With your usual application materials, graduate and postgraduate programs require you to write a ‘personal statement’ when applying to a university abroad and it has the power to make or break your chances of getting an offer. A well-crafted personal statement is the key to convincing the university that you deserve a place in their master’s or PhD program. Today we have taken it upon ourselves to help you craft a personal statement that will woo the admission tutors. So check out all the dos and don’ts of writing a personal statement and write one that will be your ticket to study at your desired university.
What is a Personal Statement?
Think of it as an interview, instead of going there physically to get interviewed you are sending an essay in which you are trying to prove that you are the perfect candidate that should be given a chance to study at your preferred university’s masters or PhD program. So in that essay, you will have to write your experience and motivation, your attributes and achievements as a student and why you think that you are the best fit for the course. Through your personal statement, the admission committee will get to know who you are. This piece of writing is your first real chance to sell yourself to university so leave no stone unturned, only submit the best personal statement that is unique and tailored to the course you are applying to.
How long should a Masters Personal Statement be?
A master’s personal statement should be around 500 to 700 works, this equals one side of A4. However, it varies from university to university, some universities require more. Some universities have set a word limit, so you must check the application guideline of the university you are applying to before starting to write your statement. As they are relatively short, don’t waste your words on autobiographical information. Instead, focus more on why you want to study this particular course and your potential to complete it successfully.
What should be included in your Masters Personal Statement?
The personal statement that you are crafting should fit the course you are applying for, so what to include will depend largely on the course requirements. The general question you should answer in your personal statement should be like this:
- What do you want to contribute to society if you pursue the program?
- Why do you think the program you are applying to is the right one for you?
- Considering your personality and previous studies, why do you think this program is the perfect fit for you?
It is crucial that you convince the people through your statement, and you will only do that if you are true to yourself and the whole thing isn’t staged. Aside from answering these questions, address any weaknesses you may have, such as lower than expected performance in your bachelor’s degree or gaps in your education history. The university would like to know about these, so make sure to explain them with a positive spin.
How should you structure your Masters Personal Statement?
Write your personal statement in an enthusiastic, clear, concise and natural style, nothing too complex. Remember your word limit and work around it. The vast majority of postgraduate applications are submitted directly to the university online. If this is the case, choose a standard font like Arial, Calibri, or Times New Roman, with a text size of 11 or 12.
Capture the reader’s attention from the very start by writing an enthusiastic introduction covering your interest in your preferred Masters. Then demonstrate your academic achievements and employment background. Laid out your skills and the reasons why this course is the right fit for you. The conclusion of your statement should be clear and concise, which will summarize why you are the right candidate. Make a draft first and use headings in it, it will help you with the structuring a lot.
How to compose a good Master’s Personal Statement?
Start early and don’t rush. Your statement can make or break your application, so it needs to be perfect. Admission tutors can tell if you are being true to yourself or just bluffing. So start early so that you have time to research the course and institution, read the rules and guidelines and then start writing.
It should be written in an enthusiastic and professional tone and presented in a precise manner. Avoid using overly complicated phrases and don’t go overboard with the words. Keep the sentences clear and short. Furthermore, unless stated otherwise your statement should be written in English with correct grammar, punctuation and spelling, as the personal statement shows your expertise in writing communication.
You should redraft your personal statement until you are completely satisfied. Ask a friend, family or a career advisor. Proofreading is incredibly important to avoid mistakes.
Things to Avoid in Master Personal Statement
The Don’t of Masters Personal Statement:
- Don’t use your bachelors personal statement as a template.
- Avoid being negative
- Don’t lie or exaggerate
- Don’t use clichés, humour or overused words such as passion and dream
- Inspirational quotes won’t do anything so don’t include them
- Don’t make begging and pleading statements
- You don’t need to flatter the institution
- Avoid overly long sentence
- Don’t write your personal statement at the last minute.
- Don’t include copy material from your CV/Resume
Common Personal Statement Mistakes
- The personal statement is too short or too long.
- It doesn’t include important information or includes negative information.
- The personal statement has a very confusing structure.
These are the common mistakes students make while writing a personal statement, and these should be avoided at all cost.
What Admission Tutor looks for in a Master Personal Statement?
- An explanation of why you wish to pursue the course — what motivates you, and how the degree will fit into your long-term plans and goals. Don’t be overly vague or too detailed.
- An overview of your academic and non-academic abilities, and how you will be the perfect fit for this course.
- Knowledge about the course and the institution
- Show interest in the subject, you can do that by including some academic reading or references.
How to start your Master Personal Statement?
Don’t waste your time thinking of a catchy opening, it will lead you to overthink and you can end up going overboard. You will be more likely to fall into the trap of using clichés, gimmicks and popular quotes. It is better to start with why you chose it, then try to explain it in one or two sentences. Be original and straight to the point that will for sure make a real impact.
How to end your Master Personal Statement?
The perfect conclusion should pull together all the key points without over-explaining or repeating yourself. The conclusion should be short, direct, and memorable, and convince the admission tutor that you deserve a place on the course. Like the whole personal statement, make sure that the ending is simple and succinct. End it on a positive note, with a statement about why the university would be lucky to have you as a student. Best of luck with your application. We hope with the help of this guide you will be able to write a perfect personal statement for your master’s degree and land a place in the course too.