Selling yourself in under 4,000 characters to an academic you've never met is pretty daunting even for the most confident sixth-form student. So we've put together some dos and don'ts to make sure you show yourself in the best possible light.
Here are eight don'ts
• Don't spend ages trying to come up with a perfect, snappy first line – write anything and return to it later.
• Don't use cliches. According to the Ucas Guide to Getting into University and College, the most overused opening sentences this year were variations of "from a young age I have always been interested in…" This looks formulaic and is a waste of characters.
• Famous quotes should be avoided, as these will be found in countless other applications. For instance, this line by Coco Chanel was found in 189 applications for fashion courses this year: "Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only."
• Don't list your interests, demonstrate them. Professor Alan Gange, head of the department of biological sciences at Royal Holloway, University of London, says: "Actually doing something, for example joining a national society or volunteering for a conservation organisation, tells me that students have a passion."
• Style matters. Don't be chatty and use slang, but on the other hand, don't be pretentious. Cathy Gilbert, director of customer strategy at Ucas, says: "If you try too hard to impress with long words that you are not confident using, the focus of your writing may be lost."
• Don't ask too many people for advice. Input from teachers is helpful, but it is important that the student's personality comes across.
Nicole Frith, 19, who has just started a BSc in Geography at the University of Durham, asked two teachers for advice on content. "I would seriously advise against asking teacher after teacher," she said. "There is no such thing as a perfect personal statement, and everyone has different opinions." Most admissions offices are happy to give general advice, and the Ucas website has video guides on how to plan and write your statement.
• Don't be tempted to let someone else write your personal statement for you. A recent news report says sixth-formers are paying up to £350 on the internet for personal statements written by university students. Ucas, which uses fraud detection software to identify cheating, warns of "serious consequences".
• Dont' skimp on paragraphs, despite their negative impact on line count. You want your statement to be readable.
And eight dos
• Organisation is the key. Caroline Apsey, 19, who started a medical degree at the University of Leeds this term, says: "Before I started writing, I made bullet points of everything I wanted to include, and ordered them from most important to least."
• Leave yourself plenty of time for editing. "Start writing early, so that you have lots of time to re-read it with fresh eyes," Caroline says. Then edit and edit and edit again.
• Be specific. Lee Hennessy, deputy head of admissions and recruitment at the University of Bath, says: "Don't just say, you're interested in a subject because it's interesting. Ask yourself, what it is, specifically, about the subject that interests you?"
Lee Marsden, associate dean of admissions for the faculty of arts and humanities at the University of East Anglia, agrees: "We want to know what excites the student: perhaps a book they have read or a play they have seen. There needs to be a hook."
• Show you are up to date with developments in your subject: perhaps you could analyse a recent journal article or news event.
"You need to tune in to what's current in your subject," says Louise Booth, assistant director of sixth form at Fulford school in York. "For example, if you're a politics candidate: have you been to see the prime minister or your local MP speak?"
• Around 80% of your statement should be dedicated to your studies and work experience, and 20% to extra-curricular activities. Hobbies are valuable, but must be used to reveal something relevant about the applicant.
"A simple 'I have done' list is not useful," says Helen Diffenthal, assistant principal for advice and guidance at the Sixth Form College, Farnborough. "Saying that you were captain of the cricket team doesn't make any difference unless you use it to show that you can manage your time effectively."
• Be original but treat humour with caution – jokes can fall flat.
"Original is excellent," says Gange. "I once saw a statement written in the style of a tabloid journalism article. It was factual and entertaining; the student gained a place here and got a first."
"We let through quirky statements if the student is quirky," says Booth. "Don't try to be funny if that's not you – it won't work."
• Correct spelling and grammar is vital, so use the spell-check on your computer and get other people, such as teachers, to proofread your statement.
• In the end, honesty is the best policy. Tell the admissions tutor, in your own words, why you deserve a place. "Just be yourself," says Nicole. "That worked for me."
TSR Wiki > University > Applying to University > Personal Statement Library > Business Studies 3
Business Studies Personal Statement
From an early age, I have always been interested in the business world. The way a single business can be linked to other businesses all over the world is an extremely exciting thought for me. Also, being a conscientious and hard-working student, I have always wanted to pursue the next academic challenge available to me and by chasing a business career, I can always ensure that this is a possibility. I have chosen to pursue a business studies degree because of its versatility in that I can enter a wide range of jobs once I have graduated, from accountant to investment banker. In this current job market, I think versatility could be one of the greatest skills to possess.
As a student, I will bring with me great enthusiasm in what I do, and a thirst for knowledge as a product of the curiosity and sense of wonder that I have for this remarkable science. I am anxious to learn and develop new skills required to aid me through university and wherever my life afterwards leads me to, and will provide a hardworking attitude with me in order to ensure that I am equipped with the necessary skills.
Although I have not had the pleasure of studying Business through the educational system, my current subjects teaches me a lot that is relevant to business. Law will help me in business because it has taught me how there are a myriad of all kinds and types of laws that bear upon business establishments. Not only that, but studying law will help me whenever I have to understand business law in the future. Sociology is also helpful in the business world because of how connected businesses are. Everything takes place in a sociological context, so knowing about the groups you are dealing with helps you manage your business in other cultures more effectively because you are more in tune with what people value and how they interact. Studying ICT at A-level is obviously very helpful because business as we know it today would, in many cases, be impossible to transact without ICT. One example from the banking industry is cheque processing. It's been said that without information technology systems, to process all the cheques handled in the U.S. manually would take a human staff the size of the entire working population of California. Although each subject that I study is quite different from one another, they all prepare me for university and business life because they require a lot of hard work and require self motivational study.
I devote my spare time to the Air Training Corps, which I have been a part of for more than 2 years. Although a lot of it is fun, with activities such as shooting, flying and band practice (in which I am the Bass Drummer), there is an element of effort required to getting the most out of it. The hardest, but most rewarding, activity I have ever done with the ATC is finishing my Gold Duke of Edinburgh expeditions. This required me to prepare my own kit and a route for which to follow and hike for 60 miles spread out over 4 days with a team. This enhanced my inter-personal, communication and team building abilities, which is vital to any workplace. On top of that, I have also completed my First Aid certificate, my Junior Sports Leaders award and have achieved the rank of Corporal, all of which have taught me confidence in everything I do and will no doubt help me in life regardless of workplace setting.
I am a self motivated, determined individual and I look forward to the social and academic challenges of university. Nobody in my family has studied at university level, but I am confident that I will be up to the challenge of studying and excelling in this very demanding subject.
Universities Applied to:
- Birmingham University (Business Management (Year in Industry) - Conditional Offer (AAB)
- Durham University (Business and Management) - Conditional Offer (ABB)
- Kent University (Business Studies with a Year in Industry) - Conditional Offer (BBB) Insurance
- Lancaster University (Business Studies) - Conditional Offer (AAB) Firm
- Manchester University (Business Studies) - Conditional Offer (ABB)
- ICT (A2) - B
- Law (A2) - B
- Sociology (A2) - A*
- History (AS) - C
I know that not that many people will have gone to something extra on top of college (like my Air Cadets), but in that space I would recommend that you put anything about work experience and how it's related to Business or any enrichments that you've done......if you've done no extra curricular stuff then I'm out of ideas :)
Comments on the statement:
Categories: Business and Management Personal Statements | Social Sciences and Law | Birmingham Personal Statements | Durham Personal Statements | Kent Personal Statements | Lancaster Personal Statements | Manchester Personal Statements