Personal Statement Dos and Don’ts

By Middlesex University Modified on January 10, 2019

Your personal statement is the most important part of your application to university.

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It explains who you are, why you think you are a good applicant and why you want to study the course you have chosen. It is about 400 words/47 lines and needs to be submitted along with the rest of your application.

DO…

  • Structure! Even if you make good points, a poorly organized personal statement makes reading hard work.
  • Show awareness of your subject. Make sure your passion shines through.
  • Grab the reader’s attention. You can use quotes, a zippy first line, or tell a story.
  • Make it relevant and current.
  • Give examples to back up your points: don’t just say “I’m a good team player” without any evidence. How does your reader know this is true? Instead, try something like this: “I’ve developed excellent time management skills through juggling my studies with a part-time job and babysitting my sisters twice a week. Balancing these obligations while still leaving time for hobbies is hard, but I make weekly plans which enable me to organize myself well.”
  • Use all the space – just writing a few lines isn’t enough.

DON’T…

  • Lie. You will be caught out.
  • Use slang or poor English. This is a formal document.
  • Use bullet points. Write in full paragraphs.
  • Get someone else to write it – that includes personal statements found online. Admissions tutors have software which will tell them if something is stolen.
  • Try to include too much. It is better to mention a few skills with examples to show how you developed them.
  • Repeat information that is elsewhere on your application.
  • Mention specific universities. The same personal statement goes to all your choices.

For more tips on writing your personal statement, download Middlesex University’s free personal statement guide here.