How to make your personal statement stand out, admissions tutors reveal
Admissions tutors are busy, which means you have to grab their attention quickly. Here, they reveal how you can do just that in your personal statement...
'We receive more than 1,500 applications. It's like jungle warfare... Don't give us any flannel. Tell us what makes you stand out.'
The strong consensus from admissions tutors is that the best personal statements that stand out are where students are interesting, reflective, unique, relevant and, you guessed it, personal – not by using gimmicks. As a law admissions tutor explained succinctly: 'Off-the-wall won’t work.’
Or as another tutor put it: ‘We want you to be different, but not TOO different.’ In fact, this was something tutors said they specifically didn't want to see in a personal statement.
How to make your personal statement unique and stand out
Here are some more tips – straight from the mouths of admissions tutors – to help your personal statement stand out (in the right way)...
1. Personal statement dos and don'ts
Our student reporter headed to a string of universities to ask admissions tutors point blank what they look for. This is what they said...
Watch now: Personal statement dos and don'ts
2. Starting your personal statement
Starting to write your personal statement but not sure where to even begin? It happens. But introducing why exactly you want to apply for the course and what you can bring will give your statement some clout right from the off.
3. Personal statement formats done right
You want your personal statement to be easy to read. Think of it like you would any essay – don't write in one big block of text, not in long, meandering sentences.
4. Don’t let someone else write or rewrite it
Remember, this is a personal statement. It has to reflect your opinions, personality and reasons for choosing the course.
5. Use examples
Why should admissions tutors choose you? Telling them is one thing, but showing them the reasons behind it is better.
6. Let your personality in
You’re an interesting person, so why shouldn’t your personal statement be interesting too? If you’ve written something that you don’t think you really mean, or isn’t in your own words, it’ll be more obvious than you think.
#Nofilter - how to keep it honest in your personal statement
7. Demonstrate a real interest in the subject
It sounds obvious, but it’s worth reiterating. What is it that attracts you to the subject? A real interest and passion will shine through.
8. Why should we give you a place on the course?
Every admissions tutor will be looking to answer this question. So, of course, personality, as we’ve mentioned, is important., But be careful of adding in superfluous content. Does your admissions tutor really need to know you play football every week? Unless it’s relevant, don’t include it.
9. Going beyond your qualifications
What else have you been doing apart from studying your subject? Anything that shows what else you’ve done to further your interest and knowledge of your subject is good.
Work experience is a great way to demonstrate an understanding of your subject beyond the classroom. Did your work experience give you hands-on experience that really excited you about the subject? Talk about it!
10. Relevant work experience – and what you learned
11. Write naturally
12. Remember – explain the Action, the Benefit, and relevance to the Course
Yes, you may have got your ABCs sorted a while ago, but this ABC rule will help you out now… keep in mind, and it will help keep your statement structured and useful.
Learn more about the ABC rule in our guide to writing your personal statement.