Five Common Mistakes When Writing A Personal Statement

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So, you’ve decided that you want to go to University. But before you can get there you need to complete your UCAS form. Without a doubt, the most daunting part of that form is writing your Personal Statement.

Your Personal Statement should be a culmination of everything you’ve done and achieved to date, without showing off or hitting the wrong tone. As a result, writing a personal statement is a difficult balancing act that requires skill to get right.

We’ve spoken with our crack team of teachers to discover some of the most common personal statement mistakes students make. Here are the top five mistakes students make when creating their personal statement.

1. Failure to show academic suitability for your chosen subject

Why have you selected the subject(s) you’ve put on your UCAS form? If you’re unable to articulate this and demonstrate your suitability for your chosen courses, you’re unlikely to receive an offer from the universities you applied to.

2. Not showing how you’ve developed your knowledge

You’ve studied hard at school and your predicted grades match or are better than the course requirements, but that’s not enough for most universities. A lot of students think that grades are all that matters to universities. University is hard, and the level of understanding required is far higher than school. But can you demonstrate what you’ve done to further your knowledge in your chosen subject outside of school?

Too much focus on extracurricular activities

Universities also want to get to know you. Most of us would not define ourselves by the subjects we’ve studied at school, or the grades we’re likely to get. But often, students spend too much time on what they do outside of school to the detriment of their academic capabilities. There’s a fine balance, so you need show who the real you is, without diverting focus away from the admissions team’s core focus: are you suitable for the course you’ve applied to, and will you come out the other side with a good degree?

Inappropriate use of language

What’s the best tone of voice to use when writing your personal statement? Should you be formal and risk being a bit bland? Or should you reveal the real you? If you’re too chatty, universities won’t take you seriously. But if you’re too formal, you’ll come across a bit like a robot without a personality.

Remember, if you’ve decided to apply to go to University, you’re likely considering a residential degree where you leave home - probably for the first time - to live near campus. Will you fit in with your course mates? Will you fit in with your housemates or the community at the hall of residence? These are questions that the admissions team will be asking as they read your personal statement.

A lack of editing

Right now, you probably don’t know where to start with your personal statement, and you can feel yourself procrastinating. You’re anxious and have lost confidence in your own abilities. You start to doubt whether you should even be applying to University.

You end up rushing your personal statement.

You’re under pressure to meet the deadline, and you just submit your first draft. Your personal statement ends up being full of spelling mistakes, bad grammar and poor formatting. You also rambled on about something unimportant, and you ended up repeating or, worse, contradicting yourself. This is enough to turn universities off - you’ve shown a lack of care and attention to detail. And they’ve struck you off the list.

Don’t fall into these traps. I know it’s harder than it sounds, but you can do this. And Adapt, we’re here to help you through what can be an incredibly stressful time. Adapt is free revision timetable app that adapts- if you get more done than expected, or miss a session, Adapt will move it to another day to make sure you get everything done by exam day, stress free. Let’s smash this together.

Cover image by @studykea

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Five Common Mistakes When Writing A Personal Statement