For more info visit UCAS Site [http://www.ucas.com] UCAS Personal Statements – The ‘Top 10’ mistakes _ Spelling mistakes (This is unacceptable and will mean that many admissions tutors will move you to the bottom of the pile) _ The opening sentence of the personal statement is not punchy and attention grabbing enough (Remember the admissions tutor has to sift through 100’s of applications so your introduction needs to stand out above the crowd and grab the attention of the admissions tutor) _ The personal statement does not outline why you would like to study your chosen subject _ The structure of the personal statement is too disjointed and does not flow (There is nothing worse than jumping ‘backwards and forwards’) _ The word ‘I’ is used too much throughout the personal statement _ Lack of paragraphs (There is nothing worse than staring at a solid block of text) _ Sentences are too long – use full stops to break up long sentences Misuse of grammar (Most notably commas) _ The personal statement does contain a concluding sentence summarising your application (Don’t just end your personal statement with a ‘cliff hanger’!) _ And finally……PROOF READ, PROOF READ, PROOF READ!!!! (Ask as many people as possible to read through your personal statement and give you feedback – but do remember that it is YOUR personal statement)
Show, Don't Tell. This is one of the most difficult (but also one of the most important) skills to incorporate into your essay. "Showing and not telling" means that you ground your essay in specific details. Rather than simply asserting a big idea, you describe the experience surrounding it. Consider the following two examples: a) Because I was often sick, I learned one of my most important values in life: to make the most of my time and create a meaningful existence. b) When I was little, I was often sick. I would spend days in bed, and as an active kid, I hated the enforced stillness. I used to complain ceaselessly to my parents__but rather than let me succumb to self_pity, my parents would force me to make the most of my time. And as I painted, built Lego castles, and wrote crazy madlibs (quite badly!), I learned something important about myself: that I could be happy so long as I was productive. Do you see the difference? The first example offers a statement of personal belief__ but because it is just a factual declaration, it sounds as though it could have been written by anyone. The second example offers the same idea, but shows us rather than tells us about it. As a result, it is personal and unique, and makes the writer stand out as an applicant.