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10 Personal Statement Don'ts

We've put together 10 common mistakes applicants make with their UCAS personal statements, so you can avoid them and make your application a success!

1. Don't try to be funny or make jokes in your statement

Just because you have a sense of humour doesn't mean that the admissions tutor will. If you are a good writer and the right person reads your statement, it could help you stand out.

But a badly written joke or one which the reader doesn't find funny could increase the chances of your application being rejected.

2. Don't start every sentence with I

Though you are talking about yourself, your statement may get very repetitive if you start every sentence with I.

It is possible to avoid it, but this many mean you end up writing irrelevant stuff which fills up space just to get your statement to read well.

3. Don't include all your hobbies and interests

You are trying to apply for a particular course here, so much of the stuff you enjoy may be irrelevant and will just waste space on the form. Only put them down if they are actually relevant to your course, or show other skills you have.

4. Don't use complicated vocabulary

It's tempting to look up lots of words in thesauruses, and use them in your statement to make it sound better.

The problem is it may look obvious you have not used your normal writing style, or make your statement look less original.

You should also consider that if you go to an interview you may end up sounding very different from the way your statement is written.

5. Don't add famous quotes to your statement

A well placed quote can sometimes give your statement a snappy start, or make it read better, but it doesn't really say much about you.

However relevant it is to the rest of your statement, all it shows is you are capable of looking things up in books.

6. Don't repeat things already on your UCAS form

You may want to speak about your grades or work experience in more detail than on the UCAS form.

This may mean you end up repeating information you've already given, meaning you have less space to talk about other things.

7. Don't lie or embellish the truth

It's easy to say you've read books you haven't or been to conferences which you haven't, but you may find it very difficult to talk about them at an interview if asked.

However if you think just exaggerating what you've done without actually lying will help, you are very unlikely to actually get caught, so it might be worth s try.

8. Don't mention things you haven't done yet

Things you say you are going to do may carry much less weight with the admissions tutors than things you have already done.

Also once you've got your form sent of there is less incentive to actually do them, so you may get caught out in an interview if you haven't.

9. Don't include over-used phrases

Many hobbies such as "playing sport" or "socialising with friends" are things everyone does - you can save some space by leaving them out.

However putting things like this in can easily fill up a bit of empty space or help your statement read more freely.

10. Don't take any political viewpoints

It may be good to give opinions in your statement, as it may show the way you think.

However if your admissions tutor has an apposing view, they may take a dislike to you which could put you at a disadvantage.

Hopefully these pointers will help you put together a well-rounded, successful personal statement.

For more information and advice, please see:

Best of luck with writing your personal statement and your university application!