Writing a UCAS Personal Statement requires a pupil to convey a wide range of information in a short space of time. Errors are easy to make. Read our run down of the most typical ones and the way to stay away from them.
Writing an individual Statement for UCAS is, in ways that are a number of, like asking a student to tell the story of the life of theirs in 4,000 characters or even less.
And if that sounds hard, it’s because it’s.
The UCAS Personal Statement is the basis of any UK faculty application. Pupils have to write a genuine, authoritative and compelling account of who they’re and what they really want from a UK faculty degree. They have to quickly grab the eye of the faculty admissions officer reading through the Personal Statement of theirs, & they need to make certain they get noticed from the hundreds of other apps which will be crossing that admission officer’s table.
As a way to do this, help with personal statement is going to require a student to master form, structure and content in such how that makes their publishing stand out.
Understandably, pupils could be an inordinate amount of pressure so you can get their Personal Statement right very first time.
In fact, more often than not, it’s not much of a case of pupils getting lazy when writing their UCAS Personal Statements. The problem is usually that pupils will have a great deal to say and would have put a lot of thought into their Statement, but may create some simple stylistic mistakes that may cost them when they eventually submit the application of theirs.
But in case these mistakes are not hard to make, they’re also simple to avoid.
- Writing your own Statement for a topic that is not the right match
If students have done their research carefully and considerately, then this shouldn’t be a problem. Ideally, in the season leading up to the submission of the Personal Statement, your pupils could have shortlisted their faculty and also program tendencies to the stage where they are requesting a subject area they’re truly fervent about.
But this very first, major mistake is the pure conclusion of a student being pressured into a subject or maybe profession by family, parents or perhaps school peers. Hopefully this won’t happen – but if a student is publishing their UCAS Personal Statement for a subject they are not really passionate about, subsequently this should set off alarm bells. It will ultimately have an effect on the quality of the Personal Statement.
And, most notably, admissions team members will quickly spot an individual Statement in which the student’s heart is not in it.
- Grammar and Spelling Mistakes
This might look like a rather apparent error, and one your students ideally shouldn’t be making.
Though the tight time frames associated with a UCAS Personal Statement will make spelling and grammar mistakes a lot more likely, especially in case your students aren’t taking time to proof-read their own statement before distributing it.
Spelling and grammar mistakes can definitely count against students, and also will make their publishing seem to be sloppy and poorly thought through. It is an especially bad look in case your pupils are applying for humanities or social sciences courses, or in fact any degree that requires a large amount of extended writing!
- Avoid exuberant language and pointless cliches
“My love of Physics began when I used to look up at the night sky as a kid, and also found it simultaneously breath-taking and awe-inspiring.”
“I’ve been enthusiastic about the works of William Shakespeare since seeing the first generation of mine on stage. I’m fascinated by how Shakespeare remains relevant for today.”
Could you see what’s wrong with these two examples?
Whilst they are well-worded and positive very statements about why a pupil may be better to study astrophysics, or maybe Shakespearian literature, both these Personal Statement instances tip very quickly into generalisation and cliche.
We are not implying you should not encourage the students of yours to take good language when composing a UCAS Personal Statement, but this good language should be backed up with apparent, rigorous analysis along with specific examples.
Remember – the key to an excellent Personal Statement is showing, not telling.
And so why is Shakespeare still applicable to today? What specific examples could a student writing about a 16th century author use to demonstrate the importance of theirs to the 21st century?
Furthermore, proclaiming a like for the wonders of the night sky is all well and perfect, but why did it make our case student want to learn Physics?
- Endlessly listing extracurricular activities
Extracurricular activities are a crucial part of any Personal Statement. If used in the proper way, they might help a student to stand out, and also look like an well rounded individual. Extracurriculars can also help to showcase valuable soft skills that universities worth in the pupils of theirs.
But there is no point using extracurriculars such as a grocery list. Students endlessly describing the extracurriculars of theirs will mean nothing in case they don’t relate them to the general narrative of the Personal Statement.
Once again, it’s about showing, not telling. Saying’ I have captained the school football team of mine for three years’ means nothing if the author does not explain this activity within the context of the Personal Statement.
Top tip: When planning their Personal Statement, pupils have to think about the extracurricular activities that can reveal soft skills. What did they find out from doing this certain extracurricular activity? Do they think it will set them apart in their overall application? When the answer is no, then it’s best not applying it in.
- Over using quotes or even taking them out of context
Remember what we said about exuberant language & cliches?
It’s exactly the same with the application of quotes.
Quotes can be quite an effective device to back up any argument, be it in a UCAS Personal Statement or maybe any other essay type.
But quotes put to use clumsily can often have the opposite effect, and make the writer of a personal Statement appear to be pretentious or just quoting for the benefit of it.
Many students might feel tempted to open up their Personal Statement which includes a quote from Mahatma Gandhi, or Martin Luther King. A student who’s publishing an application for psychology might think it vital to start their Personal Statement with a quote from Sigmund Freud.
The difficulty is that many UK faculty admissions tutors have probably noticed the same quotes over and over. Once again, if quotes aren’t used in context, and don’t perform the overall narrative of the Personal Statement, then it could be really worth not putting them in.
It’s also essential to remember that colleges would like to hear from the pupil, not Sigmund Freud! If in doubt, a student writing your own Statement should use the own ideas of theirs and insights, not someone else’s.