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Joanna Prestidge Admissions Manager Bath Spa University Helping your students to write a knock-out personal statement!
Admissions The importance of the personal statement • May be the only chance to sell themselves – all an admissions officer/tutor has to go on • Enforced self-reflection – they might learn something too! • Opportunity to demonstrate interest in the course or area of study
Admissions Questions they should consider (and answer!) before making a start: • Have I done sufficient research into course and HEI choices? Am I confident in this? • Why do I love this subject? What is it about it that I enjoy the most? • How long have I been interested in it? • What do I love to do in my spare time?
Admissions Questions (continued) • What am I proud of? What do I take pride in being able to do? • What opportunities have I taken? • Do I have any non-accredited achievements? (eg. Duke of Edinburgh) • Have I held any positions of responsibility? • Have I had work experience or a placement? If so, what did I learn from it?
Admissions Questions (continued) • Have I demonstrated an interest in the subject outside of school or college? (if not, do I have plans to do this?) eg. theatre or museum visits, clubs or groups etc. • Have I demonstrated an interest in the subject inside school or college? (if not, do I have plans to do this?) eg. school plays, field trips etc.
Admissions Questions (continued) • What do I want to be ‘when I grow up’? What experiences have I had that led to this choice of career? What experiences make me right for it? • Do I possess transferable skills (leadership, communication etc.) – how have I attained them? How can I use them during my studies? • What makes me a good candidate?
Admissions When they have their answers They should… • Make a list of everything they want to say as well as notes based on answers to questions • Think about structure – which order makes sense? • Consider what is the most important thing to get across • Ask friends and family for advice – can they think of something that has been missed?
Admissions The doing bit…
Admissions What to think about when they start to write… DO… • Try to make a strong impression but don’t be jokey or ‘quirky’, and keep it light • Demonstrate clarity about choice of subject and why they want to study it • Connect their level 3 studies and personal experiences to desired degree subject
Admissions DO…(continued) • Be enthusiastic and interested: ‘I hope to…I would like to further my knowledge of…I am looking forward to the challenge of…’ etc. • Ensure that the structure is good and that spelling and grammar are perfect (very important!) • If they are applying for deferred entry, talk about gap year plans
Admissions DO…(continued) • Cover all subject areas (if applying for multiple subjects or joint honours) applied for • Demonstrate that they are well-rounded – give specific examples • If they are not in full-time education, give details of work experience – voluntary or paid • Keep it as up to date as possible
Admissions DON’T… • Dwell on shortcomings or negative things • List all level 3 subjects again (it’s elsewhere on the application) – only if relevant • Be overconfident • Be biased towards any particular university – 5 institutions will be viewing the application! • Copy any part of the statement from elsewhere
Admissions DON’T…(continued) • Try too hard - being themselves is the best policy • Leave it too late – allow plenty of time! • Underestimate how important it is • Put how old they are (that appears elsewhere on the application) or provide confidential or private information • Provide an inappropriate email address (on application form generally)
Admissions Presentation • Type and perfect in Word then copy and paste into UCAS Apply • 4000 characters (including spaces) or 47 lines (including blank lines) or approx. 600 words • Aim to fill the space – not too short! • Don’t use bold, italics or a different font – it won’t work
Admissions Examples of good and bad statements…
Admissions Good example: “I am an athletic, self-motivated person with a thirst for further performing arts knowledge. I became interested in acting when I was a child from watching films and enacting them with my friends…I became eager to know more about the acting profession…I have learned more in the last two years than I have my whole life. College has showed me new techniques and qualities and a better understanding of what happens both on and off stage. My first major role was…over the past few years I have become more motivated and want to set myself new and greater challenges. I love researching for forthcoming shows…I am a self-taught guitarist and have been playing for about two years…”
Admissions Bad example: “i have choosen to do a joint drama and writng course because I am equally passionate about both. I have heard great things about the course(s), and the prospectus was a futher encoragement…I love the liberation of acting, taking on new charectors and broadening my experiance as both an actor and a person…I have been an avid ameture actor for 10years now, acting in scools, youth groups and drama groups. my previous work experince’s have been working with both drama groups and theatre’s…I was able to develope my writting skills whilst experiancing directing an the production side to acting…”
Admissions Before they press ‘send’… • Check spelling, grammar and punctuation (again!) • Get a second (and third) opinion on what they have written – does it make sense? Does it ‘flow’ well? • Ensure that the information is all true and can be discussed further at interview • Keep a copy to refer to at a later date
Admissions You may not be aware… • UCAS training sessions (at school or college) • UCAS adviser guide • Similarity Detection Service – 10% or higher similarity reported to universities • UCAS – source of information www.ucas.ac.uk
Admissions Questions? Joanna Prestidge Admissions Manager Bath Spa University email@example.com