Safia Yallaoui - Editor
WITH the winter wind-down drawing to an end, it is time to get back in the groove of things.
For all of you budding students out there, that might mean completing your undergraduate university applications. As you know, the UCAS deadline for most courses is 15th of January 2017. This means that, if you haven’t done so already, you still have ample time to polish off your applications and make sure that you stand out from the rest!
From my experience, the part that draws admissions officers’ attention most and can very easily make or break your overall application is your personal statement. There’s more expected from prospective students nowadays than just high grades. Extra-curricular activities and work-experience, paired with a solid reasoning as to why you would be fit for your course of choice are expected to be mentioned in your statement, so that the officers get a better feel for your personality.
Here are five things to bear in mind when writing your personal statement:
A personal statement ought to be well-structured, clear and concise. There’s nothing more painful for an admissions officer and detrimental for a future student than a poorly written statement. If ideas are not well-defined and it just looks like a jumble, the chances are very slim that your application will be successful – no matter what interesting extra-curricular activities you’ve added.
Therefore, make sure that there’s a balance between academic and non-academic achievements, set evenly in distinct paragraphs that flow together.
2. Be passionate and interesting
An interesting reason why you want to be offered a place on the course is very important, as it transforms an otherwise standard personal statement into a captivating read.
Don’t limit yourself to specifying why you’d be good at a particular subject, but mention what you hope to get out of it, and exactly how being on the course would be advantageous for your future. This shows that you have perspective for the future.
Perhaps someone or something inspired you to pursue this line of study. Tell that story! If you’re an international student, include reasons why you would enjoy studying abroad, and how that would contribute to your personal development.
3. Ask for a second opinion
Spending weeks toiling over a personal statement may diminish your ability to assess it critically. Don’t shy away from asking for a second opinion. Get a trusted friend, a family member or a teacher to look over it to ensure that it’s free from mistakes and that it puts you in the most positive light!
4. Make it your own!
At times, nerves can get the best of you and you may think, for whatever reason, that writing personal statements is not your strong suit. This might make you want to use a professional writing service for help. Although this is obviously the easy way out, it is far from the best solution. A professionally written statement can only be technically right, as it lacks the personal touch that only a statement you write yourself can provide.
Even if you do manage to obtain a place thanks to a professionally written statement, it’s only a momentary gain. There will be other occasions (e.g. essays, jobs or postgraduate degrees) when you will be expected to write a document that may not be so simple to back out of.
5. Don’t panic! Remember your deadlines
After working so hard to compile the perfect application, it would be a shame to mess it up at the very end. Whatever happens, know that you are one step closer to achieving your dream!
To conclude, here are some of the dates to bear in mind when you’re sending in your UCAS application:
15 January 2017, 18:00 (UK time) – For the majority of courses. Some art and design courses have a 24th March deadline, so you can add these later; but don’t forget you can only have five choices in total.
24 March 2017, 18:00 (UK time) – For some art and design courses. Others have a 15th January deadline, so make sure you check the course details to confirm the correct deadline you need to apply by.
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Safia Yallaoui - Editor
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