Why Personal Statements Get Rejected


Anybody applying to study at a college or university in the United Kingdom should know that a large amount of the application will be dependent on the personal statement. The styles of writing for personal statements for students wishing to apply to the UK and the USA are vastly different so be sure to research this further if you plan to apply to institutions in both countries. Below are some key points to take away from a video which was published on The Student Room's YouTube channel, featuring admissions feedback from staff at the University of Sussex, University of Oxford, University of Greenwich and University of Bangor.

1. It's not relevant 

Make sure that the statement relates to the course which you are applying for. You should not use the same statement for different courses at the same institution, as it will not be able to cover a diverse range of subjects in the required amount of depth. It should be a detailed and focused piece of writing, which is impossible without an individual course in mind.

2. Name dropping

Admissions tutors want to hear about you, not about your friends and family, so if you think that your ancestry may provide you with an 'in', you will probably be left disappointed. If there is a particular tutor that you would like to work with at the tutor, this can be mentioned if relevant and as long as you explain the point fully, rather than just inserting their name and leaving it at that. 

3. Not understanding the course

The first rule of admissions: be sure to understand what you are applying for. Nothing frustrates admissions tutors more than a poor understanding of what you are looking to study. If you can't even read the information on the institution's website and do a little Googling for further information, the admissions department will certainly place your application lower down the pile straight away, if not in the bin.

4. Not bridging the gap

Several courses at university are not available as A Levels or in high school, so it can be difficult to show that you have the skills required without relevant qualifications. Demonstratable practical experience, such as an internship or work experience in a relevent field will really help to support your application and bridge the gap between who you are now and who you would like to become at university.

5. Not showing an interest in the course

If your personal statement is not personal and convincing about your desire to study that subject, admissions tutors will begin to suspect that something is up. You are unlikely to get on to a course with a half-hearted personal statement so make sure that you really are interested in studying that subject for 3 or more years before you apply. It is a lot of money to spend on a degree that you may not really want to do.