Useful Tips

Cover Letter Learning to Write a Personal Statement for UCAS


For students in sixth grade who are entering university, the deadline for submitting applications is approaching. Make sure your personal statement sets you apart in the eyes of educators.

Christmas holidays, fortunately, are getting closer. But due to exams and the close deadlines for applying to the university, the tension is growing. However, it’s time to make the last leap, because the deadline for submitting to UCAS is just around the corner.

You have already attended numerous meetings and conferences, you can quote a huge number of books, and even have already been able to work during short breaks. With all this, it is completely incomprehensible why writing 4,000 characters (spaces and commas are also taken into account) is so unbearably hard.

The hardest part of this business is getting started. An empty Word document is very demotivating. Therefore, you need to write at least a draft as soon as possible. It is better to have 4,000 characters that can be modified than just a blank sheet on which there are no thoughts. In the end, you have something to smash your head at.

The deadline for submitting applications for most universities is January 16 at 18.00. However, as in other life situations, it is not recommended to leave anything on the last day. Schools will set their own deadlines so that teachers have enough time to write recommendations. Therefore, make sure that you know these dates, and try to stick to them as much as possible.

When you get to the bottom of the rationale for why you are suitable for a particular course, a lot will depend on where you are going and what you want to study. Then you can understand how much space to devote to each aspect.

For example, Dr. Sam Lucy, a member of the admissions committee at Newham College in Cambridge, recently said that extracurricular activities and some work experience are not what Cambridge will be of interest to. Only what is relevant directly to the course is needed.

“Our enrollment process is based on academic ability and potential,” she says. “Therefore, when candidates show that they still have any abilities (for example, they play sports or they have temporary work), then we are very happy.”

Katrina Woolhouse, head of the Oxford admissions committee, makes a similar recommendation: “When we give advice to applicants entering prestigious universities, and especially to Oxford, we say that 75-80% of your rationale should be occupied with a description of your academic achievements and interest in the course, and 20-25% should be dedicated to your non-academic hobbies. ”

“Extracurricular activities and work experience are only taken into account if they demonstrate how you meet the qualifying requirements for the selected subject.”

However, it should be borne in mind that your Personal statement will be visible to all universities in which you apply, unless you enroll exclusively in Oxford or Cambridge. So it will be wise if you describe your achievements in other areas. Especially if you can associate them with the selected item.

As for work experience, future students should focus on what role they performed, and not on the technology that they saw.

Organization Which? University says that applicants have to write a lot about out-of-school activities and work in order to demonstrate qualities such as sustainability, problem solving, leadership, teamwork, creativity and critical thinking.

However, they are not advised to mention those things that you are no longer interested in, but to describe only relevant ones.

Moreover, students must substantiate and specify everything that they wrote about in a personal statement in an interview. Therefore, do not try to boast that you read all of Tolstoy, if you only mastered the first part of “War and Peace”.

When describing your academic achievements, try to explain why you chose this course - universities want to see that you know their requirements and look forward to studying your subject.

Find out the requirements of all the universities you apply for and always refer to the brochures. You will show that you have carefully studied everything. And this, in turn, will demonstrate your interest in the subject.

Fatuma Mahad, COO of UCAS, also emphasizes the need to adjust the final version.

“Let your friends and family read your rationale. They can tell you things that you yourself haven’t thought of and evaluate your composition. ”

“It is very important to read your essay several times. Reading aloud will help you notice incorrect punctuation and misused expressions. ”

Last and one of the most important tips. Do not try to copy someone else's work. Copycatch checks each rationale and compares multiple essays for similarities.

Writing an essay may seem like a heavy load, but this is your chance to claim that you are the most suitable candidate for a place in this institution of higher education.

Do not write aimlessly. Structure your thoughts. Prove that you will succeed in learning a subject, not just claim it. And don't be afraid to stop when you write 4,000 characters.

When to start writing a personal statement?

Ideal between September and October. But, to write a personal statement, you need to start only after the applicant has decided on the course for submission. To determine means that the applicant in the shortlist has one or two courses within the framework of one specialization or one department. Remember that you cannot write a convincing personal statement for different courses from different departments. For example, “I haven’t decided yet, so I will go to sociology, economics and politics” - this cannot be done and such a decision will lead to failure!

What are personal statements?

We divide the cover letters into two groups: “one- or two-subject” and “multi-subject”. In other words, undergraduate specialization can be built around studying one or two subjects, and can be built around studying many different disciplines. For example, Mathematics BSc is a standard one-course course, Mathematics and Computer Science BSc is a standard two-course course, while Architecture BSc is an interdisciplinary course. In each case, different approaches to writing are used.

How to write a statement for a one- or two-subject course?

We recommend a formulaic approach for writing this type of cover letter - 100-300-200-100 .

  1. 100 words - Introduction.
  2. 300 words - Academic analysis of studied subjects in 6 forms (A Levels, Pre-U or IB): what you studied, what you learned and how it prepared you for studying at the undergraduate level.
  3. 200 words - Analysis of practical experience (that is, the use of subjects studied (from an academic point of view)
  4. 100 words - Conclusion.
. This approach, the formulaic approach, is the beginning of your writing plan.

How to write a personal statement for an interdisciplinary course?

This cover letter needs to be made thematic . For example, for a course in architecture, you can distinguish 3 main areas and write a personal statement around them, but, of course, from an academic point of view. What are these areas: 1) physics, mathematics, economics and materials science 2) sociological, psychological and ergonomic problems in architecture 3) design, art and history of architecture. For other interdisciplinary courses (including medicine), the data approach will also work.

What to do with grammar and vocabulary?

Be sure to show the cover letter to the language department of your school. They will be able to check it for grammatical, punctuation and stylistic errors. And tell me how to fix them. But it is also worth noting that if your work accidentally has 1 or 2 errors, then there is nothing to worry about. You can always check whether the entrant wrote the statement himself or with someone else's help (for this, just look at the score in the section of the letter on IELTS and assessments on essay-based subjects).

What is the role of the school?

If the child is studying in a foreign school, then this statement will need to be shown several times to the school clerk or to an employee of the school career department. As a rule, this person, based on including this letter, will write a recommendation. Therefore, do not delay this process. Make it step-by-step and approach this person several times in school and show him your achievements. In English schools, for writing and editing a personal statement, some schools use systems such as Unifrog, as well as BridgeU, where students write a personal statement.

But what if I take a paragraph from somewhere?

This is called plagiarism. We believe that if an applicant had such a thought in his head, then of course he is not allowed to receive higher education in the UK so far and he will most likely be expelled. But anyway, the UCAS system checks all personal statements for plagiarism. Believe me, hundreds of thousands of cover letters are added to UCAS every year, and finding this paragraph is easy. And the system will report this to the university. As a result - denial of admission.

Write, rewrite, rewrite again and after a few iterations you will get a convincing cover letter!

6.3. Order for personnel Example of order for personnel

About temporary substitution

For the period of my official business trip to assign the chief engineer of the enterprise P.I.

Familiarized with the order:

Antonov tel. 15-45-63

Personal signature 18.08.2011

Personal signature 17.08.2011

6.4. An approximate structure of an employment contract,

remuneration and dismissal of an employee

Gr. _________________________________________ is hired

in ________________________________________________________ for the position name of the enterprise

1. The volume and nature of the work

1.1. Indicators characterizing the quantity and quality of an employee’s activity, giving an assessment of his labor efficiency and labor functions.

1.2. Tasks for environmental protection.

1.3. Tasks for safety and labor protection.

2. Duration of the contract

2.1. Probationary period (1 - 6 months).

2.2. Final term (1 year, 3 years, 5 years, unlimited, etc.).

3.1. Salary rate for the probationary period.

3.2. The size of the basic monthly rate, determined upon completion of the transaction of purchase and sale of labor between the employer and the employee after passing the probationary period.

4. Additional terms of the contract

4.1. The obligation to keep secret the contents of the contract, its individual items related to remuneration, trade secrets.

4.2. Terms of early termination of the contract.

4.3. Additional material incentives.

4.4. Social guarantees to the employee.

5. Legal addresses of the parties

5.1. Employer: full name of the company, address, full name and director’s signature, round (official) stamp, date of signing.

5.2. Worker: Name and personal signature, home address, passport data (series, number, by whom and when issued, year of birth), number of family members, etc., date of signing.

5.3. Number of contract copies and storage location:

1 copy - in the personnel department,

1 copy - in accounting,

1 copy - the employee.

Only 3 copies.

Full name: Semenov Victor Igorevich.

Address: 644125, Omsk, ul. Vostochnaya, d. 8, apt. 44, tel.: 65-45-12.

Date and place of birth: June 12, 1980, Moscow.

Citizenship: Russian Federation.

Family status: Married, have a son.

Education: 1997–2002, Omsk State Technical University majoring in ECONOMICS AND MANAGEMENT AT ENTERPRISES with the qualification of ECONOMIST MANAGER.

1987–1997 - secondary school No. 45 (Moscow). Upon graduation, he received a certificate of qualification PROGRAMMER.

experience: since 2005 - Head of the Department of Informatics at the financial company OMSKFINTES (provided software support for the company and the functioning of computer technology).

From 2002 to 2005 - engineer at the Research Institute of Instrument Engineering.

Additional information: I have experience working with spreadsheets, text and graphic editors in DOS and WINDOWS environments, and also know programming systems in PASCAL, SI.

I speak English (I read and translate with a dictionary).

Upon request, I can provide the necessary recommendations.