Browsing my web analytics, I know just how many students are in search of the ‘Best Personal Statement Ever’. At this time of year, search engines around the world are working overtime as students are clearly trying to hunt down an example of UCAS application perfection.
I hate to have to break it to you, students, but there is simply no such thing.
An individual’s personal statement is, and should be, a totally unique document. The content is wholly dependent upon the experiences of its author to date, as well as his or her ambitions for university and beyond. Of course, some are better than others but what makes them better isn’t because they contain a stock sentence or paragraph (far from it - that would only succeed in bringing them a host of plagiarism accusations). Neither is it better simply because they have ‘done something’ that most other applicants haven’t. They are better because they have optimised their own experiences and ambitions to the best of their abilities, and in a way which is relevant and convincing to an Admissions Tutor of a particular course. (Let’s not forget that Admissions Tutors themselves will differ in their own preferences and it is, therefore, impossible to predict just how well a statement will be received. What may appear to be the “best personal statement ever” to one tutor may simply be mediocre to another. Certain things will always be beyond your control).
So instead of worrying about what makes another person’s statement the ‘best ever’, ask yourself the following question about your own:
“Is it as good as it possibly can be?”
Set your own high standards and aim to exceed them, not someone else’s. Think about the following:
- Can you put together a more convincing argument as to why you want to study the course?
- Are bringing out the full range of skills that you can offer, and presenting them in a relevant way?
- Does your document represent a high quality piece of writing; well-structured, engaging and error free?
Save yourself some time. Stop searching for something that doesn’t exist, and put the extra time into perfecting your own personal statement.
My blog series “My Top 10 Personal Statement Errors” can be found here.
Momentum Careers Advice offers a Personal Statement Review service for just £40. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.