How To Better Sell Yourself in Your University Application
One of my favourite pieces of writing to edit is a personal statement for a university application. I love reading about someone’s academic journey, their motivations for studying, and their unique career goals.
The personal statement is a key piece of your university application, and one that often doesn’t get the attention it deserves. This piece of writing is your chance to sell yourself to the university of your dreams. It’s your only real opportunity to talk yourself up on your university application.
Top 3 Tips to Rock your Personal Statement
Here are my top tips for a stellar personal statement to get your university application to the top of the pile!
1. Do Your Research and Include it on Your University Application
Ok, let’s start with what not to do. Generic comments about how prestigious, excellent, and challenging a particular university is are not necessary. The university already knows how in demand it is, and every other student applying is saying the same thing.
So how can you set yourself apart, and show that you have done your due diligence and researched this university and program? Start by doing just that - the research! Check out the campus (if you are close), DM some current students in the program to ask them about it, and research the profs that you hope to work with in the near future.
Consider why you are applying to this university and program. What sets it apart from other options? What were the selling features for you?
Explain in your personal statement why this university, in this city, with this specific program is perfect for you. Now you have separated yourself from all the other university applications that were copied-and-pasted from one school to the next by other students. You’ve shown you will put in the time to get what you want, and that you take care to do things well.
2. Talk About What Makes You Awesome
That’s the whole point of a personal statement! Even if you have specific questions that you are asked to answer in your particular university application, you really want to drive home your strengths and what makes you, YOU.
Here’s a few questions you could answer to get the creative juices flowing:
Are you an engineer or scientist that is actually a fantastic artist? How does that enhance your technical skills?
What are your research interests?
What fascinates you?
What hobbies sparked your interests in your field of study?
Why did you choose your major?
What was your very best subject in high school or undergrad that was also an absolute joy to study?
Did you learn English as a second language?
Did you overcome adversity to get where you are?
All these things make you unique and taught you something along the way. Maybe you learned that you can succeed against all odds because of your drive. Or perhaps your passions set you apart and helped you understand a particular subject. Explain how your special sauce makes you an excellent student.
Universities want diversity, not just in the traditional sense of the word, but in terms of viewpoints, backgrounds, and opinions. Showcase your own brand of weird and wonderful, and it will help them to select you as being a unique addition to their campus.
3. How Are You a Benefit to THEM?
Now that you’ve highlighted how amazing you are, let’s focus that on how you would contribute to the university’s community. Most universities have no shortage of applicants, so another way to stand out is by explaining how you’ll give back to them.
This can be as simple as describing how much of a team player you are and that you enjoy teaching and sharing your knowledge with your colleagues as much as you enjoy learning. You might thrive in a group atmosphere or on a multi-disciplinary team. Make sure you state this, because it will be a joy to work with someone as motivated as you.
It could also include that you plan to mentor younger students to help them with the struggles you faced earlier in your academic career. You might be super into extracurricular activities and you’re ready to bring your time and passion to a society, a design team, or even community service and volunteering.
Really lay it out for those who are reviewing your university application. How will you make the university better by being enrolled as a student there? University applications aren’t just about grades anymore, because we know that well rounded people make for better colleagues and teammates than someone with a singular focus on a GPA.
This is Your Chance To Shine in Your University Application
If you focus on the unique aspects of yourself, and how you are a perfect fit for the university you are applying to, you will set yourself apart.
This is your chance to shine, show your personality, your dedication, and your attention to detail. It might seem simple, but if you incorporate the three tips above, you’ll put yourself well ahead of the pack.
Have more questions about writing personal statements or university applications in general? Leave a comment below or send me a message!