We’ve all heard a hundred times about the things that should go in UCAS statements- from volunteer or work experience to extracurricular activities and wider reading- but what tempts admissions tutors to screw up an application and throw it in the bin? Let’s take a look:
1. Quotations. It doesn’t matter if it’s from Coco Chanel, Gandhi, or even Shakespeare. At worst, this practice makes you look pretentious, and at best, unoriginal. Admissions tutors want to see evidence of your own thinking, not someone else’s.
2. Plagiarism. There’s no point at all in copying something off the internet – universities run statements through specialist software such as Turnitin, and if you’re caught out, you won’t even be considered for a place.
3. Don’t make big claims you can’t back up. “So I see here that you interned with Versace and advised them on their pre-Fall 2017 collection,” says the admissions tutor in your interview. And you break into a sweat and run out of the door.
4. Anything negative – about school or an employer or a subject or anything at all. It’s your chance to sell yourself, not speak badly of someone/something else. Think KIP – Keep it Positive!
5. Namedropping. “I really want to study journalism at Glasgow University because…” – the same UCAS statement is seen by all the universities you apply to, so you really shouldn’t namecheck anybody – unless you’re only applying for one course at one place, obviously.
6. Swallowing the thesaurus. Don’t include big words you wouldn’t normally use in an attempt to make yourself sound more intelligent – this can have the opposite effect, or just make your personal statement sound odd. It’s better to express yourself clearly and in simple English.
Don’t rush it!
Your UCAS personal statement is something you have 100% control over, so it’s worth taking the time to get it right. Don’t forget to have a trusted person read it over before you press “send”. Good luck everyone.