What Admissions Tutors
look for:
The Personal Statement
Sally Raby
Education Liaison Manager
University of Bradford
0800 073 1225
UCAS
• Universities and Colleges
Admissions Service
• Handles all undergraduate applications
• Apply online
• www.ucas.com
UCAS: some important points
• 5 choices
• Deadlines:
– 15th October: Medicine/Veterinary
Science/Dentistry/Oxford/Cambridge
– 15th January: all other applicants
Personal Statement
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4000 characters long (including spaces)
Should be in 12 font
In paragraphs – easier to read
Don’t repeat information already on your form
Sell yourself
Don’t make things up
Think about who you are writing for
Comment from an admissions tutor:
“Personal Statements are incredibly important at all stages of
the Application process. They generally present the basis for
deciding course offers and aid in the selection of whom to
interview.
“Furthermore, personal statements will also determine the
nature of questions during the interview.
“Perhaps the most important role of the Personal Statement
is that they are re-evaluated should a candidate narrowly
miss a conditional offer and they may tip the balance in your
favour at such an important stage.”
Personal Statement: Opening
• Should clearly reflect:
– Why you are interested in
the course
– Motivation
– Enthusiasm
– Commitment to the subject
(e.g. extra reading/related experience etc.)
– Career ideas (if you have any)
Personal Statement: Academic Skills
• Are you studying the subject for which you
are applying?
– What do you love about it?/particular
units/topics you enjoy/extra reading you have
done etc.
• What generic academic skills have you
developed from other subjects you have
studied?
Personal Statement: Some academic skills
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Well organised
Problem solving
Logical thinking
Evaluation
Analytical
Research
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Presentation
Meet deadlines
Investigative
Working
independently
• Essay writing skills
Personal Statement: Interpersonal Skills
• Evidence of skills you have developed
through:
– work; full-time, part-time or voluntary
– Society membership, Duke of Edinburgh etc.
– Involvement in sport, music etc
– Summer Schools, Taster days
Personal Statement: Social Work
Experience of working with children, young people or
families is essential. 35 hours of work experience in
addition to any placements through school or college and
within the last 2 years.
– How long have you undertaken the work
– Your roles and responsibilities
– Reflections on the ways in which your experience has helped to
prepare you for working with children, young people and families.
Personal Statement: Nursing
• Knowledge, Insight and Commitment
• Interpersonal skills – teamwork, communication,
time management
• Evidence of voluntary or paid work
• Evidence of the qualities needed
• Demonstrates awareness of the some of the
challenges ahead.
Personal Statement: Clinical Sciences
“Students need to demonstrate that they have relevant health care
experience and that they possess the personal qualities needed for a future
health professional. Examples from their life should be provided that
demonstrate they can take responsibility, work in a team and they have social
and cultural awareness.
“They should also indicate their motivation and insight into the profession that
they are hoping to progress into and evidence their commitment,
achievements and hobbies. The key is to reference; examples must be
concrete, do not expect the admissions tutor to second guess.”
Personal Statement: Some Interpersonal Skills
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Responsible
Communication
Independence
Efficiency
Confidence
Trustworthy
• Co-operate with
others
• Time management
• Self-motivation
• Teamwork
• Using initiative
“Mentoring/Community Work required me to be sensitive to
the needs of others and provided me with the opportunity
to develop my own self-confidence and independence.”
“My active involvement in sport/music (or whatever) has
provided me with the opportunity to socialise and also to
develop my own self-confidence and ability to co-operate
with, and learn from, others.”
“Experience in balancing the often conflicting demands of
work, academic study and family life.” – evidence of time
management and organisational skills
There’s my Saturday job
• I work in a shop and, if I am honest, I do so because I
need the money.
• True, I have learnt some useful things:
– How to fold sweaters faster than customers unfold them
“My job in retail has improved my
understanding of the business world and
has given me valuable experience in time
management and customer relations”.
Gap year
Include reference to:
• Initiative taken
• Current status
• What you will be doing
• What you expect to gain
• Indicate relevance to course/courses
applied for
Hobbies and Interests
• Link to course if you can
• If not, shows you are a well rounded individual
• Say why you enjoy what you do and what you have
gained/learned from it
Personal Statement: Conclusion
I have enjoyed my time at school/college and
look forward to the challenge of studying for a
degree and to developing my own
independence by attending university.
Fine tuning (1)
• Avoid a simple listing format: demonstrate
that you can write in clear, concise,
grammatically correct sentences and that
you represent an attractive proposition for
university entrance.
Fine tuning (2)
• Make your application relevant to
all choices
• Do not alienate an institution!
Fine tuning (3)
• “I own my own pony and I
exorcize him daily.”
Equine studies applicant
Fine tuning (4)
• “My mother and I frequently attend
dog shows where we have won
many prizes.”
Animal Science applicant
Personal Statement: Dos and Don’ts
Do
• Say why you want to study the
course
• Refer to your current studies –
what you enjoy & why
• Mention positions of responsibility
• Be reflective
• Show your statement to other
people
• Talk about work experience etc.
• Check your spelling/grammar
• Make sure it has a concluding
paragraph
Don’t
• Refer to experiences that are
too long ago
• Mention experiences without
stating the skills you have
gained
• Lie
• Apply for too many different
kinds of courses
• Write a statement which makes
your choices look random and
not thought through
Thank You For Listening!
Good luck.
Any questions?
www.bradford.ac.uk
www.twitter.com/BradfordUni
www.facebook.com/pages/University-of-Bradford/123705457714885
www.youtube.com/universityofbradford
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