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Old 05-10-2017, 09:51 AM   #1
kevin647
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Default How to write a UCAS Personal Statement

About Us: SuccessGoGo is a group of ex Ivy-league and Oxbridge graduates currently working in the largest banks and law firms in the world. Having been in your position and struggled with the admissions process, we are well placed to guide you through the application process. Visit us at www.SuccessGoGo.com to submit your personal statement for a free review by someone in your prospective university. All of our services are completely FREE of charge.




How to craft a fantastic Personal Statement

​The key to writing a good personal statement is to understand what the admissions tutors are looking for: (1) your motivations for wanting to enrol onto their particular course, (2) whether you possess the necessary aptitude and qualities to succeed on their course, and finally as a bonus, (3) about you as an individual and why their university would be a better place with you in it.

1. Motivation – Why do you want to enrol onto this course?

​This is the most important section of the personal statement, and it should tell a compelling and cogent story of what motivates you as a person, and how this has culminated in you applying to this course.

There is no one size fits all approach to this section, and it will vary vastly from applicant to applicant. We have seen applicants write about motivations as diverse as a significant childhood event that shaped their life, an interesting book, TV show or Youtube video that inspired them, even a prominent world leader or captain of industry that they look up to.

One reason why admissions tutors love this section is because so much can be gleaned from an applicant’s motivation to study a particular course. Not only does it allow the admission tutor to better understand you as an individual, and what would drive or motivate you to succeed in their course, it also gives them invaluable insights into your view of the course and its role in society.

An applicant who applies to law school and is motivated to better understand the fabric of society and the threads that underpin it is fundamentally different from an applicant who aims to channel the power of the law to champion the rights of the less privileged, and again different from an applicant who came to love the law after regular viewings of “Suits”. Again we want to stress that of the three, there is no right or wrong approach, and the last applicant may well prove to be the most successful lawyer of the three. Admissions tutors recognise this as well, and as much as you are tempted to make up a fancy story, don’t. Your motivation should be unique to yourself as an individual, and originality and sincerity matter far more than a recycled story of wanting to be a fancy litigation lawyer to defend the rights of the poor.

2. Aptitude – Would you be a great student

Even the most enthusiastic candidate in the world will not succeed in a chosen field of study if he/she lacks the necessary aptitude, skills and qualities required of a student in that field. Admissions tutors will not accept a candidate unless they believe the applicant has what it takes to excel in their course.

Accordingly, you should allocate a fairly large portion of your personal statement to discuss how and why you will be successful in their course.

While the purpose of the Motivation section is to capture the reader’s attention and to make your personal statement truly stand out, you should not venture too far off the beaten track for this Aptitude section. Play it safe, and set out in a clear and structured manner why you will do well in this course.

There are many ways that this can be done. The trick is not to simply list your achievements, but to critically analyse and evaluate how these achievements would contribute to you being a great student. We have set out a simple 3 step approach:

​Step 1 – Identity the skills required to succeed in the course
For example, if you are applying to read law, you should first identity the key skills required to excel in law. This would include written and verbal communication skills, as well as critical thinking and analysis. Softer skills would include the ability to work well under pressure, attention to detail, and ability to visualise and articulate different points of view.

Step 2 – Compile a list of recent experiences
Next, you should first come up with a list of your unique experiences that you would like to discuss in your personal statement. This could include both academic and non-academic experiences, and include activities as diverse as being on a debate team, an internship at a law firm, a national competition you took part in, to a volunteering activity you did in your free time.

Step 3 – How have these experiences helped you develop the skills in Step 1
Finally, think about how each of your experiences has helped you develop the skills identified in Step 1. For instance, your work as part of a debate team in researching, preparing and articulating strong coherent arguments may have honed your skills of critical thinking and delivery skills. You could also go on to talk about specific scenarios where you were thrown a curveball and had to react on your feet to quickly and effectively bring the situation under control, all skills that would make you a great lawyer.

Remember, the key is to not simply list your achievements, but to always link it back to your course. If you were a debate team captain, that’s great, but if being a debate captain trained you to think on your feet and to quickly and effectively devise and articulate strong, coherent arguments, and this skill would prove invaluable both as a law student and a future member of the bar, congratulations, you have just elevated your personal statement from an average application to an outstanding one.

3. Individuality - Why would the university be a better place with you in it?

This is the last section of your personal statement. Assuming you have followed the 2 steps set out above, the admissions tutor should have a pretty good idea of why you love the course, and why you would excel in the course.

The goal of this section then, is to close the deal, to let them know how much they would be missing out should they fail to make you an offer. Show them that there is a different side to you, a side that knows how to have fun, that you are an exciting and dynamic individual, and the university would be a better place for it. This might be your hobby in stocks trading, the one time you finished first in a regional DOTA 2 competition or your volunteering trip to Cambodia.​​

One applicant we worked with even wrote about how his love for Manchester United has left him dying to visit the UK for a pilgrimage to Old Trafford. We found it to be a very personal and original touch, and indeed the admissions tutors must have agreed, for he received offers from most of his choice universities!

A Parting Note

What university are you applying to?​​
Based on our experience, we have notice that different universities tend to be look out for a different student profile. For example, Oxbridge tends to favour a more academic profile , while LSE tends to select students with a strong commercial bent. If you have a dream university in mind, please indicate accordingly in the comments section when submitting your personal statement to us, and we will apply our expertise to help you realise your dream.

Choice of words
Do also remember that your choice of words is of vital importance. Remember to always use active and positive language instead of passive ones. For example, you shouldn't just say that you were 'interested' in discovering more about the law, but that you were "fascinated" or "eager" etc. Small differences, but they go a long way towards leaving a bright and positive impression on the admissions tutor.



Get your Free review by an alumni

Done with your personal statement? Submit it to us for a confidential review by someone in your prospective university, completely free of charge. Visit us at www.SuccessGoGo.com to find out more!
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Applying to university or a job? Get your application reviewed ​by a fellow alumni or professional in your industry. Visit us at www.SuccessGoGo.com!
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