personal statement

Start a Personal Statement plan

Hopefully you’ll have caught up with Parts One and Two of this series already. If not, please do check them out on our articles page.

Our final part of the series will help to focus your attention on starting your personal statement and getting some initial thoughts down on paper (or screen) to gain some momentum.

Start with a plan. Break down your statement into chunks. The first chunk should convey your interest in the subject and why you’ve chosen that course – your opening paragraph. However, we recommend that you don’t write your opening sentence first – it can be quite daunting and there’s pressure to come up with something highly original. Usually it’s best to come back to your opening sentence once you’ve finished chunking your plan.

Your next chunk, or paragraph, could include what topics you’ve enjoyed at A level or BTEC, and why this has given you further impetus to pursue a degree. Did you enjoy investigating a certain experiment in Chemistry or maybe you fell in love with a particular genre in English Literature that inspired you to write a play or read additional books to your specified reading list.

You could follow this chunk with some examples of either relevant work experience or independent projects that you have undertaken. Always explain what you learnt and how this relates back to the course you’re choosing to study. Did you shadow an Occupational Therapist which resulted in an increased awareness of a particular community need? Or maybe you took part in a Science Project during sixth form that resulted in a new mindset for a particular strand of the subject.

Extra-curricular activities can follow next. But don’t feel like you need to have a long list of these. It’s more useful to admission tutors to see one activity that you’ve managed to maintain all through exams and even better if you can again explain what skills you’ve gained by being involved and how you may have developed as an individual.

Your final chunk is your conclusion. Words are precious on a personal statement so make sure you don’t repeat yourself. Instead, sum up why this course is the right one for you.

Once you’ve completed your chunk plan you could set yourself a challenge of completing one chunk per week over the next few weeks. You’ll then have a first draft complete. Everything will seem more achievable once you’ve reached this point and you can start to let others read it and then refine as you go. Remember – don’t forget to go back and write your opening line too!