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Applying to university

How to make your personal statement stand out

How do you make your personal statement stand out? It’s important to ask yourself this when applying to university. This is our advice on what to do.

Student on laptop writing their personal statement

Describe your passion

Admissions tutors want to understand why you’re choosing the subject. So, tell them why you find it so fascinating. Talk about your motivation for and commitment to the subject by using evidence from your past experiences – work, academic or volunteering. Discuss any research or reading you’ve done into the subject, too, and why you’ve found it interesting.

Be specific

If you’re applying for a Psychology degree and enjoy reading the latest psychological research, for example, describe which topics you’ve found most intriguing and why. Your personal statement should give admissions tutors an insight into how you think, beyond just mentioning your experience and skills. The more specific you are, the more insight you’ll give them.

Tell a compelling story

Hundreds or thousands of other students will be applying for the same courses as you. Admissions tutors will be reading many personal statements, so tell a compelling story. This will help you stand out from the crowd and engage whoever’s reading your submission. It’s your chance to ensure your personality comes through in your writing and you properly convey your interest in the subject.

  2. Tips for writing your personal statement
  3. What to include in your personal statement

Positively discuss covid challenges

Everyone has faced challenges during the covid pandemic. But from challenge comes the chance to learn and grow. You can mention obstacles or hardships you've faced during this time but do so in a positive way. Outline what they were, how you overcame them and the things you’ve learnt that you plan to bring into your studies.

Attend open days or virtual events

Open days are your chance to chat with lecturers, tutors, and current students. Ask them for advice on writing a personal statement for your chosen subject and what you should mention. You might also be able to talk to admissions staff, so use this opportunity to find out what they look for in a personal statement.

  1. GO TO
  2. Book a university open day or virtual event
  3. What to ask at a university open day

Read it aloud

Hearing your personal statement read out loud will help you better understand whether it flows and is coherent. Start by reading it to yourself, and then if you’re comfortable doing so, find someone who’ll listen. Sharing with someone else will help you identify what you’ve missed or what needs to be rewritten.

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