EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW TO
ACHIEVE PROFESSIONAL SUCCESS.
1. Not giving context
The first mistake that many students make is to write their personal statement without context. You must always remember that you are one of thousands of applicants, and you are a foreign student. Among foreign students, there is so much diversity and differences in academic systems, life experience etc.
Be sure to explain what you are talking about first, before diving in head-first. Common terms that Singaporean students take for granted without definition include "NS", "CCAs", "JCs" etc.
1. Personal Touch
Who are you? What is your favorite motivational quote? How would your friends and family describe you? Would you be able to survive stranded on an island? Use these questions to think about what makes you unique and your life story.
As a Singaporean student applying to the UK to study, you should maximize your unique background, show them your personality and your drive, and why you will help make their incoming cohort a more diverse and interesting group where everyone benefits. Use this as the central theme in your personal statement. Show the admission officer who you are and why you would be an amazing addition to the incoming intake.
Every year, thousands of students make the difficult choice of choosing which university to go to and what to study. These are 3 guiding questions that can help to inform your choice.
1. What is your end goal?
The brand name of the university and the course are both important. However, if faced with the choice of one or the other, it would come down to your end goal.
Specific professional industries like medicine or law will require you to undertake the right degree. The school is of less importance (note: please check if the university is recognized under Singapore requirements for incumbent doctors and lawyers). For certain competitive industries, having an Ivy League degree will really help to open doors.
For jobs that accept a varied background, it may be worth it to spring for the brand-name university. In addition, it is not uncommon (especially for overseas universities) to allow you to change your course (or at least adopt a minor) if you do well. This will then allow you to get both the university you want and the relevant course.
A good indicator of which university is right for you is to see where alumni tends to end up. Are they able to secure the kind of jobs that you want easily? Look at your dream companies and the profiles of the employees. Which schools did they graduate from? Which course did they take?
Whether you are looking to pursue a graduate degree straight after university or a couple of years after being in the workforce, pursuing a masters or MBA can be a daunting decision.
It is first important to determine your Why? Why are you doing this, for whom and to what end. Being clear about your short-term and long-term goals will help you to determine if a graduate degree will further those goals and this is what you truly want for yourself. Conversely, it is not a good idea to pursue a masters just if you are unsure or uncertain about your goals, or you are using this as a stop-gap measure. It is sometimes advisable for graduates to work for a couple of years before embarking on a graduate degree. This allows you to obtain a more accurate sense of what you are passionate and interested about, any skill-sets that you lack and to be able to envision your long-term career goals more accurately.
Questions that you can think about include:
· Where do I see myself in 10 years?
· How can a graduate degree help me achieve my goals?
· What are my weaknesses or gaps in my skill set?
· How can I get to my boss’ position one day?
· Are there alternatives to boost my qualifications without pursuing a graduate degree?
Part Two: Sample Personal Statements
Please see a sample personal statement for an applicant who applied to a law course in UK below. Our comments and analysis are at the bottom of the page.
Note: The headers in square bracket have been inserted by us for reference. We have deleted certain references to protect the privacy of the applicant.
In this multi-part guide, we will be walking you through how to apply and get into a UK university through a UCAS Application.
Part One: Writing a UCAS Personal Statement
The key to writing a Personal Statement is to understand and deliver what the admission office is looking for. The details may vary across courses / universities but the essence remains the same. The admission office is looking to understand your goals, interests and ability to excel and you can assist by adopting the following structure in your personal statement: