If you have ever thought that 4000 characters or 47 lines would not suffice to capture your worth as an individual, you have never been more mistaken. The UCAS personal statement requirement has exactly those metrics as its word limit. And yet, the very allocation of seats in the most competitive and renowned institutions in the world is done on the partial basis of those 4000 characters. Afraid that 4000 characters will fail to convey your wholesome nature? Intimidated that 4000 characters would be an indignation to your vibrant personality that cannot be described in words? Worry not, for we are here to rid you of your worries with a guide to writing personal statements.
The most important point to remember as part of your mindset while writing the personal statement is that quality matters more than quantity. The idea is to cater all the information you provide to the subject area that you have applied for. The admissions officer wants to see how your achievements and interests have bred your passion for the subject you are applying for. Extraneous material that is not linked to your motivations and aspirations detracts from the material that does and leads to an overall ineffective essay.
The best degrees in the world receive thousands of applications every year and your best bet is to set your focus on the aim of making yourself unequivocally stand out from the crowd. It is very important to avoid generic statements or generic trains of thought while phrasing your personal statements. Make sure the admissions officer doesn’t think of your essay as “just another one”, but rather, as “the one”. You need to demonstrate that your mindset is different from the rest, that you are committed to learning, availing opportunities and creating an impact.
The degree in the big picture
Talk about the subject area itself. How did you first come to know of it? What avenues did you use to develop your interest and proficiency in the field? Listing down any books you have read or conferences you have attended related to the subject would be a huge plus point. Go into great depth about your academic outlook towards the degree. What goals do you have after completion of the degree? What role will it play in enabling you to achieve your fiercest ambitions? What career plans do you plan to pursue after the degree?
Achievements and work experience
An essential component of the personal statement is your past achievements. Think about all the awards you have ever received and the competitions you have taken part in. These may be intra-school or even on a national or international level. Both academic and sports awards go a long way in highlighting your dedication. Details of any prior work experience along with the lessons you learned from it will establish you as a conscientious individual
Your extracurriculars should also be presented in the essay. Whether it be a MUN or a marathon, they convey the message that you love participating in diverse events. It is also a good idea to talk about any soft skills that you have gained through extracurricular activities. Be sure to talk about any leadership positions that you might have held, as they enhance your emotional intelligence and put you across as an innovator. Community service is a great plus point in the essay as it indicates a commitment to a cause larger than one’s self. The best-case scenario is if you are able to link all these activities with your course choice. Make sure you don’t go into so much detail about your extracurriculars that it becomes irrelevant.
Don’t be dumb
There are always some careless mistakes that you can make. Avoid plagiarism; UCAS uses sophisticated tools to check the authenticity of your essay, and if plagiarized, you will face undesirable consequences. Aim for perfect grammar and coherent structure and unity in your personal statement. Start well in advance before the deadline so that you can produce multiple drafts and get them reviewed by experienced people. You may be interviewed about your personal statement so be sure not to exaggerate your experiences.
We hope that now the entire process will be much less agonizing and more energizing for you as you embark on a journey to used the power of words to communicate your ability.To learn more about other section on your UCAS application, click here