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Tips for writing a good personal statement

What are other goals I hope to accomplish along the way? Ask yourself why you should be chosen. You will likely have plenty of competition, so you need to thoroughly describe what sets you apart from the rest of the crowd.

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Before you can convince the reader of your uniqueness, you need to convince yourself. Ask yourself a range of questions, such as: What personal qualities leadership skills, organizational skills, self-control, etc. What experiences and beliefs have shaped your present character? What accomplishments make you the proudest? Have you had any turning points that redirected your life in a positive way? Why would you choose yourself over other candidates? Why should anyone else?

Writing a UCAS Personal Statement

List your formal achievements. While you should not include a straight list of achievements in your personal statement, some of your most significant achievements deserve to be mentioned.

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Writing out a list of your achievements will help you to recall each one and determine which to include. Formal achievements can include: Academic degrees and certificates Scholarships, fellowships, and grants Awards or honors from academic institutions e. Workplace promotions, reviews, and evaluations Speaking at a conference, convention, or workshop Published works in your field of expertise Official recognition for community service or contributions.

How to structure your UCAS personal statement

Outline how you reached this place in your life. Jot down a list of experiences and turning points in your life that led you to develop your current career or academic interests. Questions worth asking yourself include: [4] When did you originally develop an interest in your field of choice? What do you love most about your field of choice? Why do you think your field of choice is important? What experiences have you had that have provided you with experience in the field?

Have you given up any other dreams or expectations in order to chase after this one? Describe any challenges you have faced. Challenges and difficulties can help foster interest in your story and make you more endearing. Everyone loves an underdog, and many people will be willing to assist you if they see that you have already worked hard to reach your current position. Possible challenges to explore include: [5] Financial difficulties Prejudice Social disenfranchisement Learning disabilities Physical disabilities Family problems Medical problems Unexpected tragedies.

Read any specific questions mentioned. Sometimes, an institution or organization will provide a list of specific questions or topics they want you to address. If this is the case, review the list carefully so that you can outline answers that directly answer those concerns.


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Often, these questions will be listed directly on the application, or otherwise on the job posting or program web page. If you're not sure if your application needs to address specific questions, reach out to the program coordinator or the contact person listed on the posting.

Outline the basic structure of your statement. You will generally only have pages to fit all of your information into your statement. Outlining your statement before you write will make sure you cover all your most salient points in your limited space. Try to pick critical points to cover. For example, if you're applying to a graduate program, your graduate project should be your main focus.

Write about what interests you.

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You will be able to write more convincingly and more passionately if you write about events, goals, experiences, or ideas that you already feel passionate about. Address issues specifically brought up by the institution or organization. If there are any topics that the reader demands to see, then make sure that those are included in your personal statement. Create a strong beginning. Your first paragraph must grab the reader's attention. A strong introductory paragraph will clearly introduce the thesis or theme of your personal statement while creating a sense of narrative as if you're introducing a story.

Use a personal anecdote to hook your readers. Provide as much detail in the first paragraph as possible. Introduce the main idea of your personal statement and describe how it connects to your narrative. Save any elaborate details or related notes and experiences for the body of your essay, though.

Write a body to support your statement purpose. The paragraphs following your introduction should bolster your statement purpose. Focus each paragraph on a single point, and make sure you relate each point back to your statement purpose or the goals you mentioned. Frame your undergrad research, your relevant coursework, and your achievement as tools that helped prepare you for your graduate project. Do not be vague or general.

Do tell the reader about experiences, goals, and ideas unique to you. Maintain a positive tone. Write in an optimistic, confident tone, even if you're addressing difficult subjects. Your statement should show how you will address problems and create solutions, and your tone should reflect that. Expand your statement if it's too short.


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  6. Your first draft can be as long or short as you need it to be, but many institutions and organizations have a word count or page count limits on personal statements. If your statement is not long enough, you have space to add more supporting information. Include more specific detail to create a fuller picture. Alternatively, you could introduce another point that contributes to your overall statement purpose. While it's not advisable to submit a statement that's too short, you also shouldn't add information just for the sake of having it. If your statement is a paragraph short of a full page but covers all your relevant information, you don't need to expand it.

    Avoid telling the reader why something is important to you. Instead, explain what you've done to show and develop the skill. Trim down your statement if it's too long.

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    Tips for writing a UCAS personal statement

    When trimming your personal statement down, scan the essay for any parts that do not directly address your point. You should also cut points that only serve to provide background information. Unlike a short statement, a long statement can't be left long. Many application programs won't allow you to press the submit button until your statement is the correct length.

    That means that if your statement is too long, it needs to be cut down. Read your personal statement aloud. Reading the piece out loud will give you a more accurate idea of how it sounds.