How to: tips on writing your personal statement

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So, I have decided to take the next step in my long ole’ journey to becoming the most amazing marketing employee ever, much to the dismay of my other half – who now realises he may be responsible for more of the washing up!!

Anyway, back to my news.. I’m applying for an MA in Public Relations and Multimedia Communications – I thought my undergrad degree was long but come on!

Now for anyone who has had the pleasure of going to University or studying a Masters, you will know the worst part about it is the personal statement.. unless you enjoy talking to no end about yourself and achievements and you’re weird like that. Me! I couldn’t think of anything worse.

I know I’m not the only one to a) struggle and b) keep putting it off until I’m supposed to enrol. I thought it might be good to share some tips on how I pushed myself to complete it and advise on what to write etc.

I didn’t actually start to write it until I was sat on the coach travelling to my first ever trade fair with work. It gave me the opportunity to sit in an isolated place with no distractions – just me and Manny (I’ve named my laptop Manny Mac, how sad) – doing our thing. Over the next few days I had time and incentives to write about what I loved and what excited me.

The following 5 tips are designed not only for undergraduates, but for anyone applying for a postgraduate degree or even a job interview. I hope you find them useful.

Don’t overthink it

this is probably the most important tip I could give you – when I found myself sitting down to write my personal statement I kept getting a mental block. The one thing that I hate the most is having to talk about myself and “big up” all my achievements. The way I got over this was to bullet point the sort of things I wanted to include and went from there.

Explain why you want to do this course

It may seem obvious however most people often forget this. They rant on about their skills and previous experience but neglect the real reason as to why they are applying. Be honest and really focus on the parts that you enjoy or the inspirations behind the degree choice.

Take your time

There is absolutely no reason you need to write it over a few days and submit as soon as the  idea pops into your head. Its taken my 2 weeks and I’ve only finished my first draft, I haven’t even sent it to anyone to proof read. Sometimes it’s easier to take breaks and write in sections rather than one long essay.

Proof, Proof and Proof again

If University has taught me anything it’s to make sure somebody reads your work before you press submit. The more feedback you get its more likely the final version will be better. Of course some advice will be more constructive than others however take it with a pinch of salt.

Leave it at the door

What I mean by this is once you’ve written your personal statement, proof read to no end and submitted then leave it alone. I’ve learnt from experience that once you’re done with the piece you can’t change it so there is no point concerning yourself with what could’ve been.

Waiting to hear back from your university, or even your employer for that matter, can be a stressful and anxious time. You’ll only worry yourself more if you haven’t heard back. They won’t forget about you so just give it time.

To sum up, be yourself and write honestly. Include what you love about the subject, university and experiences. Lecturers/Employers want to get to know you, not the fake you  who you think will impress.