It is arguably the trickiest part of your postgraduate application process, so it's extremely important to get it right.
Here are a few pointers to help make sure you get it right!
Make it personal
The most obvious point is that your personal statement should be personal. Make sure you talk about the skills that you have, the experiences that you've enjoyed as well as your hobbies and achievements. Can you work well on your own and in a team? Can you manage and prioritise your workload and are you able to communicate effectively? These are skills that you should mention within your personal statement. It's the perfect opportunity to distinguish yourself from others and the ideal place to make a lasting impression on the admissions panel to offer you a place on a postgraduate program.
Draft… and re-draft
When writing a personal statement, it's important to spend a good amount of time ensuring that you're promoting and showcasing yourself in the best possible way. Not only this, but taking your time can alleviate any errors and shows the readers that you really are serious about studying further. You'll probably make a few drafts of your personal statement but this is fine to absolutely get it right.
Keep it concise
A personal statement shouldn't be too long, they’ll be many other personal statements that need to be read and considered, so you need to ensure you make your points in a concise and engaging fashion. You should use the word count though (if there is one) and lay it out in a professional manner.
Other points to consider when writing your personal statement is that you should talk about why you'd like to do the course, your preferred career after the course is completed and anything else that can support your statement. If you're applying to study in a different country, explain why you'd like to do so.
Tell the truth
The last point to remember is that you should always be truthful. Be honest in your achievements and experiences. You will be caught out if you do make false claims, either in your interview or by the admissions officer doing some simple research. You should remember to include any documentation to support your claims, for example, if you've had your work published, bring a copy with you. If you have a portfolio filled with work you've completed, bring it to your interview. This shows dedication to your career and professional growth, which can only be a benefit to your application and indeed your chosen university.
In conclusion... A personal statement is important to get right because it gives the university admissions panel their very first impression of you. Take your time, be proud of your skills and achievements. Your statement could make the difference between securing a spot and not, so make sure your application stands out from the crowd.
If you'd like to find out more about postgraduate study, you can visit the UCAS website, The Complete University Guide to find out all you need, and Gov.UK to read about finance options for postgraduate students in the UK.