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The StudyLink guide to writing your
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Hints and tricks Top ten do’s and don’ts Legal Statement © StudyLink 2010 www. Step 5 Step 6 Step 7 7.com . Step 2 Step 3 Step 4 6. 8. 4.studylink.2 Contents Contents 3. 9. Writing your personal statement Step-by-step guide to writing your personal statement Step 1 5.
don’t panic! Writing a personal statement is not as hard or scary as it sounds.com . Many admissions officers use it to make their final decision. or for financial aid. © StudyLink 2010 www. You may also need to write a personal statement for a scholarship application. this is your chance to give that school some justification for admitting you. or some proof of your passion for the subject. Just follow our guide and you’ll have a compelling story in no time. What will you bring to your class that is different? Your personal statement is even more important if your grades are borderline. Give an honest explanation. They also want to know what makes you unique.Writing your personal statement 3 Writing your personal statement A personal statement is often the only opportunity you have to set yourself apart from all the other applicants who also want to study your course.studylink. But. It could all make the difference between studying… or not studying. It is a way for them to find out the reasons behind your application answers. If you know your marks are basically average.
This is sometimes hard to do. So start by asking yourself the following questions: • What is special or unusual about my life story? Don’t worry if there isn’t anything – most people have fairly normal lives! • What events or people have shaped my life or influenced my goals? • Who has inspired me to study this subject or work in this field? • When did I first become interested in this subject? Why do I think I am well-suited to it? • How have I learned about this subject? • What are my career goals? Why? • Are there any problems with my academic record that I should explain? • Have I had to overcome any hardships in my life? (For example.4 Step-by-step guide to writing your personal statement . “OK. Finding your unique theme A good personal statement is honest. ask some friends for their point of view.” You need to find your own unique story. So. family. so there is no point just reading one of the above examples and saying. • Motivation to succeed – what are your goals and what motivates you to reach them? © StudyLink 2010 www. the best statements focus on just one or two clear themes.studylink.Step 1 Step-by-step guide to writing your personal statement Step 1: Find your theme Most personal statements are short documents – just one or two pages. physical or economic) • What personal characteristics do I have that make me suitable for this subject? If you find it hard to be objective here. and give an in depth explanation of your abilities or interests in that area. They are not autobiographies. that will do. and what you learned from that experience • Who has inspired you in life – is there one person who has encouraged you to pursue this dream? • Lifelong interest or passion – is this subject something you’ve had interest in all your life? Show what and how you’ve learned about it.com . or a complete list of every achievement since you learned to walk. the thing that sets you apart. Examples of personal statement themes include: • Overcoming obstacles – how you overcame problems or adversity in your life.
explain what is behind them.Step 2 / Step 3 / Step 4 5 Step 2. you need to demonstrate some reasons behind your theme. It sets the tone for the rest of the statement.studylink. You are trying to persuade them that you are the best possible student for this class or scholarship. Spark their interest and get to the point – in just one paragraph. you may want to write it last. between two and six body paragraphs that give concrete reasons or explanations. This is also a good place to mention achievements that you were unable to include in your main application – if they are relevant. read the instructions. Not all personal statements are the same. Check what your admissions office requires. Start at the beginning Your introduction needs to grab the reader’s attention.Step-by-step guide to writing your personal statement . show In your body copy. and a strong conclusion. Otherwise your statement could be rejected before it has even been read. Step 4. And keep to that format – if they want two A4 pages double-spaced. then don’t send in four pages. before you do anything else. If they ask you to answer three specific questions. just as any essay is. Plan your structure A good personal statement has a clear structure – a compelling introduction. Don’t tell. Think of this as an argument. Consider: • What did you learn from that experience? • How has it shaped or changed your attitude or goals? • How will that help you perform well in the course? Step 3. That’s OK! © StudyLink 2010 www. make sure you do so clearly. Your notes on the questions above will give you a framework for your statement. So avoid clichés or long-winded explanations. So don’t just state your achievements.com . Now. Because the introduction is so important.
studylink. Does it flow well? Check it for grammar and spelling mistakes. Step 7. but don’t repeat Your conclusion needs to flow from the rest of the copy. Make sure you emphasise your desire to study. in conclusion…” An attention-grabbing sentence at the end will help give impact to your statement. © StudyLink 2010 www.Step 5 / Step 6 / Step 7 Step 5.6 Step-by-step guide to writing your personal statement . and that this is not just a generic statement. Don’t repeat what you’ve already said with a statement beginning “So. as your personal statement demonstrates your ability to write and communicate in English when you study. You’d be surprised what an objective point of view can add to your statement. It’s a good way to show that you have researched that school. Ask them for constructive feedback. Step 6. Conclude. clear English is the first thing they look for. You may wish to include a specific reason for choosing that university in your conclusion – some unique feature that ties in with the points you have outlined on your goals and experience. ask a fluent English speaker to proofread it. Seek feedback Now you’re ready to show it to some friends and relatives. Edit and review Whenever possible. If you’re not confident about your English ability.com . leave your statement overnight and then look at it again with fresh eyes. This is critical. For many admissions officers.
Who inspires you most and why? “At UCLA we say. The common. what makes you unique? What can you bring to the class that’s going to make you distinctive from the other 99 people already there?” M. You have to be prepared to take advantage of the opportunities we offer if you are to succeed. unoriginal statement recounts the applicant’s academic interests and basically repeats what is elsewhere in the application. “we know you have lots of extracurricular activities – we want to know how you differ. and have the potential to succeed in their studies. What are your future intentions and goals? 4. He or she may read thousands during the admissions process.” Dr D Alonso.studylink. Who has influenced you most to study in your subject? 3. So keep it clear. Dean of Admissions UCLA School of Law “Nine out of ten essays leave you with a big yawn.Hints and tricks 7 Hints and tricks What is your reader looking for? A good writer always thinks about the reader’s point of view. the admissions officer may have only two minutes to review your statement.com . simple and to the point.” De Montford University Admissions Office Four quick questions to get you started 1. In this case. Your reader needs to know: • You can communicate well in English • Your goals and the path you are on • Why you are excited about this subject area • Any supporting evidence or details about your experience and academic record “We seek students who are motivated and passionate about their subject area. List the top 10 reasons why you wish to study at university 2. Dean for Admissions Cornell University Medical College © StudyLink 2010 www. Rappaport.
And that could be the best preparation you could make before you leave for further study. It will also help you work out. in your own mind. it will show • Get friends and family to give feedback Don’t: • Write a lengthy autobiography • Go on about details from the distant past. It will only look silly.8 Top ten do’s and don’ts Top ten do’s and don’ts Do: • Write in clear English • Answer the questions provided • Be positive and enthusiastic • Keep sentences short • Capture their interest with a strong opening paragraph • Set out your unique features – experience. Good luck! © StudyLink 2010 www. • Be gimmicky – don’t be tempted to write your statement as a poem to make it stand out. why this is important to you. why this subject. It’s OK to have flaws.com . activities. and why you will perform well • Explain any circumstances that may have affected your results – but focus on the positive.studylink. honestly! • Use the wrong school name – be careful with that copy and paste if you do use your statement for more than one application! • Be boring • Use clichés such as or wordy. unless they are truly relevant • Beg or brag – quiet confidence is the right tone to strike • Repeat yourself • Talk about money or rankings as a reason for that course or university • Write a generic statement – you will need to re-write it for each and every application. spending some time on your personal statement will not only give you the best chance of getting into the course you want. abilities. how you resolved them. academic prose in an attempt to be clever. rather than complaining. Remember. It just makes it harder to read. enthusiasm? • Focus on three core issues – why this university. but what have you done about them? • Be honest – don’t copy someone else’s statement.
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