Olivia Taylor

How To Write Your Personal Statement

STEP ONE: Learn more about your chosen subject

It is important when you start writing your personal statement (PS) that you are clear on what you want to study. When you are applying to University, generally it’s best to apply to five similar courses so that it’s easier to tailor your PS to them as you only get to write one which gets sent too all of the Universities you apply to.

STEP TWO: It can be hard to get writing...

Sometimes it’s easier to simply jot down EVERYTHING you have done regarding subject you are applying for.Some starting points:

Write what you have watched, listened to and read about your subject.

Write about any trips or related clubs you’ve done related to your subject

Write about how your current subjects at school relate to your understanding of your topic at University

STEP THREE: Start at the beginning... (or don't!)

It’s generally best to tackle the part of the PS you consider the “easiest” (I use that term lightly…). However, for the sake of this article I’m going to start at the beginning but change the order if you would prefer. 

STEP FOUR: The perfect opener (10-15%)

There’s no “perfect” start. Generally it’s great to start your personal statement by telling the story of how you first discovered your story. For example, I spoke about doing “experiments” on my family as I got into psychology. It’s quite good here to tell a story as it draws the reader in…

STEP FIVE: The Big Bit (70% - 80%)

The middle of the personal statement should focus on the reasons you want to study the course. Tell them what you have done OUTSIDE of the classroom to further your knowledge in the area you want to go in (Books? Youtube? Podcasts? Movies? Events? Trips?). You can also talk about influential things you learnt inside the classroom that make you a good fit for the course. 

STEP SIX: More than a walking textbook... (10-15%)

Here is the bit you get to tell the University what makes you, well, you. What leaderships positions have you had? What are your hobbies? What do you do for fun? What clubs are you a part of? Part time job? Bonus points if you can link the skills you have learnt to the skills you will need for your degree! 

  1. Avoid the following most common starting lines
    •“From a young age I have (always) been [interested in/fascinated by]”
    •“For as long as I can remember I have…”
    •“I am applying for this course because…”
    •“I have always been interested in…”
    •“Throughout my life I have always
    enjoyed…”
    •“Reflecting on my educational
    experiences…”
    •“X is a very challenging and demanding
    [career/profession/course]…”
    •“Academically, I have always been…”
    •“I have always wanted to pursue a career
    in…”
    •“I have always been passionate about…”
    •“Education is the most powerful weapon
    which you can use to change the world…”
    •Don’t use quotes!

    2. It’s much more powerful to take about things you have done outside the classroom(supercurricular) rather than inside the classroom. 

  2. Write in your voice, using your language. 

  3. Be honest, authentic and genuine
  4. Get a second opinion from everyone around you (you don’t have to do this alone!)
Good luck – I know you’ll smash it!