Four things to think about when writing your personal statement

There’s a lot of guides out there about personal statement writing and what you should and should not include, but I thought it might be good to share my experience about the writing of a personal statement. Maybe you’ll learn something new today, or nothing at all, that’s fine too.

The most important thing is practice, the more you write personal statements, whether for admissions or for scholarships, the more you do it, the better you’ll do.

Read, rewrite, read, rewrite, get feedback from friends and family and rewrite. In one of my first drafts, I went off on a whole tangent about my love for dolphins as a child. Some part of my brain seemed to think that would be useful information for the uni. When a friend read it, it became clear that that had to go. Kill your darlings!

Make it personal. This seems pretty obvious as it’s called a ‘personal statement’ but it really is the key. What makes you who you are? You don’t have to talk about your favorite games when you were growing up or what vegetables you hate but tell something about yourself that isn’t just fact. Make yourself a human and talk about your career until this point. In my case, I talked about how I have been interested in anatomy from a very young age and how this influenced my career until this point.

Make it make sense. Why do you want to do this course? You’re not applying for a degree just for shits and giggles, so what makes this the logical choice? Why is this degree the right follow up on your education? And after that, what will you do with it? What do you want to be when you grow up. Be realistic, be honest.

Tell a story. A personal statement is the story of your academic career. Don’t just sum up what you have done, that would be a boring read. Talk about your experiences! So don’t go “I have a teaching degree and I think teaching is really cool”, make it an experience. For example, the look on a child’s face when they get to see a cell under a microscope for the first time. That look of fascination and admiration at life is what makes me love teaching biology.

I hope your personal statement writing will go smoothly and I hope you’ll get where you want to be in your life!

Written by:

Hello, my name is Sophie, I am a postgraduate in Anatomy and Forensic Anthropology from The Netherlands. I did my undergrad in Biomedical Sciences with a minor in Education, I do archery, a lot of different crafts and I thoroughly love sitting down with a cup of tea and a good book.

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