Student Blog

5 Personal Statement Mistakes You Might Be Making

Googled ‘personal statement help’? Found yourself bombarded with horror stories of trauma, pain and distress? Here are 5 personal statement mistakes to avoid.

1. Don’t start with a cheesy quotation

Albert Einstein once said “If you judge a student by their ability to Google ‘inspirational quotes’ and stick it at the top of their personal statement…”
Just don’t do it. The people reading your statement want to hear what you have to say, not some (probably irrelevant) academic from the past.

2. Avoid “X-factor” style clichés

Very common among personal statement mistakes. Suggesting that you were ‘born with a love of Anatomical Sciences with Industrial/Professional Experience or that ‘Quadratic equations are my LIFE’ will not impress administrators, and nor will overused expressions, such as these linked below!

The 10 most overused personal statement opening sentences

Try and be original in what you say, but ensure that you are also being honest!

3. Don’t come across as arrogant

No one likes a show-off, and while your personal statement is an opportunity to, well, show off, every time you say something about yourself try and back it up with some evidence. Be honest and specific about your interests, rather than listing qualities you think the administrator wants to hear. A statement like “I’m a high achiever and a perfectionist” is meaningless until you back it up with “as demonstrated by my victory at the National Rubik’s Cube competition last year”.

(Yes – that is a real thing. This guy’s fingers move faster than my brain: Rubik’s Cube World Championship winner solves in 7.36 seconds)

but saying that….

4. Avoid listing useless facts about yourself

Even if you are world Rubik’s cube champion, imagine the admissions officer thinking “So what?”. It is important to include extracurricular achievements to show that you are well rounded, focused and have good time management, but as universities are primarily interested in academia avoid listing all the grades you have achieve on the bongos and the positions you finished in last year’s sports day.

5. Don’t go it alone!

Don’t be afraid to find someone to give you a fresh perspective on what you’ve written or even help start you off. A fresh pair of (experienced) eyes could quickly eradicate obvious errors. MyTutorWeb offers a specific service for personal statement writing, with help from people who know exactly what you’re going through! For more details, follow this link:

Personalised help from a current undergrad

Written by Emma C, an English Literature tutor with MyTutor.

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