All views expressed are those of the author.
Writing your personal statement can be difficult – I remember how awkward it felt trying to explain why I was a good candidate and interested in the field I wanted to pursue in only approximately 500 words. As such, I would like to share three tips that may be helpful or at least ease your nerves when drafting your personal statement.
Make sure it is about you
As strange and obvious as this may sound, I personally had difficulties in making my personal statement really be about me (I had a tendency to write about issues in the field I was interested in as opposed to discussing my interest in the field in the first place). Whilst it is certainly useful to discuss areas in the field you are applying for, I think this should be balanced against showcasing your personality and uniqueness. Your interest in the degree is certainly important, but do not forget that your personal statement is a chance to give an impression of who YOU really are – your achievements and character.
Reflecting on what you read
I definitely believe it is useful to read books, articles, etc. in the field you are seeking to pursue. However, what, in my view, is more interesting, is your opinion on those texts – how did these texts help you choose your degree? As such, reflection, not only on the texts you read, but also on how these have influenced your decisions, can be very important in showcasing why you are a good fit for your chosen degree.
Given that the personal statement is your one chance to talk about your achievements, academic interests and passion for your chosen degree, there may be a tendency to attempt to squeeze everything in the tight space of 4000 characters. Whilst I fully understand this urge, sometimes less really is more. In my opinion, it is perhaps better to talk about a select few points in detail rather than briefly mention an abundance of activities, texts, etc. In this way, you have a chance to really discuss and expand on your selected points.
Find advice on writing personal statements for your UCAS application on LSE’s website.