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What To Put In Your Personal Statement

Writing your personal statement is one of the most time consuming parts of applying to university. You might see it as a challenge that needs to be overcome, like Everest, or as a dark art that should be avoided at all costs.

In reality though, it’s not the hardest thing you’ll do all year. It can be tough to squeeze all your thoughts in to the 4000 character limit, but here are the top five things to put in your personal statement.

1. Why the subject interests you

It is important that your personal statement shows the admissions team why you want to study on their course.
There’s no need to dig really deep and trace things back to the start of your family tree, but make sure you have a paragraph in there that outlines why you want to dedicate the next three years of your life to this course and what sparked that interest.

2. Extra-curricular activities which link to your course

You need to show that you have more than a fleeting desire to study your chosen topic and the best way to do that is to demonstrate some previous experience in the field.
If you want to study Politics, write about your time in the debating society. Applying for Media Production? Mention all those YouTube videos you’ve been making. It could even be some volunteer work you’ve done in your community. Anything related to the course that wasn’t compulsory looks great to the admissions team.

3. Specific books/talks/theories you have engaged with

Not textbooks or lessons from school, but study outside of the classroom. This will show the admission tutor that you are keen to learn about your subject and you have the drive to get out there and really get to grips with it.
Going for Physics? Then there’s that Brian Cox book you bought. That said, watching Breaking Bad probably won’t help towards an application to study Chemistry.
And if you really want to stand out, go a bit hipster and give less mainstream examples to show you’ve really dug in to the topic.

4. Skills that show your potential to excel on your course

Make sure you get across the skills and attributes you have to study on the course and be the ultimate student.
We’re not talking things like the ability to function on only one hour’s sleep a week, more the educational attributes. Put in examples of when you’ve worked under pressure, met a tough deadline or aced a surprise test. It’s X-Factor sob story time without the tears.

5. Strong and memorable concluding statement.

First impressions may last, but so do the ones you leave with.
Make sure your personal statement has a clear conclusion that wraps up everything you’ve just written in to a few sentences. It’s vital you recap the key points to show how amazing you are and why they need you on their course. Putting it in a nice package at the end will make sure it stays with them when they’re making up their mind.

Find out how to write the perfect personal statement by watching our Personal Statements Webinar, where Newcastle University admissions staff and current students share their words of expert wisdom.

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