Your personal statement will form part of an application for university admissions, internship, or scholarship. This really is your opportunity to sell yourself to the organisation. How you approach your personal statement is going to say a lot about your fitness as a candidate. Every year, applicants repeat the same mistakes, and we would like to help prevent you from making the same mistakes. Have a look at the 10 worst mistakes made year in and year out.
Avoid these mistakes when doing your personal statement
- Grammar mistakes. This is a big one. You are applying to an institution who will judge you on your skills and abilities. There is no room for error, especially not on your personal statement. You have to pay careful attention and perhaps use a personal statement editor if you must. Use a spell checker and even ask a friend to proofread your personal statement.
- Flowery language. You need to be careful to not come across as airheaded. Being creative and speaking in a poetic manner is okay. Just try and not do it when writing your personal statement. Remember, these applications are usually read by overworked lecturers who might not have the sense of self to dissect your application. Have a professional tone. If you still doubt your writing, get some professional writing help. These services might be beneficial.
- Saying things already said. Try and not repeat yourself when writing your personal statement. Usually the recipient will pick up on this and assume you’ve run out of things to say.
- Lack of focus on academics. This is your selling point. Focus on your academic skills for as long as you can pull it off. Show you are knowledgeable in the program without making it all about you. Make it about the subject.
- Lack of passion. This is to not be mistaken for using the word passion all the time. Try and express your love for this subject without saying it in so many words. The best way to state your passion for the career is to talk about facts. This shows research and curiosity.
- Feels like a generic letter. It is okay to research different examples. We all use our laptops in education but you should use it in a way to inform you and not to become you. If you copy or come so close to a generic letter, it is all going to backfire. The whole idea is to stand out amongst the rest and how can you do that with a generic letter.
- Waiting for the last minute. The early bird really catches the worm here. Do not take the due date as the day you send your application in. Remember, something can always go wrong at the last minute and you would miss out an opportunity of a lifetime. You might realise you forgot to gather your reference letters. These can all be avoided by giving yourself ample time and submit early.
- Airing all your dirty laundry. This is the last place you should be complaining on. Your personal statement will be a reflection of you and moaning and groaning about why life dealt you a bad hand, is a terrible idea. All this says is that you will easily get derailed by the slightest bump in the road.
- I am. Do not use the words I am too much. I am passionate about the subject. I am in love with this career. Stop! You are not 10 years old and come up with better words and sentences. Show the lecturer that you are a well-rounded, well-spoken and educated individual.
- Sounding arrogant. You want to come across confident and knowledgeable. You don’t want to be seen as a doormat but you will be pushing it with an arrogant attitude. Make it clear that you have lots to learn while showing your current skills.
This pretty sums up some of the biggest mistakes people make when writing their personal statements. Now, you’ve been warned and informed. Take note and be sure not to repeat these mistakes.