Conquering the Postgraduate Application

Specialist Applications

12th February 2021

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With the end of the academic year looming just a few short months away, many of you may be turning your sights to further study. Postgraduate study is a historically popular choice for students; it offers a means of changing direction, specialising in a particular field of interest or gaining a qualification a cut above your classmates, providing an edge in the job market. Likewise, with the closed businesses, job cuts and reduced career opportunities that have shadowed the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it is anticipated that more students than ever will apply for postgraduate study this year.

So, in the face of increased competition, how can you submit an application that will secure your place on the course? An impeccable personal statement offers one path to answering this question. Unlike grades or a reference, a personal statement gives you the opportunity to tell the applications team why, from your perspective, you would be a perfect fit for the programme. In theory, a statement about you should be easy to write. You have probably trawled webpage after webpage telling you to communicate your passion, illustrate your knowledge, be memorable without pushing the boundary into obnoxiousness. But you would not be alone in thinking that putting this big ask into practice is a challenge. That’s where we come in. At Oxbridge Personal Statements, we understand that writing a winning postgraduate statement is easier said than done; with our team of experienced experts, we are here to take away the stress of sitting in front of that dreaded blank page on Word and put you back in the driving seat.

In comparison to undergraduate statements, there are various areas specific to postgraduate applications that we consider when writing and editing. Below, we’ve outlined just three tips to perfect the postgraduate statement, tips that we abide by with each of our clients.

Bring in Your Previous University Studies

One of the largest allies when writing a postgraduate statement, compared to undergraduate, is that many of you will be on the verge of completing a university degree. This is not only a pre-requisite to most postgraduate opportunities but also an opportunity to explore and evidence your more technical knowledge of the subject. Draw on the success of your previous university studies. Even if your upcoming course is not the same title or even field as your previous degree, discussing your university experience still proves core competencies, such as organisation, time-management and resilience. As well as looking to the past, it is also important to look to the future and tell the applications team how the Master’s or PhD qualification is going to help you achieve your career aspirations.

Make it Specific

If you cast your mind back to your secondary school days, you may remember that when applying for undergraduate study, you could select up to five university programmes and sent the same broad UCAS application to each of your choices. This meant that the same broad personal statement was sent to each of your chosen application teams, regardless of whether your chosen courses had different titles or specialisms.

Comparatively, when applying for postgraduate study, you will normally apply directly through a university’s website- the personal statement can be specifically tailored to both the course and the university. This is a fundamental difference to postgraduate applications that can push your suitability and name to the top of the list. When writing model statements, we will often look up the specific course you are applying for and tailor it to the programme’s exact requirements or modules.

Utilise the Wordcount

Often the greatest challenge is fitting your life’s worth of relevant experiences into a tight word limit. The UCAS undergraduate personal statement is confined to a limit of 4,000 characters and 47 lines – a tight ask. Although it is not always the case, many universities allow a larger and more flexible word limit in postgraduate applications, often recommending a statement length of between one and two pages. This allows us to more comprehensively express what makes you an excellent candidate.

Writing a personal statement, particularly at the postgraduate level, may seem a little daunting and even impossible at times. But we are here to help at each step of that journey. Through our bespoke service, you’ll be able to showcase your enthusiasm to learn and convince the applications team that you will excel on the course, use your degree to progress your career aspirations and embody a valuable university alumnus.