How To Make Your Personal Statement Stand Out
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How To Make Your Personal Statement Stand Out

Ellie-Rose Baker November 13, 2022

Personal statements are notoriously difficult to write, and even more difficult to make unique but there are ways to make them stand out.

Use the cliché that your teachers love: Imagine being in a university admissions team, with thousands of personal statements on your desk, all starting with “I have wanted to be a nurse/teacher/engineer all my life.” After reading three hundred personal statements that morning, you’re already bored.

So, as a student, what are you going to do to make your admissions team sit up in their chair? To remember your personal statement and make sure it really stands out?

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Plan your opening statement

This is the part of your personal statement that you immediately separate you from the rest. Make it concise, but unique to your experienced. And whatever you do …

Avoid all clichés

This one should go without saying, particularly because you are at the university application stage, you’ve done enough writing to get to this point.

“For as long as I can remember …”, “Ever since I was young …” and the classic “fuelled my desire” are all examples of things that will make your admissions team groan.

If you are struggling to let go of these clichéd ideas, use personal details – after all, this is your personal statement. Rather than “I have wanted to be a nurse my entire life”, try “At 12 I was diagnosed with [] and received the best care from the nursing staff at Royal Lane Hospital. It is this level of care that I would like to replicate in my own practice.”

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Explain WHY

On a similar note, you need to justify your statements. If you have an interest in History, you need to say why. If you are fascinated by film production, you must include details and explain why. Remember those thousands of personal statements stacked on the admissions desk?

Target specific lecturers’ literature

If you are REALLY passionate about which university you want to study at and have done your research, target individual lecturers’ literature. More often than not, your future lecturers (who you should be able to find on the university’s website), will have published works in their fields.

“I have a keen interest in local literature, particularly that of John Smith and Jane Doe …”

However, this is a risky business as you are only allowed one personal statement for your five choices. You don’t want to look as though you are leaning too far towards one university.

If you are going to go for this option (like I did, successfully!), be careful with it.

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Don’t forget what’s important!

It’s all well and good using academic language and flowery sentences, but if you forget to mention your A-Level subjects or the skills gained from your most recent employer, you’re missing a trick.

Use the UCAS Personal Statement tools to remind you of what needs to be included.

Read next: University Open Day Questions You Must Ask

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Ellie-Rose Baker, alumni of the University of South Wales, is an almost adult, tackling the big wide world with an English and Creative Writing degree in one hand, and a cuppa in the other. A Freelance Journalist for Freshered, Ellie-Rose's primary focus' are navigating postgraduate life, climate change and literature. She also takes her writing inspiration from her other roles which include theatre ushering and English teaching.