Writing a postgraduate personal statement

All you need to know about writing a postgraduate personal statement...

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What is a postgraduate personal statement?

Remember when you had to write a personal statement as part of the UCAS application for your undergraduate degree? Well, a postgraduate personal statement is exactly the same thing. Except for the fact that it involves writing a personal statement for postgraduate study, of course. This means that there is no UCAS to go through this time and your postgraduate personal statement will go direct to the university you are applying. You’ll be given a character limit to adhere to, which is normally about the amount that would fill an A4 page.

Why do I need to complete a postgraduate personal statement?

If you are applying for a postgrad course, the chances are that you will end up writing a personal statement for postgraduate study. However, not every course will require you to write one. A personal statement allows you to set yourself above other candidates by engaging tutors with a clear passion and enthusiasm for the course in which you are applying and explain how you are the person they should be offering a place to. This is your chance to shine!

How to write a personal statement for postgraduate study

Think about why you want to apply for that specific course at that specific university and make notes about what you want to put in your postgraduate personal statement, before you put pen to paper. Oh, and back up the bragging with evidence of achievements or how your skills might apply to a new post as a postgraduate. Use a university prospectus or website to ensure that you can directly refer to the criteria they are looking for in a student.

It is good not to overuse the word 'I'. In fact, it is generally important to vary your language and sentence structure as a whole, so as not to risk boring your reader. And remember to do a thorough spelling and grammar check! The last thing you want to do is annoy a tutor by not proofing your work.

Furthermore, your opening sentence is an incredibly important one so spend more time on this and be as compelling as possible.

Plan out the structure of your piece, taking a look at example pieces (try asking your uni career's advisor for assistance) to get an idea of the sort of thing you should be aiming for.

Finally, be sure to write more than one draft of your postgraduate personal statement; you want to get this just right before you send it on to be looked over by potential future mentors. It's definitely wise to start way ahead of your deadline, ask for advice and re-draft until you are happy. Good luck!