Finally, the concluding part of our series on ‘How to write your personal statement’ for a university place in the UK. If you missed last month’s look at ‘Getting Started’ - Applying to United Kingdom Universities - Part 1, Part 2 , Part 3 and Part 4.
Other bits and pieces
If you do any extra-curricular activities, have a hobby or an interest, either in school or outside school and they are really important to you, do write about them. If you can link them to your subject in some way, do so. If not, don’t worry. If you are applying to top universities, read very carefully what they advise on their websites about this. However, you should always try to write about the learning experience you have gained from these activities, not just what you do. Say if this is something you would like to continue with or take further at university – engagement with the student community is what makes the university experience so unique.
Lastly, finish by reminding the admissions’ officer why you really need to study this subject, how much you are really looking forward to university life and your ambitions for the future: this might be a possible master’s degree, working for a top company in the field you are studying, setting up your own business, professional subject examinations, volunteering using the skills you have learnt, research and writing or something else. This last item could be an extension of something you have mentioned previously, but doesn’t have to be. If you can bring the ending back to a reference of something in your opening paragraph, this can be a very smooth and elegant way to finish.
Give it a polish
From a technical perspective, write your draft in Microsoft Word, if possible, and save it constantly. Let the words flow when writing, but keep using the review tab to check your word count (remember: 4000 characters WITH spaces – it’s not that much!). You should aim to be just below the magic 4000 characters, as when you copy and paste it into the text box, the formatting might be slightly different. Keep re-reading the whole piece and revise as soon as you see a mistake or something you don’t like. When you have finished and are reasonably happy with it, get it checked for grammatical errors, spelling and typos – you cannot make mistakes in this area, you need to look your best and prove that your English language skills are good enough to communicate your ideas effectively at university level. Even native speaker candidates will get their spelling and grammar checked by someone. Places at top universities are very competitive and this is your first (and maybe last) opportunity to engage with the admissions’ officer and make a great impression. You might also like to get a second opinion on what you have written – this is always a good idea, but do ask someone who has recent experience and success helping students in the process of applying to UK universities – the US application letter is quite different and university requirements and expectations have changed from when some teachers applied to university themselves! Also, do not ask more than one person at a time – you risk getting conflicting advice that will confuse you and you may well upset the people you ask as it may give the impression you think their opinion is not valuable enough.
So, to conclude this article on your personal statement, good luck! Write from the heart, be confident and above all, enjoy the path towards what will be a life-changing experience. Don’t forget to contact us directly if you have any particular questions regarding any aspect of your English language needs firstname.lastname@example.org.
That’s it folks, the end of the articles on your personal statement. We hope you’ve enjoyed reading them and they’ve been helpful. If you still haven’t started one of Tangent’s courses or discussed your language needs with one of our Learning Consultants, why not? We do our very best to really help you succeed on the long exciting journey ahead, so why not come and try one of our free ‘Taster Lessons’, and see what we do and how we do it. We think you’ll like it. And you don’t even have to move from your sofa – we can’t make it any easier! It’s down to you now.
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