10 personal statement fails – and how to fix them!

So, year 13 continues, you’ve chosen your dream uni (Coventry, obviously!) and you’ve registered with UCAS. Now the time has finally arrived to write your dreaded personal statement – dun dun DUN!

Sometimes writing about yourself can be the trickiest topic to cover, but your keyboard will soon start tapping once you’ve read UnCOVered’s advice on avoiding the 10 personal statement fails!

1) “I can juggle knives while sitting on an elephant & reciting the alphabet backwards.”

The first step when writing a personal statement is listing your personal achievements, but fight the temptation to make yourself sound superhuman. Everything you’ve achieved so far, whether it’s academic, sports or even volunteering, is worth mentioning as it’s made you who you are! Just remember to not be creative with the truth; it will come back to haunt you!

2) “This is crazy, but here’s my number – call me, maybe?” ;)

You’ve planned what you want to say, but it’s equally important how you say it. Your opening sentence sets the mood for your personal statement, so show your personality, excitement and passion from the start. (Perhaps avoid flirting with your admissions tutor though; apparently it’s frowned upon.)

3) “I don’t know why I’m writing this, but let’s give it a go.”

Everything you include in your personal statement should be selling YOU, with a big red arrow pointing in your direction. You want admissions tutors to be fighting to offer you a place so show just how serious you are about attending university. Plan your content before you start and be sure you cover everything they need to know.

4) Plz let m3 go ur uni.”

You’re not on Snapchat to your friends nor in a position to rely on emojis to construct your argument, so make sure your grammar is correct! Proofread your personal statement and give it to a friend or family member who might spot something you’ve missed. A fresh pair of eyes is better than simply relying on spellcheck.

5) I play football. I want to study midwifery.”

No hobby is irrelevant to your personal statement, as it’s evidence of just how well-rounded you are. However, try and link in why you’re including your hobby so it’s not just a random addition, no matter how obscure it is.

6) I’m a nice person.”

Of course you’ll be featuring somewhere on the friendly chart, but no matter how cute-and-cuddly you are, you still need to stand out from the crowd. Be polite in your statement but don’t be afraid to show your personality and offer up some of your own ideas. Confidence in your ability is imperative to impressing!

7) WordArt is the coolest.”

Presentation is key but leave the flashy WordArt back in primary school where it belongs! Punctuating your sentences and indenting your paragraphs correctly is the path to stealing your admission tutors’ heart.

8) “Pretty, pretty please like me – I’ll do anything…”

A strong approach is the best with personal statements, but don’t go down the begging route. If someone begged you to go on a date would you take them seriously? Cool, calm and collected is the way to be!

9) “The struggle was real.”

Your conclusion is arguably more important than your opening line, so don’t let onto the admissions tutor that you spent 78 hours with writer’s block and this is version 129. Be slick and concise and they’ll be eating out of your hands!

10) I will buy you a McDonalds if you let me in. ;)”

It may be tempting to Sellotape that dusty change from the bottom of your bag to the back of your statement but trust us, bribery will not work! As cheesy as it sounds, just being yourself and explaining why you want to study your chosen course is the best way to write a strong personal statement.

For more advice on the UCAS process, read our handy UCAS advice pages, which will guide you through the whole process!

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