How to Write a Good Personal Statement

By Cardiff Metropolitan University Modified on November 03, 2017

Cardiff Met graduate Grace shares her experience of applying to university

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Applications can be time consuming and complicated, and the personal statement can really feel like the cherry on the cake. To help you – and stop you making some of the mistakes I did, I have shared some useful tips on how to pull-off your personal statement.

1. Tone

It is very important to strike the right tone. Tone, in written form, is attitude. It’s the feeling of a text. You want your personal statement to feel believable, feel genuine, feel positive and feel informed. Avoid phrases such as ‘from an early age’, ‘I have a thirst for knowledge’ and ‘I’ve always been passionate about…’ or bold sweeping statements like ‘I was the best in my classes, ‘I’ve always been good at…’ or ‘I’ve come so far’. You can still express your personality while avoiding these clichés.

2. Content

The ideal ratio of academic to personal info in your statement would be: 75/25. Only include relevant personal information. Your first paragraph = your first impression. Write about why you want to take up this course. What is great/beneficial about your chosen discipline? After you have ignited their interest, talk about your experiences and how they relate to your chosen area of study.

One way of promoting yourself modestly, is by stating your achievements/experience and demonstrating how you can utilise these skills in the big wide world. Universities have a real interest in Global Citizenship; the awareness that you are part of a larger community and that you are able to effectively communicate with others.

Ideally, a significant amount of your experience should have been gained outside the classroom. Universities and employers are looking for candidates that go above and beyond. If you haven’t got extra-curricular experience though, don’t panic. The important thing is that your experiences so far are applicable to real and academic life.

3. Punctuation & Grammar

It doesn’t matter whether you are applying for an English degree or a Maths degree, good grammar and appropriate punctuation is an absolute essential. Proof-read the hell out of your statement and give it to friends, family, and tutors. Also – be wary of spell-check! A computer can’t always tell what the tone of a sentence is or which ‘homophone’ you intend to use, e.g. write/right, meet/meat, peace/piece.

Interested in studying at Cardiff Met? Check out our step by step guide on how to apply.