3 Personal Statement Mistakes to Avoid to Get University Offers

Year after year I see university applicants making the same 3 personal statement mistakes. These mistakes cost them lots of time, and would deprive them of offers at universities if they weren't put right.

Read on to find out what they are – so that you can avoid making them.

3 Personal Statement Mistakes to Avoid to Get University Offers

1. Start Writing Before You're Ready

To be fair, this is a mistake that most students make with any kind of writing they do throughout school. They start writing before they're ready.

How do you know when you're ready to start writing?

  • When you've planned out everything you want to say
  • You've given real thought to how you want to say it
  • You have a logical structure to follow

If you start writing before you've done those things you are absolutely certain to have to write far more drafts than you need to, wasting valuable time that you could be spending having fun or getting the grades.

It's not easy to avoid this mistake because many schools ask for first drafts before year 12 students break up for the summer – and most students aren't ready to start writing at this point as they want to use their summer to complete supercurricular activities they plan to write about in their personal statements.

However, my Personal Statement Masterclass can show you exactly how to think through everything you've done, plan it all out and put it into a logical structure so that your personal statement is pretty near perfect when you finish your first draft.

2. Telling rather than showing

Many students really struggle to write about themselves and ‘blow their own trumpet'. They fall into the trap of telling admissions tutors what they've done, writing boring lists of what they've read and their work experience.

The trouble is, a list doesn't tell admissions tutors what they need to know.

The vast majority of universities are really interested in how you think. What you've done is only interesting as the stimulus for the thoughts and ideas you've had and the questions you've asked as a result.

It takes a very particular writing style to show universities how you think in the context of what you've done, rather than just telling them what you've done.

My personal statement masterclass teaches you this writing style, with worked examples for different subjects so that you can easily put it into practice in your own personal statement.

3. Getting the wrong balance of extra-curricular and super curricular activities

Extracurricular activities are things like sport and music that you do in addition to the academic curriculum. Super curricular activities are things you do to broaden and deepen your understanding of the subject you want to study at university, such as further reading.

Twenty years ago universities were more interested in extra-curricular activities. However, as competition for top university places has increased, universities have become far more interested in super curricular activities. This is because the range and depth of super curricular activities a student has engaged in demonstrates their commitment and passion for their subject – and differentiates a large pool of applicants who all have similar high grades.

This means that students who really want to stand out from the crowd need to write much more about super curricular activities than extra-curricular activities.

There are details of what proportion of your personal statement to spend on each in my Personal Statement Masterclass.

Don't make these personal statement mistakes!

I hope this article will help you avoid making these time-consuming personal statement mistakes and result in you getting offers from all the universities you apply to.

If you'd like more help to make the personal statement writing process as quick and successful as possible, sign-up for my Personal Statement Masterclass – you'll get an excellent personal statement that gets you offers in way less time and with far less stress.

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