How to write a personal statement

When you apply for a course at College you will need to write a personal statement. The statement is a few paragraphs of text that tell the College why you should be considered for a place on your chosen course.

Teachers from various subjects have provided some guidance on what they think makes a good personal statement.

Structure it right

Ethelinda Lashley-Scott, Curriculum Manager for Performing Arts, links applicants to a PDF worksheet that explains exactly how a personal statement should be structured. The worksheet outlines what elements should be in your statement, such as hobbies, previous experience and future plans. Use this as a draft which you can then copy and paste into the College website application. Download the worksheet here.

Use the right words

Lindsey Chisolm, Curriculum Manager for Childhood Practice advises that people should avoid using clichés. Words such as ‘passionate’ and ‘hard-working’ can be overused. Try and use other words that can make your statement more memorable.

Think about what makes you special

Michelle Caie, Curriculum Leader for Health, says that you should focus on the skills and qualities you can bring to the profession. Think about how your friends would describe you and how those qualities relate to the job you want to do. Consider the skills you have and why those are useful for the course you want to study. Michelle also says you should avoid the “it’s time for me” type statements. What is special about you, and what skills do you have, that makes you a good candidate?

Talk about your experience

Lindsey recommends you talk about any experience you have that is related to the course. For example, if you want to study childcare it would be useful to mention that you are a babysitter, or that you coach a children’s football team. Then mention how this experience relates to the job you want to do. Drawing from the same example, you decided through your experience of babysitting that becoming a Nursery Practitioner is now your goal, and that studying at College will give you the essential skills and knowledge to reach your goal.

Be confident

Lindsey suggests avoiding words such as ‘think’ and ‘just’. Be confident in what you are writing and saying about yourself. For example, “I am suitable for this course”, not “I think I am suitable”.

Take time to write your statement

Draft your statement, read it, refine it, then read it again! You want to be absolutely sure that every word is spelled correctly. Ask friends or family to proof-check it and give their opinion. When you press the submit button you want to be confident that your statement is the best it can be.