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Personal statements: top ways to sell yourself

Your personal statement is no place to be humble. Learn how to properly promote yourself in yours, with these tips from students and admissions tutors...

First of all, some tips from admissions tutors on "selling yourself" the right way...:


1. Give evidence to support your examples

Admission tutors themselves reveal more personal statement dos and don'ts in our video... 

Watch now: Personal statement dos and don'ts


2. Be specific

Give evidence and give specific details. A sentence such as 'I’m an outgoing, confident person with excellent communication skills.' is a vague, unproven statement with no evidence. But a specific statement about an experience can give evidence that you have these qualities. For example, 'I got through to the finals of the Jack Petchey Speak Out Challenge in Hackney in June 2010, giving an improvised speech on race and immigration issue to an audience of 200 people' provides real evidence of communication skills. University College London | University Of London

3. Highlight your 'wow' factor

Make sure you try to include a 'wow factor' – what is special about you? Try to make your statement stand out from the crowd. University Of Huddersfield

Personal statement builder


4. Lead with your strongest 'selling' points

Don't fall into the trap of telling a story of your life from secondary school through to the final year of university. Lead with your strongest 'selling points' and put the most impressive information at the start of each paragraph. University Of Manchester

And here are some top 'selling yourself' personal statement pointers from current university students...

5. Start small

The whole process of being engaging and selling yourself was hard. My tip is to start with basic notes and then expand on them:

For example: 'I worked at my local newsagent, learned skills of negotiation, customer communication', and so on. First Year Life Sciences Student | Coventry University

Watch now: Five biggest personal statement struggles


6. Look over your academic reports

I'd like to think of myself as quite modest and hence found it difficult to sell myself in my personal statement. Written school reports can be quite handy here, where your teacher has listed your positives in class. Second Year Pharmacy Student | University Of Bath

Personal statement examples - pick up tips from these typical student responses

7. Explain why your experience is relevant

It was quite difficult to use the right language and to come up with something original in order to sell yourself. My advice would be to make sure you explain why everything you have done is relevant to the course you are applying for, and to try and take a bit of a different angle instead of just saying 'I want to study X because it's interesting'. Second Year German Student | University Of Warwick


8. Talk to teachers

I think it's always difficult to write about yourself and try and sell yourself to a potential university. I think the best thing to do is ask your teachers what they think you do best, and make a list of things you've enjoyed in and out of school. Third Year Psychology Student | Queen Margaret University - Edinburgh


9. Get friends' feedback

I found it hard to write my personal statement in order to sell myself in a good way but to not make it sound like I was bragging. The one-to-one advice I received from my class tutor was a really good way of understanding how to improve it  however embarrassing it feels do let friends read it too, and ask them to give you some constructive advice. First Year Psychology Student | University Of Surrey

10. Sell what you've got

There's no need to be too over the top with the whole 'selling yourself' thing. Just be honest and focus on your assets. Ask for a second (and third) opinion my dad and school teachers really helped me with writing my personal statement. Second Year Pharmacy Student | University Of Bath

Many universities provide tips on exactly what they’re looking for on their website – a lot even do subject-specific personal statement advice, so have a look before you start writing. 

For more advice on how to sell yourself to admissions tutors, take a look at what to include in your personal statement, plus the top 10 things not to include

Watch now: How to write a Ucas personal statement

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