Preparation is Paramount: Personal Statements

The new academic year begins! We are also pleased to welcome back our blogger, Taylor Cornes, who is now a second year student studying primary education at the University of Worcester. In her first post Taylor gives some advice on writing personal statements.

It is never too early to start preparing for University, and have an idea of what career you wish to embark on in the future. A year ago I was in the same shoes as many people across the country being daunted by the procedure of choosing the right course for me, looking at different universities, and beginning the all-too-daunting application process. For me, the most difficult point was starting as I was bombarded with information, which made me feel almost scared to start making decisions about my future.

Although I had known from a very young age that I wanted to be a Primary School Teacher, it is natural for doubts to creep into your mind, as they did for me. I doubted my ability to obtain the entry requirements, let alone passing the skills tests, but you really must believe in yourself – especially when writing your personal statement.

The thought of submitting a tiny passage of writing to summarise myself and why I wanted to be a Primary School Teacher seemed like an impossible task – partly because I’m all too good at “waffling” – but it was through drafting my personal statement that I learnt how to be concise! There is no limit to how many times you can draft a personal statement, and I feel that the more drafts you produce and the more people you have to look at it and give their opinion, the better.

My advice for writing a personal statement would be to divide it into sections: you as an individual, the subjects you study, your experience, and a summary. With teacher training personal statements, reflection should be a consistent theme. For example, those responsible for offering interviews and places at Universities don’t want you to describe who you are, what you study, and the experience you have – they want you to reflect on it and link it to your ambition to be a teacher. One crucial tip would be to not rush your personal statement, good writing takes time and it’s important to leave it and come back to it with fresh eyes and new ideas.

The universities you apply to want to feel your personality come through in your passage of writing, and they are usually good at sensing whether what you have written is false – and will often pick you up on it during the interview!

My final tip would be to avoid comparing your personal statement to someone else’s. Universities have seen thousands of personal statements and they are looking for something new and refreshing. You only have a short amount of lines and characters to fill, so make sure you do not waste them – you have one chance to prove to your chosen universities that they should offer you an interview, make every word count!

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