Top 5 personal statement tips

Hello. My name’s Nick and I work at the Widening Participation team at the University of Nottingham. I’m here today to give you five top tips to ensure that your personal statement is as good as it can be. The first top tip we have for you is to start early and to make sure you’re doing your research.

A lot of different universities, and a lot of different courses in the same university, might ask you to show different things in your personal statement and may be looking for different qualities that you can add to the course. One way of conducting your research early on is to use websites such as UCAS, the university you’ve applied for, and just check their admissions statements just to see if there’s anything you can pull out which you know for certain they are looking for, which then you can focus on in your personal statement. Our second tip for you is further reading. Now this is essential in showing the admissions tutor that you have a real passion for your subject. It doesn’t have to be extensive, it doesn’t have to be a whole list of different books that you may have read.

It can be as simple as looking up a research article based on a TV programme you have seen which really explores a certain topic of that course. By conducting that further research you are showing a keen interest in that area. It will show that you have gone completely out of your way to research further something you are really interested in and you have taken that first step to independent learning.

Our third top tip for you is making sure the information you include in your personal statement is relevant. You only have four thousand characters for your personal statement which equates to around five hundred words or around twenty nine tweets. Four thousand characters is not a lot, so it is essential that everything you are including is relevant to the course. Admissions tutors do not want to know you won a spelling competition at the age of nine. It is not relevant to your course and it will not add anything to your application.

Something that is essential to your application is making sure you include as much work experience and as much further reading as possible. They are real key skills that admissions tutors are looking for. Our fourth top tips is to use examples.

Now when completing the final part of your personal statement admissions tutors are looking for key skills such as teamwork, leadership and problem solving. That might be playing for a football team or being part of your theatre group at your school or college. These are relevant in terms oif showing the skills that you can bring as a person and to university life, but these are the kind of things you want to be adding at the end because further up needs to include work experience and further reading which really relates to your course. And our fifth top tip is to get as much feedback as possible.

No one’s personal statement is perfect on the first time round. Please do as many drafts as you want. It is essential that you ask other people’s point of view as they may read your personal statement differently and pick up on something you didn’t previously see. Whether it be at school or college with your teachers, maybe at home with your parents or carers – they will not mind. Especially teachers, they’re there to help.

When I was doing my personal statement I wasn’t happy with mine until the fifth time round. And that was after feedback from lots of teachers, friends and family. Hopefully this video has been helpful. Remember, your personal statement is about you, so make it as interesting and different as possible. Best of luck!