So, it's about time I began writing my personal statement. I was thinking about it today, and although I've written one before, and it was a successful statement, writing this one seems a much bigger deal. So, I thought I would write a little advice entry, for anyone else who's struggling with their statement.
Plenty of people I've asked are having the same trouble writing theirs. Why? Well, I think it has something to do with how well people can actually sell themselves, yet so little space to do it in and of course, who their audience is. It's like those assignments I did for Health Studies in 1,000 words... it's just not enough! From what I plan, to what I actually write, only the most important stuff goes in! Nobody likes writing a personal statement, but I think my process to writing one isn't half bad.
To start with:
- What am I planning to study? (Pretty obvious question, but this helps you focus for the whole statement, I promise you)
- Why do I want to study it? (Any personal experience, or what interested you in the subject)
- What skills have I got that link in to studying this? (As I'm applying to be a Diagnostic Radiography student, I'm using this site: http://www.radiographycareers.co.uk/ to help me.
- What are my other interests? (Generally, pick the ones that show your versatility. For example, I do cross-stitching when watching TV, play video games, read anatomy books for fun AND do Taekwon-do... and many more, but it was just to show you how varied my hobbies are)
Now, starting, I know, is the hardest part of writing any long piece of writing. But both the start AND the end are really important, as the start gets whoever is reading it interested, and the end usually helps them to remember it. That's not to the say the middle isn't important! But the start is the reader's "first impression" of you.
Another important thing I can think of to write about this difficult task, is what NOT to do in it:
- Don't list what you're doing now. Only put in the relevant skills linked to your course. Show how your hobbies and interests would help you succeed on your course. E.g. I play video games and like new gadgets. Radiographers need to be able to adapt to new technologies (as the field is always improving) and they need to be confident when working with it. As I said, it's an example :P
- Don't be arrogant, and don't tell the university about their own subject. They do teach it and know it pretty well.
- Be pretty strict with your work and cut out any parts that waffle on too much. It just takes up space where something else could be.
- Don't mention skills and then not explain what you learnt from them. Anyone can write "I'm a good communicator" but that doesn't have any back up or evidence, does it?
- Don't bring up anything before GCSE, unless it really is relevant as an anecdote.
- Don't be vague when talking about interests.
- This one is obvious: don't exaggerate or lie. If they bring it up in your interview, you'll have a hard time keeping it up.
- Don't be biased towards one university. This puts off the others you are applying to!
- This is the most important one: Don't copy someone's else statement! If you are found to have plagiarised someone else's work, it could jeopardise your whole application!
And finally, get somebody to check it when you're done! Of course, check it over yourself, then have a parent, a friend or a tutor check it, too. After they've checked it, check it yourself, again, or have another person check it! I generally get three other people to check mine: my parents (yeah, I'm classing them as a single entity for now), a friend (or if you know somebody who's already applied to university, ask them, too), and then my tutor. Everybody will have a different opinion, but they may see something someone else didn't.
Anyway, this entry is getting long enough! Good luck anybody else who's doing their personal statement. I hope this has helped a little :)
Now to just get my own done.... *sniffle*