The Do’s and Don’ts of Writing a Personal Statement

Personal Statements

29th December 2023

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Writing a personal statement is a crucial step in your university application process. This concise piece of writing allows you to showcase your personality, achievements, and aspirations, helping you stand out from the crowd. However, it’s easy to fall into common pitfalls. In this article, we’ll explore the do’s and don’ts of writing a personal statement to ensure yours makes a lasting impression.

The Do’s

  • Start Early and Plan Ahead

One of the most common mistakes applicants make is leaving their personal statement until the last minute. Starting early allows you to carefully plan and draft your statement, giving you ample time for revisions. Planning ahead also enables you to gather your thoughts, brainstorm ideas, and tailor your statement to the specific requirements of the institution or position you’re applying to.

  • Be Authentic and Reflective

Authenticity is key when writing a personal statement. Be true to yourself and reflect on your experiences, values, and aspirations. Share personal anecdotes that shaped your journey and made you the person you are today. Admissions committees appreciate genuine narratives that showcase your uniqueness.

  • Tailor Your Statement to the Specific Application

Avoid using a generic personal statement for multiple applications. Tailor each statement to the specific requirements of the institution or job you’re applying to. Highlight how your skills, experiences, and goals align with what the institution or employer is seeking. Show that you’ve done your research and are genuinely interested in the opportunity.

  • Focus on Your Achievements and Skills

Highlight your accomplishments and skills throughout your personal statement. Provide specific examples of how you’ve demonstrated leadership, problem-solving abilities, teamwork, or other relevant qualities. Quantify your achievements where possible to add substance to your claims.

  • Show, Don’t Just Tell

Instead of merely stating your qualities, show them through concrete examples. For instance, instead of saying you are a strong leader, narrate a situation where your leadership skills made a significant impact. This approach adds depth to your statement and allows the reader to better understand your capabilities.

The Don’ts

  • Avoid Clichés and Generic Statements

Steer clear of clichés and generic statements that don’t add value to your personal statement. Phrases like “I’ve always wanted to help people” or “I have excellent communication skills” lack specificity and fail to make a memorable impression. Instead, provide tangible examples that illustrate these qualities.

  • Don’t Rely on Templates

While templates can be helpful as a starting point, avoid relying too heavily on them. Your personal statement should be a unique reflection of your experiences and aspirations. Using a template may result in a generic statement that fails to capture your individuality.

  • Stay Away from Jargon and Overly Technical Language

Unless you’re applying for a course that requires technical language, avoid jargon and overly complex terminology. Your personal statement should be accessible to a wide audience. Use clear and concise language to ensure that your message is easily understood by admissions committees.

  • Don’t Focus Solely on Weaknesses

While it’s important to address any weaknesses or gaps in your application, avoid dwelling on them. Instead, frame these aspects in a positive light by discussing how you’ve overcome challenges or used them as opportunities for growth. Maintain a positive and forward-looking tone throughout your personal statement.

  • Steer Clear of Controversial Topics

It’s essential to be authentic in your personal statement, but you should avoid discussing controversial or sensitive topics that may alienate your readers. Keep in mind that personal statements are professional documents, and maintaining a respectful tone is crucial. Focus on your positive attributes and how they align with the goals of the institution or position you’re applying for.

Your Opportunity to Shine

Crafting a compelling personal statement requires time, reflection, and attention to detail. By following these do’s and don’ts, you can create a personal statement that effectively communicates your strengths, experiences, and aspirations. Remember, your personal statement is your opportunity to shine, so make it count.

As you embark on the journey of writing your personal statement, remember that you don’t have to navigate this process alone. Our network of experienced academics is here to provide expert guidance and support, ensuring that your personal statement reflects your true potential. Get in touch today. Whether you’re seeking assistance with structuring your narrative or refining your language, our team is equipped to help you succeed.