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Doodle Nandi

Doodle Nandi is a content editor for Hotcourses India- an IDP company, and helps write articles that help students with their study abroad journey.


20 Jan 2017 1.5K Book icon 3 mins Share

How to write a ‘Personal Statement’ – the right way – for your university application!

Learn the art of crafting an impressive personal statement, for your abroad studies – lock your attention right here!

20 Jan 2017 1.5K Book icon 3 mins Share
Doodle Nandi

Doodle Nandi is a content editor for Hotcourses India- an IDP company, and helps write articles that help students with their study abroad journey.


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How to write a ‘Personal Statement’ – the right way – for your university application!

What’s a Personal Statement?

A personal statement is an essay that will define who you are and what you think. It is not just a mere essay that talks about your grades and achievements, but a sharp one which talks about your thoughts and long-term goals.

There could be many like you having similar grades, but how will YOU stand out from the rest? What’s that thing which will grab the attention of the admissions officer reading it? How can you persuade him/her that you can be an interesting student so he/she has to definitely meet you?

The answer is an incisive essay – show the power of your writing skills. Before you start sharpening the knife (writing your essay), think about the following:

  1. Explain why you are so excited about the course?
  2. How do you think the course will benefit you?
  3. Talk about your extracurricular activities.
  4. Show that you are a critical thinker.
  5. What are your long-term plans?

So, how will you write a Personal Statement in a right way, putting together all vital points that you may miss sometimes:

Start with a word diagram to figure out all the points you need to write about.

1. Start with a draft and list down the points that you want to describe further.

2. Re-edit the draft second time, possibly third time, and this time get some feedback from someone who you think can add value to it. Best person will be your teacher or any family member who knows how to write a personal statement.

3. Be patient and do not rush. It could take days or weeks or months to write a final version of your personal statement.

4. Find apt opening lines that will describe your purpose of studying abroad.

Tips to write killer opening lines on your personal statement: 

  • Don’t go overboard and write catchy headlines. Choose your words carefully!
  • Stay to the point and fire the gun – start with why you chose the particular subject. Start with short sentences so that the message is clear.
  • Talk about what excites you about the subject, but please avoid using lines such as, ‘ever since I was in college…, I always knew that this field is for me…, I’ve always wanted to – these have become clichés now.
  • Never say you are applying for this course because you find it interesting and leave it at that. You need to justify what interests you most about the course.
  • If you feel that you want to write the introduction last, that’s a good idea because the intro is a very crucial part of an essay. You may also want to start with the ‘why’ (why you are interested) part because that’s a vital part too.
  • Some admissions committee hates quotes at the beginning of the writing. You need to be cautious on this part too.
  • Another interesting point is to establish a link between the opening and ending of your essay. It will show that you took your essay seriously.

5. Normally, your personal statement should be restricted to 4000 characters with spaces, but it is advisable to not start writing thinking about the character limit; you can always trim it down later, keeping the vital points intact.

6. Write it yourself, and never mimic anyone else’s draft. Be genuine and write what naturally comes to you; don’t try to articulate words too much.

7. When it comes to writing about extracurricular skills, do not mention how you can speak five different languages when all you can utter is ‘I’m hungry’ in those languages. Again be specific and write only about skills you are good at.

8. It is important that you mention about your personal character because admissions committee will try to know what kind of a person you are. They may want to know the following:

  • Have you contributed enough in your chosen area?
  • What is that intrigues you to follow this path?
  • Have you ever done anything spectacular in the field that you love so much, outside the classroom?
  • Will you add value to the university where you want to apply?
  • Will you be able to work in a team?
  • Will you be able to work independently as well and inspire your fellow classmates? ...

Remember to stay genuine while writing about your personal character because the faculty of academics is an experienced group, who can easily smell if you try to outsmart them.

9. Keep reading and trimming the draft till you submit your application. Get someone to proofread it, of course someone who doesn’t introduce errors in the draft! Also, never use acronyms that only you are aware of. 

10. You need to be precise throughout, but at the same time prove that you went high and low to face all academic challenges.

11. Finally, create your essay in such a way so that it works for almost all universities/ courses that you apply. Try to avoid re-writing your essay from scratch for each course you apply.

It is important to create a personal statement that works for all courses, not just for one specific course.

12. Once you submit your application, stop thinking about your personal statement.

Here you go, with all the simple tricks at your finger tips on how to write a killer personal statement. Have enough self-confidence and talk more about your strengths and enthusiasms in those 4000 characters, and you are sure to create a personal statement the right way!

Need help applying for a University?

Harjeet Kaur Harjeet Kaur,
IDP Expert
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