I’m not saying I’m highly knowledgable in this area! But I have been asked a few times about writing personal statements and what they should consist of! I’m by no means a ‘pro’ personal statement writer but I’ve written one and it seemed to be ok!!! I got an offer 24 hours after they received my personal statement so here’s my take on personal statements!
- Make a plan- my sixth form were extremely helpful and gave us lots of resources to use to allow us to write our personal statement such as a paragraph plan and what to/what not to include! It’s been nearly a year since I wrote mine, so apologies in advance for what I’m about to say as I’m not entirely sure what I put!
- My opening paragraph was powerful and capturing as far as I can remember! I obviously wrote about the Law passionately whilst adding my own opinions in a subtle manner! I vividly remember writing about equality and that the laws are there for a reason! They exist in order to keep society orderly and safe! I think it is extremely important for an individual to show their passion towards the subject! Remember the admissions officers have read endless personal statements so you’ve got to make yours stand out and draw them in to carry on reading!
- Don’t get carried away! There is a limit to how many characters your personal statement can consist of! It has to be 4000 characters or rough 47 lines! So make sure you get straight to the point and not go off subject! I tend to get sidetracked and go off point! So make sure you don’t fall into that trap! Also make sure you triple check your grammar! Universities will not be impressed by using the wrong letter casing!
- If I were you I’d first draft your personal statement on a software like word because there is a time limit on UCAS and after 35 minutes it will time out unless you’ve saved it! I would most definitely get several people to check over your personal statement so you’ve got more opportunity to find those mistakes and change them!
- Quotes- a lot of people include quotes in their personal statement! This can be extremely effective! I used one in my conclusion but don’t just randomly pick out a quote that is vaguely relevant for your course! If you truly want to incorporate a quote make sure it fits in with your course and make sure it has a clear purpose because it’s obviously taking up vital characters!
- DO NOT COPY!- there is no point in copying and pasting other peoples work into your personal statement! All PS are screened to detect if their are any similarities between any other personal statements! It seems ludicrous to copy someone else’s work! (especially since your applying to study law!!!!)
- Skills! Skills are obviously extremely important but listing your qualifications is totally pointless! If you want to talk about your skills make sure it’s relevant to the course you are applying for! If you’ve won a medal for your sporting abilities show how you can work in a team and how this makes you a suitable candidate for their course! There is NO NEED to state your grades again in your personal statement as they already know! & once again you’re taking up valuable characters!
- Work experience- if you’ve been fortunate enough to get work experience in a law firm then don’t forget to add that! Then expand on how the skills are transferrable to the course and how they will aid you in your chosen future career! Talk about anything that is suitable! I wrote about court & prison visiting and how this is beneficial to see how the legal system works where I live! Just make the most out of the experiences you have done! Even if it’s not ‘legal’ experience! If you can make your point applicable then it’s all ok! If you can’t make the connection between your point and the course it’s best to not mention it!
- Don’t lie- If you say you’ve done such and such then you’re questioned about it at a later date it’s not going to go well! Be honest! The universities know what’s fact and fiction and your not making yourself a stronger applicant by incorporating a fabricated story! Be yourself and try not to use over complicated language that you usually wouldn’t use! It’s completely pointless and you appear to come over as incredibly arrogant and it’s just not necessary!
- BE YOURSELF- don’t try to write in another format, stick to your usual, you YOU are applying for their course not someone else so don’t try and apply as someone other than you! Be down to earth and passionate! Showing a love and interest in their course is what attracts the university to you as an applicant!
Hopefully these tips are somewhat helpful! and I wish you all every success in writing your personal statement! It’s really not as bad as some people make out! In fact I wrote my first draft and only had to edit one or two sentences before sending the final copy!