It is again that time of the year – undergrads hectically preparing personal statements for master’s degree applications, postgrads realising their numerical skills should be urgently brushed up for those divine psychometric tests, newly hired graduates frantically setting up annual objectives and figuring out what they are supposed to work on.
If the thought of scrolling down through top-tier university rankings and packaging up your unquestionably hypnotic internship experiences is not intimidating enough, then writing a personal statement for universities with three-letter acronym or the ones with a collective appellation ending on bridge, definitely is.
Let’s have a glimpse for a moment at you. It seems you have done pretty well in your exams so far, raised money through a RAG event or may have climbed an eminent mountain peak in Africa for a charity. Bagged a couple of summer internships, been at least a treasury in a society (who hasn’t been). You probably ran half a marathon and are fascinated by at least one of your lecturer’s topics. You are great, right?
As sad as it might be, the top-tier universities have seen many of you. If we were to claim that we can provide the ultimate list of what you need to get accepted, we would be naïve. Having said that, we believe there are several critical issues, that if addressed adequately, raise your chances above the average.
Salesmen we are not. But your ability to capture the reader’s attention within the first 2 sentences of your personal statement may be the key to making the writing effort worthwhile. If you are eager to tell the reader about your personal details, rightfully chosen hobby or the complete list of undergrad subjects and other trivia, then you have lost both your reader and chance.
Start with an achievement, demonstrate your passion and make it personable.Try to connect with the reader from the very beginning (we should know about that, shouldn’t we?). The best way to establish this connection leads us to the next point.
Research, stalk, research
Job/university applications are said to have much in common with dating. First dates to be precise. If a try and miss happen to be not so dramatic in your love life, when applying to just a couple of top-tier universities, not putting the time and energy to research (stalk) your potential one, is simply a lack of common sense.
Differentiate yourself from the rest
Let’s expand on that. Knowing your reader can give you a major advantage – the opportunity to put hooks in the right places to intrigue that person. Whether you will mention a piece of writing that has provoked your curiosity to explore the topic in detail, whether you will demonstrate your understanding of the structure of the programme you’re applying to or you will be able to differentiate your object of interest/desire (University A, we mean) from all the rest, you are already winning.
Unfortunately being great is not enough. We have so much experience in being great, but still strive for more. So should you.
Suits and Books. Our pleasure.