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Saoirse

January 7th, 2023

3 top tips for writing a great personal statement

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Estimated reading time: 10 minutes

Saoirse

January 7th, 2023

3 top tips for writing a great personal statement

0 comments

Estimated reading time: 10 minutes

Writing a personal statement can be a daunting challenge. I remember struggling to write my personal statement, not knowing where to even start. But it doesn’t need to be that hard! Here are my three top tips for writing a great personal statement.

1. Do your research

Personal statements are all about showing off to the university admissions team. In other words, you need to make sure you show them why the university you are applying to is right for you. One of the best ways of achieving this is through researching your university of choice and ensuring your personal statement is relevant to the programme you are applying to. For example, if a course you are applying for is more focused on a specific niche, then ensure you highlight your interest in this niche (assuming it’s true). A great place to start is by looking at the course outline of degree programmes that can often be found online. Here you will be able to find what topics are studied in the course. Touching on these topics in your personal statement is a great way of demonstrating that your interests are a great fit for the course you are applying to.

Once you have decided on which topics you are interested in and which are relevant to the courses you are applying to, you can choose which readings you want to discuss in your personal statement. These readings are key to showing you have gone beyond the school syllabus of your course and can show your interest in the subject. However, be careful to make sure that your personal statement is not simply a description of the readings that you have read. Instead, your readings discussed should act as tools and examples to back up the points you make in your personal statement.

Make sure when discussing the readings, you think critically about them. You don’t always have to agree with what the author says. In fact, disagreeing with the author can even be a great opportunity to demonstrate your ability to form your own judgements and analysis.

2. Show your Passion

One of the best tips I received whilst writing my personal statement was to show passion, don’t just say it. In other words, it is key for your personal statement to reflect your love for the subject implicitly. Instead of directly stating your interest in your subject through sentences such as “I am passionate about …”, you need to convey it.

A great way to demonstrate your passion for the topic is to illustrate how you engage with it. For example, in my personal statement, as a geography applicant, I talked about my participation in the geography society and my volunteering experiences. Here it is key to explain why these experiences are relevant to the course you are applying to, and what skills or knowledge you gained from the experience.

3. Structure your personal statement

Personal statements are a great way of demonstrating to the university admissions team that you can make clear coherent arguments in your writing. Consequently, it is very important to ensure your personal statements have a clear logical structure that supports the points you make. Moreover, as your personal statement can only be 4,000 characters it is essential that your arguments are straight to the point, as there is no room for waffle.

One of the best ways of achieving this is by organizing your personal statement into different sections, using paragraphs. There are many ways of achieving this and there is no “right” structure for a personal statement, but for my personal statement I included:

1) A short introduction as to why the course I chose is important to study, using a catchy first sentence to engage the reader.

2) A main body section, where I critically discussed some of the topics that I was interested in relevant to my course.

3) A short section at the end that talked about co-curricular activities that participated in such as Gold D of E. It is important here to not get too carried away from this last section of the personal statement, as universities will be primarily awarding places based on academic merit rather than extra-curricular activities.

About the author

Saoirse

Hello! My name is Saoirse. I'm in my second year at LSE, studying Environment and Development.

Posted In: Applying: Undergraduate

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