How to differentiate you as an amazing person from all the other people that have the same grades as you can be tricky.
Admissions tutors read hundreds if not thousands of UCAS forms, personal statements, every single year, and they have to turn them into piles. They have to put them into a ‘yes’ pile, a ‘no’ pile, and a ‘maybe’ pile. We want to make sure that yours goes into the ‘yes’ pile and not into the ‘no’ pile. So how do you make sure that your personal statement stands out as amazing?
When you're writing your personal statement, remember that it goes to lots of different places, not just one place, so don't start talking about how amazing this university is or how you've always wanted to study this part of the course, because you'll get immediately rejected by all of the other universities where that doesn’t apply. Then, if you don't get into the university that you started talking about, then we're in a little bit of a tricky situation. So, make sure your UCAS application, is general enough to cover everywhere you apply, but still talks about the course that you are applying for.
This is really complicated if you're applying for two different courses, if you are torn between two courses you should considers composite degrees like liberal arts or natural science. The majority of the time students are only going to be applying for one course at different universities. For example, biochemistry, there may be slight change into biomedical sciences or biochemistry with a year abroad, but for most of you are only going to be applying for one course. Start talking about why you want to do that course. Admissions tutors want people that are interested in studying that course. They don't want people turning up just because they think it's what they should be doing next. They want people that are interested in what they're going to be studying. When you're talking about why you're so interested in this course, you should have evidence of things that you've done to show that you're interested in. Have you read a number of books, or did you go to this exhibition or go to talk somewhere? What evidence do you have to show that you are an interested, hard-working, dedicated to your subjects? This is what the admission tutors are looking for. They do not just want blank slates that they can fill up with information. Don't go overbroad and list every single book you’ve ever read to show you’re interested in literature. Give them the really strong bits of information. Give them the bits that emphasize what your strengths are and what your achievements are. You need to keep it within the character limit, of course, but also keep it modest while showing how awesome you are. I know this is going to be hard. The admission tutors want to admit you. Now you need to let your personality shine through in your personal statement. It needs to be bubbling with everything that makes you awesome and amazing so that personal tutors really feel like they get to know you in your personal statement. When you're giving your evidence of things that make you fantastic, your strengths, your achievements, what makes you interested in the subject, make sure it is you, your voice coming across and your personality coming across as well. Do not make it dull, do not make it bland, do not make it something that somebody else could have written. Make sure it's personal to you. Let the personal tutors know how you are right for the course. When you are talking about what reading have your done, and don't just pick the best sellers. I was talking to someone that does economics admissions, and he said every single person raves on about how they've read Freakonomics, and that's boring. Even I’ve read it and I'm not doing economics at university. Talk about books that you've read that are maybe not the bestsellers or maybe from slightly less well-known authors. Maybe they were the ones that inspired you. If you haven't read any books yet, spend this weekend reading some books or doing something extra outside the course. What talks have you listened to, what podcasts, what exhibitions have you been to. This applies to basically every single course. You can find at least one book on every single course. Read it, hopefully you'll like it .If you don't like it, read another book. Find one that you do like. What have you done over and above your A-Levels that makes you right for the course? because university is hard. I talk about this big jump from GCSE to A-Level, and then there's another big jump from A-Level to university. You are expected to be a lot more independent. You have to prove to the admissions tutor that you are capable of being independent, and that you are starting to do it already by finding extra stuff outside the course that is going to enhance your subject knowledge. If you have a long-term plan, share that with the tutors. If you know that you want to go work in research, or you know you want to go and be a journalist in this newspaper or something, then tell the admissions tutors this. Say this in your personal statement. This is part of letting your personality shine through. It's parts of where you're going to be right for the course. It's parts of how you're going to be independent and dedicated.
For your personal statement, you have xxxx characters. Way back when, when I did mine, what you had to do was type out on a bit of paper, and then, you'd have to take your bit of paper, and your paper UCAS form, down to the nice lady in the photocopying room, and then you'd spend five minutes trying to photocopy your personal statement, so it fit exactly in the box on the UCAS form. It was a bit of a nightmare, but I still remember all these years later, totally how traumatic it is. These days, obviously, it's all done on computer which is a lot easier. You do not want to cram as much stuff in there as possible because admissions tutors are going to be reading a lot. You want to make it nice and easy for them to read, so you need to consider paragraphs. You need to consider lines in between paragraphs as well. That's just going to make it a little bit easier. It's making it look nicer. Go back and read your UCAS form on the UCAS website because some special characters, some formatting doesn't copy and paste across from Word, it's important that you check it looks okay on the UCAS website as well as on Word.