Five tips for personal statement perfection

Guest posts

Category: Student Ambassador

11 October 2019

Writing a personal statement is an important part of your university application, and you'll want to make sure it gives a great impression. But how? Our students share their top tips.

1. Show your enthusiasm

Universities are looking for people who want to study their courses. Try to explain what you want to gain from university and why you think this particular uni will help you achieve that.

Getting straight to the point about what inspires and drives you will help cut out the clichés (see #4), and show the uni that you mean business.

2. Have someone read it over

We all know how easy it is to become blinkered when you work on something a lot. It's hard to see it with fresh eyes.

So this is where your friends or family come in... Ask someone else to take a look over your personal statement for you. Whether they capture a slight error, a grammar gaffe or a typo, or even point out an entire sentence that just isn’t needed, it will help you make a positive first impression.

'Always ask for help if you need it. I was lucky enough to have support from my college, but the UCAS website is really helpful too.'
BSc (Hons) Midwifery student

3. Back up claims with EVIDENCE

Universities love evidence, and it's vital in giving your personal statement a bit of weight. It really helps to say where you learnt something, or how your work experience gave you a particular insight – it shows you're not just making it up (or worse, doing a cheeky copy-and-paste job!)

Your story will be all the stronger if it's full of exciting examples and evidence.

Keep it real, and you'll keep the university hooked.

4. Avoid the clichés

It's surprisingly easy to kick off a personal statement with a cliché.

For example, starting with a well-known quote, like Nelson Mandela’s 'Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world', doesn’t always have the impact you want it to, because a university wants to know what you think.

Shall we look at a few more?

'From a young age...'

'For as long as I can remember...'

These statements were in the top ten most-used phrases in personal statements last year (yes, somebody's been counting).

Have a think about something unique that will make you stand out from the crowd.

5. Be personal

You don’t need to tell your life story, but explaining your battles and processes can help you stand out as a real person. It's a way to make sure you’re remembered, 100 personal statements down the line.

This doesn’t mean you should, ahem, 'embellish' your story – that’s a strict no-no. But a small paragraph that touches on a milestone in your life, or a hurdle you overcame, can help build a bigger picture of who you are and why you have a passion for the course you’ve chosen.

Time to start writing... good luck!

'Getting started is the hardest part – so try not to write the first line first. Just get started with what you want to talk about. It will flow from there.'
BSc (Hons) Business and Human Resource Management student

Thanks to our students Emma, Maddi, Anna, Amy and Alessia for their contributions to this blog.

If you'd like some more detailed guidance on writing your personal statement, check our dedicated web page.

And, if you're interested in studying at ARU and are wondering what's on offer, browse undergraduate degree courses or come along to an Open Day.



The views expressed here are those of the individual and do not necessarily represent the views of Anglia Ruskin University. If you've got any concerns please contact us.