Starting on your personal statement

Selling the story of you Alison Lane July 2013

Selling the story of you
• You have around 600 words to sell yourself • Don’t listen to those people who say that universities don’t read them – this simply isn’t true • Focus on your academic achievements and interests and RELEVANT skills and experience • Draft. Redraft. Draft again. It needs to be perfect… • You are telling the reader a story – what makes a good story?

1 - A striking start
• Why are you are applying for this course?
– Be specific – not just “I love Maths…” – say WHY. – Talk about what it is you hope to get from the course. – Tell the story of your decision – a personal anecdote can be powerful – If you already have a career aspiration - say so

2. The plot thickens
• Why are YOU right for this subject, course, university? • What particularly interests you in your AS/A2 subjects, and how do these relate to the course? • What work experience, trips, books or experiences did you find inspiring - be specific

3. Tell me something about yourself….
• Universities want to recruit interesting people… and interesting people tend to have a lot of interests. • Particularly important if you are applying for a course that you haven’t studied at school. • Don’t just list your activities though – focus on what SKILLS you have developed

Some ideas – do you need to add to these?
– – – – – – – – Duke of Edinburgh Young Enterprise Charity work community service Attendee or Head of any society CCF leadership, Ten Tors Arts and music- House and school Drama, costume design, stagehand, theatre production and direction- school, House and local Prefect/ School Officer Mentoring schemes – Work experience – Travel – Interest in another language, culture or religion – Political involvement – Sports leader / player – Web site design – Film – Journalism or editorial work – Champions of Enterprise Finalists – Competitions you have won – Voluntary work, e.g. at Mencap

– –

4. The Big Finish
• • Finish with a one or two line summary drawing out why you want to study this course, your key qualities that make you suitable, and what you would bring. Some possible ways to wrap it up
– My passion for/ interest in <……..> is clearly demonstrated by <………….> – It is because of my experience with <…….> that I believe I will make a successful student – Having a long term goal of a career in <…….> I believe I have the determination and tenacity to make a success of a degree in <….> – My experiences and skills developed while in sixth form have enabled me to be <…………..> (main areas developed, e.g. self motivation, efficiency, analytical thinking), which should prove invaluable preparation for life at university/studying <……….> – My choice of degree has been carefully selected to suit my interests and skills. – I am looking forward to building on my existing experience of studying and to further my understanding of ….(state subject).

• Be honest - remember you might be asked to talk about it at interview or on the phone on results day: if you wrote something down in a panic because it sounded good and then forgot to research it, you could find yourself in trouble.

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