You are allowed up to 4,000 characters for your personal statement. It is equivalent to more or less than 600 words. It may be a little bit too short for you to be able to include everything that you feel will make you more competitive than other applicants. At the same time, it may also be too long to be able to keep the interest of the reader – the admissions tutors.
Whatever the case may be, you need to make your personal statement cohesive and such cohesiveness should be focused on the important elements you need to show. Moreover, such focus enables you to make your writing cohesive.
Based on previous posts here on the Essay Writer Blog, the UCAS and recent findings of other equally credible sources, here are the most important elements to show in your personal statement.
Suitability: Passion VS Career
One single most important element to show in your personal statement is your suitability to the course. It can be shown by showing your passion for the course and your career goals. However, passion is more important than career aims. When writing, focus more on showing your passion for the subject more than demonstrating your aim of developing the corresponding career after graduation.
It is very helpful to know the difference between passion and career orientation especially in the context of how it is correctly differentiated by UCAS, universities and colleges. With it, you can better focus your writing and will be able to use the two concepts well. Focus more on passion than career. Use passion-related words more than career-related ones.
Just last week, the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service released an analysis of the personal statements of this year’s 300,000 applicants specifically taking into account their use of words relating to passion and career. The UCAS finds that, “Overall, young people appear more likely to state passion for their chosen course than career-motivated interest.”
Commenting on the analysis, the UCAS chief executive, Mary Curnock Cook, says that “Students are most likely to benefit from higher education if they have both passion and purpose in choosing their courses. I like the surprise in this analysis which tell me that applicants are highly motivated and not just following the money.”
Based on the UCAS analysis and its head’s comments, they are particular about whether applicants are more focused on their passion for the course more than the career goals after it. Passion is associated with the correct motivation and career is associated with the pay and financial benefits that goes with it. And why not? Genuine interest is clearly more important than salary so that one will succeed in a course at university and in a career after it.
Thus, in writing your personal statement, you should focus more on showing a genuine passion that motivates you and less on what kind of job you will be doing after graduation.
Nevertheless, this does not mean that there is no more value in mentioning what you know about the work or career that comes after studying the course. There still is. Show what you know about the careers resulting to the course in ways that show your passion for the course itself.
The personal statement words associated by UCAS with passion includes love, love of, passion, passionate and explore. Make it your priority to use these words to show that you are suitable to the course because you are passionate about it.
On the other hand, UCAS associates with career the words, among others, salary, employable, career, job and job in. Use them less than and just in addition to the mentioned words showing passion.
And of course, you need to use good written English communication to be able to demonstrate the preferred mix of more passion and subordinating career purpose.
As previously reported in this blog, an ACS International Schools survey found out that 97 per cent of admission tutor correspondents from the Russell Group and other prominent universities selected good English including especially good spelling, punctuation and grammar as the most important element they look into.
And why not? Good written English is key to showing what is really important in the personal statement which is passion. Insufficient writing skills hinder you from effectively expressing your passion for the course. ACS head Jeremy Lewis explained that the admission tutors are looking for good written communication skills because it is through it that students will be able to effectively show their passion for the course.
In other words, the tutors are ultimately looking for passion but they are unable to do so because of the lack of writing skills of the applicants. This is the reason why the tutors would like to see good written communication. With it, you will be able to express your passion including using experiences and expressing how you look forward to learning to support in showing that you are suitable for the course.
Complete, Simplified and Successful
So write your personal statement by showing your suitability to the course by demonstrating more of your passion for the course and adding a little bit of career goals, on both using specific experiences as support and good written English communication.
Do you have a specific question about UCAS personal statements? Here we give our answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about writing the personal statement.