Application Advice: Personal Statements for Postgraduate Study

Posted in: Advice, Applications, Tips & Hints

Your personal statement needs to prove whether you’ve got the determination, drive and relevant skills + experience to thrive at the university you’re applying to. To do that:

  • Create a clear and concise structure – beginning, middle and end
  • 1 A4 page (500 words, unless a word count is specified) and short, easy to read paragraphs (think about your white paper:text ratio)
  • Emotive language – ‘passionate’ ‘eager’ ‘excited’ – professional, yet personable

Research – So important!

  • Know the course structure – What modules are included? What are the methods of teaching? Who are the academics?
  • The university – Where are they ranked? How successful are their graduates? How soon do graduates find jobs? Are they a specialist in the field of study?
  • Recent news / campaigns

What to include

  • An attention grabbing introduction, an engaging middle section and a concise conclusion.
  • Why are you interested in this field of studyPersonal background? Career goal? Specific strengths you have?
  • Why are you interested in this specific course? – An academic you want to study with? A unique element to the course?
  • Why are you interested in this specific university? – Draw on your research.
  • What are your career goals? How will the Masters help you achieve them?
  • Potentially discuss the initial ideas for your Masters dissertation - help give an idea of the specialist knowledge you have in your field.
  • Demonstrate how and why you’re invested in this field of study with examples. Remember to relate back to the Masters.
  • Draw from academic and employment experience to explain why you are choosing to study this postgraduate course.

Your examples should demonstrate skills that you’ve developed at university, work or in extra-curricular activities, and how they will help you succeed in your Masters degree. These will include:

  • Time management / working under pressure
  • Communication (verbal and written)
  • Team work / leadership
  • More course specific experiences (projects / events attended / literature read / techniques)
  • Research

Remember

  • Having a clear and structured personal statement will be an example of your ability to communicate effectively
  • Use positive, enthusiastic language, with a professional tone of voice
  • Provide evidence to prove your claims
  • Aim for a word count of around 500 words (one A4 side of text)
  • Plan beforehand!

Avoid

  • Waffle! Get straight to the point with what you say
  • Using a generic template for each application – your personal statement should be specific to each course and institution you apply to
  • Being vague - be specific with facts and figures where possible. Say exactly what you did, but remember to keep it relevant
  • Typos and bad grammar! Spell check English (UK)

Feedback

You can book a 15 minute appointment with an Applications Adviser to read through your statement and make sure you're on the right track:

myfuture.bath.ac.uk/students/appointments

Posted in: Advice, Applications, Tips & Hints

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