any general advice for how I should approach this? Thanks!
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Cake Faced Kid.
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There's loads of information on UCAS, and loads of past personal statements on here in the PS help section. It differs quite a bit depending on your subject (chemistry is going to be vastly different to media studies etc.) Basically, talk about why you want to study your chosen course, what makes you suitable for the course, relevant experience, work experience, jobs etc.

http://www.ucas.com/how-it-all-works...onal-statement - UCAS link

http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/wiki...tement_Library - PS help link.
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lidiax
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Hello! I'm a UK student who has just applied to (and recieved a few offers from) various universities here in the UK. Generally a personal statement should convey the reason WHY you want to study what you're applying for, and HOW you would be an asset to the university. So if you're applying for a humanities course, you could show your interest by mentioning and discussing books or films you've read about a certain aspect of your chosen subject, or maybe a culture/topic area you're particularly interested in. If you're applying for a science or engineering course, you could mention some work experience you might have done and explain what skills you gained from it and they could be useful during the duration of your studies.
To sum up, you need to convey why you want to study your course, and how you've gone about proving that. Remember, don't cater it to be specific to each university; every university you apply to will receive the same statement! Hope I helped! Good luck with applying
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ThenameisGrey
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Hey, rachthom15!

I'd love to be in your situation, applying to universities abroad sounds so exciting! I was going to apply to the US and Canada, but unfortunately I didn't care much for how courses are done over there. But I digress, I'm here to try and help you out with this.

From what I understood when writing my personal statement, I had a few things to really focus on. As such, I split my personal statement into separate paragraphs:

> An introduction:
I did a four-and-a-bit line introduction for my PS, essentially detailing the state of the field at the minute (I've applied for BSc Biomedical Sciences with a year in industry, so mine went a bit into how far science has come and how much there is left to discover) and why that is pertinent. This is optional, but I saw another personal statement on a website (link at the end) where they had an opening too and I liked it.

> Why I want to do this:
I then went on to talk about why I wanted to do this course specifically, such as wanting to be able to truly make an impact in the world and giving some specific examples (e.g. "Epidemics such as HIV/AIDS are a real issue in the world, and I'd very to tackle them and improve the world's health as a result.") This is going to be a theme throughout the rest of the PS, but it's isolated here so they can easily find some motivation behind the choice of course.

> Why you should let me do this:
This is the real nitty-gritty of the PS, why you're suited for the course. I outlined here what subjects I was doing and how the skills developed in those subjects are pertinent to the course, as well as explaining why I picked the Sixth Form subjects that I did. I personally feel that also providing some real-world examples of where I've used these skills before has given more weight to my claims (e.g. "My logic skills have also improved, allowing me to grasp difficult concepts with ease and think creatively about everyday problems, such as planning a complex journey somewhere."). This, along with the next part, made up most of my PS.

> Look at me I like this outside of school too:
This is where I explained relevant experience (and even irrelevant experience that looks impressive, such as my volunteering) gained outside of school. This includes pertinent work experience (I was lucky to do some in a lab) and any material read outside of lessons (if you haven't, maybe read a couple of books relevant to your desired course before attending any interviews you might get). Once again, link these back to your love of the subjects your taking and want to take, as well as the skills you've managed to develop.

> Conclusion:
You'll need a decent conclusion to round everything up and make it very clear that you'd be perfect for the course!

Do's and don'ts:
Make your PS interesting to read! Try using a range of vocabulary and ensure you explain the relevance of any points you make.
Think you're talking to a friend. Keep it formal and don't try and be too witty/jokey. This is, after all, essentially your resumé for university.
Use the space you're given to the fullest extent possible; you've got 4,000 characters so you might as well use them! That being said, don't artificially stretch it out, as this is easy to detect and does you no favours. If your PS winds up being considerably less than 4,000 characters but it still reads well, stick with what you have.
Waffle on about something unimportant. Keep it focused and concise, without being vague.
Check for grammar and spelling, otherwise you'll look a bit silly.
Use clichéd phrases like "I've always been into*your course here*..." or "I'm passionate about..." as it'll make admissions tutors roll their eyes, maybe cry a bit and then have a negative mindset when reading through the rest.
Keep it general. You're writing one PS for five universities, so don't mention any specific ones by name. If you're applying to different courses with the different universities, avoid mentioning specific ones. The other universities have literally no idea where else you've applied or for what, so don't give them hints that may prejudice your application!

Sorry about the wall of text, but I hope it helps! Remember, this is my personal advice, so it's in no way a sure-fire way of writing a PS. Here's the site I spoke about:
https://www.studential.com/personal-statement-examples

Out of interest, where are you applying to and what for?

Yours,
Grey
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Interrobang
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Check out the PS Building tool (link in my signature below) - it will talk you through the process
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rachthom15
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(Original post by ThenameisGrey)
Hey, rachthom15!

I'd love to be in your situation, applying to universities abroad sounds so exciting! I was going to apply to the US and Canada, but unfortunately I didn't care much for how courses are done over there. But I digress, I'm here to try and help you out with this.

From what I understood when writing my personal statement, I had a few things to really focus on. As such, I split my personal statement into separate paragraphs:

> An introduction:
I did a four-and-a-bit line introduction for my PS, essentially detailing the state of the field at the minute (I've applied for BSc Biomedical Sciences with a year in industry, so mine went a bit into how far science has come and how much there is left to discover) and why that is pertinent. This is optional, but I saw another personal statement on a website (link at the end) where they had an opening too and I liked it.

> Why I want to do this:
I then went on to talk about why I wanted to do this course specifically, such as wanting to be able to truly make an impact in the world and giving some specific examples (e.g. "Epidemics such as HIV/AIDS are a real issue in the world, and I'd very to tackle them and improve the world's health as a result.") This is going to be a theme throughout the rest of the PS, but it's isolated here so they can easily find some motivation behind the choice of course.

> Why you should let me do this:
This is the real nitty-gritty of the PS, why you're suited for the course. I outlined here what subjects I was doing and how the skills developed in those subjects are pertinent to the course, as well as explaining why I picked the Sixth Form subjects that I did. I personally feel that also providing some real-world examples of where I've used these skills before has given more weight to my claims (e.g. "My logic skills have also improved, allowing me to grasp difficult concepts with ease and think creatively about everyday problems, such as planning a complex journey somewhere."). This, along with the next part, made up most of my PS.

> Look at me I like this outside of school too:
This is where I explained relevant experience (and even irrelevant experience that looks impressive, such as my volunteering) gained outside of school. This includes pertinent work experience (I was lucky to do some in a lab) and any material read outside of lessons (if you haven't, maybe read a couple of books relevant to your desired course before attending any interviews you might get). Once again, link these back to your love of the subjects your taking and want to take, as well as the skills you've managed to develop.

> Conclusion:
You'll need a decent conclusion to round everything up and make it very clear that you'd be perfect for the course!

Do's and don'ts:
Make your PS interesting to read! Try using a range of vocabulary and ensure you explain the relevance of any points you make.
Think you're talking to a friend. Keep it formal and don't try and be too witty/jokey. This is, after all, essentially your resumé for university.
Use the space you're given to the fullest extent possible; you've got 4,000 characters so you might as well use them! That being said, don't artificially stretch it out, as this is easy to detect and does you no favours. If your PS winds up being considerably less than 4,000 characters but it still reads well, stick with what you have.
Waffle on about something unimportant. Keep it focused and concise, without being vague.
Check for grammar and spelling, otherwise you'll look a bit silly.
Use clichéd phrases like "I've always been into*your course here*..." or "I'm passionate about..." as it'll make admissions tutors roll their eyes, maybe cry a bit and then have a negative mindset when reading through the rest.
Keep it general. You're writing one PS for five universities, so don't mention any specific ones by name. If you're applying to different courses with the different universities, avoid mentioning specific ones. The other universities have literally no idea where else you've applied or for what, so don't give them hints that may prejudice your application!

Sorry about the wall of text, but I hope it helps! Remember, this is my personal advice, so it's in no way a sure-fire way of writing a PS. Here's the site I spoke about:
https://www.studential.com/personal-statement-examples

Out of interest, where are you applying to and what for?

Yours,
Grey
Thank you so much! I'm applying to KCL, Queen Mary, Royal Holloway, City, and Kingston. I'm interested in either Biomedical Sciences or Biological Sciences, depending on if the unis offer biomed.
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rachthom15
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(Original post by *Interrobang*)
Check out the PS Building tool (link in my signature below) - it will talk you through the process
I planned on using that, thanks!
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rachthom15
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(Original post by lidiax)
Hello! I'm a UK student who has just applied to (and recieved a few offers from) various universities here in the UK. Generally a personal statement should convey the reason WHY you want to study what you're applying for, and HOW you would be an asset to the university. So if you're applying for a humanities course, you could show your interest by mentioning and discussing books or films you've read about a certain aspect of your chosen subject, or maybe a culture/topic area you're particularly interested in. If you're applying for a science or engineering course, you could mention some work experience you might have done and explain what skills you gained from it and they could be useful during the duration of your studies.
To sum up, you need to convey why you want to study your course, and how you've gone about proving that. Remember, don't cater it to be specific to each university; every university you apply to will receive the same statement! Hope I helped! Good luck with applying
thanks! Yeah, this is slightly different than American schools; some US schools have prompts, others are like UK personal statements. I see that I will have to specifically refer to my area of study in this.
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Interrobang
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(Original post by rachthom15)
Thank you so much! I'm applying to KCL, Queen Mary, Royal Holloway, City, and Kingston. I'm interested in either Biomedical Sciences or Biological Sciences, depending on if the unis offer biomed.
Biological sciences and biomed will be very different, so it would be difficult to write a PS that would cover both subjects adequately. And even within the biomed courses, they will be different depending on whether they are ones where you qualify at the end or not, so look at the course descriptions carefully when you are deciding on what unis to apply for and what for
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rachthom15
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(Original post by *Interrobang*)
Biological sciences and biomed will be very different, so it would be difficult to write a PS that would cover both subjects adequately. And even within the biomed courses, they will be different depending on whether they are ones where you qualify at the end or not, so look at the course descriptions carefully when you are deciding on what unis to apply for and what for
That makes sense. I'm going to try and apply to unis that all offer Biomedical Sciences. I want to go to medical school after my undergraduate studies, and eventually work in other countries.. There's a lot more to it than that; should I mention something about how pursuing this major will set me up for these future goals and aspirations? I feel like that would be something that they would like to see, how I would use my studies in the future, that is.
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Interrobang
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(Original post by rachthom15)
That makes sense. I'm going to try and apply to unis that all offer Biomedical Sciences. I want to go to medical school after my undergraduate studies, and eventually work in other countries.. There's a lot more to it than that; should I mention something about how pursuing this major will set me up for these future goals and aspirations? I feel like that would be something that they would like to see, how I would use my studies in the future, that is.
In the UK you can apply for medicine as an undergrad course altho the deadline for this year has passed. It's not a good idea to talk about wanting to do medicine after, so just focus on your interest in biomed
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rachthom15
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(Original post by *Interrobang*)
In the UK you can apply for medicine as an undergrad course altho the deadline for this year has passed. It's not a good idea to talk about wanting to do medicine after, so just focus on your interest in biomed
Okay. Yeah, when I first began researching English universities about a year and a half ago, I wanted to apply for medicine, but my advisor suggested that I start with something else because of the very few spaces offered for international students in that course. I think the deadline for medicine was October 15th? Anyways, I understand your point; if I spoke about medicine they'd probably wonder why I didn't just apply for medicine.
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