UK (Birmingham City University) Top tips for writing your personal statement from our Head of School

Get a head start with your UCAS application to the School of Engineering and the Built Environment at Birmingham City University with our frequently asked questions below. Head of School, Nasser Sherkat, helps you put pen to paper with his top tips and advice for writing a successful personal statement.

Group of students sat talking in Parkside Foyer

How should I start planning my personal statement?

  1. Find a course that you want to apply for and what you’re passionate about.
  2. Tell us why you want to study this particular course or field and why you want to study it at Birmingham City University.
  3. Tell us about your ambitions and aspirations.
  4. Brainstorm all of your academic and personal achievements.
  5. Highlight how your experiences, skills and qualifications will help you on this course and why they’re relevant – give us examples.
  6. Map out your structure by planning your paragraphs to keep it fluid and concise.

What should I include in my personal statement

  • Your academic and personal life – what makes you you? What makes you different from everybody else?
  • Tell us about your academic experiences and personal accomplishments.
  • Highlight your experiences and interests outside of academia: what clubs and societies have you joined? Have you got any hobbies? Have you ever been employed? What sorts of jobs have you done? Have you ever done volunteering?
  • Tell us about your personal circumstances if it’s relevant, for example was it a family member that inspired you to apply for the course? If so, why?
  • Highlight what career aspirations you have when you leave us.
  • Show us what transferable skills you possess beyond passing your exams as this is a big part of university life e.g. have you ever managed a team? How resilient are you? How well do you get on with people and communicate? How do you work in groups?

What do you value when reading a personal statement?

  • Personality shining through: here at BCU we like to think students are individuals and unique.
  • Reading about a student’s passion for the subject and their interests.

How should I write my personal statement?

  1. Communicate professionally and don’t be too colloquial: you’re aspiring to be a professional in your chosen field so you need to be able to convey this.
  2. Let your personality shine through and don’t be scared to show it.
  3. Ensure your style and grammar is accurate as this is important when it comes to us reading it.
  4. Once you’ve finalised and written your statement, leave it a day or two and proof-read it so you can look over it with fresh eyes and ask your family or peers to. Read it critically and think how it’s going to sound to someone who doesn’t know you and how they would react when they read it.
  5. Ask a professional to read through your statement such as your teacher. If you’re not in education at the moment, find a professional whose work involves reading documents and statements such as Human Resources.

What are the final things that I should and shouldn’t do in my personal statement?

  • Listen to your teacher’s advice if you’re still studying in school or college – they have countless experience with reading over personal statements.
  • Ensure your statement is personal but professional.
  • Make it clear and easy to read.
  • Let us know what your passion is and why you want to study with us.
  • Don’t let somebody else write it for you as we want to know about you as an individual and on a personal level.
  • Don’t be let down by spelling and grammatical errors.
  • Don’t write it too early.
  • Don’t rush it and make sure you spend time perfecting it.
  • Don’t plagiarise and copy one from the internet!