Ahh the Personal Statement aka “The *insert name here* Advertisement Pitch”. At 17, I do not remember having any problem bragging about how brilliant I was but at 28 I was a little more self conscious and a LOT more self-aware so tasked with bigging myself up, seemed like a mammoth job. Where on earth to start?! Well, I have a small confession, I sort of had a little help…well kind of anyways. In Nursing, there is a huge emphasis on the 6 C’s (6 Traits and Characteristics that NHS staff should embody), so I used that to guide the writing of my statement. However, below I have tried to provide a more general framework and given some pointers to try to help anyone writing their personal statement as a mature student.
So, here goes:
- Why are you applying? What is your drive?
Are you doing this for progression in your current career or like me, are you hoping to change your career completely? Are you driven by your family, your current/potential career or maybe you have hopes of making your first million?!
- What are your previous experiences of study?
This doesn’t have to be formal qualifications, it could be an online course you’ve undertaken or an informative and excellent training course that your company have sent you on (who doesn’t love work related role play and discovering which ‘colour’ represents you?!)
- What relevant work experience do you have?
This could be voluntary or paid work. And if like me, you’re going for a total career overhaul don’t panic! As you know, I worked in Sales for 6 years, what experience could I possibly offer up as a nursing student? Okay, so I hadn’t got any direct experience (playing Nurses aged 4 unfortunately doesn’t count) but in any job there are transferable skills you just need to draw focus to them. Have a think about general skills, good communication, being a team-player, commitment etc. and run with those. And, if you do have relevant experience, well this bit should be a doddle!
- What do you hope to get out of the course? Where do you see this taking you in your career?
So the shiny certificate, the letters after your name and the bragging rights are all fantastic but they’re not usually the only things we hope to gain from a degree! What are you aiming for when you graduate? Is there a particular area that interests you and is there any specific jobs that take your fancy? You’re not committing yourself to anything but it does show you have thought about the future and your drive for success in your chosen career.
- What life experience makes you right for the course and makes you stand out against the next person?
As I have mentioned, being a parent really is worth bringing up, there is a reason they say being a parent is the hardest job in the world! Plus think of all of the skills you’ve gained, no-one multi-tasks like a parent or handles non-stop pressure like a parent! Also, if you have the space, it may be worth mentioning if you have any hobbies outside of parenting, (if you do, hats off to you, you are a superhero!) Finally, even seemingly bad life experiences can be a positive, they show your determination and your resilience. So to the lovely girls who bullied me at University, good attempt at putting me off but not only did I complete my first degree, I’m now going back for round 2!! RESILIENCE!
- Finally, please resist the urge to be modest! The only person who can convince the admissions team that you deserve a place at their University is you, so if you don’t brag and write like you’re the Queen/King of everything great, why would they want you over someone who will? As a grown up, it’s so easy to be self-deprecating but this is one time you can’t be. Plus, unless you’re planning on sharing it with the world and his wife, your statement is aimed at a very small audience so no-one’s going to call you up on your excellent ability to lead your co-workers into battle whilst balancing an elephant on your head.
This is by no means a definitive guide to writing your personal statement but I hope it gets you thinking and gives you a couple of nudges in the right direction. Below I’ve included a couple of links to other (definitely more professional) guides specifically aimed at Mature Students too. If you would like to ask me any specific questions/want more guidance please feel free to email me on The Uni Mummy Email address and I will do my best to help!
The more professional versions of the above:
UCAS.com (Page 12)