Tips for writing a personal statement for university applications


You have done the research and shortlisted the best Universities where you wish to pursue a degree from. When you start the application process, you realize that it’s more than just filling out some mandatory fields in a form. You need to submit a well-written personal statement, which can make or break the chances of admission. This is your golden chance to prove that you are the best candidate among thousands of other applicants.

Remember that a personal statement is not a replacement for an online application or a recommendation letter. The online application is the primary source of information about you, proving that you are eligible to apply for the said position in the University. A recommendation letter serves as a reference from a mentor or a teacher who had worked closely with you and can give unbiased judgments on your capabilities.

An ideal personal statement has a 7:3 ratio of academic to personal interests and provides an exclusive glimpse of your experiences and how they have shaped your passion. It takes time and consistent effort to curate a personal statement that the recruiters can’t deny. While there are debates about what a perfect personal statement looks like, here are some pointers you can keep in mind to produce a balanced, disciplined, and enjoyable letter.

What to include in personal statement

  • Soft skills: Talk about the skills that make you desirable for a career in the chosen path. Refer to the positions of responsibility you have held in the past and explain how that reflects your ability to work in a team or to work well with deadlines.

  • Ambition: Every university wants to produce a valuable asset to the world and hence does not want to invest in people without dreams. Write about how the particular course will benefit your career, what you can contribute, and find a way to connect all the points to the bigger picture.

  • Extraordinary achievements: Include any past accomplishments that impacted your career choices and explain how it aligns with the values you hold on an individual level.

What not to include in personal statement

  • Your name and other personal information: You don’t have to introduce yourself since all the relevant personal details are available in the application form you submit.
  • Educational qualification: This is not a space to showcase your academic grades or the number of completed courses. Stick to how you can use your aptitude to your advantage.

  • Anything already covered in the University application: Don’t waste the chance by repeating whatever you have included in the application form. Respect the word limit and keep it focused on why you are eligible for the course.

Tips for writing a personal statement

  • Write multiple drafts

Once you know the basic do’s and don’ts of writing an impressive and detailed personal statement, it’s time to start writing. The first draft won’t be perfect, so write multiple drafts and edit it many times until you are content with the result. Another tip is not to be adamant about the word limit for your first draft and use available resources. For example, students staying on campus, like the accommodation near Warwick University or University College London, have full-time access to the library and other resources that may help them polish their writing.

  • Use honest and crisp statements

Gone are the days people fell for well-crafted stories of how your interest in electronics piqued as you dismantle the electronic gadgets in your home. Avoid cliches and stick to concise and convincing excerpts of how your passion grew. Avoid generic claims and make them personal; you can stand out only if you tell a unique story. It’s very crucial to own every statement you make and be entirely honest about what you write.

  • Make a good first impression

With the digital space taking over our lives, the attention span is limited, and people just skim over articles before getting to it in detail. Besides being good with words, you should focus on the look and feel of your letter. Anyone should be able to skim through it and get to the important points right. As with any piece of reading, start with an appealing introduction to keeping the recruiters hooked. If there are specific details that you want the recruiters to notice, highlight that part or use a different font.

  • Read it out loud

You should stick to a well-rounded story that connects dots between your passion, aptitude, and future plans. It should have a flow and follow a simple format and transition between the paragraphs. You can keep these points in check if you read out your draft. Read it from a recruiter’s perspective and see if you are touching on all the critical points. You can also ask a friend to listen as you read it and ask for an honest opinion.

  • Ask for feedback

This cannot be stressed enough. You should always take second opinions on your draft from people at different stages of the educational ladder. You can ask your peers, seniors, or professors to proofread your personal statement for any subtleties that you might not have noticed. Students in the final year of graduate programs often hang out together in their hostel lobbies, reading and discussing different sample personal statements. For instance, students in Coventry University student housing spend long hours at night brainstorming ideas and giving feedback to each other for improvement.

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Author Bio:

Arya Antherjanam V (Content and SEO Executive at AmberStudent)

Arya Antherjanam V dropped her research studies in Physics to pursue writing full time. A content writer by day, a poet by night, and a performer on weekends, she delivers SEO-optimized content and creates engaging copies.