How to start writing your personal statement
Advice & Insight From Personal Statement Specialists
Starting to write your personal statement can seem daunting. Its natural to procrastinate getting started. You may be questioning how you talk about your experiences and personality in a way that interests the reader and motivates them to offer you a place. You may feel mired in self doubt when you open the word document to type. Following the tips and advice below will provide you with a quick, simple and easy approach to going from a blank page to a finished statement. Avoid procrastination and imagine yourself pressing send on the UCAS website.
When to write your personal statement?
There is no exact personal statement timeline. Giving you a date for when your first draft needs to be completed by would be unhelpful as everyone’s writing process is different. We recommend creating a first draft before the summer holidays. This will avoid the last-minute stress and anxiety which doesn’t have to be inevitable in the next few months. Submit your first draft and get feedback prior to the holidays. This will give you 6 weeks to develop your work and send in to friends and family. If you are struggling to find content for your personal statement you may still have time to get some more experience over the holidays. By the time September comes around you want to be making final touches.
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Drafting your personal statement?
When it comes to drafting your personal statement and deciding how much time to dedicate to it there is not a one-size fits all time frame. The first draft you write may be very difficult to the Personal Statement you send off. Having to redraft your personal statement is inevitable. A lot of the work you do will not make it into your final 4,000 characters- but that’s ok.
Sometimes it might be necessary to take a few days away from writing your personal statement; perhaps ask for feedback from friends, family and teachers for a fresh perspective on where to go next.
Getting started on your personal statement.
To start writing your personal statement it can be useful to create a plan. The UCAS website has a personal statement worksheet designed to help you think about what you can include in your personal statement.
Alternatively, you could jot down a rough outline of what you would like each paragraph to cover. Plan your paragraphs around the following themes:
- Reasons for choosing medicine. – Consider listing and exploring your motivation for medicine, what you have done to learn about it and why you are a great fit for medicine.
- Work experience and volunteering
- Extracurricular activities
- Academia and your preauricular activities.
Remember your personal statement needs an introduction and conclusion, both of which need to be engaging and captivating.
Any phrases or ideas that come into your head – jot them down. Do not get bogged down on phrasing, just list your key points objectively. Look at course descriptions to identify qualities, stills and experiences to talk about. The Medical Schools Council have a website containing guidance for potential students. Find lists and descriptions of skills and attributes that you could write about.
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How to turn your Personal Statement plan into a set of paragraphs?
When it does come to writing your first draft remember you do not have to begin by writing your introduction. Try to find something you are passionate about like a hobby or extracurricular activity. You will find it easier to start paragraphs on these topic areas. Tackle the introduction at a later date.
Overcoming barriers to writing your Personal Statement
Prior to writing your personal statement you may have never had to write about yourself. Getting the balance between being humble and boasting is a challenge. You might worry being “good enough” and if the content sounds impressive. Initially think of your personal statement objectively. Firstly, follow the tips above to objectively approach your personal statement. If you are still finding it challenging to praise yourself consider getting insights from people who know you best. Consider asking your friends, family, or teachers to list what they think are your top qualities and gather some ideas about what to write about.
Remember personal statements will not be perfect first-time round. Remember procrastination didn’t get anyone into medical school. Find your individual motivations and tell your story.