Personal Statement

In many courses at undergraduate level, you will not need to supply work or a portfolio, you will not need an interview, or an audition. So, as an admissions officer, the only way we have to ascertain if you would make a good student at York St John University is the personal statement. You have 4,000 characters or a maximum of 47 lines to tell us everything we need to know. Here are some handy tips when filling out your personal statement:

  • We want to know who you are! Do not tell us things you considered doing, or never got round to doing. What did you do? What have you accomplished?
  • Avoid repeating yourself, saying the same thing over and over again wastes precious characters. If you are going to talk about your Duke of Edinburgh award, do it all in the same paragraph, writing Duke of Edinburgh 7 times will just reduce the space you have.
  • Use punctuation and grammar correctly. If you are not certain on when to use a semi-colon, do not use one. If you are worried about if an exclamation mark is appropriate, chances are it isn’t. Do not be afraid to use paragraphs. They take up one character but it helps divide your statement, and lets us have a breath.
  • Using humour is a skill, and can add depth to an application, but humour is subjective. If you say something which is misinterpreted, or you catch an admissions officer on a bad day, you may get the opposite response. Be positive, but avoid humour.
  • Talk about the course you are applying for, why you want this particular course, and do not be afraid to talk about what you are looking to gain from studying here. We have thousands of applicants telling us what they have to give, but very few will give us an idea of what they are looking to gain.
  • Use a mind map – or some people may call it a spider diagram. Get down all your thoughts and things you want to write about. This will help you create a timeline and add structure to the statement. Attempt to give the statement a beginning, a middle and an end. Try and take us on a journey of your application.
  • Avoid starting every sentence with ‘I’. One too many sentences starting with ‘I’ and it becomes a list.
  • Try to balance writing about your personal life and your school life, the suggested balance is usually 80% school, and 20% personal, but make sure that the balance is right for you!
  • What transferable skills do you have and expand on all your relevant skills.
  • Your university application is not usually step 5 in a 5 point plan. What is your chosen course leading to?
  • Finally – do not buy a personal statement. The personal statement is about you – and must come from you. UCAS has a Similarity Detection Service which will notify us if your statement matches a library of historical statements. Providing a plagiarised statement will lead to another one being requested, or in some cases your application may be rejected.
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