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How to write a personal statement: An international version

A Picture of Mira


So, you have come to a point where you are supposed to write a personal statement for your UCAS application. Do not panic! It’s basically a short story of you, your qualifications and why you are the best applicant that should definitely be chosen. The hardest bit is how to put your words in understandable form in English without sounding stupid (trust me, it’s surprisingly hard to find English counterparts for everyday phrases you might use.) You might have not written such intense and serious text in English before, except if you have done IB. For me, writing the statement took a while. I didn’t go to IB but I have always loved English and it helped a lot.

First, it is fine to google every possible way to write a successful personal statement. Read a few examples and get a clue what to include and in which order. But bear in mind, universities will use a system where they will recognize copied work so please, please write your own with our own words. Stealing someone else’s work is a crime and, well, just lame. Be original!!

Being keen on writing about yourself helps, so don’t save those all-so-fine words, put a real effort into it. Writing passionately about yourself might seem weird, especially for me it did, in Finland we don’t tend to praise ourselves our achievements. It’s a cultural thing that should be changed, at least in my opinion..

And also, don’t expect to write the statement in ten minutes. A perfect text requires hours of work, having breaks, checking it several times especially that grammar. I gave mine to my English teacher who checked the grammar and changed some dodgy bits from here and there. You also will be introduced to your future best friend, the dictionary. There is no day when I don’t check some words for my course, so don’t be cocky. It’s not lame to check for proper translations 🙂

I really hope that this helped even a little. It applies for every personal statements you’ll write for uni applications and brings together some basic points. Remember to be formal; start the letter with a proper greeting; proofread again and again and you can also give it to someone else who might know English better that you! Don’t stress too much about it, give it some time 🙂

Good luck with your personal statements!!


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