Resources for teachers and careers advisers

Are you supporting students with their university applications? We've put together some resources you can use in the classroom to help them write personal statements, understand and apply for student finance, and more.

Top five tips for planning a Personal Statement session

Writing personal statements is a tricky task for students but we all know that helping them complete this can be just as challenging. We've highlighted five points to consider when planning your personal statement session for your students.

1. Use resources

Make sure you use all the resources available to you to help build your sessions. Use the UCAS cycle toolkit, which offers lots of aid when it comes to planning your sessions.

University websites have lots of great resources too. We've helped hundreds of students write their personal statements using our three-sheet method, and our students have shared their five tips for personal statement perfection. You can also show your students our short personal statement video below.

2. Encourage them, don’t tell them

This can be difficult as we can all agree that seeing a student struggle is no fun! Try different techniques like the three-sheet method, or UCAS’ Personal Statement Tool to help students get started writing their first draft.

Also, get students talking about their skills and experience, this will in turn help them get words on a page. If they are struggling, then suggesting that they seek out advice from current students can help cure writers' block – our blogs can be a good place to start.

3. Split your sessions

If you have time, try to avoid fitting everything into one session. This will allow you to focus sessions and make it easier for students to grasp what they need to achieve.

For example, your first session could be on planning; your second session on introductions and conclusion; your third session on writing; and finally, organising a session on editing can help students streamline their statements. Splitting your sessions into manageable chunks will aid both student and teacher.

4. Use examples

Make sure you give students opportunities to read examples of good personal statements. These can be ones you have found online, or statements previous students from your school/college have written. This will inspire them and help them make a start.

This is a great tool to help students understand what elements make up a great personal statement - but be careful they don’t fall into the trap of copying another student’s work!

Hopefully some of these points will help when it comes to planning your sessions! Please remember that you can book one of our team to speak with your students about writing personal statements by emailing schoolsandcolleges@aru.ac.uk

5. Ask students to read out their personal statements

This one can be difficult, as some students will not be comfortable reading out their personal statements to an audience. If students are comfortable doing this, they can benefit from peer feedback and gain a big confidence boost.

If students do not want to read out their statements, then allowing them to find a quiet space to do this on their own can really help with editing. They will be able to understand how their personal statement sounds out loud and if they have written it in their own language.

Helping your students understand and apply for student finance

Student finance can seem like a daunting prospect to applicants. You can help your students by showing them our short video below, and sharing our information about student finance and things to know when applying for student finance.

You can find more useful information about what it's like to study at university and the application process in our how to apply section and student blogs.

We offer free information, advice and guidance to staff and students from Year 6 to Year 13 across the Eastern region. Find out more about what we offer and contact us on schoolsandcolleges@aru.ac.uk or 01245 684711 for more information and to book.