‘We are looking for bright, lively and articulate students who can tell us exactly why they are different or an individual.’ Cut the academic talk and long-winded sentences.
Did you shadow a teacher at your local primary school for a week?
Or do you spend your Sundays coaching the local children’s football team?
To make sure your opening sentence is original, here are four ways you shouldn't begin your personal statement.
‘An admissions tutor might read over 3,000 personal statements a year so it can be hard to stand out,’ says Jonathan.
You might think that a famous quote will help you stand out but you won’t be the only person who thinks it would be a great idea to include a well-known quote from the likes of Mahatma Ghandi, William Shakespeare, Karl Lagerfeld and so on.
If you’re applying to study psychology, for example, it would be better to ditch the quote from Sigmund Freud in favour of a quote from a less well-known psychologist that you encountered through your wider reading.
‘It might be tempting to start your personal statement with an epigraph but, often, beginning with your own words is best and more likely to be original,’ says Dr Helen Moggridge, a lecturer in geography at the University of Sheffield.
If you do want to include a quote, make sure it’s relevant to the course you’re applying for and always explain how this quote links back to you and the subject you want to study.
‘Don’t say “My parent is a teacher so I want to be a teacher.” It needs to be personal to you,’ says Jonathan.
Instead, explain what you’ve done that’s made you want to become a teacher.