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Alan Bullock Careers for Wiltshire College H.E. Convention 24 th April 2012.

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Presentation on theme: "Alan Bullock Careers for Wiltshire College H.E. Convention 24 th April 2012."— Presentation transcript:

1 Alan Bullock Careers for Wiltshire College H.E. Convention 24 th April 2012


3  Already know what you want to do at uni? → go ahead and start developing ideas for your statement  Don’t know what you want to do at uni ? → try (150+ ideas) → or try my Degree Course Menu (396 ideas!)  Got ideas but not certain yet? → thinking about what to put in your statement will help you decide what suits you best

4  Maximum 47 lines and 4,000 characters including spaces  Do it in Word first  Use pt 12 Times New Roman  Use paragraphs if you can, but you can’t underline, indent or use bold or italics  Only one statement for all 5 choices, so it’s much easier if your 5 choices are similar (except 5 th choice for Med/Dent/Vet)

5  Most courses will read it  It’s especially crucial for: *High-demand courses *Vocational courses *High-demand universities “ When you get 1500 applications for 75 places, then frankly it’s down to the personal statement”  Many unis (like Southampton or Cambridge) look at your application holistically, so every bit counts, including the personal statement

6  Even if they don’t look at it when you apply, they will look at it at ‘Confirmation’ if you don’t quite get the grades  History admissions tutor: “An inspired personal statement can sometimes swing us to offer a place to someone whose predicted grades are slightly lower than those we ask for”  For vocational courses some unis SCORE the statement against their selection criteria (e.g. some schools of medicine, physiotherapy, radiography, occupational therapy etc)

7  Exaggerate  Waffle (“admissions tutors have a waffle detector gland”)  Plagiarise (you will be caught)  Use posh vocabulary you wouldn’t use in real life “It was in Year 10 that my love for Maths came forth”  Repeat yourself  Start with “from a young age” or “since I was a child”  Make spelling or grammar mistakes  Don’t bother researching into what’s needed

8  Be YOURSELF  Focus on WHY you want to do the course  REFLECT on the skills, interests, experiences and qualities you will bring to it (academic and personal)  Try to convey enthusiasm for learning and a passion for your chosen course (but without using the word “passion”)  Find out what the uni is looking for – *Use UCAS ENTRY PROFILES or uni websites *Go to OPEN DAYS and ASK them!  Then use the “5 minutes in Starbucks” method not the “Gobbledygook” approach to writing it

9 Which courses said the following?  If you talk about babies, you’re likely to be rejected!  DON’T MENTION SPORT!  All sport and no science will NOT impress!

10  Don’t try and find examples of a model statement and copy it  Most of all, we want people who are enthusiastic about the course  Tell us why you want to study the subject and show that you have some of the skills to be successful  Tell us what you THINK not just what you DO  If an adult has helped you write it, we can tell  Don’t give us a load of old flannel  Less is more  Don’t waste space, just get straight into it

11  The personal statement is your one chance to SPEAK to the admissions tutor  It’s a pleasure to read a statement where the applicant’s own voice comes over clearly  If you’ve had relevant experience, we want to know what you LEARNED from it (i.e. REFLECT on it)  If you’re applying for a joint course, we want to know about BOTH subjects  If you’re applying for deferred entry, what are your gap year plans?  Don’t use lots of exclamation marks!!  If you’re dyslexic, don’t hide it

12  Give us a well-written summary of why you want to study the subject and your relevant academic and personal skills and qualities in 3 paragraphs  And don’t try and impress us with quotations  What you say in your statement may come up in an interview, so you must be able to justify it  We want to know what makes you tick  Tell us something that makes you stand out  But don’t be too quirky – some admissions tutors like it, some don’t, so it’s risky  We like you to be different – but not TOO different!

13  You need to convince me why YOU want to study my subject and why I would want YOU in my seminar group  We don’t want vague, gushy statements like – “I genuinely believe I am a highly-motivated person” – don’t say it, SHOW IT!  Steer away from talking about obvious background reading – if I see “Freakonomics” mentioned in one more Economics personal statement, I’LL SCREAM!

14 1. Why you want to study this subject/course at uni and what has inspired you 2. What you enjoy about your school/college subjects - and how they have prepared you with valuable knowledge or skills for your degree 3. Any relevant reading beyond the syllabus 4. Any extra-curricular achievements or interests that are relevant to your degree OR that just show you will be a well-rounded student 5. Work experience, other relevant experience, career or gap year plans – if appropriate

15  “I like to see a 50/50 split between academic interests and personal interests”  “We want at least 70% academic interests and no more than 30% personal interests”  “Don’t spend more than the last 20% of your statement on those extra-curricular activities and skills which make you a ‘rounded’ person” BUT…  Don’t use up too much space talking about your science subjects, as it won’t make you stand out (BSMS – med school)  For vocational courses, it may be right to focus more heavily on your experience

16  Natasha: UCAS Entry Profiles & course websites → SPEECH BUBBLES  Rhodri: SPIDER DIAGRAM  Maria: LIST OF HEADINGS → then under each, write what comes naturally in a STREAM OF CONSCIOUSNESS → then hack away at it to get it down to 47 lines

17  Marianne: “The necklace approach”  Kreena: “Use your own personal style – don’t be fake!”  Lorin: “Tell your story and add your own ingredients and your personal touch”

18  “It’s hard when you’re faced with a blank screen and 47 lines to write, so don’t think of it in those terms……  ……either focus on the first paragraph OR write without trying to keep it to 4,000 characters…...  ……it’s much easier to edit something that’s too long than to aim for the right length in your first draft.”

19  On the UCAS website you will find: A MIND MAP A WORKSHEET & A VIDEO at

20  Before deciding whether to include something in your statement, apply the SO WHAT? Factor  Do get advice from teachers, careers advisers, friends, parents or unis, but remember whose personal statement it is IT’S YOURS…SO IT NEEDS TO SOUND LIKE YOU!  Do tell your referee about anything important that you would like them to include in your UCAS REFERENCE

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