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Making your personal statement stand out

Nelly Ali talks to university students about things to do, places to see and people to meet to make sure you get on the course you want.

Writing the personal statement for your university application can be extremely difficult, especially with the hundreds of applicants applying for the same course as you. What can really help make to make it special though is if you have really researched your subject and undertaken activities, work shadowing or work experience that can help you further understand what you want to do. Visiting places akin to your subject is another great way to demonstrate the passion you have. Even arranging interviews or speaking to someone in the profession indicates your commitment to the subject, and can even provide inspiration for you.

Knowing where to begin can be tricky, but visiting websites such as Do It or vInspired can be a great place to start finding relevant opportunities locally.

Listen above to find out what medicine student Kai-Aaron did to improve his personal statement, and read below to discover what other students have done for their chosen subjects.



Working and interacting with people is what you are aiming for in psychology.

Over the year I volunteered at my local sports centre which ran a club for disabled children. I really enjoyed myself and benefited so much from watching the children grow and become more confident and just helping them have a good time.

There were also places I visited in London, such as the Freud museum which was amazing, it was actually Freud’s house and included the history of his life and explained his theories further. I found it really interesting as my A-level course covered Freud and the psychodynamic theory, so for me it was great exploring him in more detail outside the classroom.

The Science Museum was another great place to visit as it had a psychology exhibition which was useful. It also covers a large area of other sciences so would be useful to any students interested in scientific areas. It’s a really good idea to keep an eye out for exhibitions as some may be directly relevant to your subject.



I am really interested in teaching English and to try and differentiate myself for everyone for a competitive subject was proving tough! I decided to volunteer at a local primary school helping children in English. This meant I volunteered once a fortnight and worked one on one with the children, helping them in reading, spelling and grammar. It was a really great experience as it also meant that I was building communication skills which are important when considering teaching.

Another one of the things I did was to visit Shakespeare’s birthplace just because I had studied Hamlet as an A-level text and really enjoyed it. I loved all his work and just wanted to find more about the man himself, so it was a really enjoyable experience for me. I have also got plans to go and see Hamlet at the Globe theatre to really see the play come alive, which hopefully should be a performance to remember!

A point to remember is that just reading critically acclaimed books is also a good idea and many universities have recommended reading lists, and you can mention the books you have read and why you have enjoyed them. It is a great idea just to broaden your horizons and experience a wide range of writing styles and genres. 

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