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How to write a winning application for further study

How to write a winning application for further study

You've put in all the leg work

OK, so you've spent hours and hours trawling through online prospectuses, going to open days, speaking to different academics, looking at different courses and universities to find the ideal postgraduate course, and you've finally found the course you want.  Now you just need to apply and get them to offer you a place!

Your Personal Statement

That's where your personal statement comes in. It's a key part of your application so how do you go about writing a great one and what exactly do they want to know about you?

Well, the good news is that most universities will tell you what they want to know and will have online personal statement tools that you can use to help you craft yours and some will even give you feedback before you officially submit it.

We've got you covered!

Universities want you to show your suitability for the course you've chosen and any personal and academic achievements, knowledge and research interest in the subject that show that you would be successful on the course if offered a place. 

Think about the following:

  • Why have you chosen to apply to that University specifically? Is there an academic whose research you follow and admire?
  • What excites you about the course? Are there particular modules that interest you?
  •  How does this course align with your existing research interests and how will it help you broaden your knowledge? What have been some key influences for you?
  • What skills and personal attributes do you possess from previous study and relevant experience that show you would be a successful on this specific course and able to handle postgraduate study? Mention previous study, dissertations, talk about any background reading you have done, any free lectures, relevant events, any relevant experience.
  • List any prizes, awards, scholarships, or papers.
  •   How does this course fit into your future career plans and goals? What will it enable you to do?

Remember, don't just tell, show!

Back up anything you say with examples that are relevant to your course. Remember you are trying to engage and persuade the reader. Stay clear of clichés, write in short easy to read paragraphs that flow well. Check it for spelling and grammatical mistakes and get another person to read it for you before you submit it! If you put in the hard work, you'll write a compelling and persuasive  personal statement that demonstrates exactly why you should get that offer of a place!

Suggested Reading

> Uni Guide: Writing your personal statement
> Prospects: Personal statements for Post Graduates

How to write a winning application for further study

By Anna Gordon - Certified Business Coaching Psychologist ABP CBCP

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