How to Write a Great Personal Statement

Whether it's to get an early offer to uni or to win a scholarship, writing a great personal statement that will get you noticed is the first step to taking advantage of opportunities and opening doors to a successful future.

What is a personal statement (PS)?

A personal statement is a short essay about... you! It explains why you are ideal for a certain course, scholarship or job. 

Start with the future

Getting started is the hardest part of writing a PS. A great introduction starts with the opportunity itself and why you want to apply. Explore and discuss your ideal future. Like heading into a job interview, make sure you do your research and explore how this opportunity will help you reach your goals.

For example, if you are applying for uni on an Early Entry application, then make sure you know all about your intended course:

  • What attracted you to that course?
  • What subjects you are most looking forward to studying?
  • What subjects did you study in school that might be relevant?
  • What part-time work have you done that would be useful for that course?
  • What career aspirations do you have that are relevant to that course?

It's all about you

The main body of your PS is all about you.

What are you passionate about - write about the extracurricular activities that energise you.

  • What sports are you involved in?
  • Which clubs do you belong to?
  • What volunteer work have you done?
  • What are your interests?
  • How do you spend your free time?

What achievements are you most proud of -  this is the chance to describe your strengths. 

  • Did you top any subjects?
  • Did you win any awards?
  • Did you hold a leadership position?
  • Did you get involved in any community initiatives that were important to you?

Don't be afraid of being personal

Of course, focusing on your successes is important, but don't be afraid to write about challenges you might have overcome, hardships that have made you a better person, or things about yourself that you work hard to improve every day. These things show resilience, tenacity and a growth mindset.

How would others describe you?

It's also a great idea to think about what others would say about you - would your mum say you are chatty, or your friends say you're outgoing, or your teacher say you are driven? Include these as they are a good way to describe your personality. Some other adjectives that might be useful are: responsible, friendly, polite, cooperative, vibrant, sweet, calm, well-organised, creative, resilient. 

Your motto?

Is there a motto that you particularly like to live by? If there is, tell the reader why it is meaningful to you.

Go back to the start

A good way to end your personal statement is to go back to why YOU should be considered for this opportunity. Summarise the best bits of the course, the College, yourself and tie this all together in your conclusion.

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