Sheet three: your personal statement

This is going to be your personal statement. What you need to do is connect the skills that are required to be successful on the course you want to study (sheet two) with the experiences you’ve gathered (sheet one).

The personal statement is a set of claims about the skills you have, which are backed up with real examples of how you've gained or developed those skills.

Remember, it’s no good to make a claim about a skill without backing it up. If you tell us ‘I’ve got excellent communication skills’ we might be asking ourselves ‘Where’s the evidence?’ Remember, anyone can claim to have a skill so it’s crucial that you back up your claims with real and interesting examples.

There’s also very little point in you telling us that you’ve done something without explaining to the Admissions Tutor how it makes you a better candidate for the course. So, if you tell us ‘I’ve got my Duke of Edinburgh Award’ we might be asking ourselves ‘So what?’ You need to make it clear how your experiences have developed the skills you need to succeed on your course.

Things to consider

Quality not necessarily quantity

Try to be articulate and concise wherever possible. You need to convey a real interest in, and passion for, the course(s) for which you’ve applied. Redrafting and editing is important. Be careful not to repeat yourself, overuse individual examples or repeatedly demonstrate the same skill with different examples.

Don’t waffle

Remember you only have 4,000 characters to make the best possible impression, so use them wisely. Make everything in your personal statement as relevant as possible to your application. Your task is to demonstrate that you’re the best possible candidate and secure a place.

Work experience/sporting achievements

Be sure to include information on relevant interests, work experience and social activities and explain how these relate to your course or your ability to be a successful student. Make sure that you show yourself as a rounded individual. University life is not all about study. Remember, some institutions, like ARU, offer scholarships for some sports.

Spelling and grammar

You must make sure that your spelling and grammar is checked. Ask friends or family to read your statements through – don’t just rely on a spell-check. Be sure to look out for typing errors. Bad spelling, poor grammar or typos instantly create a bad impression and can make a tutor lose confidence in your application.

Be individual and original

You need to be aware that admissions officers and tutors see thousands of applications each year. If you’re able to make yours stand out from the crowd, this will put you ahead of the rest.

Diagram: three-sheet method for writing your personal statement