How to write a postgraduate personal statement
When applying for a course, your personal statement is a key part of the process. Your statement is going to shine a light on your personal experience, academic success, personal skills and any other factors that will support your application for further studies. Here are the top things to consider when writing your statement.
You’ve probably already extensively researched your chosen course, but there are some extra points that will really help strengthen your statement. Is there a particular employment prospect that the course is key for? Are you keen to know more about the work of previous and current students on that course? By thoroughly researching the course modules and success stories you will be able to provide a solid reason for why you should be accepted to the course. Which leads nicely onto our next point…
2. Show your passion and motivation
Ensure you let the tutor know why this particular course interests you. Are there any modules that you’re excited for or key parts of the course that have significant relevance for your career progression? It’s easy to say you’re passionate about the subject, but you need to be able to provide examples or reasons to the tutor. Try and make sure this is really applicable to you and your work, not just using general language to sound passionate.
3. Be personal and positive
A personal statement is meant to be personal so use your life experience, to show how you found yourself interested in this career path and subject, but make sure you keep a positive spin. Perhaps you want to study Psychology because a close friend or family member suffers from a health condition – its fine to use examples like this to show what sparked your interest.
4. Sell your skills
This isn’t the time to be modest, show the tutor what makes you a great student and why you’ll be a fantastic addition to the student community. What extra-curricular activities have you taken part in? What awards have you won? What employment or voluntary experience do you have, that has helped you develop transferable skills? The tutors want to know that you have the skills and experience to successfully make the transition to a postgraduate degree. Don’t worry if you’ve not had much industry experience if you’re still studying for your undergraduate degree. Instead, focus on elements you’ve found to be key in your studies so far and why you want to be able to develop your knowledge in those areas.
Discontinue excessively utilising verbiage which obfuscates your linguistics – bit wordy, huh? When writing your personal statement, you’re not trying to hit a word count so keep it plain and concise. Feel free to be slightly less formal than you may be in an essay or dissertation, but keep it professional and use the language of the industry you’re targeting, as long as it’s relevant. Also try not to start every sentence with ‘I’ if you can, as it can get repetitive.
These tips scratch the surface of what makes a good personal statement; if you’d like to get more advice, check out our next Postgraduate Open Day, which will give you plenty of opportunities to speak to our course tutors, ask questions about postgraduate student life and more.
Something to bear in mind...
If you are applying for a postgraduate research degree there's a different application process, you won't need a personal statement, you'll be required to submit a research proposal instead.