How To Write A Fucking Fantastic Personal Statement.

Remember my post on How To Write An Engaging About Me Page, in which I lamented the fact that, somehow, writing about the person you know the best, spend the most amount of time with and can tell you anything about (ie you) is the most difficult thing ever?

Well, congratulations UCAS – you’ve gone and upped the stakes.

Hello, beautiful people. When I was knee deep in university panic – and I mean real heart-palpitations, high-stake, I semi want to not have to exist and allow someone else to inhabit my body for the next couple of months stuff – I discovered one of my most helpful bullet journal spreads yet . . . the skills page.

Today’s post is in collaboration with Maria about useful and productive bullet journal pages, so go and check hers out too (she’s linked) and see what her favourites are. For me, I’m going to be sharing with you how I wrote my personal statement using my bu-jo.

Background info, my statement had to beΒ good. It couldn’t be a run-of-the-mill, generically okay personal statement; I didn’t do A-Levels, so I can’t rely on my grades to get me in and my chosen university only depends on your personal statement to give you a place. (My second choice requires a portfolio.)

So to even get a sliver of a chance of getting in . . . I needed to write my ass off.

Now, I could have panicked (well, panicked even more) and stress-eaten my weight in Snickers (why does my dad keep buying me the bulk packs, does he want me to get morbidly obese?) – but I decided not to. I decided to take the same approach that I did with my About Me page and write a guide on how to write a good personal statement for the blog; and, in doing so, research and write my personal statement.

Disclaimer: I haven’t actually written one yet and, although by the time the post is finished I would have, it hasn’t been reviewed by universities yet. Don’t take these tips as gospel, but use them to help motivate yourself in tackling your own personal statement – we can suffer together. Plus, these can be used for job applications, personal portfolios and the like – it doesn’t have to be purely for universities.

1 – Finding Shit To Write About.

The scariest thing about writing is always the blank page. The intimidatingly clean sheet that screams “you are uninspired, you have no clue what to say and – guess what – you’ve failed before you even began. You have nothing to write.”. So how do I combat this?

Bullet points, baby.

My process is bullet point, organise and group the bullet points, structure an essay style piece of writing then actually write it.

But what about when you have no bullet points? Because that’s how most people feel. You say “okay, what skills and experience do you have that make you amazing for this course?” and their mind goes blank. It’s natural. So our first step is to get down as much stuff as you have to load up your arsenal with. You don’t have to use it all, in fact we probably won’t – but you need to get it down so you’ve got stuff to choose from.

Tip: none of that modesty bullshit. You need to be your own cheerleader, you need to believe in yourself and you need to sell it. In all likelihood, you are fighting to prove why you deserve to be on that course – fighting against other people. Nobody else can talk for you; nobody else can sing your praises.

Not quite sure on what to write? First of all: try asking your friends, or family, or teachers what they would say about you. What are your skills; what are your abilities? What achievements would they notice? Most things you do or achieve in your everyday life go unnoticed by you – but other people may pick them up.

Don’t forget personal traits and things that would make you a good university student and the things you would bring to the campus. You want to stand out. You – as a person, not just a student.

2. Pick The Most Relevant and Helpful Things.

Now that you have something to work with, it’s time to cull the herd. Not everything is going to be all that useful – sure, that time you were in the school play was great, but how on earth is it going to help with economics? (Unless you’re swinging it as “I am an outgoing individual, who is committed to taking part in my campus’s extra-curriculur activities”, or something – but still.) (Things that make you as a person cool are great inclusions, though; just try not to get too wildly off focus. You being a good friend probably isn’t too necessary.)

Remember in English exams when you had to write essay responses to questions about text? How you’d annotate the question and the supporting text, highlighting the important information you were going to be addressing and your main points? Highlighting the parts of the question youΒ needed to respond to? The key words and whatnot? Well, a personal statement isn’t too much unlike that – but the question is always: what makes you a good fit for our course?

So look at your supporting text.

Go to your course’s page and look at the information they present. Here are a few of the words I picked up off of mine:

  • Design practice
  • Concept to outcome
  • Branding and identity
  • Diverse and creative
  • Historical, social, cultural and commercial contexts
  • Interiors, packaging, moving image, advertising and narrative storytelling
  • Strategy and brand planning

From there, I annotated the skills associated with these things . . . and then I assigned experience I already had to these skills.

3. Now . . . Make Those Connections

Once you start assigning experience to skills, something weird happens – you start to get inspired. You start thinking of connecting sentences.

You don’t just think: Strategy and brand planning – creating 2 successful blogs.

You think: strategy and brand planning – creating two blogs and developing their individual brands to resonate with a target audience, hold their interest and build an audience in order to become successful. This is achieved through tone, content and images – it has to be consistent and enjoyable for the target audience over a long period of time, as well as being aware of current trends and adapting to suit your audiences wants and needs as the market changes.

So start writing them down! This is all useful stuff that you can use. Don’t worry; it doesn’t have to be pretty, or lyrical. Nobody needs you to be the next Shakespeare. Just get down those connections . . . and be kind of amazed at how much you’ve now got on your page!

4. Outline An Essay

Now that you have all this material, you should definitely be able to outline a coherent essay. I mean, you didn’t do all those years of English for nothing, right?

Again, don’t bog yourself down too much in the details yet. I set mine out into three sections: the first highlights why I want to do the course, shows my personal interest and investment. After that, I wanted a “hard sell” I guess, so I jumped straight to my most valuable experience: my work experience over the past year and a half. After the work experience, I then returned to my personal interest – but this time from the point of my skills and examples of my personal work and skills.

5. Bullet Points The Paragraphs Within The Essay

And now is when we start to get more detailed – but the great thing about it? You already have these points and their links written out, so you’re basically just assigning them to different categories. Now, look at how filled in and bursting with information each of these sections looks . . . isn’t this going to be easy to write?

6. Draft First Essay

Okay, so maybe it won’t be exactly “easy” to write . . . but it’ll definitely be a lot easier than jumping straight into the deep end. With all this information and a structure for your statement, get your first draft written.

Image result for you got this gif

Don’t forget – your personal statement is also your chance to explain any . . . wibbly parts of your history. UCAS don’t allow you to skip out failed grades, so if that “E” is bringing down your whole application, you can always give a brief mention to the fact you struggled with workload management and, after that, committed yourself to learning to organise your time better.

7. Give To People To Read And Review

So this tip I’m totally stealing from my best friend – she got her other best friend, her brother and I to review her personal statement on Google Docs and we all helped her with things like: grammar, sentence structure, adding in questions like “how does this link to your course? Link your experience and skills to those on the syllabus”, etc.

Collaborating helps people without your inside knowledge identify the strengths and weaknesses in your statement.

8. Review Yourself & Stick It Through Grammarly

Check and double check, people!

Grammarly is completely free and will double check your spelling and grammar for you, so once you’ve reviewed your work yourself make sure you run it through there too.

10. Reward Self.

Writing a personal statement doesn’t necessarily sound all that stressful, but it’s a lot of pressure and the fact that your entire future could hang on you doing a good job is no small feat. So once you’ve completed it . . . you deserve a reward! (Hence why I have a tattoo appointment on Tuesday.)

Image result for you did great gif

Okay, my marvellous meat-sacks, that’s this post done and dusted! I hope you found it somewhat helpful – whether that’s for university deadlines (the main one has passed, but late applications and all) or for jobs or internships etc.

The skills and experience bu-jo spread is genuinely really useful; I think I’m going to keep adding to it over time so that I have a cohesive list of reasons I’m not a total fail for whenever I need it. Don’t forget to head over to Maria’s blog and read her post!

Do you think this is a good way to tackle your personal statement? Have any of you guys applied for Higher Education this year – what are you studying? And would you keep a skills and experience page in your bullet journal? Let me know your thoughts down below!

Peace,

Instagram // Twitter // Bloglovin’ // Youtube

Advertisements

39 thoughts on “How To Write A Fucking Fantastic Personal Statement.

  1. This is so helpful!! For me I just wrote down every sentence or phrase that came into my head and gradually bulked them out and edited n tweaked until it resembled something passable.. last year I applied to Oxford and my personal statement was MAGNIFICENT. It featured the word philomath, talked about cults and brainwashing, honestly it was something else πŸ˜‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you lovely! And to be honest, that sounds like it would work just as well – but I was FREAKING OUT so I needed to micromanage the HELL out of mine xD and DAMNNNN girl, that sounds like a piece of art! Maybe you should write your own post πŸ˜‰ (yes, I basically just now want to read your personal statement and gape in awe) xx

      Like

  2. Omg I wish I had already started my bullet journal when I was writing my personal statement because it’s such a great tool to organise your thoughts and ideas! I love everything you’ve said in this, from the need to sideline modesty to making each point thoroughly relevant, as this applies to essentially any subject as well as writing CVs, cover letters for jobs etc. Plus, the photos are on point (super jealous of your handwriting right now). This was such a fun collab idea! Xox

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Girl, bu-jos come in handy for the most random of things – I used mine to plan out tidying my room yesterday! And thank you so much πŸ™‚ I was legit thinking the same thing when I read your post; your hand lettering is ON POINT! I definitely loved this collab (sorry I was SO BUSY I had to smush two ideas together – the personal statement and the bu-jo), can’t wait for more in the future! xxx

      Like

  3. At my age I just sort of roll out of bed (Usually semi dressed from last week) acknowledge to the goddess Bastet and Wiley one eye that I am pretty sure no one has actually killed me yet… and I ask all or nothing… who fucken feels lucky today.
    I would like to say that I then go back to sleep but I spend the next half hour crying because I don’t.
    I wake this morning to see my club has sacked Marco Silva as manager. The season is putrid.
    Pretty sad that sport of any sort inspires me more than any person bar my cat. The cat really need to earn more money though.
    FML
    Does that mean what I think it does? If so I fucking wrote it. I’m getting too old. I need to be tasered to fall in love again.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love how all the greats tell you to write, just write, to not fear that blank paper, fill it with words, yada yada yada, yeah they were not talking about personal statements or about mes. Your tips were spot on and hilarious as always. Also I mentioned hit before, but your bullet journal is gorgeous! ❀

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Exactly! What do they know anyway? I mean they might be published, and New York Time’s Best Sellers but do they really count? ;p Lol. Joking aside you are going to nail it! ❀

        Like

  5. So good! I was a point under the ATAR score I needed for the course I’m now and I’m 100% sure it was my personal statement that got me through – and I literally did the exact same things you mentioned…I’m also v excited to see the new tattoo addition soon!!! xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sorry, it sent to early. Lol. I was saying that I had never stressed about writing anything until I had to put together a personal statement. It’s incredibly weird (at least for me) to write about yourself and how great you are and how you would be a perfect fit for the university/program, it just feels so unnatural. You really included some amazing steps, very helpful! Thanks for sharing! xo

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Great post, absolutely love the aesthetic of it! I applied to uni last year (I’m now in my first year) and I’d say this is a brilliant way to plan/write your personal statement, as you can make sure you’ve covered everything and still be concise! Hope yours goes well, and I wish you the best of luck getting offers for uni! x

    Emily | thatcreativegenius.wordpress,com

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hey! I’m brand new on your blog and I already love it! This post is sooo useful thank you πŸ’“ I’m always a bit stressed about that kind of stuffs but I guess we are all in the same situation nah?
    Anyways, amazing post,
    Des bisous x

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.