Writing your UCAS personal statement can be extremely difficult. For many, it is the first time you will have had to talk about your achievements and aspirations. We all have a tendency towards modesty, and we play down our achievements. The personal statement, however, is your opportunity to tell your story about all you have achieved in your life to date, what you aspire to do or be in the future, and why you think you’ll be great on that particular journey.
The following is a practical guide on how to write an effective UCAS personal statement.
1) Gather your evidence
Writing personal statements becomes a lot easier if you have material to write about prepared beforehand. You can do this on your Kloodle profile.
– Fill in your achievements section. This will get you thinking about what you have done in your life. Many college / sixth form students downplay their achievements. You’ll be the same. You’ll think you haven’t done anything. You’ll shrug your shoulders. You’ll be wrong. Really think about what you have done with your life. Have you: –
– Played a sport
– Had a part time job
– Achieved a grade you were proud of
– Done something cool (travelled, won an award)
– Raised money for charity
– Participated in a school event / scheme
– Had a position of authority (prefect / head girl)
If you are really struggling to think of anything, then this might be the time to think about what you can do to improve the situation. Write a blog post on Kloodle on what you are going to do over the summer to improve your achievements. You could volunteer, you could travel, you could get a part time job, you could complete an event, you could raise money for charity. Write a plan about what you are going to do and take action.
Now complete your bio section. Your bio should answer the following questions: –
– Who are you?
– What are you currently doing?
– What are your aspirations? (What course do you want to study? What career do you want etc etc)
Your opening line should be attention grabbing. Start with your biggest achievement – example “As a current black belt Jiujitsu expert, I am always looking for a challenge, hence the reason I am studying Maths, Physics, Chemistry and German at A Level”. You get the drift, The “As a” structure works well for openings.
You should then compose a blog post entitled “Why I want to study XXXXX at university”. In the post, you should aim to explain why you want to study that particular course. Include: –
– Your favourite aspect of the subject
– Previous experiences of the subject and what, specifically, you found interesting
– What you hope to achieve by studying this particular course
– What aspects of the course you are applying to you particularly like (modules, topics, etc)
Your Kloodle profile is a living, breathing record of your education journey. To draw inspiration for your personal statement, you can start to upload work, photos and videos that evidences all of the amazing experiences you have had whilst at school and college. Whilst doing this, you will get a plethora of ideas to make your personal statement amazing.
2) Making your first draft
You are now in a position to write your first draft. You can piece this together from the bits of work you have done already. A good personal statement addresses the following areas: –
1) Who you are and what you are currently doing (your Kloodle bio)
2) What course do you want to study and why (Your blog post)
3) Why you would be a great student of that course (Your achievements)
The first point should be taken from the bio in section 1. In order to get your first draft together: –
– Copy and paste your bio into a draft personal statement on your Kloodle profile
– Copy and paste your blog post into your draft Kloodle profile
– Copy and paste the descriptions of your achievements into your draft personal statement
Once you have done this, you will have a very basic first draft. Click “Save” and your statement will be available to your teacher to comment on.
3) Subsequent Drafts
You are now in a position to start to polish your personal statement. You have the basic content and structure, you can now make your statement more readable, more effective and all-round brilliant.
Here are a few suggestions for the polishing process: –
– Keep a concrete structure in mind. Your ideas need to be organised into a coherent piece of work. A bit like a story. What does every good story have? A beginning, a middle and an end. Your beginning is about you, your middle is about the course you wish to study, and the end is why you’ll make a great student.
– Get feedback. Ask your teacher to comment on your draft in your Kloodle profile. Search for a friend, connect with them, and get them to write their comments.
– Check spelling and grammar, and get someone else to check too.
– Remove unnecessary words. Start with adverbs (really, actually, definitely).
– Write in the active voice (I kicked the ball, as opposed to the ball was kicked)
– Use verbs to describe your actions. (I crept vs I walked slowly)
– Be positive about yourself – if you don’t praise yourself, who will?
4) One Final Check
Once you are happy with your work, get it checked one more time for sense, spelling and grammar. You DO NOT want to get this wrong! One more check won’t hurt…..