I can’t even write a bio for my Instagram; how will I write a personal statement for the university? Let us assure you that writing a personal statement is relatively easy and uncomplicated. A personal statement can be for university admission or scholarship application. This blog will be your ultimate guide to writing a killer personal statement for a university.
What is a personal statement?
The admission panelists already know your name and your UCAS ID. What do you want them to know about you which is not recorded on the paper yet? That is exactly what a personal essay does for you. It tells the admissions officer something about you that a student's resume or CV cannot.
These 500-1000 words of your personal essay will be responsible for convincing the admissions officers that you are a great applicant and will be an asset to the university. One of the keys to your dream college such as Kingston University or Oxford University is a killer personal statement. This is your chance to brag about yourself (but subtly). To get into your dream college, read our blogs on Best Courses, Eligibility at Kingston University and Oxford University admission requirements in 2023.
How to write a personal statement?
Writing a personal statement for university can be a crucial step in your application process. While seeking assistance from a personal statement writing service is an option, it is crucial to maintain the authenticity of your personal statement.
It is now time to put the “personal” in the personal statement for a university. So now that we are not scared of the blinking cursor let us now see how to write a personal statement for university step by step.
Brainstorm the topics
The first step is to brainstorm about the above topics for your personal essay and then note down the points. Go on a nostalgic flashback trip about your life and write down whatever thoughts come into your mind. It can be about how an incident changed your life or about your life story, or your passions and interests.
Start by choosing 2 to 4 topics and start noting down points on those selected topics. For example, if one of the topics you choose is my warrior story, then you can start by writing the pointers about the incidents and how did they help or change you.
Sometimes, it is difficult to fathom thoughts or things about yourself. You can ask your family and friends to help you by asking them about what they admire about you or your talents and skills. (we all like a little ego boost, don’t we?)
Short-list the topics
Once you have written the pointers on some of the topics you liked, it is now time to choose a topic to write your personal essay. You need to select the topic which came easy to you. They should be something about which the pointers came easily to you and which you closely feel connected with.
This topic should genuinely reveal something about yourself and should be the easiest to write about. So choose carefully.
Now that we finally have a winner, it is time to start writing our personal statement for a university. Start by free-writing about your topic. Just let the words drop out of your brain onto the paper. Let your grammar nazi self aside for a while and write whatever comes to your mind about that particular topic for your personal essay.
Take a deep breath and let the words flow like a river. This exercise will help you put down everything in your head onto paper. This will help you not leave out any points, whether big or minute, about the topic of your personal essay.
Structure and Restructure
It is now time to structure and restructure your personal essay. Make a proper outline and structure, and organise all your data into a basic framework. Prepare and set a tone for your personal statement for a university by keeping your audience in mind.
Try to understand what your reader wants to read and what you want to show them. Make sure these two things run parallel. According to this, now you will need to structure and restructure your blog. Organize your personal essay into three sections that are introduction, body and conclusion.
This is the part where you will actually write your personal statement for a university. Again, this draft does not have to be grammatically or overall perfect. Start framing your free written thoughts into proper sentences and put them into the structure you formed.
Start your essay in such a way that the reader gets hooked on your personal essay from the start. You can also add some anecdotes or some subtle jokes to make the essay more interesting. Your main motto is to connect to the reader and make them connect to you.
Writing does not come easy to everyone. We all have our days of getting writer’s block. (trust us!). The best way to get out of it is to free-write. Write anything that comes to your mind, and don’t worry about the grammar; you have time for that. You can do this!
Re-read the rough draft you have written and revise the content. Reframe the sentences if you feel the need to restructure the content if it needs to be restructured. This part will help you remember some details which you might have forgotten to add. Check out for the unnecessary words and sentences. Check the tone of the personal essay to see if it is exactly how you had imagined. Watch out for the active and passive voices throughout the essay.
It is now time to awaken your grammar nazi and let them quality-check your work. Once your personal statement is polished, it is now time to proofread and quality checks any grammatical and technical mistakes. Not all of us can be grammar wizards, so you use Grammarly to correct any grammatical mistakes. Grammarly Checks for all grammatical issues gives you correction suggestions and checks the tone and the paraphrasing.
It is recommended to ask someone else to proofread your work, such your someone from your family, a friend or your teacher, before submitting it. It is always a great idea to take a second opinion on the content, the writing quality and the tone of the essay. They are the ones who know you the best, so they can also help you understand if the personal statement is a true representation of yourself or not.
With each passing second, your heart might thump louder. But, it is not or never. Be confident in yourself and just hit the send button and leave a big sigh of relief.
Tips and tricks for writing a personal statement
Here are some tips and tricks you can use to write your personal statement for university.
- It is okay to take your own time to write a personal essay.
- It should be a true reflection of yourself, so always be honest.
- You can use a thesaurus to find synonyms, a perfect word or an expression.
- Find a perfect opening sentence.
- Put anecdotes and relatable expressions.
- Read your essay out loud to check your personal essay's tone and framing structure.
- Humour in your personal statement should be subtle and not forced.
- Make sure you reach the word limit and do not exceed it.
- Do not read your essay again once you have submitted your personal statement for a university.
- Try to stay away from a potentially controversial topic.
Difference between SOP and Personal Statement
Eh! Potato or potahto? Even though these two serve a similar purpose, there is a distinct difference between an SOP and a Personal Statement. An SOP is a detailed description of your motivation, goals, experience, achievements and extracurricular activities. Whereas a personal statement is an essay which tells the officers about your motivation, inspiration and goals.
As the name suggests, a personal statement is more towards a personal side than an SOP. A personal statement tells more about your life story, inspiration, and motivation, whereas an SOP goes into greater detail about your goals and motives.
If you are interested in turning you SOP into a masterpiece, check out this webstory on how to write a winning SOP!
Topics to choose for a personal statement
Are the blank page and the blinking cursor mocking you? Wait! Don’t throw the keyboard yet! We know it can be overwhelming to choose a topic for your personal statement for university, but as we said, this blog is here to make things easier for you. You can choose to write on any of the topics or fusion one or some of them in your personal essay.
1. Story of my life: If you have a moving and meaningful background, talent or any interest that makes you who “you” are, then you should definitely write about it. The admissions committee wants to know about you beyond your resume. You can write about your hobby or something which makes you unique. You can write about something that is relevant in your personal essay and not eerie. (we know that you can probably touch your elbow with your tongue, but that definitely won't go in your personal statement).
2. My warrior story: If you came in like a wrecking ball toward any obstacles or your problems and fought your way through, you can write about your journey. You are trying to show that you are not a quitter, and this prompt may show that you are courageous and perseverant in your personal statement for university.
3. Lesson learnt: There might be some things you must have written in bold and gold which you learnt after a setback; write that down. Maybe someone else might find that gold and write it in bold. Agreeing that you were and then changing your perspective to what was right can let the committee know that you are adaptable.
4. Problem Solver: You can choose this prompt if you’ve solved a problem or a dilemma, be it academic, intellectual or a work problem which was important to you no matter the scale of the problem. You can describe the problem and the approach you took to solve it.
5. Attention seeker: If there is a topic or a concept you just get lost in and end up losing track of time, you can write about it. Tell them how passionate you are about something. Everybody loves someone who is truly passionate and thoughtful about something. This might also give the impression that you are eager to learn more.
6. Inspire me: Is there someone who has inspired you? Do you see someone as your role model? You can write your essay on someone who inspires you or why, how they have inspired you, and how your life or perspective has changed. Or how has the person you admire influenced you?
7: Defining moments: have you encountered an incident or a moment which changed your life? If yes, you can write about the incident and how it shaped you or what you learned from it.
Personal essay examples
Now, let us see some personal essay examples for a university. These university personal statement examples will help you understand how to write one.
1: This is an excerpt from a personal statement template for a university written by a student for Architecture.
“The opportunity to leave a lasting impact is a privilege, and architects are gifted with this in every building they design. This is why I want to study architecture: you have the ability to change the course of someone’s life, purely with what you envisage. An article by Michael Bond discussed this. ‘The hidden ways that architecture affects how you feel’, describes how the design, space and presentation of a building can all have great effects on a persons mood and thoughts, looking at the Pruitt-Igoe apartment blocks as an example.”
2: This excerpt taken from an aeronautical student is very engaging because of the story format in their personal statement.
“From when I took my first flight at six years old, I became unconditionally mesmerised by planes and how they work. Over time, this interest has “skyrocketed”, whether it be through watching planes land and take off at airports, or obsessively watching air crash investigation programmes on television. When I saw there was a course specifically designed for the wonder that is aerospace, I knew it was perfect for me. I could learn about everything that has fascinated me for years.”
3: This is a Criminology/ Psychology personal essay example by a student.
“Examining behaviour and the reasons people act in the way they do has always fascinated me, especially in regards to crime. By taking Psychology at A-Level this allowed me to investigate further into behaviour. Additionally, completing a Future-Learn course on 'Forensic Psychology' by the Open University gave me a thorough understanding on the aspects behind this part of Psychology such as cognitive interviews and unconscious transference. This course gave me the opportunity to experiment with how I would fare identifying possible criminals from a line-up, giving me the chance to see if I could physically solve a crime. My EPQ was titled 'Does the CSI effect exist?'
4: This personal statement template for a university shows what incidents led them to choose Biomedical Sciences.
“My goal in studying Biomedical Science is to achieve a deeper knowledge of the human body. I respect people who dedicate their lives to help others in need and using their knowledge for the greater good. Since I was born and raised in the Philippines, I understand the need for Biomedical Science especially in lower economically developed countries where health issues such as malaria and tuberculosis have affected the country. Having an awareness of this issue at a young age has led to my curiosity in Biomedical Science.”
5: This excerpt of the personal statement shows what relevant experiences the student has gained previously in Graphics Designing.
“During my placement I learnt how fundamental research is and how it is conducted during the whole design process. After the placement I was more decisive about wanting to delve into the world of Graphic Design, hence I set about finding a work placement that solely focused on Graphic Design. My second placement was at Virgin Media, where I worked with graphic designers and UX designers and was introduced to the field of digital design. I attended meetings where briefs were being discussed and was able to follow the journey of the graphic designers to witness how they went about delivering the brief; and helping design assets for the website. The placement allowed me to comprehend what digital design consisted of and learn about the works of alternative designers such as UX designers.”
6: This is an example excerpt for a Psychology personal statement for a university
“I have held a deep-rooted interest in human psychology as my younger cousin, whom I see frequently, has autism, whereas his brother does not. To compare, both are alike in the sense that they have been raised in the same conditions, given equal amounts of affection and treated no differently to one another. This has shown me the full extent of this spectrum condition, and the irregularity of the behaviour that the condition causes continues to fascinate me.My interest was intensified upon reading ‘The Man That Mistook His Wife for a Hat’ by Oliver Sacks. This developed my curiosity into neurological diseases, leading me to later read ‘Hallucinations’. This gave me an insight into the world of those that suffer from these afflictions and how they operate despite such hardship, while providing a humane and personal angle. To further my knowledge of psychology, I have chosen to base the research for my Extended Project Qualification on dream analysis, an area that I find particularly intriguing.”
7: An personal essay example of Fashion Buying/ Merchandising personal statement for a university
“What we choose to wear mirrors how we wish to be perceived. Fashion is a continuation of personality; individuals can take the same item of clothing from a retailer and envision it completely differently, thus making it unique to them. Another aspect of fashion that I find interesting is its many forms of influence, such as culture. On their travels, buyers see something that inspires their trend board and feeds into the design process. This shows the power that buyers and merchandisers have in controlling what reaches consumers. The dynamic nature of the industry makes the risk taken rewarding when it's a success. It's this uncertainty that I think makes the roles of buyers and merchandisers so exciting.”
8: An excerpt from a personal essay example of a Law personal essay
“My attraction to law originates from my interest in justice and rewards. Human behaviour is always alternating and law is able to constantly focus on the rights of people and the bettering of society. Human rights is a challenge we face currently and law has continuously throughout time been able to rightly justify the actions of people to a great amount of satisfaction. Law is a natural part of the ethical system as, laws are followed by everyone. Therefore, I decided to pursue a career in the legal field as I will be personally reinforcing right-doing, and also assisting others in times of difficulty. Acquiring knowledge about the subject of law I believe will increase my way of interpreting and reasoning as an individual, thus improving my morality and virtues.”
9: This is an example of a personal essay for Korean studies.
“The way we communicate as a population has always fascinated me. Despite language and cultural barriers, we continue to stay connected through current affairs and ever-evolving social media. Throughout my life, I have devoted countless hours to studying languages and cultures that differ from my own, in order to better my knowledge of the world and learn how ones upbringing has such a colossal impact on the diversity of humanity. This is the root from which grew my love for both Korean and International Relations.”
10: This is an example of a Mechanical Engineering Personal Statement
“I hope a degree from your University will allow me to transfer key abilities from a place of study into, eventually, a place in industry. After much extended research, my admiration for the engineering innovator, Karl Benz, has been truly established. Commonly regarded as the originator of the first automobile powered by an internal combustion engine, his contributions to the vast domain that is engineering are simply colossal. One creation of his that captivated my mind tremendously was the ‘Blitzen Benz’; a vehicle fabricated solely for the purpose of speed. Assembled in 1909, this automobile boasted a 21.5L engine that produced 200 horsepower. At a time when the iconic Ford Model T was only generating around 22 horsepower, the pure muscle and craftsmanship that had been put into the Blitzen was enough to achieve a record breaking land speed of 141.94 mph; “faster than any plane, train, or automobile” at the time.”
The best way to write a personal statement for a university is to be co confident and believe in yourself. We hope this blog helps you write a killer personal statement for your university and get into your dream university. We believe in you, and you can do this.