Trying to write a killer personal statement? Get advice from Creative Writing student

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Imogen- student at UEA
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Hi! I’m Imogen and I’m a third-year student at UEA studying English Literature and Creative Writing.

Although I’ve served my time dealing with UCAS and university applications I can distinctly remember the sinking feeling of having to prepare my personal statement, as it was essentially going to be the first impression these academic institutions would have.

It may feel like you have nothing to write about, or perhaps you have too much material and don’t know what’s most valuable. Perhaps, you’re getting caught up over a killer opening and forgetting how to follow it up? Maybe you’re becoming overwhelmed by the whole process? Don’t stress – I’ve been in your shoes and the panic you’re feeling is perfectly normal.

That being said, a personal statement is highly important; it’s an opportunity to show your enthusiasm for your subject of study, your ambition as an academic and your winning personality. Think of this as an opportunity to sell yourself in a way your coursework and exams don’t usually allow.

So, if you have any questions, queries or ideas, don’t hesitate to ask; that is what I’m here for, after all!

*N.B. Please do not post any part of your personal statement in this thread. If this happens, there is a chance that it will be plagiarised, or that it will be cached by Google, and therefore come up on the plagiarism check on UCAS.*
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(Original post by Imogen- student at UEA)
Hi! I’m Imogen and I’m a third-year student at UEA studying English Literature and Creative Writing.

Although I’ve served my time dealing with UCAS and university applications I can distinctly remember the sinking feeling of having to prepare my personal statement, as it was essentially going to be the first impression these academic institutions would have.

It may feel like you have nothing to write about, or perhaps you have too much material and don’t know what’s most valuable. Perhaps, you’re getting caught up over a killer opening and forgetting how to follow it up? Maybe you’re becoming overwhelmed by the whole process? Don’t stress – I’ve been in your shoes and the panic you’re feeling is perfectly normal.

That being said, a personal statement is highly important; it’s an opportunity to show your enthusiasm for your subject of study, your ambition as an academic and your winning personality. Think of this as an opportunity to sell yourself in a way your coursework and exams don’t usually allow.

So, if you have any questions, queries or ideas, don’t hesitate to ask; that is what I’m here for, after all!

*N.B. Please do not post any part of your personal statement in this thread. If this happens, there is a chance that it will be plagiarised, or that it will be cached by Google, and therefore come up on the plagiarism check on UCAS.*
Hi
I was wondering how to write a personal statement without work experience?
I was supposed to get work experience over the summer but due to COVID, I couldn't
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Imogen- student at UEA
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(Original post by Anonymous)
Hi
I was wondering how to write a personal statement without work experience?
I was supposed to get work experience over the summer but due to COVID, I couldn't
HI!

In my opinion, I wouldn't worry too much about a lack of work experience! It's completely understandable that you weren't able to do it during this time; I didn't include work experience in my personal statement and that was before a pandemic

However if you want to use this to your advantage, I would go in-depth about what research you did to improve your knowledge of your subject during lockdown! Did you do any MOOCS? Was there a particular aspect of lockdown that interested you in regards to your degree (for example, a politics and international relations student may've studied the ways different world leaders responded to COVID)?

If you want, we can go through some ideas that relate to your subject/course! X
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(Original post by Imogen- student at UEA)
HI!

In my opinion, I wouldn't worry too much about a lack of work experience! It's completely understandable that you weren't able to do it during this time; I didn't include work experience in my personal statement and that was before a pandemic

However if you want to use this to your advantage, I would go in-depth about what research you did to improve your knowledge of your subject during lockdown! Did you do any MOOCS? Was there a particular aspect of lockdown that interested you in regards to your degree (for example, a politics and international relations student may've studied the ways different world leaders responded to COVID)?

If you want, we can go through some ideas that relate to your subject/course! X
Thank you xx
I was just wondering, how did you writeyour perosanl statement without work experience?
I didn't do any MOOCS as I wasn't informed of what it was
I am applying for education but I am stuck in what to include
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badoom1234
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(Original post by Imogen- student at UEA)
Hi! I’m Imogen and I’m a third-year student at UEA studying English Literature and Creative Writing.

Although I’ve served my time dealing with UCAS and university applications I can distinctly remember the sinking feeling of having to prepare my personal statement, as it was essentially going to be the first impression these academic institutions would have.

It may feel like you have nothing to write about, or perhaps you have too much material and don’t know what’s most valuable. Perhaps, you’re getting caught up over a killer opening and forgetting how to follow it up? Maybe you’re becoming overwhelmed by the whole process? Don’t stress – I’ve been in your shoes and the panic you’re feeling is perfectly normal.

That being said, a personal statement is highly important; it’s an opportunity to show your enthusiasm for your subject of study, your ambition as an academic and your winning personality. Think of this as an opportunity to sell yourself in a way your coursework and exams don’t usually allow.

So, if you have any questions, queries or ideas, don’t hesitate to ask; that is what I’m here for, after all!

*N.B. Please do not post any part of your personal statement in this thread. If this happens, there is a chance that it will be plagiarised, or that it will be cached by Google, and therefore come up on the plagiarism check on UCAS.*
i'm really not sure what parts of my personal statement need tweaking, i've written 900 words and have no idea how to trim it down
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(Original post by badoom1234)
i'm really not sure what parts of my personal statement need tweaking, i've written 900 words and have no idea how to trim it down
Are you applying to medicine?
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Would you be able to quickly look through my personal statement and provide feedback, if possible, please?
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Imogen- student at UEA
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(Original post by Anonymous)
Thank you xx
I was just wondering, how did you writeyour perosanl statement without work experience?
I didn't do any MOOCS as I wasn't informed of what it was
I am applying for education but I am stuck in what to include
Without work experience you should focus on:
- academic achievements (why all my A Levels make you the perfect student for the courses you're applying to, looking at an EPQ, your coursework and how that's shaped your independent learning skills)
- hobbies and extracurriculars (look for online talks/seminars regarding education, have you volunteered in leadership roles before, further research and reading that shows your passion (what has interested you in regards to recent developments with education and how that shapes what you want to study at their uni))
- who you are as a person (when I was applying I was told by a prospective university that they care about your character; are you a hard worker? what's motivated you to get to this point? what caused you to want to study education? when did you realise this?)

Essentially you want everything you write to promote you as a student! And don't worry, it's not too late to look at online courses etc.

Please message if you need more help!
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Imogen- student at UEA
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(Original post by badoom1234)
i'm really not sure what parts of my personal statement need tweaking, i've written 900 words and have no idea how to trim it down
Hi badoom1234!

Every part of your personal statement should highlight to these universities why they have to have you as a student. It's hard to say what needs editing without seeing it but I'll say this -

- A life story is not necessary; my personal statement was bloated by these anecdotes I put in about my first english teacher and it suddenly dawned on me that they didn't care! These unis are focused on you!

- If you have a long list of hobbies, cut it down to the two you're most proud of/the two that contribute to the degree you'll be studying

-Look at basic grammar. You can cut an easy 50 words if you look at restructuring your sentences.

-You may be attached to some aspects of the personal statement because you've invested your time into it, but remember that you must always be selling yourself (ie I had originally mentioned my NCS experience but that contributed almost nothing as to why I'd be a good creative writing student, despite the month I had spent doing it.)

Hope this helps! If you need more advice just let me know x
Imogen
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Imogen- student at UEA
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Would you be able to quickly look through my personal statement and provide feedback, if possible, please?
Hi!

I'm afraid I can't read through your completed personal statement here, however there are a number of personal statement reviewers on the site! Here's the link > https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/sho....php?t=4237154

If you want to make a summary of your statement or ask for advice about a particular section that you think needs work, don't be afraid to ask x
Imogen
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Sumayyasheikh
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Hi!
How do you start a personal statement?
Thank you so much for the help!
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burntspark
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Hi, I have a question, how do you show enthusiasm and interest in a personal statement, really hard to do it without sounding cliche or the same as everyone else. Also, how do you show knowledge of your subject without saying it blatantly.

Trying to stand out and be a bit different but its hard.

Thanks!!
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Imogen- student at UEA
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(Original post by Sumayyasheikh)
Hi!
How do you start a personal statement?
Thank you so much for the help!
Hi Sumayyasheikh,

If you're stumped on the opening, don't worry! Continue with the personal statement and once you're happy with the core, go back to the intro (after all, you plan out the entire essay first rather than immediately writing the introduction).

I would advise you to preface yourself - you're selling yourself to these people so don't feel weird about making it all about you. Why are you interested in the course? What drives you to study it? What makes you such a good candidate? Was there a moment that changed your perception on the subject? (I'd be careful with the last question because having a 'I've always been interested in (insert subject here)' can be cliche, so look more at why you want to study the subject in greater context - as a Lit student I spoke about how important literature is in documenting the human experience throughout history and the reason why I wanted to study it is because I was interested in helping investigate and create contemporary cultural works.) After answering these, follow up with your evidence (extracurriculars, interests, awards etc). Don't be afraid to get specific about what particular thing you're passionate about; that's one of the reasons you're applying for uni, and they love to see it!

If you want to brainstorm some ideas let me know underneath this comment!
Imogen x
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Imogen- student at UEA
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(Original post by burntspark)
Hi, I have a question, how do you show enthusiasm and interest in a personal statement, really hard to do it without sounding cliche or the same as everyone else. Also, how do you show knowledge of your subject without saying it blatantly.

Trying to stand out and be a bit different but its hard.

Thanks!!
Hi Burntspark!

Honestly when I wrote my personal statement I felt like I was getting lost in the crowd - all my classmates were writing theirs at the same time so it was easy to compare and feel a little disoriented, but I realised that my experiences were entirely individual and that even with friends who were also applying to the same courses as me, I had such a different personal statement.

First, there's no problem with stating your knowledge! Brag about yourself as much as you can! Just remember to back it up/show your dedication, ie tie in the uni's course, your own knowledge/research and the extracurriculars you've done as well (for me, I tied one of UEAs modules that I wanted to do with the subject of my EPQ and a number of live panels I went to at the British Library).

Second, (and not to sound like a stereotypical creative writing student) everyone has their own narrative voice. Even the way you present yourself and your subject is going to be different to your peers. Allow your enthusiasm to shine through, but have it be specific to particular aspects of the course - is there an aspect of the subject (a time period, an area of scientific study or a genre of music) that resonates with you? It's far more interesting to read a focused essay than a vague 'I love (subject), would love to study it one day'. Specificity is important because that's exactly what you'll be dealing with at university; Show them that you can both enjoy and sustain yourself on a particular topic within your subject.

When it comes to cliches, which ones are you afraid of using?
Imogen x
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(Original post by Imogen- student at UEA)
Hi! I’m Imogen and I’m a third-year student at UEA studying English Literature and Creative Writing.

Although I’ve served my time dealing with UCAS and university applications I can distinctly remember the sinking feeling of having to prepare my personal statement, as it was essentially going to be the first impression these academic institutions would have.

It may feel like you have nothing to write about, or perhaps you have too much material and don’t know what’s most valuable. Perhaps, you’re getting caught up over a killer opening and forgetting how to follow it up? Maybe you’re becoming overwhelmed by the whole process? Don’t stress – I’ve been in your shoes and the panic you’re feeling is perfectly normal.

That being said, a personal statement is highly important; it’s an opportunity to show your enthusiasm for your subject of study, your ambition as an academic and your winning personality. Think of this as an opportunity to sell yourself in a way your coursework and exams don’t usually allow.

So, if you have any questions, queries or ideas, don’t hesitate to ask; that is what I’m here for, after all!

*N.B. Please do not post any part of your personal statement in this thread. If this happens, there is a chance that it will be plagiarised, or that it will be cached by Google, and therefore come up on the plagiarism check on UCAS.*
Hello!

I have recently moved to the UK and I'll be applying to sixth form and hoping to get a scholarship at this really good one but I really have no knowledge of the whole personal statement system. Would it be OK to send you mine for feedback? If not, could you please tell me some tips? Thanks!
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Imogen- student at UEA
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Hello!

I have recently moved to the UK and I'll be applying to sixth form and hoping to get a scholarship at this really good one but I really have no knowledge of the whole personal statement system. Would it be OK to send you mine for feedback? If not, could you please tell me some tips? Thanks!
Hi! When it comes to reading personal statements and giving feedback, I advise you to go this link ---> https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/sho....php?t=4237154 which has a number of personal statement reviewers (you may risk plagiarism accusations if you post it here, but the review's forums are secure).

My advice differs slightly for Sixth Form applications, where you'll need to cover what you're currently studying, the subjects you are applying for and why you've chosen these and the reason you want to study in that particular school. Also talk about any responsibilities you had at school (prefect, head boy/girl etc) and how that makes you a great student who deserves a place in their sixth form. In a strange way it's about striking a balance between boasting about yourself and flattering the school!

Let me know if you need any more help,
Imogen X
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